Ibukun Omololu is a seasoned banker with over 11-years of professional experience.She has the expertise across critical areas such as Customer Service, Relationship Management, Strategic Sales and Marketing, Treasury Management and Compliance.
This beautiful banker,is also a gender specialist,who holds a B.A in Linguistics from the University of Ilorin. She is happily married to Adedayo Omololu, and they are blessed with two beautiful boys.
At the last edition of the International Women’s Day, Ibukun launched a book that addressed some wrong beliefs about motherhood and parenting in general. A book she considered as a gift to every Mother.
Her belief as a mother is learning about strength you didn’t know you had, Motherhood is one of the most beautiful jobs in the world.
She is not just a Mother, but also one who is helping other Moms navigate through life
Currently,she heads the ‘One Woman proposition team’, at Sterling Bank Plc,where she provides strategic oversight on the women banking desk for the bank.
She functions in an adequate capacity, designing solutions tailored to the needs of the women, customer segment,as well as provides enabling access to financial services. In this interview,
Ibukun shares her Inspiring journey, challenges of being a gender specialist in a society that is yet to fully recognise the role of women and why she authored a book “Behind the little bundles of Joy” to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day.
Tell us about your growing up and childhood Influence?
I was a happy free spirited and inquisitive child and the last in a family of 7. I often struggled with being the “girl child” doing chores at home. It often baffled me when I saw my immediate elder brother relax in front of the TV while I had to go cook or wash dishes. I often wondered what made him different from me. I think this sort of made me more inquisitive as I had lots of questions and would not follow the norm. It made me more open to challenge the status quo most times.
As a gender specialist what impact does it has on your daytime Job?
Being a gender specialist has exposed me to the challenges women face in Nigeria and by extension Africa. This is because we share similar cultures on gender bias and inequalities. The impact has been negative and our aim at my organisation is to greatly change the narrative by supporting women in any way that we can. Women have been relegated to the background continually.
They are usually, told to downplay their potential because they can’t have it all, which is largely untrue. Being the Head of Sterling Bank “One woman” Initiative, I have been able to push financial education, credit and other financial services that efficiently helps them get ahead. This is a huge way to serve their families and promote economic development especially through entrepreneurship.
What inspired you to author the book ” Behind the little Bundle of Joy”
My Book; Behind the Little bundles of Joy,aimed at educating women on how to managed their potentials and still fit into their position as a mother.
I believe motherhood is such an incredible and beautiful gift, but it requires preparation. Motherhood is the most unexplainable emotions in the world.
Being a mum is such a privilege that reflect unending joy,though could be messy,except, you learn survival tactics to managed it.
I have discovered that a lot of women are truly not prepared for it, and it’s easy to take the impact of childbirth for granted as it was in my case, which caused a lot of conflict and challenges in my own marriage. The conflict was one part, I also struggled with postpartum depression, a period of infertility amongst other things. These are timely conversations with learning points that we should be having with younger women. Writing this book is my own way of sharing my mistakes and lessons from my experience. I want single ladies/men, expecting parents and new parents to be able to put some thought into how they can make pregnancy or birth plan more enjoyable through inspiring, real and positive birth narratives. It is important that what is ordinarily a beautiful memorable experience does not become a dark and traumatic one for anybody. There are insightful nuggets from my book
I had to address some cultural myths and societal expectations like having a child because society or parents place a demand on you for it.
Vaginal delivery and C-section are perfectly normal birth methods, and none is inferior to another. Support structures starts first from your spouse and it is not demeaning for a man to take care of his baby
A housemaid is different from a nanny and what to look out for when picking a nanny or creche.
Can you share some of the projects and activities of the ‘One- Woman Initiative’?
Some of the projects include the financial literacy initiative for all women owned businesses, and the fact that women need to know the importance of money and how to keep and save money for emergency, self-care and actualizing of their dreams. Not spending their resources all the time even though most times, their expenses is for the family. A significant part of the “One-woman” proposition is about financial freedom for women and how they can be relevant for themselves and the community
What are some of the challenges you have faced being a Social Entrepreneur?
One of the main challenges is the fact that women have been told too many lies all in the name of culture and tradition so it’s sometimes difficult to help them see that their dreams are worth chasing. Culture and Women are not secondary or inferior and have the capacity to achieve so much more especially when the men are our advocates and supporters. We honestly need each other as we are utterly inter-dependent and complement one another. We need to find better ways to live, grow and work together because when the strengths of both women and men are harnessed, the results are better.
Being a busy banker with a very busy portfolio, an author, gender specialist and above all a wife and mom, and managing it all
Juggling my career with a family while trying to build a brand amidst other things has stretched me but I am grateful for solid support structures from my family especially my husband who is one of my biggest cheerleaders, I have a fantastic nanny who helps me with the kids on the home front and a great driver so I am not pulling my hair outrage when Lagos Danfo infuriates you.
I also work with some of the best bosses and colleagues on the face of the earth, chief of all would be Toyin Bolajoko who is a big asset to my team and offers me reverse mentoring as well. Lastly nothing good comes easy, so I remain resilient in the midst of challenges.
Can you share some of women that inspire you during the Intl Women’s Day celebration?
My mother; she is an enigma of elegance, calmness, selflessness and love. I have watched her pour her life into us, her five children and every other child she gets a chance to love or nurture. She is the epitome of motherhood and I learnt how to love and value people from her. I can’t go anywhere and people who know my mum won’t stop asking after her.
Remi Owadokun;I don’t know how I can explain the amazon called Remi. She is selfless and genuinely wants to help people develop to be their best versions. She has inspired me, encouraged me, pushed me at some of my lowest moments and has refused to give up on me. This right here is the type of help every woman needs to do the impossible.
Temi Dalley; She is the Head of Human capital in my bank and one of the women who has given me my big break to lead the One Woman proposition. Temi is really passionate about raising more women leaders in the organisation. She encourages me to make the most of work without losing sight of what is important, getting ahead on the business, feeling good and not losing myself in the challenges on the job.
What is your advise to new mums who need support to navigate motherhood and still thrive?
Firstly, I congratulate every new mum, I believe you are at your wits ends wondering how you got yourself into this. I believe you are doing an amazing job despite the fact that you are new to this, hang in there you can do it. Please remember that your state of mind is also really important so get as much help and rest as possible. You also know that your little one is counting on your help and support to grow with your nurture, your love and your milk too, so take time to bond with your baby through it all, they grow up so fast so enjoy every moment you can and live a day at a time.
I urged every mum to, go get a copy of my book even if it’s only because I asked you to, trust me it would be worth your while and just may save your marriage too.