Empowering Financial Futures: Aituaz Kola-Oladejo’s Trailblazing Journey

Aituaz Kola-Oladejo is a distinguished figure in the realm of financial technology, spearheading innovation and fostering growth in the fintech ecosystem. With a wealth of experience spanning both traditional banking and cutting-edge fintech initiatives, Aituaz has been instrumental in shaping the landscape of financial services in Nigeria. As the pioneer Executive Director of Financial Services Innovators (FSI), she has been at the forefront of empowering startups and driving digital inclusion across the continent. We at EliteX, are proud to introduce Aituaz Kola-Oladejo as one of the Impactful Women in Finance, 2024.

Aituaz’s journey in the finance industry began over two decades ago, marked by a diverse array of roles and responsibilities. From her formative years in banking to her tenure at the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement Systems Plc (NIBSS), she has continually sought opportunities to innovate and effect positive change. Her pivotal role in establishing FSI underscores her commitment to nurturing the next generation of fintech leaders and addressing socio-economic challenges through technology-driven solutions.

Driven by a passion for problem-solving and a desire to make a tangible impact, Aituaz embarked on her finance career with determination and resolve. Despite encountering obstacles along the way, she drew inspiration from mentors within the industry and leveraged her analytical prowess to surmount challenges. Her journey serves as a testament to the power of resilience and the importance of mentorship in navigating the complexities of the finance landscape. Aituaz attributes her success to a potent blend of skills and qualities, including unwavering focus, meticulous attention to detail, and adept relationship management. Her analytical acumen, coupled with a visionary outlook and a commitment to lifelong learning, has enabled her to thrive in a dynamic and competitive industry. Diligence and resilience are hallmarks of her approach, driving her to continually push boundaries and exceed expectations.

“Innovation knows no gender. It’s about unlocking potential and driving positive change, one idea at a time.” – Aituaz Kola-Oladejo

In an ever-evolving industry, Aituaz remains at the forefront of innovation by staying abreast of industry trends and advancements. Her role in spearheading the development of Africa’s first Fintech Innovation Sandbox stands as a crowning achievement, facilitating collaboration and lowering regulatory barriers for aspiring fintech entrepreneurs. This groundbreaking initiative underscores her dedication to driving positive change and fostering innovation within the financial sector.

As a trailblazing woman in finance, Aituaz acknowledges the persistent challenges faced by women in the industry, including a lack of female mentors and limited support structures for working mothers. She advocates for policy reforms and mentorship programs aimed at promoting gender equality and fostering inclusivity in the workplace. By championing flexible work schedules and mentorship initiatives, she envisions a future where women are empowered to thrive and succeed in finance. Aituaz embraces a hybrid work culture that prioritizes employee well-being and work-life balance. By implementing flexible work arrangements and encouraging regular holidays, she ensures that her team remains refreshed and rejuvenated. Her advice for maintaining a healthy work-life balance underscores the importance of setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care, without compromising organizational goals.

Within Aituaz’s organization, diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords but fundamental principles driving organizational culture. By fostering an environment of equal opportunity and collaborative decision-making, she ensures that every team member has a voice and contributes to the collective success. Through regular brainstorming sessions and a culture of embracing innovative ideas, diversity becomes a cornerstone of the organization’s growth and success.

Evolution of Women in Finance:

Reflecting on the evolution of women in finance, Aituaz acknowledges significant progress, with more women assuming leadership roles in financial institutions globally. This shift underscores the importance of support systems and initiatives aimed at empowering women in finance. Aituaz envisions a future where women continue to ascend to executive positions, driven by determination, resilience, and a supportive ecosystem that fosters gender equality.

Aituaz draws inspiration from a select group of women whose values and leadership qualities have influenced her career trajectory. Courage, determination, diligence, and stakeholder management are among the key lessons she has gleaned from these mentors. Their guidance serves as a guiding light, shaping her approach to leadership and inspiring her to pay it forward through mentorship initiatives for aspiring women in finance.

“The evolution of women in finance isn’t just a trend; it’s a testament to our collective determination and resilience.” – Aituaz Kola-Oladejo

Advice for Aspiring Women in Finance:

For young women embarking on a career in finance, Aituaz offers invaluable advice: be determined, set audacious goals, and actively network to leverage opportunities for growth and advancement. Emphasizing the importance of collaboration and perseverance, she encourages aspiring women to embrace challenges head-on and pursue their dreams with unwavering resolve.

In addressing broader societal challenges, such as gender equality and environmental sustainability, Aituaz believes the finance industry can play a pivotal role. By advocating for gender-friendly policies, developing innovative products tailored to women’s needs, and prioritizing stakeholder engagement on environmental issues, financial institutions can drive positive change and contribute to sustainable development.

Aituaz adopts a proactive approach to risk management, collaborating closely with her team and risk advisors to identify potential threats and develop mitigation strategies. By continuously reviewing processes and adhering to risk policies, she ensures that her organization remains resilient and agile in the face of uncertainty.

Role of Women in Fintech and Digital Finance:

With the rise of technology in finance, Aituaz sees an expanded role for women in shaping the future of fintech and digital finance. The increasing presence of female founders and key roles in areas like UI/UX engineering, product management, and software development underscores this trend. Through initiatives supporting female entrepreneurs and fostering diversity in tech roles, women are poised to drive innovation and transformation in the industry.

Looking ahead, Aituaz envisions a future where women in finance occupy leadership positions and wield influence as change agents. By nurturing a pipeline of empowered and purpose-driven women, advocating for inclusive policies, and championing mentorship initiatives, she aims to break down gender barriers and pave the way for continued progress and empowerment in the field of finance.

“Diversity is not just about representation; it’s about fostering an environment where every voice is heard and valued.” – Aituaz Kola-Oladejo

Aituaz Kola-Oladejo’s leadership embodies a steadfast dedication to fostering diversity, inclusion, and empowerment within the finance industry. Through her visionary leadership and unwavering advocacy, she serves as a beacon of inspiration for women, catalyzing positive transformation and influencing the trajectory of finance not only in Africa but also on a global scale.