She banks hard; she hosts harder! Meet the driven young banker and talk-show host straight outta Lagos, Nigeria. Her positive outlook on life proves a strong example of several female go-getters, as she turns her passion into a profession.
Hannah: What was the transition like from Lagos life to London?

Agnes: I grew up in Lagos, born in Lagos and lived there all my life. I moved over to the UK 6 years ago and must say it’s been a fantastic experience.

H: What are most of your days like?

Agnes: Crazy and fun – I work in investment banking 9-5 Monday to Friday. Also on Saturdays I am on the radio – East London Radio’s all-female show called ‘The Talk’ where we discuss common trends and hot topics worldwide.

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H: When did you realise radio is your passion?

Agnes: The more I did radio presenting, the more I gained a deep passion for it. We get to talk about any and everything and that’s one of the things I love the most about it! I see it as an outlet to share my views with the world and to also give people a voice.  It’s so much fun interacting with all the other ladies. The moment I put those headphones on and speak to the public, I realise that this is exactly what I was born to do!

H: What do you love so much about radio, in comparison to investment banking?

Agnes: While I am thoroughly enjoying my career as a banker, I am also in love with producing and presenting. Talking on the radio is something I can do all day! Don’t get me wrong; investment banking is very fun too and teaches me so much about the financial sector.

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H: Were you stunned when you got the opportunity to work in one of the biggest investment banks in the world?

Agnes: I was ecstatic! I had to go through many stages to get there. I didn’t doubt myself or anything; it was just a shocker knowing that this happened so early in my career. I took a bold step of faith and thought ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ – when I got the role, I was pleasantly surprised!

H: What’s your role and what’s so stressful about it?

Agnes: I am a liquidity risk management professional. We oversee several other departments, create reports, ensure no-one gets in trouble with regulators, and we monitor what key money-making sectors of the bank are doing and ensure that they don’t step out of line!

H: Sounds challenging!

Agnes: Oh yes, nothing good comes easy. I believe that challenges are there to be overcome – as long as you persevere, you’ll be okay.

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H: Do you think that many other people could follow in your footsteps regarding being brought up in Nigeria, coming here and beginning such a successful career path?

Agnes: Absolutely – I believe that if I can, anyone can! I don’t believe I’ve even started yet; I have such big dreams for myself and my career and can’t wait to grow.

H: What are another one of your dreams?

Agnes: I also do motivational speaking on the side when I can – not professionally – but I think it’s important to empower people to get to where they want to be. It’s one of the many things that keeps me alive and reminds me of my purpose. I mentor a lot of people that want to pursue a career path in my field of work also. Motivating people is something that comes naturally to me.

My sister, for example, is one of the beneficiaries of this skill I have. I believe that I’ve successfully motivated her by the grace of God, and now, she works with a top multi-national oil & gas company in Nigeria.

H: Do you feel free?

Agnes: I feel free. I believe that I’m maximising my potential to the fullest at this stage of my life and  I’m excited to see what the future holds.

You can listen to Agnes every other Saturday at East London Radio show ‘The Talk’, here: www.mixcloud.com/EastLondonRadio

Subject – Agnes Opaleye
Photographer – Cris Blaize
Writer – Hannah Ajala
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