‘Women are certainly bringing better financial returns to organisations when they get involved at board levels’

Fola Laoye is the primary feminine to chair the board of FSDH Assets Management, a monetary advisory agency. She can also be the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Health Markets Africa, additionally an advisory and funding firm. Laoye was beforehand Director for West Africa Investments on the Investment Fund for Health in Africa (IFHA). A board member of Hygeia Group Nigeria, promoters of Hygeia HMO and Lagoon Hospital the place she held numerous management roles for over 18 years, she holds an MBA from Harvard Business School (class of 1999) and a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. She is a Chartered Accountant having educated with Ernst & Young, Lagos and Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC), London and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. In 2011, Laoye was nominated as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF), and in 2013, she was awarded the Harvard Business School Africa Business Club Leadership Excellence Award. She takes IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA by means of her profession journey, her foray into the healthcare sector, in addition to holding a number of management positions particularly as the present board chairman at FSDH.

Tell us about your work journey?
I began my profession in accountancy and monetary companies, which I did for various years and did a pivot into healthcare administration. After my MBA, I selected to maneuver right into a healthcare firm referred to as Hygeia, which was on the time a household firm, and which was why I made that profession change and ended up spending most of my profession within the healthcare area, which continues to be the place I primarily work. Having carried out quite a lot of issues together with organising medical health insurance, constructing clinics and hospitals, healthcare administration, financing and funding. This is as a result of the healthcare sector in Nigeria and Africa continues to be underserved, so I discovered that wherever I might roll up my sleeves alongside the way in which, I pitch for this. But then, aspect by aspect my operational expertise in healthcare, I’ve additionally continued to haven’t simply an curiosity, however positively a job to play within the monetary sector, largely by means of board positions together with well being and life insurance coverage, pensions and naturally now belongings and wealth administration. That has continued the connection that I’ve constructed through the years.

Congratulations in your new position as Chairman of the FSDH board, how does this make you are feeling?
It’s thrilling and fascinating. It is one other step in my monetary companies position. It’s like a brand new space for me, and it brings quite a lot of alternatives to study and lead, I’m fairly enthusiastic about that. I additionally see asset administration as a way to the touch the lives of people as a result of we realise that it’s one factor to have monetary inclusion and one other to use the appropriate utilization, by saving and getting the perfect out of our returns and financial savings. We need to make sure that individuals are in a position to get the perfect out of their financial savings. We are ensuring we create monetary safety for all.

As the primary girl to chair the board, how would you guarantee extra ladies are inspired to take up such positions?
I feel that’s very important. There is quite a lot of data and in addition from expertise exhibiting that girls becoming a member of boards are definitely bringing higher monetary returns to organisations after they become involved at board ranges. And they’re bringing to the desk the variety by way of data and the way we relate to our purchasers, neighborhood and what we take into consideration what’s being consumed. I feel ladies are significantly bringing sturdy experience to boards which are turning into extra conscious of. I definitely have been in numerous roles and totally different organizations the place I’ve labored; I’ve tried to search out roles for ladies to rise. At the time once I was working Hygiea – the healthcare enterprise, I received to a degree the place 70 per cent of my government managers had been ladies as a result of I noticed the end result of what they may deliver to the desk. I’ve had roles in organizations on championing variety and inclusion and that’s one thing I take very critically.

Do you suppose extra ladies are given the type of alternatives wanted to rise?
Not all the time, however after all, I feel ladies nonetheless realise they must make these alternatives occur and definitely different ladies like us who’re already there can assist others open doorways of alternatives and make them accessible. I feel it’s also necessary that we realise there may be work to do and so we’ve got to push ourselves to get there.

Being in a male-dominated subject how have you ever been in a position to come this far?
I feel it’s a mix. I used to be introduced up by a working mum; she labored outdoors the house from once I was very younger, in order that was one thing I used to be used to. While she labored out of the house, she nonetheless made the steadiness work, even when it means her coming house throughout her lunch break and verify on her children, she needed to make sure selections that she might mix her household life, her youngsters in addition to work. That was what I grew up realizing so I by no means thought it totally different. More than that additionally, I feel schooling (education). I went to Queen’s faculty Yaba, the place we had been introduced as much as be queens, which additionally means we had been introduced as much as be unbiased thinkers, search and use data, we had been ever introduced as much as suppose that we could possibly be lower than being the perfect. I feel the mixture of that has helped me as a girl to enter the office, to really feel assured sufficient to seat on the desk with different males.

How would you describe your journey to success?
I feel it’s a mixture of issues. Just as I’ve stated that my background and attending Queen’s College, along with that tough work, being resilient, as a result of typically you’re employed arduous and nonetheless don’t get the consequence you require and that doesn’t imply you quit, however mud your self and are available again to the desk. So I feel that mixture of arduous work and resilience is necessary. To some extent as nicely is buying data, studying extensively, being inquisitive, eager to know extra about what goes on on this planet and with the ability to apply what has been realized alongside the way in which. Another factor that’s key and helps is your tribe, which incorporates your father, boss, mentor, and clearly your tribe of girls. We have heard a lot about leaning in and having a tribe or neighborhood you could depend upon, who will assist you and you may assist after they need assistance, that too is important to your progress as a result of I don’t suppose you possibly can develop alone. I feel males do it nicely; they type their tribes even on the golf equipment. More so for ladies, we’re extra linked in so many different communities. We are the primary to be staff in church, first to assist in the neighbourhood, first to assist households and so forth, so if we actually simply join the dots with our skilled lives, we discover out that they get fairly a bit carried out.

How do you steadiness household and profession fronts?
Being a girl additionally brings sure roles to the desk. Apart from being a profession a girl, I’m a spouse and mom and these are all roles that although I don’t take pleasure in them, they’re in some ways extra important and eager to ensure that I might do my finest in any respect fronts has all the time been crucial. It additionally contains studying how you can multi-task, as a result of fairly often you need to suppose by means of even if you find yourself on the boardroom what the kids would eat and so forth. So, you could play in each fronts concurrently. In doing so, you need to take into consideration your precedence as a result of typically you need to make a precedence checklist whereas different instances it may be a tough curve; hopefully you make a proper choice on the proper time.

You have held a number of management positions through the years, how would you assess your progress?
I’ve subscribed to what’s referred to as life-long studying, no matter whether or not you might be on the prime or not, there are new improvements even from our historical past, there are issues you possibly can nonetheless study to make you a greater chief. Learning isn’t solely from books, but additionally from individuals round you. There is a studying alternative actually on daily basis, one should pay attention to choose up and study; that method you enhance.

What is your recommendation to ladies looking for the steadiness of their lives?
It is a balancing act and there are occasions a girl must make some selections, you ought to be lifelike as to what’s achievable, typically you need to work out what to do first and what will be mixed. So ladies have to ensure they’re making good selections, to do such they must be in an setting the place they will, therefore with quite a lot of advocacy, we hope that the setting ladies are working might be extra women-friendly and subsequently assist them to make these selections. Once we make these selections, we nonetheless have to make sure that they’re to some extent structured at the way you go ahead and so I’ve all the time believed in self-planning as a result of in the event you plan, you possibly can consider the assets you need- whether or not it’s individuals, expertise or belongings and how you can put it in collectively to get to your vacation spot. Another important factor is that we have to suppose extra about our private wealth as ladies and that’s the reason belongings administration is essential to ladies, as a result of there may be actual alternative there.

Tell us a bit about asset administration?
It is an rising space. It has all the time been round, however it’s getting extra established and delivered to the forefront. With organisations like FSDH, we’re a holdings group; we’ve got a service provider financial institution, pensions fund in addition to belongings administration and securities. It implies that we’re a full monetary service firm and asset administration seats on that platform. We are in a position to service both funding or funding wants. With asset administration, our financial savings can now produce the higher returns on funding.

What is your recommendation to ladies and women that aspire to be such as you?
I’ve a 15-year-old daughter and so I’m in that area too. We ought to guarantee them that they’re nearly as good as anybody else, and actually construct in them that stage of self-confidence. Yes, they may have some stresses alongside the way in which, however with that confidence they may pull by means of. I hope that as they see extra ladies position fashions in numerous sectors, they’re motivated to do extra. They must also search mentors, which might assist them develop. Every yr, I am going out of my option to search mentoring periods with women I don’t know and I assist them chart a plan and observe them by means of.

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