Inspiring the next Generation of Female Leaders – Professor Grace Jokthan
Prof. Grace Jokthan is the center leader of the Africa Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL) and a member of the University Governing Council of the National Open University of Nigeria. She obtained her Bachelor of Agriculture degree in 1990 from the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria and her Masters and Doctorate degrees from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria in 2002 and 2006 respectively. Prof. Jokthan’s key message to younger women in all ACE Impact centers, is “all challenges are surmountable through persistence, hard work and remaining focused.” In an exclusive interview with the ACE Impact communications team, she said that the journey to the top has not been easy, because as a woman, you have to put in almost twice the effort a man does to succeed, especially in the male dominated society that we find ourselves in. “The roles of parenting, housekeeping, academic/office demands can be daunting and requires a delicate balance. I got married at level 100, so all my academic life was also when I had my three children, but with hard work, reaching your goals and being in a strategic leadership position to contribute to the transformation agenda, is within reach” she said.
A glimpse at Prof. Jokthan’s Journey to the Top Leadership Positions Held
Prof. Jokthan started her career in the Department of Animal Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1992 as an Assistant Lecturer and rose to the rank of Associate Professor in 2010. Aside teaching and supervising several students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels within this period, she also served the University in various capacities, including being the Postgraduate Departmental Coordinator, Member of the University Senate Standing Committee and Head of the Department of Animal Science. She was a Member of the Board of Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) Multi Links Ltd, as well as a Member of the Governing Board of the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI), Shika-Zaria. She also served as the Head, Department of Animal Science and Fisheries at the National Open University of Nigeria from 2016 to 2018. “I was a pioneer Council Member of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) 2007 – 2011. National Process Facilitator and, National Programme Manager for Research Into Use Nigeria (RIU) – Nigeria; a non-governmental DFID funded project that sort to improve the uptake of innovative agricultural research outputs” She added. Prof Jokthan was previously a consultant on the Innovation Platforms to the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP).
Message to Fellow Senior Colleagues on Mentorship
Having benefitted enormously from the power of mentorship, she is encouraging other senior colleagues involved in the ACE Impact project to mentor the next generation as they strive to attain their potentials. “Mentorship from my senior colleague who always told me not to give up helped me at my low moments and therefore we need to have more focus on providing such mentors in our institutions”, she said.
When asked whether being a female center leader brings any key difference to the project, she intimated that though the Project deliverables (DLI) remain the same, being a woman provides another perspective often not considered that is valuable and has helped in creating a team strong enough to face the task ahead and deliver on the target.