Ibukun Omololu: Balancing Life As A Seasoned Female Banker
By Rita Okoye
Ibukun Omololu is a seasoned banker with over 11 years of professional experience. She has during this time garnered expertise across critical areas such as Customer Service, Relationship Management, Strategic Sales and Marketing, Treasury Management and Compliance.
At Sterling Bank Plc., Ibukun currently heads the One Woman proposition team, providing strategic oversight on the Women Banking Desk of the bank. She functions in adequate capacity, designing solutions tailored to the needs of the women customer segment, enabling access to financial services.
A major highlight of Ibukun’s passion for socio-economic development in Nigeria was championing the launch of The Bloom Network – an initiative designed to groom and optimize leadership capabilities for women across essential business areas at Sterling Bank.
This among other achievements culminated in winning the prestigious 2017 CBN Sustainability Award for Women Banking.
She is driven by a goal to successfully transform access to financial services, investment opportunities and bundled products for women, their families and businesses. In her bid to activate this, she believes enabling women to leverage economic opportunities is key to birth her dream of building Nigeria’s foremost value adding proposition for women regarding financial services
Ibukun who holds a B.A in Linguistics from the University of Ilorin shares with Allure her experience as a well celebrated Banker, coping in the male dominated industry, balancing home and office, and other issues.
Life as a seasoned banker, how has it been?
There are different angles to it depending on the paradigm you are looking from. When I think of how I started in banking as a teller and how I have risen in the ranks, as well as how the banking industry has evolved, I am grateful for my journey but more importantly for the experience to be able to contribute and influence people via impactful banking. There have been tough seasons inundated with challenges but in all, it has been a tasking yet enjoyable and rewarding experience. I have learned, grown and love what I do which has truly been fulfilling.
At an early age, have you always wanted to become a banker?
I never wanted to be a banker. My sister was a banker and I had experienced how the demands of the job took over both weekdays and weekends so it was not something I looked forward to, somehow I found myself in banking which has evolved over the years and along with that comes the need to come up with new solutions for new challenges. My understanding of banking and the mode of banking has changed which has made it more meaningful to me.
Coping in a male-dominated industry, what has been your major challenge and how did you conquer it?
To be honest, I have never faced major challenges in this regard. I have always been very hardworking and rise up to the task even when I was pregnant. I have also been fortunate to work with good people who did not stereotype me. I must add though that a lot more can still be done to close gender gaps and promote gender parity in the workspace. I also feel we are somewhat on track with the women representation in banking and foresee a steady increase for women in leadership positions as well.
What do you think is the biggest challenge women entrepreneurs in Nigeria face?
I think Women entrepreneurs need to rise beyond timidity and stop seeing their businesses as a small venture. It is so important to properly position from the onset on how to build global brands. Sadly, our upbringing has not trained us to identify opportunities and how to expand these opportunities. Women are built for businesses and are rightly wired for it and there is a clamor from the society for more to be done especially regarding Capacity development and low-interest credit.
You are a recipient of a few awards what do you think you’re doing right?
Not working blindly or on assumptions. One of the things I have learned is to understand the target market and market segments. It is also really important to address the issues where it is needed. One woman is about impactful banking which means how to make the life of the Nigerian woman more meaningful and fulfilling beyond the provision of financial services.
What do you think female bankers should focus on, in order to gain a balance in the male-dominated industry?
I think they should focus on building their confidence, how to leverage visibility, networking, recognition and accepting credit for great work. I will also encourage them to embrace authenticity in leadership, speaking up and sharing their ideas which is an important skill for any individual. Aspire to be better in terms of knowledge and quality of work done. Lastly infuse your feminine gifting into your leadership style.
Balancing home and work as banker must be a tough one, how do you pull through?
I have phenomenal support structures starting with my husband, my nanny, my driver and just recently a virtual assistance. I need to reiterate that we did not start out like this as a young couple but time, life, experiences and the need to be there for the children has really helped us to grow. Lastly, the work policy at my organization has also contributed to my balanced outlook and approach to work life
If you were to advise your younger self, what would it be?
Dream big, travel more, invest wisely, network better, learn more about visibility and celebrating your achievements.
Where is your best Holiday destination?
Cornwall in the Uk and Cape Verde. The landscape at Cornwall is out of this world and the beach and water at CapeVerde is incredibly beautiful.
Who are your best Nigerian designers?
Aduke Designs and Aso Gidi. They are extremely creative and their stitches are really neat.
What are your plans for the rest part of the year 2020?
Asides lots of personal development and adding a few certifications to myself, it would be to reach as many women as possible with new offerings and products that will change their lives and impact the bottom line of the bank. I intend to spend more time with my family in between all these.
How are you handling family life?
I am happily married to Adedayo Omololu and we are blessed with two beautiful boys. When I am not goofing around with my boys, aka “The Squad”, you will find me in front of my laptop, reading or writing away accompanied by soothing beautiful music. I enjoy traveling and exotic food experiences. I am a lover of kids. I have pet peeve for dogs and a sweet tooth for cake.