Welcome to another episode of the HIGH (How I Got Here) Series and for this episode, we have Abisola “Abby” Epoyun, our Senior Legal Officer. In this article, we learn about Abby’s transition from litigation to helping Flutterwave remain compliant with all regulations. She also tells us how she got into Tech, her favourite moment at Flutterwave, and a bit about what her career has been like since she started a few years ago.
Hi Abby, can we know you?
My name is Abisola Epoyun, you can call me Abby. I am a Senior Legal Officer at Flutterwave. I work with the regulatory, legal, and government affairs team and I support the compliance team on data privacy. I also manage the data privacy team.
That’s alright, so what’s the most exciting thing about you?
I don’t know if this would suffice but I love Disney soundtracks and I love classical music so much. I also love to sing.
Interesting. How did you get into this career path?
This should be interesting because I never started out wanting to be a lawyer. I recall that I used to be in the science class because everyone in my family is mostly into the sciences and I didn’t want to be the odd one out. However, at some point, I wasn’t getting much satisfaction from it, so I spoke to a couple of people at the time. This led me to the art class and I think I loved it so much after I got there. Then, I really didn’t see myself doing anything other than law as I was just very fascinated by the profession and I decided to become a lawyer.
What’s your Flutterwave story and how long have you been here?
Throughout my career journey before Flutterwave, I was exposed to the dispute resolution aspect of law. Everything I had worked on whether as an intern, associate or whatnot, was all in dispute resolution which means litigation and arbitration. I used to go to court almost every day. However, I find it really funny because I didn’t want to leave litigation. But as time went on, things changed, and I started to gain new perspectives. One day, I was on my way to court and I had a near-death experience which got me thinking about a lot of things, at that point, I felt like I had been too stuck in my comfort zone. Maybe I just wanted to remain in dispute resolution because that’s all I had in me, or it was fear of the unknown. However, it was at that point that I decided to take a leap and try out a totally different practice area. I thought of a number of practice areas I could delve into and coincidentally, I got a referral around that period and my Flutterwave journey started. Fintech was evolving at the time I joined in late 2019 and I’m really glad I took that step and joined the train because a lot has happened between then and now in the fintech space. I’ve been with Flutterwave for over three years, and it has been an awesome experience. I joined as a legal officer and I’ve worked on multiple projects. I’ve been exposed to different parts of the payment ecosystem and it has just been really amazing.
Nice! Can you explain your role to a five-year-old?
First, I’m a lawyer but I’m not your typical lawyer that wears a wig, a gown, and says ‘My Lord’ haha! What I do is advise the company to make the right decisions and not go against the laws and regulations as we provide our services to customers. We also try to protect the company from bad actors and ensure we don’t hurt our customers. On the other hand, protecting the customer and helping them feel secure as they use our platform, especially with the management of their data.
Tell us, what does a typical work day look like for you?
No work day is the same, there is a lot of dynamism in my routine and it can span across a lot of things. Today, it might be agreement reviews, and some other times, it could be writing a legal opinion on something or going into a new market to have conversations with the consultants in that region. It could also be pulling some stakeholders together to implement a new guideline.
Some days are for document reviews and contract negotiations, especially for merchant agreements. My day also entails tracking regulatory updates, especially on data privacy.
What’s your proudest moment as a waver?
Haha! There have been many proud moments for me as a waver but the first that stood out for me was the partnership we had with a US bank that required a risk review of our processes. At the time, I used to work as a project manager for the compliance team, so I was responsible for the project and it was very challenging. It was challenging because first, it was at the early start of my Flutterwave career and secondly because there were differences in time zones. There were so many requirements to be fulfilled and it was also the first big project that I handled. It took a while, the review was very extensive and it covered many parts of the business, eventually, the partnership was successful. It was such a proud moment for me because I was able to see it through. Another thing that stood out for me was the retreat we had in Ghana recently. I coordinated it with a number of people and it was amazing. It was so satisfying to see the success of the retreat and a lot of people happy.
Awww… That was such a beautiful moment. What tools make your work seamless?
I don’t have a specific tool that I work with. I like to say I have a string of tools because of the different tools I use for different parts of my job. I’ll say Google Docs is great because it makes my work seamless and it’s very easy to collaborate and accept feedback, especially if I need someone to edit something.
How has working at Flutterwave made you a better professional?
Honestly, Flutterwave has made such a huge impact on my career journey. When I joined Flutterwave, I had no fintech experience, I had little to no understanding of the payment space. However, since I joined, I can say that Flutterwave has helped me grow, I’ve worked on a wide range of projects, and it has exposed me to the world of payments, and the regulations in different jurisdictions. Since I’m not limited to Nigeria, I get to work on projects that make me research how things work and operate in other markets. It’s incredible how one API can bring numerous solutions and this is not even something that I had an understanding of before I joined. Even beyond being a better professional, I have also become a better individual because, since I started here, I’ve had to work with different people at different levels, from diverse backgrounds, personalities and cultures. I’ve learnt to be more collaborative and work on my communication skills.
Fantastic. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
First, I’ll say dream big and beyond dreaming, it’s imperative to take actionable steps to actualize those dreams. Another thing is don’t play too safe. I think back now and I remember those opportunities I missed out on because I was playing too safe. And playing too safe sometimes holds you back from achieving your wildest dreams. So dream big and don’t play too safe.
Good. What do you do for fun outside work?
Hmmm… I love to sing, adventure, and travel a lot. I love Zumba and because I love dancing, Zumba has become something I naturally love and enjoy.
Where can people connect with you?
This is Abby’s story and I’m sure you had a great time reading it as we did writing it. Most times, leaving your comfort zone will only lead you to a better path in life.