Self-described maid whisperer Ore Sonola holds a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ilorin and spent 4 years as a relationship manager with United Bank for Africa before switching to her current career in 2015.
CN: What’s your job description as a maid whisperer?
I work to prevent maid tragedies from happening by creating enlightening resources that will help women all through the process of hiring a maid. My resources are also designed to improve employer-maid relationships and guaranteed to train maids till they are transformed and they thrive. I currently run MAIDforME, a hub where women can find solutions to the everyday issues they encounter with their maids.
CN: What inspired you to choose this unique career path?
Amazingly, this is a desire I have had for over 11 years, I have always dreamed of having a training school for domestic house workers to sharpen their skill and improve their productivity and performance. It became increasingly necessary when all of a sudden, the narrative changed. You almost never hear of any good maid stories. Wicked people with terrible intentions now disguise themselves as maids. So I believe it is necessary that we start taking deliberate steps to turn things around. Many women are stressed out and are too scared to hire the needed help.
CN: What kind of training qualifies you for this career?
I always say I have worked as an “unofficial” housekeeper for different families (on and off) for about six years. I know people go to their uncle’s or elder siblings’ houses to help them out, but mine was different. At some point, I was offered a salary but I rejected it because I wanted to have corporate experience. They still gave me monies from time to time to appreciate me though. In school, I wouldn’t go home on holidays because I stayed back to help a family out. Coupled with my passion for housekeeping, this has prepared me for the work I do today.
CN: What are some of the worst mistakes employers make with their maids?
Leaving things to chance. Believing that having a good maid is by luck. Doing everything except taking deliberate steps to train their maids. They complain, pray, threaten, beg, advise, but ignore training. They forget you can’t pray for someone to know how to sweep or cook or have good character. You need to TEACH them.
CN: What role does technology play in your career?
I am so grateful for technology because having a training school like I always thought it would be would be so limited, I would not be able to reach so many people at the same time, the way I do with my website and my Instagram. It would have been more expensive and less impactful.
CN: What advice do you wish someone had given you as an undergraduate?
Since you are in school, focus on that phase of your life. Studying is the most important thing. Engage in activities, but don’t get distracted by them. Come out on top of your class. Your job is not to worry about what’s happening on IG or Facebook. Those things won’t matter in the real world when you graduate. I could have easily finished with a first class, but I was too distracted by side activities.
CN: What are your long-term career plans?
I am working towards changing the face of housekeeping in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, to see the housekeeping market flooded with excellent maids such that being otherwise becomes the exception, and to make the job more attractive because of the level of excellence that will be depicted.
I also want to change the narrative people have about the role of maids. There is a lot more our maids can do if they are well trained. And that on its own will trickle down to impact our productivity as women.