As a leader, Zena Obebe is passionate about entrepreneurship, business development, and client satisfaction. She’s a tireless advocate on behalf of women in business, specifically mums in entrepreneurship.
Zena is currently the CEO & Founder of Hill Redaction Services, providing an unparalleled redaction service module that specializes in the legal industry but also services financial services, healthcare facilities, and government agencies nationwide.
Her passion for client satisfaction motivated her to streamline her role within Hill Redaction Services to solely focus on client services. Zena’s goal is to continue growing and developing Hill Redaction Services with a client focus approach by creating a personalized experience for each client and their redaction needs.
She has worked for over a decade holding leadership roles within Banking & Legal industries in the NC & GA area.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Zena Obebe: I was born and raised in England, UK, but I’ve lived in the United States for several years now. I’m a wife and mum of two adorable little boys. Our oldest is five and the baby is 8months old. I have a bachelors in business management and I’ve pursued a career in leadership roles throughout banking and legal industries. My passion for entrepreneurship and business development is what motivated me to start Hill Redaction Services.
At Hill Redaction Services, we provide unparalleled document redaction services specializing in the legal industry. The HRS module was developed with a focus on client satisfaction, our service is flexible and scalable which allows us to adjust to each company’s individual and specific redaction needs. It brings me great joy to be able to fulfill my dream work of entrepreneurship while providing an essential service that really helps companies follow compliance and industry specific regulations that are essential for their business function and growth.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Zena Obebe: In our industry, we are always communicating to our team the importance of being able to adjust well to change. As leaders, we were really put to the test to see how well we adjust to change during 2020 & 2021.
The pandemic was a global curve ball that changed everything and everyone. It’s important to acknowledge not all businesses were able to survive, a lot of really amazing businesses could not make it through. We are grateful to still be in business and growing. We were fortunate enough to be in an industry that allows us to work remotely, coupled with our ability to bounce into action and make the needed adjustments -not to mention our amazing HRS team that proved just how flexible we can be as a team and a company.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned, business is a fluid concept and nothing is set in stone. You must keep an open mind and remember what you have pictured success to look like may need to change and then be open to making adjustments to that picture.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Zena Obebe: We are in times of unprecedented digital growth, so many industries have shifted to a more virtual approach and have really embraced new innovative ways of implementing AI within their business process. This is more than a new wave or a fad this is our new normal. In my opinion, if you haven’t already incorporated some sort of virtual process or AI into your business then you are going to feel it. If you don’t plan to implement it – outsource to companies that are doing it.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Zena Obebe: Remote/ virtual work has been the biggest change in my industry due to the pandemic. Remote work used to be reserved as a privilege, or for those with management roles. Most with remote access were encouraged to save working remotely for handling projects that required extra hours and even still the push was to utilize remote work on an occasional basis.
During the pandemic, we all saw a huge shift to virtual and remote work not only nationwide but internationally! At HRS, we were fortunate to have a flexible team and system that allowed us to adjust and adapt very quickly. We were able to get our team setup to work remotely without sacrificing security or compliance . All in all, we turned it into a big win!
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Zena Obebe: The best advice I wish we received is, lean into the change rather than trying to prevent it. I think many leaders can identify with the initial fear I felt at the start of the pandemic. There is so much uncertainty, but there is always a silver lining. Behind all the awful loss there was opportunity for growth and learning.
The pandemic tested leaders and teams in their ability to improvise and adjust. This year our focus is to continue enhancing and harnessing everything we learned as a business surviving the pandemic and take that knowledge and those skills to propel Hill Redaction Services to new heights.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Zena Obebe: With the recent shift to virtual meetings and remote work more industries can see the benefit in hybrid and remote work. It was our experience that we were able to see an increase in production with our team and so many reported a better work life balance. I believe in the hybrid work routine and its my expectation that so many more businesses will see the benefits in hybrid work.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Zena Obebe: Too many! Our industry is a computer facing industry, the majority if not all of our work takes place on the computer and in front of a screen.
We are currently brainstorming new ways to implement productive time away from the screen and plan to implement those ideas 2023.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Zena Obebe: I’m not sure if this qualifies as a story, but I often tell my team, that success is a journey not a destination. We provide our clients a service that requires very high accuracy. We have an amazing process in place to ensure that. Implementing this process means a lot of hard work from the HRS team, so I always say this is a journey not a final destination. We are never done, we have never arrived. We are journeying and collecting wins along the way. I think my team appreciates the analogy I think it sums up business development.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Zena Obebe: Our biggest challenge is specializing in just one area, document redaction is like a centipede with many legs. There are so many industries and areas of business that need document redaction services so it takes a lot of work to keep up with all the different areas we cater to – but it’s also a great learning experience. It’s never a boring day at the office.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Zena Obebe: I’m most interested in learning more about Cryptocurrency. I’ve dabbled in it and find it so fascinating. I’m still a novice with a lot to learn but from what I’ve learned so far, Crypto is the future!
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Zena Obebe: In my career I’ve left a job I really enjoyed because I felt unheard and undervalued by my then supervisor. This is a very real issue in the workforce and too many leaders are stretched so thin within their leadership roles they forget the employees and the team are the key to making a companies goals happen. Employee appreciation isn’t just important – its essential to a successful business.
I think some employees have a good reason to feel undervalued and I think all leaders need to keep their fingers on the pulse of employee satisfaction – that means not only assessing your personal mindset as the CEO or leader, but also those that you hire in leadership roles such as supervisors and managers. The wrong supervisor will push away really good talent. I’ve seen it happen too many times.
Leaders, forget to train those they put in supervisory roles the importance of employee appreciation and the supervisor is their main channel to know what’s going on with the team. So if the supervisor is off, everything you know about the team and their needs are off. That has to change, as leaders we need to be more involved with our team and make sure we are training our supervisors the right way.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Zena Obebe: My son Koje, the five-year-old, thinks laser vision is the best superpower ever! Laser vision definitely applies to business. When running a business there are so many things that can derail the process. There are wins and losses, highs and lows, major distractions, and so many mixed emotions in-between.
You need a laser focus on your goal and what you know your business can be. Business development isn’t a destination it’s a constant ongoing journey – laser focus or laser vision will get you through. So laser vision is an awesome business superpower!
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Zena Obebe: In 2021, I survived getting COVID twice while pregnant, so for me , success in 2022 means having my health and actually being here with and for my kids. Success means seeing the ones I love in good health, and having a business that is growing and thriving.
Nothing is guaranteed, so I am forever grateful for having a successful business and healthy family life.
Professionally, we are focused on taking everything we learned from 2020 & 2021 and using it to strengthen and continue in a forward movement.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Zena Obebe for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Zena Obebe or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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