He loves Bob Marley. I do too. He loves Fela. Everyone does. He loves Ladipoe. Interesting! Music stirs up feelings. Music brings redemption. Music connects. Music influences. Over time, Bankole has lived his life emulating some of the world views of his favorite artistes.
He believes in the redeeming philosophy of ‘Water no get enemy,’ a pidgin phrase which is also the title of Fela’s 1975 classic.
For Bankole, the world is better when everyone wins. “If you approach an issue with an open mind, you are able to establish a win-win situation,” he says on his approach to negotiations. “You need to know the fears of the other party and how to allay them,” Bankole concludes.
He hopes to employ this approach in his role at Flutterwave.
Starting Out in Life
Oluwabankole Falade, Flutterwave’s new Chief of Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations starts out in Law at the Premier University of Ibadan. He later proceeds to Nigeria Law School and is called to the bar. Not long after, he obtains his Masters in Commercial Law from University of Aberdeen and a certification from Harvard on Negotiations, among others.
He tells the story of his introduction to Government Relations, “I stumbled on regulatory affairs and government relations by chance and was encouraged by my mentors who are some of the most brilliant minds and leaders I’ve had the privilege to work with, who encouraged me to take on the new terrain with full responsibility.”
He admits that life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan. Today you’re certain you know what you want to do, tomorrow you are experiencing the highest level of career dysphoria. This is the case for a lot of young people who are starting out in life.
“Sometimes when you stumble on opportunities, pay attention. I could have walked away from the opportunity to work in Government and Regulatory Affairs because I did not have the requisite experience as at the time.”
He continues, “If I did, I would have missed out on one of the most important journeys— a journey I still enjoy and one which I am very passionate about. This is why we should have mentors. Mentors guide us and encourage us to confront our deepest fears.”
After remarkable stints at MTN, VISA and IHS Towers, where he holds various strategic positions in the regulatory affairs, government relations and business development departments, he joins Flutterwave to drive collaborative engagement with stakeholders.
“My key task here is to build bridges with critical stakeholders in the various areas we operate in,” he says. “If we start from the Central Banks; do they have all the information required about our business? Are they fully informed about the challenges we face? Can they make new policies based on what we do on a daily basis?”
Flutterwave is a regulated organisation and rightly so. When it comes to finance and data, the regulators must be sure that the business has all it takes to manage such responsibilities. Because the ultimate goal is consumer protection.
“As leaders in the African fintech landscape, we have the duty to educate the regulators and help them understand what we do and consequently formulate policies that will help us simplify payments for endless possibilities,” he adds.
Bankole Meets Flutterwave
Flutterwave first came into Bankole’s full view in 2018. “My first introduction to Flutterwave was in 2018 when I worked at Visa. That was when I first met GB (CEO and Cofounder, Flutterwave), Bode (COO, Flutterwave), and other Wavers,” he says.
“It was for me a very great experience to see a dynamic team of people doing so much and committed to doing it so well; setting the pace, creating new trends, breaking barriers. Simply put, their passion for excellence was remarkable.”
He continues on some of the values he has noticed in his one month at Flutterwave; “humility! It is great to be a unicorn, to reach such valuation without making so much noise about it. Everyone here has been extremely humble. We make it look like we are doing nothing but we are doing great things.”
Bankole’s Approach to Life and Family
Career is not everything for Bankole. Family is. As a girl dad, Bankole can’t stop talking about his two daughters and wife. He considers spending quality time with them in 2020 a significant life win. “The lockdown reinforced my love for family values. Spending that much time with my wife and kids. Seeing and appreciating the kids everyday. These are the things I am grateful for,” he says.
On other lessons from the lockdown, he adds “Do not allow any excuses or distractions to stop you from doing things that matter to you. Time is transient.”
Growing up, the last of four in a close-knit middle-class household means that Bankole, beyond understanding the importance of family, appreciates and looks out for one everywhere he goes. “Family for me extends to professional life. I have maintained a close relationship with former colleagues, bosses and mentors even after I have left the organisation,” he admits.
“I have met quite a number of people since being here and I am excited at the opportunities and what we will be doing together.”
On Finding a New Balance
Across Bankole’s life — career, family, people and philosophy — a trend emerges; a people-first approach to everything. And it begs the question, how does one put people, work, family first while maintaining a healthy amount of me-time? For Professionals, this has been a raging question— do you have work-life balance? Will you attain that in the near future?
For Bankole, he sees things a bit differently, “I always struggled with work-life balance. Now, I have found a new balance. My new pastime is exercise. When I walk or run, I try to meditate at the same time; it helps me to relax.”
For him, life is all about balance. He understands that we can’t have it all. He also understands that for the things that matter most, the things worth achieving and the fights worth winning, it is better to win together. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) the late American Supreme Court Justice puts it succinctly, “Fight for what you believe in but do that in a way that will make others join you.”
Bankole finds RBG’s quote inspirational. He adds, “my philosophy is win-win. We need more people on our side. Everyone does.”