• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Confidence & continuous learning are key for women in business

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Omolola Bolusire is an Independent Non-Executive Director at the VFD Group.

Bolusire is a senior consultant with over twenty-one years of experience in program and project management, operations Management, and business development. She has a track record of success in various industries in the UK and Nigeria.

In this interview with BusinessDay, Bolusire shares her challenges as a female director and advises younger women on how to navigate the industry and excel in their different roles in society.

Can you share some of the challenges you’ve faced as a woman in your role early on in your career and how you overcame them?

I’ve always known I deserve to be in the room, and I’ve used everything people would usually use against you to make it work for me.

So, for instance, I have worked most of my life in the UK, and I work in the technology sector, which is predominantly a man’s space. I am also a black woman, and that made me a minority.

I used these factors to my advantage because eventually everyone has to check their boxes to say, yes, we have a woman in technology now, yes, we have a black woman, and those were the things that I used to my advantage.

I never believed that I could not do it or that anyone was doing me a favour. I always believe that I’m achieving because I deserve it.

How have you seen VFD Group prioritise gender inclusion and empowering female talents within the company?

I believe that women can also play important roles in the corporate world just like their male counterparts. So, at this stage, we shouldn’t be having such conversations about gender within the border.

One of the greatest things about VFD, which I like very much, is that they recognize the fact that women should also be part of the board and they make it a priority.

From your experience, what role does mentorship and leadership training play in empowering young and upcoming female leaders?

So, I didn’t have a female mentor. Like I said, I’ve worked in technology and I’ve predominantly worked with men in that space, but I saw the need for more women.

Thankfully, today, there are so many women in technology so the space has changed and is now more dynamic.

Mentoring and ensuring that we continue the cycle of women in leadership and women in several roles is very important. I also believe that a lot of men now see the value that women bring to certain roles, so they are even bigger advocates, for more women in this role.

As a woman who has achieved success, how do you balance ambition and self-care in your professional journey? Can you share any practices or rituals you’ve adopted to maintain resilience and well-being amidst the demands of leadership?

I think the first thing I always like to say to people, regardless of all of these things that we talked about, is that men don’t have babies, and they don’t go through the process of birthing a child, caregiving, and pregnancy.

So, there is nothing called work-life balance for women, the key is ensuring that none of these two factors are suffering. You can ensure that through stakeholder management.

For instance, when my kids were younger, my stakeholders were my caregivers, because they were able to represent me as I pushed my career.

Now, as my kids grow and become more mature, and I’m also free to take on more management spaces and roles, my stakeholders are the people I surround myself with at work. I must ensure that while I’m not there, they’re still able to carry on with the work.

What advice would you give to aspiring female professionals looking to thrive in male-dominated industries?

Don’t judge yourself or look down on yourself, and be confident in yourself.

The second thing is, personally, I do a lot of research learning, so, at every point in time, I always ensure that I am doing something. I’m either researching something, reading books or just improving myself in general.

I find that a lot of young people today would rather use Instagram, or watch a movie when they have downtime. There are so many websites, that you can get free tutorials for different things, and people don’t take advantage of those websites.

The third thing that I will say is you need to recognise who your stakeholders are within work and home.