Funmi Dele-Giwa, General Counsel & Head of GRC, and Group Company Secretary, MFS Africa, was described, in her nomination as “a governance trailblazer and champion, a risk and compliance visionary, and an inspirational and passionate leader”. Our judges agreed. They felt that her exceptional achievements “ensured that she is seen as a role model we could celebrate beyond financial services”.
Funmi has had an immeasurable impact on MFS Africa and, over the past year, she has fundamentally reshaped the approach and the internal positioning of the legal function, believing that legal is not merely a support function, but one that actively drives, promotes, and shapes the commercial strategy of the group and its client engagements. She built, from scratch, the regulatory affairs function and led MFS Africa’s engagement with an ever-growing array of regulatory and governmental entities. Funmi’s activities have resulted in a more robust, efficient and effective organisation, with strengthened risk management and improved engagement with internal and external stakeholders.
Funmi is a sought-after speaker on financial inclusion and digital financial services, and a champion for the fintech community’s role in shaping sustainable development across Africa. She represents MFS Africa as an advisory member on the Bank for International Settlements’ Committee on Payments & Market Infrastructure and on the Financial Stability Board’s committee on cross-border remittance accessibility and costs. At the Women in Payments EMEA Symposium in May 2022, Funmi was awarded the Distinguished Payments Thought Leader Award for her involvement in and contribution to the payments industry and her championing of women therein. In September 2021, she was recognised by TheBoardroom Africa, a pan-African consulting firm focused on promoting and celebrating African women in senior executive and board director positions, as a Woman to Watch and as an inspirational leader.
A vocal and passionate champion for diversity, and a role model for African women aspiring to build a career in financial services, Funmi has mentored, guided, and shaped the careers of several women within the industry. Since joining MFS Africa about two years ago, Funmi has built a strong team of over 20 people, and throughout this expansion, she placed an emphasis on giving opportunities to women and providing a platform for growth for women.
An inspirational leader with a clear and compelling vision for her organisation, Funmi earns the respect of her team members through her structured thinking, her ability to simplify complex issues, and her ability to articulate a clear vision. She is very organised and structured in her approach to leading teams and is a hands-on leader. She allocates a significant amount of her time to providing guidance and feedback to staff working for and with her. She believes a large part of her success and resilience lies in the power of people and the network of support they bring.
Funmi designed and implemented a tailored internship programme for young black lawyers from one of the preeminent law schools in South Africa. The impetus behind the program was to unlock opportunities for young and ambitious law students and to expose them to the fintech industry.
Together with family, Funmi co-founded and co-runs a faith-based charitable organisation, Redeemed Camp, which focuses on supporting individuals facing life’s social challenges by offering resources that make a difference in the local community and society at large. A believer in the power of learning, Funmi championed the start of a digital library of ebooks within the charity which is freely available to users around the world – with a particular focus on the African continent.
“Funmi is a brilliant corporate lawyer and a strong, capable, and highly qualified senior executive, with a clear vision and an ambition to achieve it. She is a passionate and inspirational leader, and a role model to many within the organisation. Funmi has faced several challenges and setbacks in her life, which she has not only overcome with grace, but she has excelled while doing so. She is an inspiration to me and to many others.”
Patrick Gutmann, Managing Director, MFS Africa