Good day to you all. I have decide to schedule my posts rather than stick to a writing and posting date, which means I write when inspired or scheduled to write, but you should expect a new post every Sunday at noon; basically like the Sunday Times.
August saw me leave the company I have worked the longest at and it was bittersweet; in an earlier post I had covered one aspect of the reason I had joined FATE in the first place- to learn about entrepreneurship- but now I want to reminisce on my whole experience.
You have to understand the context in which I joined FATE to really get an impression of how transformative the experience was… and how much I will miss my FATE family. I had just completed 2+ years as an investment banker and it was ultimately a role I will conclude I did not thrive. Don’t get me wrong, I learnt a lot in that role and every learning experience should be treasured, but I learnt what I value more in a career and like one of my aunties, who was a seasoned investment banker, had advised, Investment Banking was a place to build capacity and credibility when young for most people, and then move on… she advised 5 years maximum, I didn’t make it to 3.
Therefore, when I made the decision to leave IB, I was considering a lot of options, going for my MBA, finding a job in the development sector, developing my startup idea or even committing to a PhD program. I initially tried to eat my cake and have it, by working as a consultant in my family owned development consulting firm as well as explore the world of entrepreneurship. It was another failed experience. Not only could I not focus on my startup but I was not having the impact and exposure to the development sector that I craved.
Luckily, my eldest sister advised me to explore FATE Foundation, She leads Africa and NESG. After doing my research, I was most excited to join FATE because they had the experience in supporting entrepreneurship, particularly in the Nigerian context. However, my beginning at FATE was completely different from what you would expect.
September 2018, I had just turned 30 years old in July, it was exactly a year since I left investment banking salary and bonus, I had been working full time for more than 5 years but the only opening at FATE was an internship. Yes, that is right, a graduate internship. Can you imagine the change? It was a difference of 9X from what I was earning when I left IB not to talk of the consulting role. And it was not a finance role like I was looking for and comfortable with, but to revitalise their volunteer management program, a more human capital management function that I had no experience.
However, I still took it.
Additionally, I was fully committed to the role so resigned from consulting. In my mind, I expected that with FATE’s exposure, I would network with C-level managers in the top companies so it was not much of a trade off; also I wouldn’t be there for long.
But, that is not what happened.
When I resumed on the 10 September 2018, I was told that the receptionist who supervised the library and also was the previous volunteer intern had just started her NYSC so I would be working in the reception as well as managing the library. But to cut a long story short, I worked on clean the volunteer database so that when FATE reintroduced its impact report they had accurate records and we could not only recognise volunteers contribution but had data on which volunteer could facilitate which course in which location. I learnt how to wear a smile 24/7 and really engage with everyone that works into the door no matter their background. I also had a chance to browse some interesting materials on entrepreneurship as well as other topics like economics, statistics and the 1000 great innovations of the 20th century (which ultimately made me realise who is an innovator/entrepreneur?).
Fast forward to September 2021, the finance role I was looking for came at FATE and I loved the experience of designing, structuring and executing the Orange Corners Innovation Fund (OCIF) grant program in Nigeria as part of the Orange Corners (OC) incubation program, which targets social entrepreneurs. But beyond, the fulfilling work, the greatest reward were the people; I worked with the smartest, most hard working and most accepting people who created a psychologically safe environment to learn, unlearn and relearn. I know from experience that culture really eats strategy for breakfast; and culture is just how people think and do things. I have imbibed and benefitted from the FATE culture- thank you Nike and my FATEfuls.
Now, as I pursue my MBA at Rotman and transition to a new challenge in a new country, I am confident that I can be like Wile E. Coyote, because my foundation has been strength… yes I have FATE.