“An organization’s engine is the strength of its people,” says Ibukun Igbinosa, our Nigeria People Lead. She says that the true essence of an organization's culture and success unfolds when its people's relations, connections, collaborations, and shared passions merge. In this piece, Ibukun talks about her passion for social impact, and why staff development is important for driving social impact at scale.
As People Lead, what does your job entail?
My role is multifaceted, covering both corporate and people operations. At One Acre Fund, we recognize that sustainable growth cannot occur in isolation; it requires the right people in key positions. My role helps facilitate this process, with a focus on talent acquisition. Securing and placing talent is crucial to our mission of reaching and impacting more farmers than we currently do. Beyond recruiting staff, this means making the entire employee journey from initial engagement to proper compensation, performance management, and ongoing development as fulfilling as possible. As the People Lead, I am dedicated to fostering an environment where staff are motivated and equipped with the tools and support to make farmers more prosperous.
If you had to design a fictional character based on your role, what would their name and abilities be?
I would call her Miss Wonder HR, borrowing from Wonder Woman, the fictional Comics superheroine. My abilities would include telepathy—being able to delve into people's minds. As Miss Wonder HR, I will be able to connect with people, fostering collaboration, and effortlessly bringing together individuals to create a harmonious and highly productive work environment. Sometimes, staff are hesitant to share with HR, as people feel guarded about their thoughts. As Miss Wonder HR, I would break down those barriers, facilitating open and honest communication without fear of misinterpretation.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It’s the impact we make on the lives of farmers! Our work ensures that farmers don’t simply subsist but live well. Seeing the organization’s positive impact figures reinforces the significance of the contributions we make.
Another aspect I find immensely rewarding is the ability to inspire and mobilize people. Building a committed and engaged team is essential. I enjoy fostering an environment where individuals are compensated fairly and see a clear path for personal and professional growth within the organization. Whether I am helping expand staff roles, implementing staff development initiatives, or fostering a sense of belonging; I feel fulfilled when I can ensure that our team feels united and aligned with our mission.
How has your role at One Acre Fund influenced your own lifestyle and habits? Are there any farming or sustainability practices you've adopted from working at One Acre Fund?
Witnessing firsthand the challenges farmers face in producing enough food for their families has made me acutely aware of the impact of wasteful habits. I have come to understand that, much like in farming, every resource is precious, and wasting food or water is a luxury we cannot afford. As a result, I have adopted the practical approach, encouraging my children and others in my home to prepare and consume only what they can finish. It is a small yet impactful step toward sustainability.
What advice do you have for others interested in development careers, based on your own experiences and journey with One Acre Fund?
Take the time to consolidate your skills and knowledge. Spend the initial five years of your career dedicated to learning, honing your craft, and gaining practical experience. Actively seek opportunities that align with your goals rather than being drawn solely to popular or prestigious brands. Look for positions where you can actively apply your skills, put them into practice, and prove your worth in the organization. Remember, it is not just about where you start but how you actively contribute and learn along the way that truly shapes a successful career.
What is your ideal day off, and what activities would you engage in?
Outside of my professional commitments, I am deeply involved in volunteering for impact driven-causes centered on people development, coaching and speaking engagements. A significant part of my downtime is dedicated to overseeing the training programs at my church. I find great fulfillment in contributing to the leadership development of our church team. Outside of this, you will find me spending time with family— whether it's enjoying the simplicity of watching cartoons with my children or simply spending quality time with loved ones while exploring new restaurants or places; these moments hold special significance for me.
I also value moments of solitude where I can unwind with a good book or stay informed by reading articles. While I am not particularly active on most social media platforms, you might catch me on LinkedIn, where I engage in professional discussions and stay connected with my professional network.
If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of career advice?
I would tell her about the importance of collaboration. In the early stages of my career, I focused on doing great work independently. While this is great, I have realized the transformative power of building connections with those who share common goals in accelerating personal development and fast-tracking progress toward career objectives.