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Learning to Lead

From Pixels to Plants: Adetutu Laditan's Leadership Journey

Adetutu Laditan

Senior Product Marketing Manager, Google

Success in any organisation transcends mere technical prowess; it hinges on how one presents oneself.

Adetutu Laditan's tenure at Google spans over a decade, during which she dedicated herself to driving the growth of Google's consumer apps and YouTube in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. With a background in public relations and advertising from Lagos State University, her passion for marketing and communication propelled her from a sales manager to her current role as a product marketing manager. 

Today, she is part of the team leading YouTube workstream in Sub-Saharan Africa, orchestrating cross-functional collaboration across product partnerships, content partnerships, and marketing initiatives. Her strategic approach focuses on designing programs tailored to the needs of users and content creators in the region, leveraging insights to drive growth and support. 

“I call myself a creative. In this day and age, we’ve seen the evolution of TikTok, the evolution of YouTube Reels and its growth on the platform; how to maximise the value of digital as a content creator and tell stories beyond borders?” Adetutu shares, discussing a recent programme called “Made for You”, where Google provides invaluable guidance to aspiring creators on how to fully leverage digital platforms like YouTube. 

The "Made for You" program targeted creators seeking to grow their presence on YouTube. Through a rigorous training curriculum covering everything from content strategy to monetisation principles, Adetutu and her team equipped over 4000 creators with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed. The program's success is evident in the stories of its graduates, who saw significant growth in their subscriber counts, secured their first brand deals, and even went viral. In addition to the "Made for You" program, Adetutu recently spearheaded "YouTube for Filmmakers" in Nigeria, recognising the burgeoning potential of the country's film industry, Nollywood. By providing filmmakers with education and resources on leveraging YouTube for distribution, branding, audience growth, and monetisation, she is empowering them to adapt to the evolving landscape of content consumption and succeed in an increasingly digital world.

Navigating Challenges in an Emerging Market 

Adetutu's dedication to supporting creators and filmmakers not only aligns with Google's mission of organising the world's information but also reflects her passion for driving positive change and fostering innovation in Africa's creative industries. It is however not without challenges! As she navigates the nuances of an emerging market like Africa, she notes several hurdles she strives to overcome in her role. 

Through continuous education, she advocates for stakeholders within and outside the company to recognise the unique dynamics and opportunities value of these markets. Adding to stakeholder complexity, technological challenges persist in Africa, with many young Africans lacking access to devices and reliable connectivity. Addressing these challenges involves seeking collaborations with device manufacturers and telecommunication companies to make devices more affordable and data more accessible. 

On a day-to-day basis, Adetutu focuses on pushing for continued investment in Africa, emphasising its youthful population and vast potential for tech companies. In approaching partnerships, Adetutu emphasises the importance of creating win-win situations where both parties benefit in the short and long term. This involves identifying the mutual benefits for partners and aligning objectives to ensure sustainable and impactful collaborations.

Spurned by a pivotal realisation: Feedback is a gift. 

Unveiling a profound insight, Adetutu shares that success in any organisation transcends mere technical prowess; it hinges on how one presents oneself. Recounting her early career trajectory, Adetutu admitted to having had a narrow focus on her technical competencies, a trait often accompanied by goal-oriented dedication. However, she soon realised the criticality of holistic professional development. "It's not just what you know, it's how you show up," she underscores, acknowledging past communication and leadership hurdles that impeded her progress up the career ladder. 

Armed with constructive criticism about her leadership style, she put together a strategic plan for her personal development. Encouraged by a colleague, Adetutu saw the Learning to Lead programme as an opportunity to delve deeper into the nuances of effective leadership. "It's about learning to lead, not just others, but yourself," she highlighted the importance of self-awareness and personal growth in leadership. 

Adetutu soon found herself captivated by several elements of the programme. "It helped me understand where I potentially show up at my worst as a leader," she acknowledges. Recounting her experience, Adetutu speaks highly of the simulations that were run during the programme, emphasising the lessons learned about teamwork and collective achievement. "It's not necessarily about winning, but how each of you shows up for each other around the journey," she explains, highlighting the intrinsic value of camaraderie and shared goals in leadership endeavours. 

An INSEAD programme is also known for its diversity, bringing an inspiring array of experiences and diverse perspectives. Interacting with her cohort, she found solace and encouragement in the realisation that she was not alone in her leadership journey. "We're all on the path to learn," she muses. Beyond the bubble of the on-campus experience, Adetutu cherishes the ongoing connections facilitated by the programme, sharing that she would be visiting a fellow classmate in Austria this year.

The Transformative Impact of Coaching: The Made Women Initiative

 Adetutu’s experience with the coaching segment of the INSEAD programme left a lasting impression, marking a starting line of her self-reflection and growth. Recounting the session, she emphasised the value of visualisation and introspection. "It gives you the opportunity to unpack, as you spend time drawing and putting your thoughts together for reflecting," she explains, highlighting the process of uncovering hidden beliefs and behaviours that shape one's leadership style. 

Delving deeper into the realm of coaching, Adetutu sought out a coach who could provide insights, accountability, and practical strategies for success. "Doing this leadership journey alone felt like a scam," she reflects candidly, acknowledging the inherent challenges of self-directed growth. “It’s better when you have someone helping you apply principles to your real-life situations and holding you accountable,” she shared, recalling her journey to find an ideal coach. 

After careful consideration, she found a trusted partner in a coach based in the UK, embarking on a six-month journey of self-discovery and empowerment. This coaching experience even proved to be a catalyst for her brainchild, launching the MADE Women, an acronym for ‘Making A Difference Everywhere’. "I get a lot of young people coming to my DM on LinkedIn, asking for mentorship and support," Adetutu shares. "But I also see that with tech evolving, there is a gap in which a lot of younger women do not understand the value of using tech to enhance their brand and how they can grow." 

Adetutu’s brainchild is designed to help these young women, not unlike her younger self, to address the challenges faced in an ever-evolving digital landscape. From financial education to brand building, from situational leadership to empathy and effective communication, MADE Women offers a comprehensive approach to truly empower these women to rise to new heights. "MADE Women is designed to support women with the skills and resources they need to thrive leveraging technology," Adetutu explains. "It's not just mentorship, but other women with similar backgrounds can come together to transfer knowledge and help them make the best of the opportunities of the internet."

Every 90 days, set one or two goals for yourself and work with laser focus and intention to achieve them.

Adetutu advises, sharing passionately about the 90-day cycle framework that she uses on a personal level.

Personal Growth & Professional Impact 

Returning to the workplace after completing the INSEAD programme, Adetutu found herself equipped with a new perspective and a refined set of skills. Her journey back to the office was marked by noticeable changes in behaviour and mindset. No longer mired in minor details, she now approaches her work with a renewed sense of purpose, understanding the value of effective communication and empathy in leadership. 

Colleagues have taken note, praising her improved feedback and leadership style. The impact of her growth journey extends to her personal branding, noting conscious efforts to enhance her thought leadership impact through various channels. This has opened doors for her and garnered new opportunities, including roles as a juror at the prestigious film festival, Cannes Lions.

Take the leap.

For those considering embarking on a similar journey, her advice is clear. Recognise your leadership gaps, embrace self-reflection, and commit to personal growth. By investing in programs like INSEAD's Learning to Lead and seeking guidance from coaches, individuals can accelerate their leadership journey and unlock new opportunities for success. 

For Adetutu, she emphasises that coaching represents more than just a professional investment—it is a transformative journey of self-discovery, growth, and empowerment. As she navigates the complexities of leadership, she remains grateful for the support and guidance that coaching has provided, propelling her towards new heights of success and fulfilment. 

To end on a lighter note, Adetutu shares a delightful hobby that brings her immense joy: her love for green spaces and plants. During the pandemic, she developed a passion for nurturing nature, which blossomed into an obsession with collecting plants. Now boasting a collection of over 600 plants, she finds solace, peace, and serenity in cultivating greenery. 

Each new leaf is a cause for celebration, a joyful reminder of the beauty and vitality of the natural world. Her goal is to continue expanding her green oasis, finding harmony and connection with the wonders of nature.