Can you share a bit about your background and journey that led you to become an author, coach, and mentor? What inspired you to take on these roles?
I was born in Nigeria and have resided in the UK for a significant period. My journey commenced with a less-than-satisfactory experience in the workplace during my early days as a recent graduate. Back then, I was navigating my way through my tasks with uncertainty, hoping I was on the right track. However, it wasn’t long before I recognised the importance of adopting a more strategic approach to my work and personal development if I aimed to establish a lasting impact. This realisation prompted me to purposefully direct my efforts towards fostering deliberate career growth.
What personal or professional experiences have shaped your approach to career strategy, coaching, and mentoring? Particularly from the perspective of a woman with a high-flying career?
Several factors have significantly influenced my approach to crafting a successful career strategy, but among them, three key principles shine through: self-awareness, value, and visibility. Unfortunately, traditional education rarely imparts these concepts. Consequently, upon entering the professional world, one must learn to be self-directed, self-aware, and proactive to navigate the intricacies of career progression effectively.
For me, the concept of embodying value is as important as self-awareness. The synergy between self-awareness and consistently delivering value holds remarkable strength. Additionally, recognising the significance of self-advocacy encapsulates the essence of visibility. Without actively putting oneself forward, it’s improbable for others to become acquainted with or acknowledge one’s presence and contributions.
As a career strategist, investment professional, and mentor, how do you see your role in empowering and advocating for young professionals, especially within the context of cultural and societal challenges?
On an individual level, I collaborate closely with each person to provide guidance in comprehending the intricacies of their professional landscape and effectively navigating their challenges. At an organisational level, I engage with Companiesto foster a comprehensive grasp of their challenges and equip them with strategic insights to effectively address and overcome these obstacles. I am deeply committed to my role as an advocate, consistently organising workshops and panel events to empower individuals and inform organisations.
Being a coach and mentor often involves helping others overcome challenges. What are some common challenges you’ve observed women facing, and how do you assist them in overcoming these obstacles?
The primary challenge that eclipses others is the issue of confidence. Over time, societal norms have confined women to a specific framework, leaving an indelible mark on their self-assurance and perspective. Confidence exerts a pervasive influence, shaping everything from their self-esteem to their level of aspirational decision-making. Indeed, the bedrock of mindset and confidence significantly impacts various aspects, ranging from career choices to embracing diverse roles and seizing opportunities.
A noteworthy observation is that women often struggle to differentiate between nurturing, success-oriented relationships and casual friendships. Unfortunately, instead of forging collaborative alliances, there tends to be an inclination towards competitiveness. The waters are very muddy between women’s relationships, necessitating a clear demarcation between personal friendships and professional partnerships.
Family dynamics represent another hurdle faced by women. Notably, the career decisions made by a married woman are distinctly nuanced compared to those made by a single woman. The considerations are multifaceted and vary significantly based on personal circumstances.
In my role, I offer support through active listening, displaying genuine empathy, equipping women with tools to embrace their authentic selves, and providing guidance while allowing them the autonomy to prioritise their chosen paths. Recognising the absence of a one-size-fits-all solution, I approach each issue individually, consistently exploring alternative avenues. Although rare, solutions do exist even in the most complex scenarios.
In your book, you highlighted that confidence and leadership skills are crucial for personal and professional success. How can women overcome self-sabotaging beliefs and impostor syndrome?
No matter how high achieving you are, sometimes your confidence wanes. Your job is to constantly remind yourself that you’ve got this. Those feelings of self-doubt always come from deep-rooted fears and limiting beliefs, and I always advise women to attack this head-on, dismantling them at the root. All fears and limiting beliefs are ultimately stories we have learned to tell ourselves, and it’s important to track their source and then either reframe them with more positive stories or respond with evidence and action. Confidence comes through Practice, Positive perspective and surrounding yourself with people who can inspire and challenge you when you are feeling low.
What advice do you give to women who may be navigating careers that undervalue their leadership potential and contributions?
Begin by evaluating whether your efforts are directed toward busy work or work that truly holds value. Take a reflective dive into your daily tasks. Often, the underestimation of our own skills stems from a disconnection with the ‘why’ behind them. Ask yourself: What problems am I actively addressing? Once you pinpoint the answer, it becomes evident whether you’ve been undervalued or correctly valued at work.
From a financial perspective, if the sentiment of being undervalued persists, consider engaging in job interviews to gain insights into the remuneration offered for your current role. This process of exploration will fortify your self-assurance but also provide a yardstick for assessing your current compensation. This proactive step empowers you to gauge whether you are on par or if adjustments are warranted.
How has your background in corporate and investment banking contributed to your role as a Career Strategist and Author?
There are many people who do what I do, and that’s perfectly acceptable. What distinguishes my approach is the fusion of a scientific approach with my extensive 15-year tenure within a functional client-facing role in corporate. My background encompasses both hands-on functional experience and the role of mentor, drawing from the wealth of my lived experiences. While many gravitate towards a psychological framework for career advancement – an approach I wholeheartedly appreciate – my inherent nature leans towards analysis. I navigate career development with a scientific and pragmatic lens, aiming to uncover practical solutions through systematic exploration.
Founding Visible Strengths Co. is a significant step towards equitable career development. Could you share a success story of a professional who benefited from your offering?
Our cohorts’ program has welcomed a total of 72 women, and a substantial proportion of them have returned with compelling success stories of promotions, pay rises, career transitions and much more. Notably, one recent participant managed to quadruple her salary solely through the insights gained from our program. That is no small feat.
Could you share an example of a project where your deeply analytical work and problem-solving skills played a critical role in achieving a successful outcome?
Problem-solving is at the core of my role; I specialise in crafting innovative solutions across a number of spheres. As a finance professional, my primary objective revolves around devising feasible avenues for securing capital for my clients. This involves the blending of narratives, pinpointing suitable collaborators, and ultimately weaving a compelling narrative tailored to resonate with potential investors. As a career strategist, I specialise in curating professional development programs for individuals and organisations that address a plethora of pain points. My north-star is always to be a person of value, which definitely involves critical thinking, deep analysis of issues and problem-solving.
Looking ahead, what are your future aspirations as an Author, Career Strategist, and business professional? Are there any specific goals you’re currently working towards?
I am eagerly anticipating the prospect of dedicating myself full-time to Visible Strengths. Previously, I’ve managed this role alongside my full-time job, but the excitement of fully immersing myself in it and devoting my energy to the new cohorts is palpable. Moreover, I’m in the process of launching a fresh cohort and preparing for our maiden retreat next year. This three-day event will encompass transformative mindset shifts, effective communication strategies, actionable planning, and a spiritual dimension. Witnessing this endeavour come to fruition fills me with immense enthusiasm and anticipation.