Seun Olafusi: People Operations Manager, Branch International
Collaborating globally across remote teams, building a strong culture at tech companies, and reporting to two managers
The Everyday Leader podcast features inspiring individuals building and leading teams across Africa. Listen to episodes on your preferred podcast platform here.
About our Guest
This episode’s conversation is with Seun Olafusi from Lagos, Nigeria. Seun is a Human Resources Professional with over twelve years of exposure delivering value in diverse service sector verticals i.e. Technology, Aviation, and Financial Services. She has helped to achieve strategic business objectives through empowerment, development, and utilization of people, processes and technology. She is skilled in HR Strategy, Global Talent Acquisition, Performance Management, Learning & Development, Employee Engagement, and Process Improvement. A self-starter with a proven track record in starting and developing the people operations function in start-ups & pan-regional companies with distributed operations and multi-location teams such as Uber, Softcom and Branch. Her experience in the financial services sector began at Zenith Bank. She is a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) by the Society for Human Resources Management. She enjoys being an HR Generalist & Culture Builder, and also loves working in the tech space. She currently leads People Operations at Branch Nigeria where she oversees all people-related functions and helps build amazing culture in the company.
Everyday Leadership in Action
Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Seun:
What you study in school shapes your mindset towards the professional world: Seun studied Economics, which gave her a strong theoretical foundation and framework for how businesses, labour and the wider economy work. Studying social sciences provided a range of exposure to a lot of different aspects of business and influences how she approaches her HR roles.
Working on a global team changes the way you think about the workplace: Seun’s experience with recruiting and supporting team members spread across San Francisco, Lagos, Nairobi and Mumbai at Branch has broadened her worldview. Often policies have shifted to accommodate challenges specific to staff location. At the same time, other policies and initiatives more easily translate team-wide and can even bring an international team closer, such as how their monthly mandatory day off inspires team members to share pictures of how they are unplugging.
Good managers provide opportunities: Seun has had the opportunity to report to several strong female managers during her time at Uber and Branch. She noticed that she found that they let her be herself and presented her with the right opportunities at the right time. Now when she manages her own team members, she intentionally delegates tasks and crafts new projects catered to rising staff to empower them to grow.
Documentation and communication are crucial when working in a matrix organizational structure: At Branch, Seun reports to both the Global Chief People Officer and the Nigeria Managing Director. She has separate 1:1 check-ins, but makes sure to maintain clear notes that she shares with both of her managers to ensure visibility.
The Everyday Leader is a podcast featuring conversations with leaders from across Africa’s companies, organizations, and governments about their experience managing teams and projects throughout their careers.
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