RECOGNITION I CHERISH MOST IS BEST MARRIED WOMAN AWARD I WON IN THE UNIVERSITY
If there is anything Mrs. Chibuzor J.C. Patrick, managing director/chief executive officer, Meljenstin Nigeria Ltd, cherishes, it is the award she won in the university. According to him, she won the best-married woman award while in the university.
Mrs. Patrick, whose outfit is into pubic relations, left her lucrative job in Julius Berger to open the public relations firm. She has a degree in Business Administration and a postgraduate diploma in Management, from University of Calabar. She equally holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication from the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State. Also, she holds a Diploma in Theatre Arts from University of Calabar and a certificate in Computer Operations from the University of Port Harcourt.
In this interview, Mrs. Patrick reveals her strength, expectations and dreams.
Give me an insight into your family background and growing up?
I am from a family of six, four girls and two boys. We didn't get everything we wanted, but everything we needed was made available to us. We too had a beautiful family. My dad is a lawyer and my mummy a guardian counsellor and a proprietress. We grew up to believe that meeting people and other things is normal. We grew up with that belief. Since my dad is a lawyer, sometimes his clients come to the house. My mum's clients, as guardian counsellor, also come to the house. The way my dad and mum relate with their clients gives us positive impression.
You own a outfit, Meljenstin. What's it known for?
Meljenstin is a public relations and event management outfit. You can't separate event from public relations. We are involved in perfection management, media relations and corporate social services.
What role did your upbringing play in your life?
My background has helped me a lot. My role models are people who don't have anything. I like people who come out from where people won't believe they could ever. I like people who believe in themselves. I have come to know that we need to look out for our strengths. I know that there are so many amazons, who do not have parental guidance but they make something out of their lives. They trained themselves in school and become champions.
How long has your outfit existed?
Funny enough, when I tell people that we have not even been up to a year, they disagree. I resigned from Julius Berger, where I worked. After resignation, I started this place. I have come to know that PR is versatile. Also, I know that idea rules the world. Where there is a creativity head and you have creative mind, you won't run out of job. I tell people that if they don't get paid jobs, they can create jobs for themselves.
How were you able to fund it initially?
Everyday, there is an idea. God gives people vision. He drops each vision into one million hands. If you run with yours, you become the originator. If you don't and somebody starts it, yours becomes a photocopy, if you eventually begin it. Money, in bank account, does not speak. It is the love that you give away that does. Also, whatever you hold to yourself does not speak. However, if you sacrifice and put smiles in the lives of people, you would be happier. On your question, I will say that it is the little savings that I have that I applied to it.
Why did you resign from Julius Berger?
There was no problem whatsoever. I have always told people that you don't have to have a problem with a company for you to go on leave. I did not want to wait till I have worked for 30 years before I begin to work for myself. If you work for a company for 30 years, you would retire when you are not strong again. I know that if I use my youth well, I would lay a good foundation for my family and I before I attain 50 years.
Who are your clients?
As a PR person, you don't even determine who comes. We only talk about clients who are steady. I consult for whoever that comes. There are also pieces of advice you give that you get paid. Such are one-off thing. Ours is a public relations office. People come and we give our advice and plan events for them. We also tell them the best medium to use, after knowing their target audience. We tell them the best media to use because each newspaper has an angle. The Sun, for example, has a human angle tilt. There are some events that Dbanj may not be appropriate and there are some you don't use an established star. So, we look out for the people who have come and what I need to do for them.
How lucrative is it?
One thing that is wrong with some of us is that we are selfish and greedy. I tell people that you may need to do little jobs for a year or two and save money to start whatever business you want to do. But some people want to be millionaires over night. I may charge between N20, 000 and N40, 000 to do a job. When there are many of such things to do, the aggregate would be big. Other people may put their charges very high and end up not doing anything throughout the year.
From you experience, Nigerians embraced PR?
A whole lot of companies don't know the power of PR. They don't know the difference among marketing, advertising, journalism and PR. For instance, if I do something silly, that is what journalists are looking out for. But a PR person would come to balance the situation. So, we look out for a way to put things right and for people to like it.
Are there things you would like to change in this sector?
We are crisis managers, but it is not as if PR people are laden with crises. The issue is that where you have professionals, there tends to be misunderstanding. That is what happens at the National Assembly, where you see people who are equals.
Who are your role models?
My role models are people who don't have anything. When I look at people who have done bus conducting, sold one thing or the other in traffic and eventually make something out of it, I respect and appreciate them. I use such experiences for training. If I want to talk to a child who is misbehaving, I would look out and call a name, who rose from grass to grace. Therefore, people who make something out of nothing are my role models.
What is your philosophy in life?
You don't have to keep pursuing values. All you need to do is to have sound integrity and character. You earn values and people would run after you.
What is your definition of success?
Success, to me, is something you do and you are contented with it. We have a lot of scorpions at the top. Most times, unappreciated success comes to people and destroys them. I don't pray for such success. I want a situation whereby things that we are comfortable with would come upon us and we become authorities in that and talk with confidence. If you are a teacher, teach with pride and if you are a mechanic, do it with your entire heart.
How do you combine your business with the home front?
My strategy is to ask the Lord to give me the grace for me to shuttle. Women have special gifts from God. A woman would go to out with her husband and when they return, it is the woman who would still fix food for the house and do other household chores. The man would pull off his shoes and relax, waiting for the woman to do house chores. The woman would go into the kitchen and prepare food. I tell people that no matter how good or excellent you think you are, you can never clap with one hand. You need the support of the home and you must do what you have to do because no man, however rich, can take care of the home. So, I try my best to strike a balance between my business and home. I try to ensure that none suffers.
Where did you meet your husband?
I met my husband here in Lagos, when I came for a holiday. Funny enough, I met him at 18 and married him at 21.
At 21, were you ready for marriage?
Yes, I was. I knew it was something I had to do. I was in the university but I was married. In school, I was given an award as the most behaved married woman. It is an award I appreciate so much.
What attracted your husband to you?
In fact, the day he saw me, he said that I was his wife. He was going for a business and asked me to accompany him. He told me he felt that if the business was real, I would tell him and if it was not real, I was also going to tell him. I just wouldn't know what attracted me. Most times, you think that something attracted you, but when you go in, you see a whole lot of things.
How does he feel when you travel often?
That is part of the challenges. But if you know what you have got, it would make it easier for you both. I have always said that one can love without trust, but you can't trust without love. All these acid victims we see are love without trust. But trust is the bedrock. If you trust me, you would know that I belong to you. But because he knows that I still have a duty to play in the lives of people, he doesn't have problem with what I do.
What turns you off and on?
I like to be in the midst of positive people. Negative people put me off. I am a positive person. If there is an issue, there must be a way out. That is my job; so I like positive people.