Adetola Adeleye is the Head of Legal and Company Secretary for First Ally Capital Limited, a financial and investment services group in Lagos. Ifeoluwa Ogunbufunmi spoke to her about how striving for excellence and hard work have paid off.
Adeleye started her career as a corporate commercial lawyer with Jackson, Etti & Edu where she worked for six years. But, in 2019 she kicked off her in-house career at Heirs Holdings Limited with the Legal and Compliance team.
“Having spent my formative years in a law firm, I wanted bigger challenges and more responsibilities like leading a legal organisation. This interest came from my early years as a lawyer when, on visiting a client’s offices to conduct due diligence, I often had to interact with the legal department. I realised I wanted to be involved in the day-to-day running of an organisation and, of course, the legal department is an integral function of this,” says Adeleye.
She later moved to United Capital Plc and worked as a Compliance Officer before taking on her current role. At First Ally, Adeleye oversees the legal, governance, company secretarial and compliance matters within the group. This includes First Ally Capital Limited, First Ally Asset Management Limited, FACL Properties Limited, First Ally Bureau De Change Limited, Personal Trust Microfinance Bank Limited and First Ally Investment and Securities Limited.
Keeping true to her core values, she says, has ensured her career has stayed on course. “Excellence sells, as does doing good work, maintaining strong relationships and keeping focused.”
Some of the highlights of her current role include finding creative solutions to achieve the company’s business objectives and also acting as the Chief Governance Officer responsible for compliance with corporate governance codes. “One of the biggest challenges is aligning some of the applicable laws and regulations which are now archaic and do not reflect today’s realities.” This typically will require that she explore and propose workable alternatives.
Adeleye obtained her LL.M from the University of Pennsylvania and her LL.B from Obafemi Awolowo University.
To African lawyers, she says, “Be a problem-solver and stay solution-focused. Be someone who persuades, influences and who is resilient. Being compelling and convincing is a great asset. Be a critical thinker and ensure you’re emotionally intelligent.”
In her downtime, Adeleye enjoys watching live theatre at the Terra Kulture and Muson Centre in her home city of Lagos.
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