Staff Spotlight: Faith Olanipekun, CPA


Posted by Kathy Drumm

Topic(s): About FHB, Our Experts, Staff Spotlight, Careers

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What's it like to work at FHB?

Get the inside scoop from our valued team members in this special blog series. 

Faith Olanipekun, CPA, joined FHB as a Principal Consultant in November of 2021. Her analytical nature and eye for detail are key to solving our clients’ complex challenges. Before joining us, Faith worked on financial and performance audits for government entities at the Provincial Auditor of Saskatchewan. She also led process optimization initiatives to strengthen internal controls while saving time and money. 

We recently sat down with Faith to discuss her experience at FHB. The following is a transcript of that meeting.

Q: What stands out as a highlight of your time at FHB?  

A: A lot of learning and growing... so, I'm learning the software, learning how we work with our clients, learning how [to] consult with clients. Starting as a consultant was a challenge, because I just didn't have that skill yet. And I think that I've really grown a lot in terms of not only consulting, but in terms of my knowledge of software. And my technical skills have really grown and improved. 

Q: Why did you decide to work here?  

A: I wanted something new. I was in auditing, and I was not getting joy anymore in the was the same thing over and over, just doing repetitive tasks. So, Elaine [retired FHB Recruiting Manager Elaine Kolenosky] reached out to me and we had a meeting...and she said, “You know what? Let's have a conversation with [FHB President] Jamie Black.” 

Jamie was very kind and very honest, and direct...he was very helpful in saying, “Faith, you're not a consultant, yes, agreed. But we could get you there. And if you don't want to do repetitive tasks anymore, this is the place for you.” After that conversation with him, I just felt peace...I felt this is where I'm supposed to be. So, I reached back out to Elaine and said, “I think I want to do this!” That’s the story of how I got to FHB, and I've been loving it since then. 

Q: Do you feel supported by your colleagues?  

A: That's one thing about FHB, people are very...willing to assist and jump in when you need [them]. All you have to do is just raise your hand and say, “Hey, I'm kind of struggling here.” And people are always willing to help.

Q: How does FHB promote work-life balance?  

A: We have a “Mondays optional” [policy], which I take advantage of. And that means that you work from Tuesday to Friday, if you want to, or you can work Monday to Friday, if you want to. It's really up to you. Having my Mondays off really helps me create that work-life balance. 

The second thing is that we work 37.5 hours [per week]. If you let someone know, "Hey, I'm really drowning...I'm probably going to be over by like 10 hours, I might have to work weekends,” people are always willing to jump in and say, "No, no, no, don't work weekends or nights. Take that time off. We can...jiggle things, and make things work for you.” People are flexible and understanding. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about working here?  

A: Every single day, I'm learning something new...I'm always constantly growing and learning new skills. Not only hard skills, like technical skills, but even soft skills. When I go into meetings with [FHB Principal Consultants] Jill, Joy, or Jan, and I see the way they act with different clients, I take that back with me. I’m like, oh, I want to try that the next time I have a client...where I'm struggling to explain something to them. Maybe I can think about it in this way and explain this in that way...maybe they will understand it a lot better. So... I'm growing not only in my career professionally, but also personally, in terms of how [I] relate with people.  

Q: What do you think FHB gets right with its employees that other companies miss?  

A: FHB is open to feedback, and open to implementing [that] feedback. It's one thing to talk about...this could be improved, and this could be go to management, and air your grievances, and [they say], yeah, yeah, we're listening to you. And [nothing] ever gets done. [At FHB], you bring something up to management, and they're very proactive in getting things done. [They say] “We're sorry you feel this way. How can we help? How can we make things better here?” ...the tone from the top is really important in a company. And I think Jamie and Joy, and everyone sets a really good tone...and it just makes it a very good place to work. 

Q: How does FHB support you to do your best work?  

A: So, I'm a Principal Consultant, which means that I have technical consultants working with me. And I have the best technical consultants who are always willing to help out and do the work, ask me questions... if I am explaining something to a client, and the client doesn't really get it, they'll jump in and say, “Let's think about it this way" ...there are times [when] it's nice to have that little assist...that is number one.  

Number two, FHB is really good at checking in. So, I have a check-in with my manager every month...and we talk about what I've been working on. What do I want to do going forward? Do I like what I'm doing right now? Can I move to something else? What issues am I having? How can we make it better? This is where I would tell [my manager] Joy, the things that I'm struggling with. And then she would give me advice. I think those really [help] me grow as a consultant. Also, Jamie will sometimes check in. So, those things in aggregate really do help make this a good place to work. 

Q: Have you achieved any career goals since you've been at FHB?  

A: Since working at FHB, my soft skills have really improved—the way I talk to clients, the way I talk to my colleagues and co-workers. I think I'm more confident and I am a better leader... I'm always constantly growing. [From] the first time I ever spoke to a client [to] now... I can definitely see the difference. That's really been important for me, because consulting [was] not my strongest suit. But I've really taken on the knowledge...and the training and really applied it towards what I do here. 

Making sure my technical skills were on par—I've really done that as well. [There are] a lot of different goals [I’ve achieved]. And [there are] new goals all the time. And that's another thing. HR meets with you every month [to] keep you on track, to make sure that you're achieving your career goals.  

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? 

A: I think that's where I am right now. So, implementing software for clients. I honestly would like to get to Darryl's [Darryl Parker, CPA, CMA, Director of Solutions Design & Architecture at FHB] level. That would be a dream, [to understand] Structured Query Language (SQL) and all the different software and the different ways that we can...automate things for our clients. And if artificial intelligence (AI) is the new wave, how do we make that work for our clients? Really just being able to help our clients be better and being able to implement any software...[become] an expert on that software...I think that would be the goal. I mean, is it doable? Can I get to [Darryl’s] level? I don't know. But I'll try. 

For more on this topic(s), see: About FHB, Our Experts, Staff Spotlight, Careers

Originally Posted on 16 November, 2023

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