Mentee Spotlight: Ayo Hambolu

learner Story

Meet Ayo, a Strategy & Operations Sprint alum at The Commons who landed a Product Analyst role at Relay

Read on to learn more about why Ayo decided to join The Commons, what she took away from the Strategy & Operations Sprint, and how she made the move from traditional finance to Product in tech!

To summarize Ayo's career path in 1 line

Staff Accountant @ Grant Thornton (loved working with SMB’s) →  Venture for Canada Fellowship (opened my world to the opportunities outside the traditional accounting path)   →  Customer Experience @ Relay → Strategy & Ops Sprint (to explore and experiment more)  → Product Analyst @ Relay (defining and managing product strategy and operations)

Describe yourself with 3 emojis & give us a little context on why you chose them!

📚 I’m a HUGE bookworm, always reading and learning something new.  It's my favorite addiction. 

⭐️ Relationships with family and friends are one of my north star’s. I’m always striving to be a better sister, daughter and friend to those in my life.

🛫 I have the travel bug and love to travel. I get to see new sights and always learn something new! 

Where are you located?

📍 Ontario, Canada

Joining The Commons 🤝

What was behind your decision to join The Commons?

I joined The Commons to explore, experiment and gain clarity on next steps. I was at a point where I wasn’t sure what was next for me career wise. I found that I was a bit overwhelmed with the amount of options. The Commons offered a low-stakes environment where I could learn from mentors and peers in the industry, explore what a Bizops role would be like and see if it was a potentially good fit. I stayed for the incredible community which has provided invaluable support, mentorship and lifelong friends.

How has The Commons supported you in your newest role?

I went from knowing absolutely nothing about SQL to now utilizing it everyday, all thanks to The Commons. Coming from an accounting background, it helped me fill in the technical gaps, gave me the confidence to speak about those skills and show the value I would bring.

Career Journey 🗺️

Tell us about your new role at Relay 🤖

Company Overview: Relay is a no-fee online collaborative banking and money management platform for SMBs, entrepreneurs and freelancers.

Your Role: Product Analyst

Your Team: I work closely with the product team & cross functionally to answer key business questions tied to the impact of ongoing and new launches. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure our customers are having a delightful experience.

Experience: It's been both challenging and rewarding, as expected, being at an early stage startup. I've had the opportunity to actively participate in crucial projects and apply the skills I gained during the sprint.

What has driven you to pivot roles & industries?

I spent so long completely focused on one path, but I eventually realized it wasn’t a good fit. This led me to search for something different and I followed my curiosity from there. I reviewed my interests, strengths and considered what aspects of my previous roles I did and didn’t enjoy. I actively sought out new opportunities and was open to experimentation. Joining The Commons allowed me to see the possibilities out there.

How has your thinking around your career path changed over time?

I always had an idea of where I wanted to go and reverse engineered my career for that ultimate goal. Along the way, I realized I had spent time working hard for a title that ended up being completely different from what I wanted. 

Over time, I've realized there is no one formula for your career path, it's created. You can plan, yes, but do not limit your scope to what you already know. Being open and flexible exposes you to entirely new paths that you would likely enjoy more. 

Everyone is unique and brings their own skillset. You can create your own path by listening to yourself and taking inspiration from others.

Any advice for people looking to make a similar carer move?

Two Things:

  • Don’t count yourself out and don't shy away from opportunities. It was offered for a reason.  
  • Ask for help! Allow people to help you so you can help yourself

Something fun to end it off 🎉

Tell us some of your favorites

🎙 Podcast: The Diary Of A CEO - shares the unfiltered stories of remarkable people

📚 Book: The Defining Decade - encouraged me to experiment and seize opportunities more often

🎨 What You Do Outside of Work: Reading romance and thrillers, painting a realistic self portrait & planning my next trip (likely solo)

💬 Inspiring Quote: “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future” - Steve Jobs

➕ Handy Shortcut: Journal - this helps to reveal the patterns and connect the dots

Ready to take the next step in your career? Apply to the Strategy + Operations Sprint to learn valuable skills for operations roles and learn from mentors who are rising stars in tech.

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