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Ololade becomes ICAEW West of England President

Author: ICAEW

Published: 10 Jun 2022

Ololade was elected President for 2022-23 at the AGM on 8 June. We wanted to find out a little more about Ololade and her plans for the year ahead.

Tell us about your career - any particular highlights in your working life to date?

I started my career with PwC in April 2008 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2011. I currently work as a Director in professional services after a few years in the industry as Head of Internal Audit. I count myself blessed with the career journey that I have been afforded to date and the variety of experience. Coming from my type of background and the circumstances and challenges I have faced in life, I feel extremely fortunate to be a Chartered Accountant and to work in a profession that allows me to build relationships, offer solutions and make an impact. My career also enables me to live my purpose in business everyday which is to serve my team, clients and community with curiosity and contribute to building the future generation of leaders for a positive societal impact. Every hurdle and progression I have faced through my career, including the good and bad times, make up my story and my highlights and I am grateful for all of it.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Where’s home?  Are you a “local”?

I count Bristol as home as I have lived in Bristol since August 2009. I moved to Bristol on a two-year secondment and fell in love with the city. Thirteen years after, I am grateful to be married with two lovely boys. My love for the city has also spurred me to volunteer myself in civic and charitable activities including sitting on boards and working to promote diversity and inclusion in the city.

Any hobbies?

My hobbies tend to change from time to time, life is busy between juggling a full-time job, a career and various activities. One thing that remains consistent is our love for walking as a family. When the kids were younger my husband and I would put them on buggies and walk lots of kilometers, these days they join in (although sometimes grudgingly). We explore our environment by walking around.

Tell us about your typical weekend

My weekend is usually full on. I usually start my Saturdays running or walking 10k with a couple of friends. The rest of the day involves driving the kids to football, tennis lessons and various other activities. On Sundays, I go to a local church where my husband and I are workers. We typically go for a walk on Sunday afternoons or spend time in our local David Lloyd Club.

What’s your favourite book?

It will have to be the Bible for me as my favourite book of all time. It has guided me through my journey and provided directions in my life. It has also provided me with strength in times when I feel weak or when I’m struggling. I also read a lot of personal development books and I take different things for different books. For instance, I learnt a lot about relationship building from “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie.

Musical tastes?

I am into Nigerian music, but I mostly listen to gospel music.

Your involvement with ICAEW West of England

How relevant has ICAEW been to you in your career?

The ICAEW qualification has given me a sense of pride and professionalism through the opportunity to belong to a reputable and prestigious professional body. Nobody else in my immediate or extended family has the ICAEW qualification so it’s a big deal for me and I hope that many more like me will be interested in the qualification. The exams were tough for someone with a law degree like myself, but I learnt a lot about analyzing financial information and I carry with me the ethics of the profession.

Why did you join the West of England committee?

I joined the ICAEW West of England Committee due to my desire to increase diverse representation in the profession. The ICAEW qualification is prestigious and popular amongst the C-Suite in the FTSEs but unfortunately, many from ethnic minority backgrounds especially blacks and black women are still under-represented in the profession. I am keen to be visible to encourage many more young black girls to consider the ICAEW an attractive qualification.

What persuaded you to put yourself forward as an office-holder on the committee?

I initially joined the committee as a Diversity & Inclusion Lead (thanks to the encouragement and support by Karen Evans and past presidents – Neil Cutting and Jon Brown). I wasn’t really looking to become an office-holder but I was encouraged by past president Duncan Stratford who supported me through the process. Also, I was inspired by Fiona Wilkinson (ICAEW President 2019-2020) who focused on promoting diversity during her tenure. One of the things I found out about through Fiona is that I make up 3% of black females who make up the ICAEW professional body, I took office with the intention to hopefully change this in my little way.

What is your priority for the coming year as President?

I would like to focus on engagement – with members especially younger members and retired members as well as the business and professional community. I would also like to engage with schools and universities to promote the ICAEW qualification and hopefully encourage more pipeline into the profession.

What do you think ICAEW West of England does well?

The ICAEW West of England Business Dinners are always fantastic events that enable us to connect with our members locally as well as our key stakeholders and the wider business community, thanks to the hard work of Karen Evans. I think we put up great events that are successful and we really care about the interest of our members and how to support them. For instance, as a committee, we spent a lot of time deliberating on how to support our members in business during the pandemic.

What would you like ICAEW West of England to do more of (if anything)?

I would love for us to do more from a diversity standpoint. I hope I can contribute to this during my tenure, and I am grateful to have a committee that is equally passionate about the agenda with some really great allies. I am excited about what we can achieve in the coming year.

You took over from Natalie Binstead as President at the AGM. What do you think was her standout contribution this year that she will be remembered for?

I believe Natalie will be remembered for her passion for sustainability. As the youngest person to be the ICAEW West of England President, she has been a great role model for many and will continue to be. The 2022 Dinner with Tim Peake as our speaker will also be remembered for a very long time.

In 12 months’, time Gino Zabeo will take over from you as President. If we asked him the same question about you, what would you want his answer to be? (i.e. what do you want to be remembered for doing?)

I would love to be remembered for my role in promoting diversity through engaging with members - especially younger members and retired members - as well as the business community and for promoting the accountancy profession in schools and universities.