Address this gorgeous lady as Her Excellency or celebrity female welder and you are just on point. She is captivating, sultry and stunning but in spite of these qualities, she is blessed with the three Bs of beauty, brain and brawn. Welcome to the world of Faith Omoniye Lesley, Nigeria’s first female Welder. Knowing fully well that welding is extremely a male-dominated venture, Faith decided to go into the trade after her mandatory NYSC orientation. The beautiful and charming young Faith decided to keep her certificates aside and learn the rudiments of welding at a workshop for two years. After her training however, Faith floated her own company Faomoly Global Services Concept Limited. The company; today remains one of the most patronized in the area of fabrication in Nigeria and beyond. This has encouraged Faith to win, supervise and deliver various multi-million naira fabrication jobs. In this interview with TOP SOCIETY MAGAZINE’s Publisher Agwazim Isaac Ifeanyichukwu, Faith spoke vividly about her passion for fabrication, challenges attached to it and other issues. Enjoy reading:
As a female figure, what inspired you into welding?
I decided to go into welding because while I was growing up, I’ve always wanted to do something that’s very extra, something that makes me very different and outstanding among my peers. So, during NYSC when I have the chance of working with a fabrication company, I had this passion that let me just go into this thing. Though, it’s not something you can study, it’s something you have to go and learn from a normal welding workshop so after NYSC, I decided to go and learn it. So, I had this passion of doing it. So love it when I see women in military, in fields that are dominated by men. So, because of that reason, I decided to choose welding.
How long have you been into the welding business?
I learnt it for two years and I have been working for myself for seven years. So I have been there in nine years overall.
So after the nine years, how do you feel competing with men?
Yeah…I feel very great. I use to see myself as someone that’s very different and I am proud of myself because it has been a beautiful experience and today am going places and doing a lot of big jobs. So I use to see myself as very unique, very, very unique.
What is the sad story about being a welder and a female figure?
Because when I started in 2015, opening my own company, some people doubt my ability and you know this business is highly capital intensive. It’s not just a business you wake up one morning and do. Our generators, our equipment are very expensive even the materials involved. Like in fabricating a gate now, the kind of money involved is very big and all hand-drills. So, that process, it was difficult. There was still focus but I never for one day, regretted or backed out and God has been faithful. That’s why I said it’s a sad one because it was not easy to go through the experience.
How do you feel by being in an industry that is highly competitive with male figures?
I feel good because whenever I go to site, people will say so it’s a female that is on the job. Even the men there respect the way I comport myself because I do my job with passion. It’s not just because of money. I put in my strength because I love the job. So, I feel good, that’s all I would say.
How does it feel accommodating your career, social and personal lives?
Yeah, I keep telling people that no matter the business you do, people think when you are a welder, you’ll be very dirty, you can’t travel, you can’t do anything. But me, I am changing the narratives. If you come to my company in Bayelsa State and see my workshop, you’ll be amazed. If you enter my office, you’ll be asking if I am a fashion designer because when you like something, you have to make it digital if it is on analogue and this is the 21st century where people need to put in efforts of changing the narratives. So, me I balance it all, I work, I travel, I go on vacation and am still schooling, doing my masters and I’ve been balancing the equation very well.
So, how do you feel about the whole scenario as a celebrity figure, a female welder?
Yeah… it’s a job meant for the men but a woman is doing it. So, definitely sometimes you have to go through some certain challenges because some of the men when they see you, they get angry because they thought you are bidding for what they can do but people don’t give you job based on your look. They do that when you are good, based on the services you are rendering and I can beat my full chest and say that my company is the best, we render quality services. I don’t play with my materials; I don’t manage the tools I use in fabricating my jobs. So, for that reason, I stand out and it’s always in me.
What more can you say about this business?
All I need to tell my people is that it’s good to think out of the box. As long as am alive, I will keep doing this business. I will grow and expand it, train people, open companies of fabrication, import the materials needed myself.
What makes you exceptional from other companies that are in the same business?
I am exceptional because of the services I render. It’s just like when you visit the hospital and see that it’s a guy that’s a nurse, you will discover that’s the way he treats patients will be different from when women do because nursing is largely meant for women and some of them could be mean and shouting. They can’t compose themselves, but when you meet a man that’s a nurse and he wants to attend to you, he will pet you calmly. So now, a woman in a man’s world, instead of the men to approach the client calmly when things go wrong, they will get angry but me, I will sort out the issue, re-fix the work and do the work like outstandingly because everything about me is outstanding.
What is your message to other fellow female figures out there?
My message is that you don’t need to say that it’s only education that will guarantee you the best of life. Am also a graduate today, I studied English and Literature but you need to think out of the box, look for something else to do that will give you money instead of indulging yourself in prostitution and at the end of the day, you can be infected with diseases and die in the process, or crimes, frauds and you will not be save. There are so many genuine businesses you can go into and make money out of. So, I will tell everybody out there, both male and female, always think out of the box, be focused, be determined, be patience because when you are building a brand, it takes patience and when you are focused, you will achieve it.
More of your words of advice?
I will urge our females to be up and doing in whatever they do. Apart from education, you can do many other things. Nobody wants to do a white collar job anymore. Who will do our hairs, who will do the tiles, think out of the box, do something unique and put good food on your table.
How would you mentor women?
If I want to mentor women, I will mentor them on welding, I want to teach them how to acquire skills because in our society, skill is very important, there are good skills that will put smiles on you. Even if you don’t want to go into welding, there are still many skillful businesses you can go into.