At YAWN we believe it is necessary to celebrate Young African Women Pioneers in all fields and inspire upcoming entrepreneurial African Women. We got a chance to interview Angel Jones, CEO of Homecoming Revolution, the brain gain company for Africa. “Homecoming Revolution specializes in headhunting and placing globally experienced African talent on the continent”. Join us as we celebrate our Young African Women (YAW) pioneer for June 2017.
Please tell us a bit about your educational background and professional work?
With a BA English & Economics UCT, I spent 7 years in London working for M&C Saatchi Advertising. I returned home in 2000 to found Homecoming Revolution plus co- found Morrisjones Advertising which won Financial Mail’s best small Advertising Agency of the year in 2001, 2002 and 2003. I am a founding member of Entrepreneur’s Organization and served on the Roedean Board for six years. I sold my ad business in 2013 and then stepped full-time into Homecoming Revolution.
How did you discover your purpose/ You left London to return to South Africa, what inspired this big move?
Nelson Mandela. It was 1996 and I heard him speaking at Trafalgar Square in London. It was a pivotal moment for me which made me realize that my calling was to inspire skilled Africans living abroad to return home and build our continent.
What shocked you the most about returning home?
The beautiful big blue skies, space and the fact that South Africans would look you in the eye when you passed them on the street and say hello.
Tell us about Homecoming Revolution? How does your organization help people who are interested in moving back to their home countries? Does your organization cater to all Africans or specific countries? And how does the process work in engaging with your company? Do I just need to register my resume? Do you suggest we convert our resumes to CVs?
Homecoming Revolution is the “brain gain” executive recruitment firm for globally experienced African professionals. We specialize in headhunting and placing globally experienced African talent on the continent, with a focus on middle management up to C-suite. We primarily recruit across sub-Saharan Africa with a strong focus on South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and other Anglophone countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We work across a multitude of industries including Financial Services; FMCG & Retail; Technology, Media & Telecommunications; Tourism; Business & Professional Services; Commerce & Industry; Education; Infrastructure; Healthcare; Construction and Logistics. With an unrivaled global network, we bring a unique mix of recruitment and marketing expertise and our clients range from Multinationals to pan-African businesses to local SMME’s. Our core offerings are; Executive Recruitment, Candidate Catalogues, and Bespoke Events. Candidates can upload their resumes onto our website. Should anything crop up that matches their skill sets, we will be in touch.
When is a good time to go back home? Is there a “good” time to move back home? How does someone know that “this is my time to return”
There’s never a good time to return. It is a very personal decision. It is a trade-off but the trade-off is worth it. There will always be pros and cons with coming back – follow your heart, not your head.
What are the key questions a young professional should consider when they get that initial thought of “should I move home?” Do you cater to students coming out of undergraduate? Graduate school? or more people who have work experience?
Ensure you have 3-5 years’ experience under your belt because it will make you more marketable when you return. We do not cater to students. We specialize in experienced African professionals.
What is your advice to Africans who are planning on return home? How should they prepare for the realities and/or problems at home?
Know that there will always be bad and good bits about coming back. Don’t come home thinking you are coming to rescue everyone. Stay humble.
What are some of the most important aspects and timeline considerations that you would suggest given in the moving back checklist available on your website?
Ensure you are employable – either try find a job prior to your return or come back for a quick visit for as many face-to-face interviews as possible. If you have kids you will need to book them into schools.
What are some of the benefits that those in the diaspora might not be taking into consideration?
Friends and family, sense of belonging, weather, and lifestyle, exciting careers and an opportunity to make an impact.
Is there any advice you would give to Africans looking to transition to a different African country rather than their home country? What should they factor into their decision-making process?
Employers are very focused on localizing so bear in mind it is quite hard to get a permit to work in another African country.
What are the high growth sectors in the countries you operate in? Which skill-sets do companies at home put a premium on?
Financial Services, IT especially coders, engineers and developers, construction and engineering.
The most important skillset is to show that you are resilient and have tenacity. If you have made a success of yourself internationally then you can prove you will be a success back home. Relationship building is vital ensure you maintain your networks even if you are out of the country. Lastly, as the world is moving more towards robotics and AI, ensure you are more comfortable in that world.
How does one brand themselves effectively to companies back home? Is it possible to characterize the work culture?
The work culture in Africa is far less structured than it is in the West. You must prepare to roll up your sleeves and do cross-functional duties. You need to be innovative, flexible and proactive and not lock yourself into one way of doing things.
Where can people find you and your organization and how do they get in touch with you?
Visit our website: www.homecomingrevolution.com or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org