July 26, 2016 ethel.cofie@womenintechafrica.com

Women In Tech Twitter chat on Career Growth

On the 15th July, we had the honors of having the CEO of Digicel Haiti Selorm Adadevoh to be our resource person for our very first  twitter chat on leadership. In case you missed the live chat. Below are the questioned we asked him and his answers. Enjoy!

  1. Tell us about your career journey and how you became the CEO of Digicel Haiti


Very long story. I started my career in the UK in 1998 for a Construction co. called Taylor Woodrow.

At the time I was a Civil Engineer but had an interest to be part of the emerging economy in IT.

I joined Tigo in Ghana to pursue my dream to be CEO.

Getting to CEO was really about delivering results as a COO

I believe strong leadership and building teams was the main driver to get to CEO.

After 3 years at Tigo I got an opportunity to join Digicel.

At Wharton, My life changed and my dream was to become CEO.

After several years building solutions for TelCos mainly, I decided to go to go do an MBA.

My career as a Technology Consultant at HP was the start of something special.

So, I quit and started looking at Technology opportunities. After a few bumps, I joined HP.


  1. What can one do to ensure career growth?


Tricky question I have to say

Firstly, I believe understanding the specific skills needed to move up. Not as easy as it sounds

Secondly, having a great mentor who can give you sound and objective feedback regularly.

It’s too easy to fall when obstacles show up. They will, but the more determined one finds a way.

Lastly, it’s about the individual. You have to want it enough to be determined to put in the effort.


  1. What opportunities or resources can one take advantage of to grow a career?


I’ve relied a lot on listening to personal stories on TedX and Harvard Business Reviews…

I’ve only invested a lot of time mtg people who have overcome similar challenges to learn from them.

A lot actually. I find that today, in trying to build teams I rely a lot on my network.

Most of my last few roles have been because I got a call from someone in my network.


  1. What is your take on asking for new roles in your organisation?


Personally, I don’t ask for new roles but I ask for new challenges.

To go up, you need to demonstrate capability – asking for new challenges & delivering paves the way


  1. How does volunteering roles help with career growth? Does it help atall


Volunteering roles could be anything you want them to be and that’s the beauty of it.

I volunteered for 3 months at an IT shop when I was determined to move into Technology

My goal was clear to learn a new trade to drive my career. I’ve also volunteered to give back

My motivation then was to contribute to the development of others. Both have played a role

Personally, I don’t ask for new roles but I ask for new challenges.


  1. How can one quickly become a strong contributor within an organization?


It really starts with understanding what the organization needs but also what is valued.

I find that what is valued is not always what is needed. When I have been a strong contributor

I have found that what I believe and what is valued tends to be aligned.


On considering values and aligning


I will agree. The alignment though depends on whether your values will support that

I have walked away a few times because I refused to align

My values were conflicted with what the organization valued


  1. How can one effectively take diverse roles while sticking to their career paths?


I have a concept called “optionality”. Meaning developing multiple skills to always remain relevant.

Taking diverse roles where one is developing complementary skill set prepares one for career growth.


  1. What is your take on the number of years one can serve in an organisation before moving on to a new job?


I’m the wrong person I think. I’ve worked for 18 years and my longest role has been 2 years

I think it will be wrong to stipulate an ideal number of years. To me, it’s about continued growth

I’ve changed roles or moved organizations to move up, never only for financial benefits.

Once you stop learning, plus you stop contributing to the growth of others, then it’s time to move on

Finally go in with no expectation and put in a lot of effort to demonstrate relevance


  1. Tell Us about your Leadership style and how that has helped on the journey


Personally I tend to be a development focused leader which shapes my leadership interaction

However, I’ve learnt over the years that I’m more of a visionary leader based on leadership style

That involves leading by inspiring and challenging the status quo

It also means getting people to perform close to their best through development and coaching

Leadership is something I continue to develop in, I read a lot and try out new things everyday.

In my world, leadership is dynamic and my style somewhat adapts depending on what is needed.



“To end, I will say, be sure what you believe and never compromise on it” – Selorm Adadevoh



About the Author

ethel.cofie@womenintechafrica.com cvxcbxvb