Nigeria’s leading female bankers have identified the importance of Value-driven lifestyle as a way of growing a successful banking career. This was the summation of thoughts expressed when female bankers gathered in Lagos recently for the first Nigerian Female Bankers’ Conference to deliberate on gender diversity and important business issues germane to corporate existence and survival of women in the Nigerian Banking Sector.

 Heritage Bank Executive Director, Ivory Banking, Mrs. Mary Akpobome(middle)

Heritage Bank Executive Director, Ivory Banking, Mrs. Mary Akpobome(middle)

Speaking alongside other panelists at the First Female Bankers’ Conference organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sub-Committee on Economic Development, Sustainability & Gender, Heritage Bank Executive Director, Ivory Banking, Mrs. Mary Akpobome, advised younger generation of female bankers to learn to be intelligent, professional and future minded to grow a successful banking career.

According to her, “Beyond being a woman, the female banker is a money manager, home maker and mirror for others in the industry circle. You need to put up your best stance in the banking profession; be informed about your job description, be intelligent, vigilant, knowledge-thirsty and integrity-conscious. Your success depends largely on being always prepared for the next challenge and the experience that comes with it”.

Explaining further about key attributes that can stand a female Banker out in a male dominated industry, Mrs. Akpobome said, “My formative years in banking thought me how to sell values. It is those good values that you imbibe that can help sell you to others.”

She described the inaugural conference as value-loaded and long overdue in the Nigerian Banking Sector, while adding that the gathering has succeeded in raising issues and perspectives on gender imbalance, stereotyping of female professionals, male/female relationship issues, work pressure, marriage/work life issues and competition, amongst others.

Speaking in the same vein, an Executive Director at Ecobank, Ms Foluke Aboderin, corroborated Akpobome’s stance. “Be professional in what you do. Play the integrity card; do not play the gender game in your work place, when you do, you will be played down”, Aboderin asserted.

Also, Executive Director, Citi Bank, Mrs. Nneka Enwereji, observed that mentoring is also a key issue in career development in the banking industry. She noted that she was lucky to have been groomed by some of the best women bankers in the industry like Mrs. Funke Osibodu and Mrs. Bola Adesola, MD/CEO Standard Chartered Bank.

Participants at the conference were able to exchange insights on visionary leadership and strategic feminine issues in the Nigerian Banking industry in addition to exploring factors that would shape the future of banking and the professional skills and talent needed to help drive the industry forward.