This week, WIFIN is featuring Valerie Entsiful – An investment Analyst at Injaro Investments Limited, Ghana. As she rightly says, “Be diligent and never stop learning!”, Valerie shares with WIFIN her journey as a working professional in the Finance and Investment Management Industry.
Back in the days when you were still a student, did you aspire to be an investment professional in the future? If yes, what was your motivation or what nurtured such an ambition?
I studied Business Administration in the University of Ghana Business School while taking my ACCA certification. During this time, I found that I had a keen interest in finance and economics related courses in both programmes. However, what really sparked my interest to take on a career in the investment and business funding landscape was learning about the Venture Capital space in my 3 rd year entrepreneurship class. In that same class, I learnt about the Grameen Bank’s micro credit business model which made me curious about the intersection between business financing and social impact.
How has been your journey so far as a working woman in the Investment and Accounting industry In Ghana?
So far, its been an exciting journey from my days working with the tax regulatory body in Ghana to filling an accounting role and later transitioning to a private equity investment analyst role in the same firm. There’s been a lot to contribute and a lot to learn and I’m privileged to work in a very supportive environment.
Along with being an Investment Analyst, you are doing a professional program. How important to you is a professional designation?
“Nothing is as practical as a good theory,” This was a quote I heard from one of my University lecturers that influenced my perspective on the importance of digging deep into an existing body of knowledge which is usually premised off the experiences of various businesses and persons. As a professional, having access to a body of knowledge ensures that you are constantly making informed decisions and that you are also equipped with the technical skills required for different scenarios you may face. This is why I consider it important to acquire a professional designation. It is important, however, that even after achieving your designation you go through continuous professional development and keep abreast of changes in the industry, if you are keen on making an impact wherever you find yourself.
As a young woman working in the Finance sector, would you share with us any tips on how you keep your competitive edge to stay on top of your professional game?
Be diligent and never stop learning! That’s my number one tip. Execute all your tasks to the best of your abilities and keep finding ways to develop both your technical and soft skills. You may have to take a short course, speak with a mentor, carry out some introspection and make some changes to yourself. Consider this a high yielding long term investment in yourself and be intentional about it. Also, be open minded, curious and flexible in your ways. The only constant in life is change and as the finance and investment landscape changes, you need to be aware of emerging developments, opportunities and threats and to adapt accordingly. Commercial awareness combined with self-awareness will always give you a competitive edge. Last but not least, be honest, ethical and empathetic in dealing with people. It will open doors and create opportunities for you in an industry where your network is as valuable as your knowledge and skills. Remember, “a good name is better than riches”
How important to you is the conversation around diversity and inclusion at the workplace?
It is important for workplaces to reflect/ be representative of society. We need people of different backgrounds, ages, gender etc with different personal and professional experiences to each bring in their unique perspective or viewpoint to ensure a more holistic/balanced approaches for dealing with issues and for making decisions. As a young, African female professional myself, I cannot overemphasize this.
What advice would you like to give to the younger generation of female aspiring to be a woman leader in the finance and investment industry?
A career in finance can be rewarding financially depending on where you find yourself but that alone should not be the focus in your choice of a career. Think about what is meaningful and fulfilling to you in both the long and short term when choosing your career path. Research and explore all your options. When you make your choice, pursue your dreams diligently and relentlessly; and never sell yourself short! Keep learning and keep pushing until you’ve made your mark.
Disclaimer: *Valerie’s views are her own and do not represent the views of her employer.
Thank you for joining us!
WIFIN Spotlight Series 2021