#CareerConversationsWithLLA: “Always show up with your best self; both physically and intellectually,” Debola Salako-Kupoluyi, Senior Manager Finance Operations, ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Limited.

 

Image credit: Debola Salako-Kupoluyi

Debola Salako -Kupoluyi, fondly called DSK is a seasoned professional with over ten (10) years of valuable experience garnered in diverse challenging roles. She possesses general management experience overseeing key functions of Finance Operations, Quality Assurance, Health & Safety, and Network Operations.   She currently works at American Tower, a company quoted on the NYSE as Senior Manager, Finance Operations, where she manages 30+ team members and ensures that there are adequate controls in place for the disbursement of the yearly operational maintenance budget. 

At the start of her career, she gained four(4) years consulting experience in KPMG with speciality in Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), internal audit planning and execution, budget forecasting monitoring and control, Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) reviews, process reengineering, revenue assurance, fraud investigations and project management from diverse sectors such as Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), oil & gas, telecommunications, banking and health sectors. 

Burdened by the number of street kids, she started Mantle of Mordecai (MOM) Foundation, a registered non-profit organization with the mission to reduce the population of out-of-school children in Nigeria and by extension Africa. She also champions the Culture Preservation Initiative with the mandate of ensuring that the culture of her home country Nigeria is preserved all over the world. She also volunteers as a mentor at The Tony Elumelu Foundation tasked with empowering young entrepreneurs in Africa.  

Adebola was recently appointed Country Ambassador, Nigeria for Rise &  Lead Netherlands –  a global knowledge sharing, education and advocacy platform that connects leaders, emerging leaders, NGOs and change-makers to promote the inclusion of women in leadership in the workplace, marketplace and society to foster peace and prosperity in society.  

In this interview with Leading Ladies Africa, Debola shares her sojourn into the corporate world, her mission to reduce the population of out-of-school children in Nigeria and by extension Africa (via her NGO), and tips for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Lean in!

 

Can you describe yourself and what you do?

 

I have said a lot about what I do in my bio so I will focus on what I love here. I love to impact every life I am privileged to encounter, and I am also a deep lover of children.  I can express this through MOM Foundation as I said earlier and some other projects of impact I embark on. The most recent one is DSK@35, which is to facilitate the empowerment of thirty-five less privileged women.

 

Image credit: Debola Salako-Kupoluyi

How did you start out your career and how long have you been in the corporate world?

 

I started working in August 2009, so I have worked actively in the corporate sector for over ten years. I started my career as at UBA Foundation as Executive Assistant to the Managing Director. I was fresh from University and I had not even done my compulsory youth service when I joined. Working with the CEO at that young age, shaped my career and actually prepared me for future jobs; because I had learnt how to navigate office politics without compromising on my values. 

 

Your go-to hack when you are creatively stuck

 

Very simple: I like to hear the voice of the people I care about. Never underestimate the power of the human touch in everything you do.

Once, I am stuck; it means I need to change focus. So, I will usually pick up my phone, take a quick walk and make that call or take some time to converse with God. After speaking for a few minutes, I am rejuvenated, and the ideas keep flooding in. 

 

Image credit: Debola Salako-Kupoluyi

Tips for diversity and inclusion in the workplace (esp. for women)?

 

To promote diversity & inclusion we need to imbibe the culture of excellence in all we do as women. Let me explain. 

Everyone likes to be associated with success; hence, our being stellar performers paves the way for other women to occupy an important position which consequently promotes diversity & inclusion.  I love the saying “If you are not called to the table; create a table for yourself”. I will take it a notch further; create the table and call other women to join you. We can only do this if we are perceived as invaluable and indispensable to the organization. 

 

Top 3 tips for the career women in our community.

 

  • Don’t underestimate the power of the God you carry. Never leave God out of your career. Tell him your plans and innermost desires and rest on the wings of his grace. He is particularly interested in our success because it gives him bragging rights as our father. 
  • Be deliberate– Always show up with your best self; both physically and intellectually. It is important to have a helicopter view of the organization you work for. You cannot be complacent and think I am okay once I do what I was employed to do. Be curious to know more and always ask questions when in doubt. Be the “go-to” person always. As you are aware the dynamics of the workplace has changed, especially with the recent pandemic; hence, it is the employees that are seen to contribute directly to the strategic vision of the company that will lead the pack. 
  • Don’t stop!!– Push further because your success is for the community and not yours alone. You are a beacon of hope for other women. The day I realised this I became more dogged in my zeal to succeed. Even on the seemingly “bad” days, I remember that the outcome I get has a ripple effect, and I dust myself up and try again. 

 

The Leading Ladies Africa weekly Career Conversation series focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.

Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to lead@leadingladiesafrica.org and we just might feature her.

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