1. How has your life experience made you the leader you are today? Upbringing, Schooling- places where you have to learn to assert yourself and have a voice.
Finding my voice and being assertive did not come naturally to me until much later in my life. It took many mistakes, under-standing my capabilities, knowing my limitations and accepting myself for who I am. Being a leader is getting the best out of people around me and helping them develop to their full potential whist trying to achieve my own objectives. It also means defining my own happiness and values and not trying to emulate others.
2. How has your previous employment experience aided your position at Diamond Bank?
My previous job involved working within many end markets with a very diverse group of people- differing cultures, age groups, religions, races etc. I learned very early on that I could not achieve my goals without working through or working with people and I could never achieve everything on my own. That helped me! Corporate Communications is no different- I have to provide a services to a number of departments as well as both internal and external customers but I can only achieve this by working closely with my team and a huge variety of providers.
3. What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Diamond Bank?
There have been many high-lights since I joined the Bank. Other than the everyday business achievements, I am most grateful for some of the things we have achieved through the Diamond Woman Proposition and our CSR programmes on Womens’ Wealth & Wellbeing. Developing the Women of Vision Programme in 2014 with Tiffany Amber where we recognised certain women for their impact in their respective areas; using our platform to address VVF (Vesicovaginal Fistula) with Stephanie Okereke Linus, Working with 200 Women Farmers in Oyo & Ondo States in teaching them agronomic skills-using proper farm equipment to process their produce, Women in Technology Programme in Oyo State- where 100 young women were taught ICT skills and entrepreneurship and finally Life in Aba where another 100 young people were taught entrepreneurship and leadership skill. These and numerous programmes make the job worth it. Challenges have been around the Financial Industry itself- the constraints, regulations and trying to provide real financial products & services for the nearly 70% unbanked population – especially women and youths in Nigeria.
4. What advice can you offer women who are seeking a career in finance?
It is really about knowing what you are doing. I have always said being attractive does not cut it anymore. You have to be knowledgeable. The competition in the industry is strife so you need to be on top of your game in order to deliver results. The expectations for women are no different than for men but we have the added responsibility of managing our homes, husbands, children and many times, our parents. It is a challenging industry but it is also dynamic, innovative and fast paced- and it can offer fantastic opportunities for women who want to learn and have a rewarding fruitful career.
5. How do you maintain a work-life balance?
My motto is fairly simple- work is work and play is play and I need both. I want to be good- actually fantastic at what I do but my family are my number one priority. So I prioritise- I do the best I can at work, but I ensure that I am accessible to my husband and my children. They also understand that I work so they are extremely supportive. I have a number of hobbies so I make sure I give to Caesars what is Caesars then take the much deserved time to hang out with friends and family.
6. What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Our biggest issue is that we underestimate ourselves. We don’t realise how much we have to of-fer and how much we achieve in our very limited time. Women learn quickly because we have so much to juggle. And often times we are more determined, more driven and more committed than men. But we short change our selves by not asking for higher pay, not asking for a promotion or not taking on more responsibilities at work because we think we don’t have the “power” so we don’t get to the next level. We also do not support each other so our fellow male colleagues prey on that.
7. How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I have never had any structured mentorship or never wanted to par-take in any but I believe mentorship comes in every shape and form and can happen anywhere- I continue to be mentored everyday-by people-family, colleagues, friends.
8. Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I admire so many women- Hillary Clinton for keeping her dignity in tact in spite of adversity and going after her lofty ambitions, Margaret Thatcher for holding on to her beliefs, Oprah Winfrey for just being damn successful and a number of friends who in spite of the difficulties facing female entrepreneur-ship in Nigeria today, they have managed to run successful businesses whether big or small whilst juggling raising fantastic children!- Nike Ogunlesi, Uche Majekodomi, Mo abudu and many many more!
9. What do you want Diamond Bank to accomplish in the next year?
Very simply I would like Diamond Bank to be the main financial solutions provider for women and youths-offering them retail products and services that can actually make a differences in their businesses and their daily lives.