Today on #CareerConversations with LLA, Certified Trust and Estate Practitioner and lawyer, Mofoluke Keshinro, sits with us to share nuggets on howwomen starting off their careers can navigate, how those combining personal life and a career can progress and how women can lean in more at work amongst other insightful tips
Can you briefly describe yourself and what you do?
My name is Mofoluke Keshinro. I am a Lawyer by training and a certified Trust and Estate Practitioner. I obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree from ObafemiAwolowo University, Ile Ife, Barrister at Law (BL) at Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja, Master of Laws degree (LLM) at University of Lagos. I am a certified Trust and Estate Practitioner, a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
I love solitude because it helps me to develop my creative ability, I love to read and travelling the world is something I will love to do though visits to Islands will be more suitable to my type of person. I advise individuals on how to create workable structures for a seamless transfer of their assets to the next generation this includes recommending generational wealth transfer options.
In the course of my career, I’ve had to speak with people from all strata of life, listening to people talk on how they grew their businesses from scratch, the values that has enabled them to achieve their success, their concerns about the future of their business, the uncertainties around their children, if they chose to hand over management of their business to them, ensuring their legacies outlive them and welfare of loved ones. This career has taught me a lot of lessons about life e.g philanthropy, a lot of Nigerians love to give back and they try to create structures for it.
Entrepreneurs with thriving businesses have concerns on how the businesses will outlive them. It’s always my pleasure to make recommendations on most suitable tools for them taking into consideration their lifestyle, short, medium and long term goals and aspirations.
Great! How did you start out in your career, and how long have you been in the ‘corporate world?’
I started out with a stint in litigation with a small firm in Ikeja. I joined Wema Trustees Limited in 2004. I was transferred to Great Nigeria Insurance Plc as Company Secretary when Wema Bank Plc acquired majority shares in the company before I joined my current employer. I will say I’ve been in the corporate world for about 16 years.
What are some of the things you love the most about being a career woman?
I love the challenges each day brings. The ability to manage career, being a wife, a mother, a daughter and a sister. All can be overwhelming but I find it really interesting and fun. The brain is stretched to do more and be more.
I think I should state here that I do not have a ‘help or nanny’ to assist with the chores at home. I undertake the responsibility myself even after a hectic day though I should say that they don’t make them like me anymore because I find doing things myself rather than giving instructions to a help that might have challenges in understanding my directives.
And the downsides – what are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome them?
Downside: Too many things to deal with and just one individual to do these things within a stipulated timeframe. Life is full of challenges. Our ability to understand the issues without emotions gives us a clear mind to a resolution of the issues. There are days I am overwhelmed and I wish I can run away. Sometimes, everything stops working and it appears the world will come crashing down. Whenever I’m overwhelmed, I stop all I’m doing I take a walk, clear my head sometimes call some random person on my phone list chat and laugh. I come back and I look at the situation again, sometimes ideas will come on how to move forward. At home, I try to sleep even in the middle of the tasks, I wake up later re-energized and ready to tackle the tasks.
Challenges can range from colleagues’failurein understanding the reason why you want to deliver your assignments timely, subordinates that fail to align with the team’s goals and/or a supervisor that’s unable to appreciate the labour you’ve invested in achieving the success in your team etc. Overall, we need to calm down, take the lessons from any situation, accept constructive criticisms which will make us better persons and well positioned for the next challenge that life throws at us. Now that I feel I’m older and learnt some lessons, I take feedback and I delegate in some areas while explaining as clearly as possible my expectation on the assignment/deliverable.
What’s your take on cliques or “you can’t sit with us groups” at work? How does one navigate such?
I do not like cliques at work because it tends to create a feeling of exclusion to other team members. It also creates tags and hostile perception of people regarding certain cliques will rub off negatively on you. Also joining cliques can affect elevation at work because members of a clique usually cannot determine a reward or the need for an increment or even your promotion. My advice is never join a clique in the workplace.
To navigate cliques at work, you need to ensure you develop a cordial relationship with everyone and not necessarily be friends with them. Act as professional as possible with everyone after all you are there to work and not to make friends. The members of the clique might make you an object of their gossip or turn against you, ensure you do not respond or give them the opportunity to make a mockery of you.
Of course, we’re going to talk about mentorship – what’s your view on it? Important or nah?
Mentorship is very key to growth. Everyone needs someone to hold their hands in the process of growth especially in a workplace. I agree that no one is too good or successful to have a mentor be it old, smart, intelligent and/or experienced. A lot of successful people we read about or know have mentors.
Mentorship is necessary for people seeking job placements, progression in career or a change in career. To deliver excellent results at work, you need guidance by a mentor. A mentor can hold your hands through the process of achieving your goals, give you the necessary assistance where required and ensure your full potentials are harnessed.
Two things – what have been your best and worst career decision – and what did you learn from each respectively?
So far, my best decision is my decision to stick with the line of business I’m currently in – Estate Planning, Trusteeship and Generational Wealth Transfer Services. I have been able to create a niche that is attracting more players into the space while educating, enlightening the public too. It feels good to be a reference point on a particular subject matter or business.
Worst career decision – None till date or better put, nothing significant till date.
How do you advice girls facing harassment in any form, from their superiors at work to handle it?
First speak with the Head of Human Resource in the company. They know how to handle the situation. Where the situation is becoming hostile and the harassment becomes unbearable my recommendation is for the girl to leave the workplace in a non-dramatic manner with their dignity intact.
Do you have a “side-hustle” and what’s your view on having other interests outside of work?
I currently do not have a side hustle but I’m planning on monetizing my knowledge of my business space. I encourage people to have side hustles because side hustles are usually born out of ideas people are passionate about and would love to see bloom to a bigger platform. These ideas are fulfilling, while it also gives you more financial freedom by having more money to invest and spend.
In what specific ways would you advise women to “lean in” more at work?
To ‘lean in’ basically is to ensure women work more andexcel at it however we should not be under pressure or the fear of not meeting the targets or excelling at what we do.
My specific advice to women on how this can be achieved is by taking opportunities available head-on with confidence both professional and personal opportunities.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I believe I will beplaying prominently in the global Wealth Succession advisory services in the next ten years. Acceptability of my business space is growing but I’m hopeful with the level of enlightenment and education we are putting out there, a full bloom or real growth is inevitable.
Do you think personal branding at work is necessary? If so, how do you build it?
Personal brand is a must have for any one in a workplace, it is what you are, what you stand for and what you hope to be because you build your personal brand over a period of time.
You have to be deliberate about building your personal branding at work. You need be respectful and cordial, dress appropriately, punctuality shows discipline, ask relevant and intelligent questions at meetings andbrainstorming sessions, make valuable contributions to team projects/tasks and assist team members even when they do not request for assistance and you are aware they are having challenges with the tasks being handled.
What in your opinion are key success principles for upcoming career women, or those just starting out their careers?
Key success principles for upcoming career women are the need to know what exactly they want. A lot of people start out at jobs they do not really want but because of financial leverage and the fact that they do not want to be jobless, they accept jobs in any area or field.
Knowing what you want early in your career will allow you have a clear and defined path to ensuring its success and working towards attaining the highest level possible without becoming disinterested and unfulfilled along the way. Also there is need to set goals, this will require taking steps to ensuring the goals are achieved.
Upcoming career women need to have the right attitude towards work. While it’s very important to ensure the home front is well managed but their job shows the kind of person they are even without seeing them. So, I advice dedication and a strong sense of commitment to their career.
What’s your advice to entry-level/interns new to organisations, what should they look out for or try to achieve?
My advice to entry level/interns new to organisations is to first understand their purpose, understand how they will make an impact in the team they’ve been assigned roles. It is very important for the entry level/intern to be ready to learn, read and improve himself or herself. Knowledge is key to staying ahead and information is necessary to hold conversations with team members and clients.
Keep records of all activities, plan your day, it helps for accountability and enables you to extract value from your engagements on a daily basis. You need to have follow up plans on action items from a previous meeting. You need to learn to manage time, a lot of people find it difficult to manage their schedules e.g meetings, deliverables etc. It is very critical to plan one’s time to ensure what you plan to do is actually what you are doing. Where the entry level/interns likes to take on responsibilities in order to learn and grow on the job, he/she should ensure they do not take responsibilities that will become burdensome and unable to complete and/or execute.
An entry level/intern, needs to be well coordinated regarding responsibilities. The technical tasks can be done at the peak of work e.g research, scheduling appointments, preparing reports etc while the responsibilities that are mechanical or ‘no-brainers’ can be done at the close of work e.g filing of correspondence, (re)arranging work space/files etc
The Leading Ladies Africa #CareerConversations Series is a weekly interview series which focuses on Leading women of African descent in the corporate world. It 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.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes women empowerment and gender inclusion for women of African descent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to email@example.com and we just might feature her.