Lessons I learnt about Life -Binta Max-Gbinije, ex-banker, pastor, consultant – The Sun Nigeria

By Christy Anyanwu

Pastor Binta Max-Gbinije is the Chief Executive of BMG Seven Limited, a boutique consulting firm. She has chalked up over 31 years of experience in strategic, leadership wholesale and retail banking, wealth and fiduciary management, treasury marketing and asset management.

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She was the pioneer chief executive for Stanbic IBTC Trustees Limited, where she led the team for about eight years, to establish a business that remains a market leader today.

Max-Gbinije is a member of the Executive Council of Women in Business, Management & Public Service (WIMBIZ), where she currently presides over the Membership & Programmes Committee. She had also been the Chairperson of Stanbic IBTC Blue Women Network, Vice President of The Association of Corporate Trustees Nigeria and was voted in 2018 as one of Nigeria’s 100 Most Inspiring Women. She spoke recently with Sunday Sun about life generally.

Being a successful banker, what inspired you to go into Christian ministry?

Honestly, it was not inspiration! It was a natural process once I married a pastor. I didn’t initially embrace the calling fully. The fact is not all pastors wives are called to the pulpit ministry. However, we are all called to ministry in different ways, as the Bible clearly states – all must not be apostles, prophets, preachers, teachers, deacons, but we are all called to minister love most importantly and share the glorious gospel of salvation. So I was in ministry even before I formally stopped working as an anker, and will always be in ‘human’ ministry too as long as I live.

Tell us about life as Pastor Binta?

It’s an honor indeed. Life as Pastor Binta is an interesting one, full of daily activities of all kinds as I juggle ministry, motherhood, being a wife and daughter and also running a business. No day is the same and some come with their different challenges but in all, I give my 110 per cent each day and keep moving by the grace of God.

What was the experience at the beginning of ministry?

It has been interesting and I have seen both the good and bad sides. Most educative!!! You learn, make mistakes, take a cue from the past experience and adjust accordingly as you move forward. Some lessons will hurt, some will only make you better, some will stretch you and yet others will nearly break you but in all, I leaned on God and put my hand in Jesus. He graciously took me by the hand and led me through the waters at every point. I also very quickly accepted the maxim that I did not need to learn from my own experience, if I could learn from those who went ahead of me and not ‘suffer’ what they did, I would be better off so I got me the right mentors and listened, learned and grew. And have continued till today as no one has a monopoly on knowledge.

What does being 50 mean to you?

Jubilee, in every sense of the word. Leviticus 25:1-25 enumerates the many blessings of the 50th year which include in a nutshell – restoration, revival, renewal, release, and rest! I intentionally appropriate them for myself and will live more purposefully from this day on becoming the best version of myself and pleasing God.

Please recall the memorable moments in your life and career.

Too many to count! Graduating from university at 19, getting my first job after the national service year, getting married, having my two sons at right intervals, moving up the career ladder by the grace of God, and being ordained as a reverend of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission ( TREM) after ‘proving ‘ ministry as a pastor for many years. But best of all, 17th May 1992 – the day I gave my life fully to the Lord Jesus Christ – and have not taken it back again! He is the best thing to have happened to me and I am grateful He is my Lord and Savior.

What are some of the other things that occupy your time these days?

Other than ministry duties, I run a management consulting firm and have clients I look after on a daily basis. Another big part of my life these days is the privilege I have to serve with WIMBIZ and the laudable causes we are involved in that are so value-adding

Who or what do you consider as the greatest influence in your life?

Jesus first. My biological mother the captain’s wife – Mrs. CO Musa, Bishop Peace Okonkwo (my Spiritual Mother) and in my working career both Mrs. Funke Osibodu and Sola David-Borha, who I had the privilege to work for and with at the banks I worked with as they both taught and transmitted to me the values ​​of hard work, integrity, and utmost professionalism amongst others. I am grateful for these women in my life journey and will write a book someday with a chapter devoted to each!

At 50, what lessons have you learned about life?

Part of the book I will write will also have the column on 50 things I have learned at 50:

•Tomorrow will come…this too will pass ( whatever this is…).

• You are responsible for your own joy – don’t wait on another human being to make you happy, look to GOD only and yourself for that

Live life intentionally, deliberately and with earnest expectations that good will come to you and as you speak it out, it comes back to you.

What you put out always comes back. Galatians 6:7 is one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible – sow good, reap more! So evil? ….

Make sure your priorities are in the right order – God first, your spouse next, your children then Ministry or Work in that order, and by God first I mean that personal relationship and intimacy with Him before anything else and is distinct from working for Him – these are two different things and should not be twisted.

What was it like growing up and who were the people you admired as a teenager?

Mine was a relatively sheltered life growing up in Northern Nigeria in what was a dream era with benefit of hindsight. I am grateful for the grounding I got from my parents that helped shape who I am today , and all I experienced then. We had good clean fun and aimed for big things, wanting a great future. Regrettably, things are different today and role models are few and far between. Permit me to urge that there is an onus on us older ones to lead the way and hold fast to those values ​​that made us better humans and ensure we pass them on to the young generation. Yes, we encourage them to ‘Soro Soke’ but they must do so lrespectfully and meaningfully, not rabble-rousing for the sheer sake of it! But, I digress. My role models then were Onyeka Onwenu (still love her to bits!) and the lighthouse who opened the doors for women and were firsts in their chosen fields: Justice Aloma Mukthar, Prof Grace Alele-Williams (who recently passed on) and President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson who I had the privilege to meet in person.

Do you have young people that you are mentoring? Tell us about it?

Oh yes! So many in official and unofficial capacities. I have structured programs which include WIA – Deloitte and a recent appointment as mentor for the ABSA Ghana Embolden Her programme. These are such laudable initiatives and I am truly honored to be a part of them all.

I also mentor a few bright stars in different sectors and I am proud of one them who recently won the Chevening Scholarship and is in school in the UK right now

Giving back is critical. I have found out that mentoring is always mutually-beneficial, where both mentors and mentees can learn from each other in a synergistic way. Let’s all send the elevator back and lift the next woman up. That’s why I always commend the Board of Trustees of WIMBIZ, who have done this in the last 20 years and given many ladies the platform for expression and growth. I am thankful for the incredible 13 ( my pet name for them! ) and urge us all to be more like them. Let’s heed the position of Madeleine Albright who opined that “the hottest place in hell should be reserved for women who don’t help other women.” That’s the unrepentant female enthusiast in me speaking.

After a robust career in banking, what is next for you?

Whatever God wills. Most likely what I am doing now – ministry, Cmconsulting, board positions and volunteer work with WIMBIZ ( I love Wimbiz!) and other organizations.

I would also like to serve in the public sector and contribute my quota to my fatherland. I love Nigeria and remain optimistic we can build a better nation!

Ultimately, though, whatever I am doing or will do, most important for me will be to fulfill destiny, die empty and make Heaven at the end, take as many with me as possible and hear my Lord say to me, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord.”

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