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Bukola Adisa

Female Founder Spotlight: Bukola Adisa

5 June 2021|Brand Story, Female Founder Spotlight, Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder

Female Founder Spotlight: Bukola Adisa
Female Founder Spotlight: Bukola Adisa

In the latest of our Meet the Successful Founder/Female Founder Spotlight series we caught up with the inspirational Bukola Adisa, the Founder and CEO of Career Masterclass to discover more about her entrepreneurial journey.

I am the Founder and CEO of Career Masterclass, a leading online career development platform focused on enabling the career growth of ambitious professionals by teaching the practical skills that they can use to build and enjoy a successful career. 

To date, Career Masterclass has positively impacted the lives of 1000s of professionals, by providing access to career development content, masterclasses, coaches and mentors on the dynamic Career Masterclass platform. Career Masterclass also hosts an annual career development conference called STRETCH to inspire and provide career development opportunities for aspirational professionals with a focus on those from an ethnic minority background. 

My background is in Risk and Controls and I have held senior roles at some of the world’s largest financial services organisations such as HSBC, JP Morgan, NatWest and Deloitte. 

I have been featured in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 PowerList which celebrates the achievements of senior professionals from an African and Caribbean background. I was also listed in the 2017 Empower Financial Times List of the top 100 Ethnic Minorities in the United Kingdom and was named in the Financial Times HERoes list of the executives who have made a substantial difference to women’s careers. 

I am passionate about the progression of women and ethnic minority professionals in the workplace. At each organisation I have worked at, I have been an active member of the women’s network as well as the multicultural networks. I also actively mentor ethnic minority professionals and dedicate many hours monthly to providing career advice 

How did the idea come to you for the company?

The idea for Career Masterclass came from my strong belief that the secret of career growth should be available to everyone, and that anyone from any background can build a successful career

I remember sitting in a meeting room some years ago, having yet another meeting, when I looked up and it struck me that every face around the table looked similar, in terms of gender and race, and they were different from me. I started questioning the lack of ethnically diverse representation in senior roles. It became a nagging question at the back of my mind, as I interacted with more people from an ethnically diverse background who were competent at their jobs and wondered why they struggled to get promoted or noticed at work. I decided to do something about it. And that’s how Career Masterclass was born. 

How did you achieve awareness?

It’s been largely organic. As people have benefitted from our Masterclasses and events, they have shared with their friends and colleagues. This has, of course, brought us media attention from time to time. We’ve been featured in the Financial Times, Euro TV, Africa News, The Guardian and some other great media platforms.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

We’re fortunate to have a tribe of people who believe in our mission and cause. We are revenue generating and in addition to B2C sales, we also have client organisations who have sponsored our flagship conference as well as licensed our digital platform. For the next phase of our growth, we recently began a crowdfunding campaign that has done extremely well, with over £300k raised barely 2 weeks after going live to the public.

What are the key successes?

We have built a thriving community of 11k members globally, we have worked with 30+ leading organisations, we have built a network of 200+ mentors and coaches, launched a digital first of its kind career development platform and ran 4 successful editions of our leading career development conference, STRETCH.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

The biggest challenge for me was transitioning from a successful corporate career to running my own business. I was fortunate to work for global multi billion dollar companies and it took a while to adjust to having to be the boss, to speak to clients, hire people, build structures etc.

Also it is no secret that black women get less than 1% of all funding which means the playing field is not level but the good thing is that this forced me to be nimble, to run an incredibly lean and efficient organisation and to be ruthless in prioritisation which means we are a very agile organisation with an impressive pace of execution.

What are your plans now/for the future?

To continue to scale our impact across different continents and continue to help professionals thrive at work using technology as an enabler of career development and growth 

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

Be bold, be brave and stay committed to your dreams, aspirations and goals.

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

Get the right people on your team. Not just people with the right skills, but people with the passion and drive

It doesn’t have to be perfect but it must be excellent

It won’t be easy but it will be fulfilling

Appoint an advisory board as soon as possible. They are worth their weight in gold

There is always more than one way to success. Pivot is the name of the game

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most? 

Sara Blakely- CEO of Spanx. She is a person of purpose and built an incredibly successful organisation without taking external funding.

Michelle Obama- She is an example of elegance, grace and class. An inspiration to black women everywhere.

Bozoma St John- CMO of Netflix. She is unashamedly herself and makes no apologies for who she is and she is doing amazing things at work

Beyonce- Her hardwork and commitment to excellence is staggering

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

Done is better than perfect

What are your social handles and website links so our readers can connect with you?

@Career_Masters (Twitter), @careermasterclass (Instagram), www.careermasterclass.com