My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series documenting people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially to tech.
Oluwatosin Ogundana, a dedicated fashion enthusiast, initially aspired to pursue a career in banking during her childhood. However, her path eventually led her to immerse herself in the fashion industry. With over five years of experience in the fashion world, fate guided Ogundana back to her childhood aspirations. She now serves as a customer support/compliance officer at Raven Bank. This journal chronicles her journey through this pivot.
How it started
I’m Oluwatosin Ogundana, from Ekiti State, Nigeria. Growing up, I wanted a career in banking. But when the time came for my tertiary education, I studied Entrepreneurial and Business Management at the National Open University from 2013 to 2018.
In 2016, I officially entered the fashion industry. I took on diverse roles, including administrative officer, customer care representative, floor supervisor, and personal assistant to the MD at Teedees Fashions, a Surulere-based fashion house. This continued for two years before transitioning into freelance work as a designer and fashion business manager for an additional four years.
As a Fashion Business Manager, I excelled in nurturing customer relations and boosting sales through personalized consultations. Collaborating with visual merchandising teams, I curated enticing displays, amplifying foot traffic and sales.
My time as a fashion business manager honed my skills in sourcing fashion merchandise. Analyzing market trends, negotiating with suppliers, and mastering assortment planning and inventory management became second nature, ensuring stock levels aligned with customer preferences.
These experiences deeply ingrained an understanding of how the fashion industry works – nurturing teamwork and a sharp eye for trends. The passion to bring this expertise to the fashion business management team to enhance customer experiences and drive growth now propels me.
I recently embarked on my tech journey, driven by the transformative potential of technology in the fashion industry. As someone who has always been captivated by fashion’s capacity for creative expression, I began to observe how technology was reshaping its landscape.
The turning point came during a fashion innovation-focused hackathon, where I experienced an ‘aha’ moment. Collaborating with tech experts, we conceived an idea: to connect fashion enthusiasts with local designers, making distinctive and personalized clothing options more accessible.
Recognizing the chance to meld my fashion passion with a growing curiosity for tech solutions, I felt a deepening desire to explore the tech world further. Yearning to uncover the myriad possibilities technology had in store, I embarked on a journey in 2022 to seek out roles within Nigeria’s tech ecosystem.
Armed solely with my extensive background as a fashion business manager and a firm grasp of customer relations, I embarked on a quest for a role in the tech industry. Ready for a fresh start, I was also willing to acquire new knowledge to enable me to seamlessly integrate into this ecosystem. Fortunately for me, in September 2022, I landed a Customer Support role at Raven Bank, a Nigerian fintech company, and later took on an additional role as a Compliance Officer within the same company.
The shift from fashion business management to fintech presented various challenges, including adapting to new regulations and technology, realigning with customer-centric approaches, and navigating culture shifts. Moreover, I also faced challenges such as demonstrating my transferable skills, maintaining a commitment to ongoing learning, and grappling with imposter syndrome. Overcoming these hurdles was pivotal for my growth, prompting me to acquire pertinent skills in the tech domain, seek mentorship, and embrace adaptability.
How it’s going
Today, I hold the position of a Customer Support and Compliance Officer at Raven Bank— a Lagos-based Fintech Startup dedicated to providing swift, secure, reliable, and user-friendly banking and financial services to enhance lives. In this new capacity, I tackle customer inquiries and concerns through multiple channels, all the while ensuring strict adherence to industry regulations.
In the realm of customer support, my role encompasses troubleshooting issues, upholding a comprehensive grasp of our products, and advocating for customers’ needs. On the compliance front, my responsibilities involve keeping abreast of regulations, crafting policies, evaluating risks, conducting audits, and addressing any violations. These dual roles demand adept communication, efficient time management, and a delicate equilibrium between engaging with customers and upholding regulatory standards.
Be ready to learn new things and be willing to take on new challenges.
Make effective communication and empathy your top priorities. If you’re aiming for success in a career in customer support and compliance, focus on these aspects. Develop skills like active listening, clear communication, and understanding customer needs for support. In compliance, practice transparent interactions and the ability to explain complex regulations clearly. These skills build positive relationships and drive overall success.