FAB CAREER LEADING WOMAN: ADENIYI-ADELEYE, FOLAKE
Folake holds a biological science degree from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and a Master of Science degree in International Human Resources Management from the prestigious Cranfield University, UK. Her career started in Management Consulting & HR Advisory at Phillips Consulting, Nigeria’s top 5 strategy & management consulting firm where she developed a flair for the HR profession.
She was recruited after six years by the Oando Group – the largest indigenous integrated oil and gas company with operations across 4 West African countries – as its Manpower Development Manager and was later appointed as the HR Manager in charge of the Downstream Marketing business, Oando’s largest commercial venture. She later joined Celtel (which became Zain and now Airtel) as the Senior HR Business Partner to the Sales, Marketing and Call centre divisions.
Her key responsibilities included the recruitment, development and retention of employees; she also led various Organisation Development (OD) and transformation projects following the rebranding of Celtel to Zain Nigeria and the roll out of a new Performance Management model. In 2009, she was approached by Microsoft to be its Regional HR Manager for their West and Central Africa business, with key responsibility for driving HR processes and programs to deliver business results whilst providing the necessary support and guidance to country leadership teams, frontline managers & employees managing within the cultural and
In her current role as Regional HR Director at a IT global multinational, Folake is responsible for partnering with business executives to review and implement of people strategies to meet business objectives and in line with the company’s growth and expansion in sub-Saharan Africa’s emerging markets.
She is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria – CIPMN and a certified Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the global body for the HR practice. She enjoys coaching young professionals on improved self-image and building skills for today’s workplace, which is at the heart of Employability, one of her passions. She currently sits on the Executive Council of WIMBIZ (Women in Management, Business and Public Service) and has been a WIMIZ mentor for 5 years.
Folake is a certified Executive Coach helping professionals develop more self-awareness, personal leadership and clarity in managing transitions. In addition to spending quality time with her husband Niyi and 2 daughters, Ojurereoluwabomi & Anuoluwadamisi, Folake enjoys traveling and exploring new cultures and cuisines.
Do read below the Exclusive interview with Folake, Enjoy!
1) What are you passionate about that keeps you going no matter what?
Life is too short to have more than one passion….. I have multiple passions. I am about supporting
professional women in transforming their mindset and sharing relevant information including my
experience to enable them make successful transitions in life and their careers.
Moving people from their comfort zone to their strength zone through coaching and mentoring
gives me fulfillment.
As an executive coach, I help people discover themselves, be more self-aware and develop capacities
to deliver on their goals.
I love traveling to explore new cultures and cuisines. Going on cruises with the family and being at sea
is one of my favorite ways of relaxing and seeing the world! I love style and looking good.
Desserts & dark chocolates are guilty pleasures of mine!!
2) How have you been able to successfully balance your career and family life?
Experience has taught me that there’s no such thing as a balance in career and family life.
We can certainly work hard at juggling the various parts and aspects of our lives; I like to think of it
more as ‘Work-life integration’, speaking to how we integrate our careers and the many roles we
play in life…. wife, mum, daughter, auntie, niece, friend, professional colleague, executive coach,
career mentor, volunteer worker, keynote speaker, NGO executive…. and the list goes on.
Having a supportive spouse is crucial to how successful you are in juggling work and life.
My spouse pushes me to survive and succeed in my career and I ensure I make it up to him
and the kids by prioritizing them as much as I can and speaking their specific love languages
(everybody has a love language)….. be it spending quality time, using words of affirmation,
giving of gifts, etc.
At some point something has to give and you have to make sacrifices…. or perhaps sacrificing the
family, etc and this may be sometimes inevitable. The latter is certainly the exception not the
rule but don’t allow the guilt to linger, move on and work hard at making up for it.
I also have a good support system where family members and close friends chip in and
help out when I have to be absent from home on work trips.
3) What advice would you like to pass on to every youth, single or married woman and family, to be
successful? Mention 3.
One of my greatest philosophies is that Life is a learning process where we are constantly learning
and discovering ourselves. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Your fears, flaws and failures are what make
you grow into a more authentic individual. Embrace the learnings from them and emerge stronger
from them. They are a part of your life story….
Surround yourself with a rich pool of mentors and coaches not only in your career but also for
parenting, the spiritual and all other aspects of life. Having coaches and mentors is a part of the
growth process. Make it a mutually beneficial relationship. Don’t be afraid to let go of your
mentors when that season is over.
Build your confidence and let it be visible. You’re not required to know everything but develop
yourself in that which you know and in the area of your passion. Bring that expertise to the
workplace; showcase your strengths but be aware of your blind spots and improve on those