Girl On Fire (GOF) is a new monthly series on LME. It is inspired by the lyrics of Alicia Keys’ song with the same title.
My GOF is a woman who is a trailblazer in her career industry. A woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. And a woman who inspires and supports other women.
In this series, I will interview women from different career industries to get them to share their success stories and advice to women aspiring to succeed just like them.
In this first feature, I interviewed an expert in everything pension fund. So, sit tight if you are thinking of breaking into this field.
Please give a brief introduction about yourself and what you do
Hello! My name is Yetunde Odewunmi and I am a Pension Manager for a Retirement Services Fund. In my role, I am responsible for overseeing the administration of benefit payments from the Fund and ensuring it is in compliance with regulatory requirements, and established procedures and objectives.
I reside in Queens, NY and I enjoy traveling, watching movies, reading, and spending quality time with my family and friends. I also love to dance, which explains my obsession with dance workouts.
Name the biggest challenge you have faced in your profession and how did you overcome it?
Prior to becoming the Pension Manager, the department staff was not adaptable to change. They were used to performing routine tasks without considering different processes that would help them complete the task in a more efficient and effective manner. Since I was younger than my staff and was in the department for less time than them, it was a bit challenging to get them to stop doing things the old way.
When I became manager, I knew changing the perception and work ethic of my staff would be challenging. I wanted to show them that even though I was not in the department for long, it didn’t matter because it was the quality of the work that trumped the number of service years. I knew I had to engage my staff in a way that would help them accept change.
To overcome this challenge I knew I had to first prove to my staff that I fully understood pension and the associated department processes and procedures. Once this was on display and acknowledged by staff, I held both group and individual training sessions where I demonstrated to staff how changing certain processes would be beneficial in meeting our goals and also reduce lag time. Since I was able to gain their trust, and teach them new skills in an engaging manner, they were able to recognize and accept that change can be beneficial.
What are the most important skills needed to be successful in your field?
Since I deal with a lot of benefit formula calculations, in which I have to ensure plan and regulatory requirements are appropriately applied, being detailed orientated and possessing problem-solving skills is very important. Also, demonstrating leadership skills, being able to motivate others, and creating improvement processes are other key skills.
What advice would you give to women trying to break into your field?
For any woman trying to break into the pension field, I would advise that you try to connect with someone who is already in the field, research other positions that will help you get your foot in the door and that would eventually lead to your desired position, and continue to stay persistent.
What women inspire you and why?
My number one woman’s inspiration is my mom. She is the epitome of the type of person I want to be. She is a very determined, charismatic, prayerful, supportive, strong, and a no-nonsense individual. She showed me that you should give your all in everything that you do – “What is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.” I carry that mantra with me and try to exhibit it in everything that I do.
Other women who inspire me are Oprah and Michelle Obama. I truly admire their display of perseverance and determination in achieving their goals.
What is one outfit that makes you feel feminine and powerful?
I love a good colorful tailored pants or dress suit with a pair of stylish slingback pumps.
Get the look
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