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EXPLORING TALENT OPPORTUNITIES IN AFRICA WITH WEH’YEE BARKON

I had the honor to interview Weh’Yee Barkon on David Oshin Podcast (DO Podcast), it was really an explosive session, read and enjoy!!!

David Oshin: Hi Weh’ Yee, thanks for sharing your story with us today. Can you start by telling us a little bit about your background?

Weh’ Yee Barkon: Sure. My name is Weh’ Yee Barkon, and I’m Liberian American, first generation. My parents were born and raised in Monrovia, Liberia, and my brother and I were born in New York. I grew up in different parts of the US, including New York, Michigan, and others.

David Oshin: That’s fascinating. Can you tell us about your career journey so far?

Weh’ Yee Barkon: I started my career in education through Teach for America, teaching English to high school students. Later, I transitioned to the startup world, joining early-stage businesses in New York City and eventually moving to California to run the West Coast business for one of the startups. After scaling and growing the business, I took a break to travel and discover myself. I spent 12 months visiting 11 countries, eventually settling in Dakar, Senegal, where I currently reside.

David Oshin: Wow, that’s an incredible journey. What drives you, and how does your spirituality play a role in your passion?

Weh’ Yee Barkon: My passion is my faith in Jesus Christ. I don’t separate my passion and spirituality; they are intertwined. My faith guides me and leads me out of my comfort zone to where I’m meant to be. My purpose is to inspire and make an impact on individuals and groups.

David Oshin: That’s inspiring. Can you tell us about your current role at Shortlist Professionals?

Weh’ Yee Barkon: As a principal consultant at Shortlist, I execute executive search and talent acquisition services for our impact-focused client base, primarily in West Africa. I also work on business development, building partnerships and bringing new customers to the firm. Our goal is to help leading organizations solve their human capital problems by finding the right people and placing them in the right roles.

David Oshin: What are some of the main challenges you’ve faced in your role at Shortlist?

Weh’ Yee Barkon: One challenge is distinguishing between good and great candidates. Our clients rely on us to find the absolute best talent. Another challenge is focus, as I’m curious and eager to experiment with many different things, but I need to prioritize and tune out distractions to achieve my goals.

David Oshin: What are the major challenges you face in recruiting talent in Africa?

Weh’ Yee Barkon: The main challenge is finding seasoned professionals with the right experience and expertise for senior roles. Many candidates lack the necessary years of experience, making it difficult to fill the roles we’re recruiting for. Additionally, there are limited resources and organizations to support individuals who are still growing and developing in their careers.

David Oshin: How do you advise interns to grow and become sea-level executives?

Weh’ Yee Barkon: I advise interns to be proactive, reach out to individuals, and demonstrate their value. They should leverage their internship experience to get entry-level roles and eventually move up the career ladder.

David Oshin: What is the vision for Shortlist in the next five to ten years?

Weh’ Yee Barkon: Our focus is on doubling down on what we’re already doing, building stronger networks and relationships, and expanding into new markets like francophone West Africa and North Africa.

David Oshin: Which African market has the biggest market for your business?

Weh’ Yee Barkon: The big three – South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria – have the deepest talent pools, but we also see potential in francophone markets, which are untapped and have a lot of great professionals doing awesome work.

David Oshin: Thank you for sharing your insights with us today, Weh’ Yee.

Weh’ Yee Barkon: Thank you for having me, David.

Join us for another edition of DO Podcast.

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