Building Relationships through a Fellowship: Collaborating to make Impact
Get to know our team! This week: Chinenye Ejereonye, Chalkboard Fellow on our Ops & Marcom Team. This interview is the second of a series featuring the outstanding 2021 Fellow Cohort from Chalkboard Education.
Chinenye is a Business Administration major that joined the 2021/2022 Chalkboard Education cohort of Fellows. She works in the Operations Department and has been instrumental in course creation for the company. She shares her experience working at Chalkboard Education and drops valuable pieces of wisdom.
Ayeyi: Hi, Chineye! How’re you doing?
Chinenye: Hi Ayeyi! I’m doing well; I’m amazing.
Ayeyi: That’s nice to hear! It’s interesting how we’re both in the same school, but we’re worlds apart -
Chinenye: I know!!!
Ayeyi: (laughs) How are you dealing with a new culture? Tell us more.
Chinenye: When I was coming, I was told it’s a whole adjustment, but I didn’t understand its extent until I came here. When I came to Ghana for my schooling at Ashesi University, it was less of an adjustment because the cultures and behaviors are pretty similar. But I’ve moved from a collective culture to an individual culture. So it’s something you have to be intentional about every day, knowing that it’s a whole new way of living. One of the things that have helped me is my friends. I have friends from different backgrounds, even though they are all European. I think that’s nice because of the places I’ve been able to visit, the things I’ve learned, and the connections I’ve made. It’s good knowing that if I have challenges, I am not alone, and there are people I can talk to and get help. Overall, I think it’s nice, and I think it’s really good. I’ve learned so much about myself within these few months I’ve been here.
Ayeyi: That’s very interesting. I love that you’ve found a group of friends that you can say are my people and have fun and explore with them. Still, on the topic of adjustments, you started Chalkboard Education while schooling. How did you adjust to an increased workload with the already strenuous workload from school?
Chinenye: (chuckles) My friend sent me the Chalkboard application, and in it, they mentioned that we would work so-and-so hours every day. Honestly, I was like, Ashesi is already taking my whole day, so how do I add something like this? I don’t know if it’s just something with us being in Ashesi, but you know that you will get the work done one way or the other. One of the perks of being at Chalkboard Education is that the fellowship is flexible, and you have a high level of autonomy over your tasks. Students need to have an internship during their semester. During the week, school is super packed, but I also do my Chalkboard Education tasks over the weekend or whenever I have time. Also, we have OKRs, making it even easier because you see what you are supposed to do for this month. Sometimes, you even finish a task ahead of time and know that you have time to focus on school. So that flexibility is something I genuinely enjoy as a Chalkboard Education intern.
Ayeyi: You did talk about your friend sending you the Chalkboard Education application? Can you talk more about what made you decide to apply and how was the selection process was like for you?
Chinenye: I knew I wanted an internship and to gain internship experience. My friend, who knew I was interested in project management, marketing, and project management consulting, told me about this opportunity. So, I applied. When I saw the prospect, I didn’t have much of an issue with wanting to apply. The only thing I was a bit concerned about was making the introductory video as part of the application. It wasn’t quiet at home, but it wasn’t so much of a big deal at the end of the day. After the application, I had my interview. The interview highlighted my application because it was more of a conversation. The process was very straightforward.
Ayeyi: That’s interesting. You are currently in the Operations Team at Chalkboard Education, and you talked about how you wanted an internship in either marketing or project management. What has led you to an interest in those areas?
Chinenye: So far, I have done two internships. The first was diiVe Consulting. I love project management- managing resources, people, talking to people, and writing. One of the ways I realized I was interested in this was through a course at my school, Foundations of Design and Entrepreneurship (FDE). It was one of my best courses because I had to manage my team, and it was a growth stage for me. It’s not like I have a complete idea of what I want to do in the future, but I’m very open to exploring new roles because you can’t know if you don’t like something if you don’t try it.
Ayeyi: That’s very true!
Chinenye: One of the best pieces of advice someone told me is that now that you’re young, don’t be afraid to fail. Fail as much as you can because it will get to a point where failure becomes an issue. There will be significant consequences when you fail, but now you have the time to fail and explore. It’s more about my interest and passion for something that has led me down this path.
Ayeyi: Very true. So, now let’s get deeper into your work at Chalkboard Education. What is the kind of tasks given to you at Chalkboard Education?
Chinenye: Initially, I thought it would be more of marketing. Now, I’m beginning to understand the tasks better. They generally involve creating short e-learning courses and designing surveys to track the performance of courses. Additionally, it includes sending out emails, reporting to my supervisor, and searching for and creating new courses that are relevant to our audience. I also reach out for partnerships to improve the program.
Ayeyi: So far, have you found any of these tasks challenging, and if so, how do you go about it?
Chinenye: For me, it hasn’t been a challenge, but one thing I found out is you have to find ways to motivate yourself. For example, with creating courses, you will do something repeatedly. One way I’ve found to overcome that is to have a genuine interest in what I’m doing. So, I’m not just creating courses but developing content I am also interested in, making it a fun project. Another thing is that sometimes you get so much school work to do, so you have to be intentional about your tasks. There’s also a level of support and understanding from Chalkboard Education that I appreciate. Sometimes, you’re overwhelmed, and you reach out to Paa Kofi [one of my supervisors] because you need help, and he will help, and those provisions make the work easier.
Ayeyi: And have there been any highlights while working at Chalkboard Education?
Chinenye: For me, it’s the relationships and the people. Just knowing that you can reach out and say you have issues with this task or personal matters. For instance, I couldn’t show up at the last meeting because I had some personal issues. Then Genevieve [another supervisor] reached out to me, and her first response wasn’t to caution me for not showing up but rather to check in and see if I was alright. That genuinely goes a long way to help with my work.
Ayeyi: I agree with the ability to communicate at Chalkboard because I’ve also experienced that. So, if someone wants to apply as a fellow at Chalkboard Education, what advice would you give them?
Chinenye: (pauses to think) I think come with the mindset that you want to be challenged. There is the assumption that you’re working remotely, so you have more flexibility to do whatever you want to. It helps to be very intentional to know why you are taking the internship. Choose that you want to grow, which will help you be personally motivated. Also, take advantage of the relationships and be open if you have challenges. The supervisors for me, Genevieve and Paa Kofi, are very, very open and always available to help. So give it your best shot!
Ayeyi: Thank you! I appreciate your taking the time to speak to me.
Chinenye: Thank you too for your time.
About Chalkboard Education
Chalkboard Education provides a mobile-based, offline-first Learning Management System tailored for underserved communities training. Lightweight, inclusive, and complete with full analytics capabilities, Chalkboard Education helps you reach your beneficiaries everywhere in the World, seamlessly. Currently used in 12+ countries in Africa, South and North America, Chalkboard Education is available worldwide.