Lola Osoba

Finance Director, Global Service, Smiths Detection (part of Smiths Group PLC)

"My mum imparted the first piece of advice, and I still strive towards this till this day. As a black, woman I am acutely aware of the challenges and limited opportunities that confront me. Thus, I seize every opportunity presented to me, striving to deliver excellence not only in my professional endeavours but also in every aspect of life.

 The second quote was some feedback I received a few years ago, which has since become a guiding principle in my approach to professional relationships. In my view, someone who brings others along on a journey goes above being collaborative. I build relationships with my stakeholders; I provide them insight in my role and what I am trying to achieve. I also gain insight into their roles and their objectives. I look for opportunities beyond the current task to work with them in the future, opportunities for us to improve what we do and how we do it – an ongoing journey in continuous improvement.

 My career began on the graduate scheme at Centrica PLC, I juggled full-time work with evening & weekend studies for my accounting qualifications. I found myself volunteering for mentorship activities. I supported with careers fairs, the student consultancy programme (where university students act as management consultants), hosting graduate assessment centres and mentoring younger graduates. This is where I first realised, I delighted in bringing others along on a journey – providing support. I was not so lucky in receiving such professional mentorship –I did not want that to be the case for others. This experience revealed my passion for nurturing talent and empowering others to succeed.

 After 4 years, I moved to a small private – equity owned recruitment company called Red Commerce. I maintained that mentoring attitude: attending career fairs and providing weeklong internships with students from local schools. I delivered two big achievements during my time at Red, strategically contributing to the company and communicating with more senior stakeholders such as external bankers, the CEO and CFO and the PE firm. I took on these initiatives of my own accord, delivering these changes beyond the scope of my daily role.

 In 2019, I joined Smiths Detection, embarking on a journey that has seen me ascend from Financial Reporting Manager to Divisional Financial Controller and, presently, to Finance Director – Global Service. My hard work and the tenacity to bring people along on a journey has meant I have gone from a relatively junior position, to managing a team of 20 people with a wide financial remit and finally, to supporting a member of our leadership team who is responsible for over half of a £800m turnover P&L"