Career Spotlight with Mrs Oluwatoyin Sanni- Group CEO at United Capital PLC
I had the awesome privilege of interviewing Mrs Sanni, She is someone I greatly admire because of her true dedication, hard work and commitment to her career and family. Her values such as the fear of God, respect for others, commitment to service are building blocks for a long and fulfilling career. I love her dedication towards her career and family and of course her amazing & impeccable taste in style and fashion.
`1. Can you tell us how you got into Finance?
I got into Finance by design. Although I studied law at the University of Ife, I knew very early that I would focus on Financial Law hence I majored in Secured Credit Transactions and International Economic Law in my Masters’ Degree at the University of Lagos. After an initial stint in the Ministry of Justice, I joined the Financial Industry in 1989 and have worked in Finance and Investment related businesses ever since then. Over the years, I have since acquired relevant professional qualifications such as from the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, UK and the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (of which I am now a Fellow) as well as Fellowship of the Association of Investment Advisers and Portfolio Managers of which I am currently the President.
2. What are your values?
My personal core values are Integrity, Respect for others, Commitment to Service and the Fear of God.
3. What inspired your book Yes You Too Can?
My book was written with a determination to give back to society by providing inspiration, knowledge and practical guidance to the next generation, especially women, through lessons learned from my life experiences.
4. What qualities must one have to run a successful business and career?
Essential qualities for career and business success include hard-work, emotional intelligence, integrity and resilience.
5. What is the most memorable day of your career?
I have had a lot of high points in my career so this is indeed a hard question to answer. However, the recent most memorable day of my career will have to be the day I was appointed Group CEO of United Capital Plc, my current position. I considered it an honour and a challenge to be asked to lead a Public company with the prospects of this one and to build on the achievements of the Founding CEO Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa who is now MD of the Bank of Industry.
6. What are the challenges you encounter and how do you overcome them?
Challenges on the job include attracting and retaining quality personnel as people are our key assets to the sustainability of a business. Other challenges include confronting and debunking prejudices and misconceptions when dealing with others. Leading a public company also involves balancing interests of various stakeholders and ensuring high standards of governance and accountability.
Personal challenges naturally include balancing career demands with family responsibilities as a wife and mother, church responsibilities as a Pastor as well as those imposed by my numerous Industry Roles over time (such as President Association of Corporate Trustees, Chairman, Capital Market Annual Retreat Committee – 2012-2014 and currently as President, Association of Investment Advisers & Portfolio Managers, IAPM).
7. Have you ever had to make a difficult decision in your career? and what was it
Yes, I have to make difficult decisions from time to time in my career and on the job. The higher you climb, the more you need to do this. One of my tough career decisions has been taking a new position that offered significantly lower remuneration but higher responsibilities, greater independence and a more challenging role. I did it, grew on the job and went on to higher things. I will do it again if I have to.
8. How do aspiring women build a successful career, business and also run a happy home like yours?
I do believe many women can achieve their career or business objectives without compromising a happy home if this objective is approached with vision, faith and careful planning. This will require focus, determination, sacrifice of non-essential things like some social activities and delegation of less important activities to capable assistants. The woman will also need to communicate proactively with her Spouse and children to secure their buy-in in advance of every career move, spelling out the implications and sacrifices involved. This will be a continuous exercise as she climbs every rung of the ladder. She must however demonstrate also that the family is a Top priority for her and that she is willing when necessary to sacrifice some personal career goals for the larger good of the family.
9. What is the role of a spouse in one achieving a great career?
The role of a Spouse is critical to career success. Their emotional support, trust, understanding, counsel, willingness to share chores (eg. school runs, baby-sitting, attendance at PTAs etc.) will go a long way to the achievement of one’s career goals. It is much more difficult to achieve career success with a critical, distrustful, resentful, bitter or selfish spouse.
10. What legacy do you want to leave behind?
I want to have inspired millions of women into believing in themselves and achieving their life purpose and reaching the pinnacle of their careers/business/ministry aspirations whilst living virtuous, balanced and fulfilled lives. I want to achieve this by personal example, by teaching and by my written works.
11. Are there certain tips and advice you can give to the female generation thinking of going into a finance/investment field?
Such women should arm themselves with requisite educational and professional qualifications by some of the bodies mentioned above and should be prepared to work very hard in a demanding and high-pressure environment. They must not succumb to inferiority complex or gender bias but be prepared to compete fairly and to be the best in all they do.
12. What is the best advice you have received?
The best advice I have received is to guard my good name and reputation jealously at all times and this advice came from my late parents.
13. Tell us something we do not know about you yet?
I obtained my first degree (LLB) from the University of Ife, Ile -Ife at the age of 18.