From a maid in far away Germany, the Chief Executive Officer of Derma Contour Aesthetic and Beauty Clinic International and Derma Contour Beauty Academy, Patience Johnson, has come a long way. VICTORIA OMUYA USMAN brings you the story of a woman who has struggled up the rungs of the ladder
Patience Johnson, the chief executive officer of Derma Contour, left Nigeria as a house maid. Still in that capacity, the zeal to do more for herself and the world drove her to study in different universities for 13 years. She went on to become the first female African specialist in her field of dermatology in Germany, earning three different titles: cosmetics professional land lady, cosmetics specialist and cosmetic manageress. Johnson also bagged several awards in leadership excellence, for best author, best inspirational speaker, best motivational speaker, twice as best tutor of the year and a professional beauty award. She spent 29 years in Germany establishing and managing her company before returning home to open a branch to impact also on the people of Nigeria and Africa at large.
How do you run your business?
I don’t do what others do especially as it relates to pricing. Even my customers know that once I put a price on paper I don’t go back to reduce or increase it.’’
Goals and aspirations
‘‘I stopped writing goals a long time ago. But some of the ones I still consider include building a legacy and impacting lives. All I live for is to leave an impression on people who even after I die, can still say, ‘she impacted my life and all’; to touch 10 billion lives instead of having N10 billion in my account.
I also hold on strong to planning and time management. I grew up with the concept that everything is timed, and I’m grateful I imbibed the culture. When I was to start my business in the country, I asked questions and one of the answers I got was that in Nigeria, nobody works with time. But I insisted that people must work with my time because I’m bringing something that you need and if you really need it, you have to work with my conditions and it is working. For instance, you can’t come to see me without an appointment. So it’s all about planning.
I’ve had more challenges in this one year I have been in Nigeria than the over 20 years spent operating outside the country. One of the main challenges here is that it’s hard to find people who are passionate about what they do because it’s all about money, everybody is struggling to survive.
In Germany, the only hiccup I had which I wouldn’t call challenge was that, as a young girl in a country where English is not officially spoken, I had to learn the language, the culture and know the people as soon as possible to be able to integrate. So it took a long time before I could communicate what I wanted. That made the road a little tough. Here you find out that most people are fake and unreliable. People who just abuse your kindness and mistake it for weakness.
Resolving the challenges
I always sit back and watch how things turn around in my favour and they always do. I don’t need to fight. Plus, I never see challenges, just lessons. I usually turn them to positive because for me, they are presented as classroom for learning one or two things. It was an eye opening for me too, to be careful because it’s not everybody who asks for help that needs help. So I can’t say that I do anything to turn my troubles around, no! I just let things work out themselves.
My establishment also includes an academy where we train personnel in the different fields of dermatology. I don’t have expatriates working for me here in Nigeria because the idea of having this branch is to create jobs for the people and not bring expatriates. I believe that, as Nigerians, we have the capacity and the power to do what we want to. Unfortunately, it has not been empowered and I came just for that purpose. And even though sometimes it feels like the dreams I had for this environment is really retarding and every day I find myself retrogressing, we are still pushing forth. Africa is my roots. I want to show my children where they come from. I have also not given up on Nigeria because I strongly believe that God is not finished with Nigeria. That is one assurance I have. Nigeria is coming out of whatever bondage we are in here. All these positive thoughts and feelings keep me hopeful. My dream is not to become president of the country but I believe that in this small office of mine, I can make the necessary change.
As motivational speaker
I always advise people to work to save lives before considering money. If you’re passionate about what you do, if you’re marching on in truth, money will come looking for you. People who have a gift or two, don’t look for money, their gifts attract money. So if you are in that field and are confident that you are supposed to be there, you will do well. One of the problems we have in Africa is that people occupy seats that they are not prepared for. When that happens, they start looking for money by all means. But if you occupy a seat that is meant for you, money will come looking for you. In my field of work, we are trained to give our lives for others just like in the military. And as Nigerians, we have wonderful people the world over. There is no place in the world that you don’t find Nigerian experts.