Go, Girl! is a woman empowerment event created by and for women which aims to bring together women with diverse stories to sit, think, talk and learn from each other.
Created by Workstation in partnership with Guardian Woman, women gather monthly at Workstation Bar Beach, co-working space in Victoria Island, to share their experiences in a safe space dedicated to them.
Each month, we highlight a woman making strides in her career to learn the good and bad of her journey.
This month, we featured Tosin Faniro-Dada, Head of Startups for Lagos Innovates at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
Previously, Tosin worked in the Corporate Banking Division at Skye Bank and also as a Financial Analyst at ARM, after which she joined LSTEF as the Head of Strategy & Partnerships.
Tosin is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Massachusetts and has a BSc. and MSc. in Accounting.
Tosin has a great a story to share and we learned a lot from her at the meet-up as she shared the perks of working in the public sector, her love for empowering entrepreneurs and how she balances work and life.
Tell us briefly about your career journey.
I studied Accounting at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth after which I started my career as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston, Massachusetts.
I spent three years auditing mutual and private equity funds.
My biggest clients were Goldman Sachs Mutual and Private Equity Partnership Funds and Putnam Investments.
While at PwC, I obtained a Masters Degree in Accounting at Boston College and also became a Certified Public Accountant.
I moved back to Nigeria in 2010 and worked at Asset & Resource Management Holding Company (ARM) as a Financial Analyst in the Hospitality and Retail Fund for three years.
I moved to Banking in 2014 and worked at Skye Bank in the Upstream division of the Corporate Banking Group.
After Skye Bank, I moved to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund “LSETF” heading the Funds Strategy and Partnership division.
I currently head LSETF’s program for tech startups and innovation driven enterprises called, Lagos Innovates
How do you strike the perfect work-life balance?
My boss at LSETF always says that the reward for good work is more work.
Therefore, work will continually be demanding but it’s very important that you take time out for yourself. I work out at least three times a week no matter how busy I get.
If I have important meetings that I cannot reschedule, I try to attend my boxing classes.
I don’t mind finishing my work late at night, but missing my work out is a “No – No”.
I also love going to the spa so, as much I can, I get massages, hammams, facials, etc.
This helps me relax and de-stress. Similarly, you should always find time for family and friends.
I am really bad with phone calls because I am either very busy or too tired to talk, but I make an effort to find a convenient time during the week to check up on my friends.
We also love to eat at restaurants and catch up as our schedules permit.
What did you like most about the Go, Girl! event?
I like the genuineness of the Go, Girl! event.
Every woman at the event was there because they were truly interested in the discussion.
I like that the event is informal, which allowed us relax and be ourselves.
I appreciated the honest discussions and feedback from the women that attended.
Also, the men that attended contributed immensely to the discussion. I love hearing other peoples’ experiences and learning from them.
The Go, Girl! event is also a fantastic platform to network. I met amazing people at the event and I am hoping to work with some of them.
The banking and finance industry is known to be highly demanding. How did you cope with challenges?
My biggest challenges in the banking and finance industry are the inflexible hours and the lack of openness to change.
Honestly, Banking is the toughest industry I have worked in.
The culture was completely different from the two previous places I had worked. But one thing I learned very quickly in the banking industry is to focus on the outcome you want to achieve — focus on the big picture.
So, I found a way to turn my challenges to opportunities. I had never worked in a bank prior to Skye Bank, but I quickly became the go-to person on my team.
I spent personal time understanding the industry I was covering by taking online courses.
This way, I understood the industry better and I was in a better position to recommend tools to help the team achieve its objectives faster.
I also learned to work around my inflexible hours.
What do you think about Workstation and the co-working industry?
Research has shown that members who work out of co-working spaces report much higher level of thriving ventures than those who do not.
This is one of the reasons why I like Workstation.
Workstation is more than just an office space to its members. They feel a sense of belonging to the community.
Workstation is also very innovative and the only 24 hour workspace in Lagos.
They also take time out to showcase their members and their ventures on its social media platforms.
Workstation also has different programs to keep its community engaged.
What advice would you give women out there struggling with life and career choices?
I would tell them to first identify what makes you happy and stay focused and consistent.
I will advise them to be open to different opportunities that come their way because if you are like me and you can’t figure out what your passion is then its makes sense to grab every opportunity that you believe will add value to your career.
Finally, I would ask them to network as much as they can. I cannot overemphasize the power of networking.
It’s a powerful tool that can accelerate your career.