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IGNITING THE SPARK with Jemilla Olufeko from ROLI

This Igniting the Spark is slightly different in that we have talked to Jemilla Olufeko, the only in-house Lawyer at ROLI, a music tech start up and one of our clients. She made the move 10 months ago from working at a large city law firm when she was sent on secondment to ROLI. She loved it so much that she quit her job at the law firm and after reading this interview you will want to work there as well!

Jemilla Olufeko
Jemilla Olufeko

The moment that ignited the spark in me was…

ROLI has been going for 5 years and one of their keyboards (called ‘the Seaboard’) featured in La La Land. How about that for a claim to fame! When I went on secondment, it was just so exciting being part of an organisation that is really innovative and creative and would allow me to be like that in my job as well. It was also an amazing moment having Pharrell Williams join as our Chief Creative Officer and come visit the office!

The thing that’s most surprised me since I made that move is…

Actually the move itself was a surprise to the system. My work life balance is much better now than compared to when I worked at a large city law firm. I still work hard of course, but there is a fantastic feel to the office and culture. We have an office dog, free massages and a ping pong table, not something large law firms have high on their list of requirements. Everything is done in-house, so development, accounts, marketing which means you work with and learn from all different types of people and not just other lawyers. I love that.

The toughest challenge I’ve faced is…

Managing GDPR was a definite challenge in a company that is maturing quickly: entering more markets, taking on more complex external relationships and preparing to release new products. I had to develop a strategy that made sure we hit the deadlines and key to that was getting everyone engaged. Anyone who knows about GDPR will tell you that’s the tricky part! To make it interesting and fun we had quizzes, created GDPR Champions who were responsible for different parts and I even arranged for GDPR treats (cookies), but it did the trick and everyone is now aware of this boring, but necessary, subject and the responsibilities.

My biggest success has been….

Unsurprisingly, the biggest challenge was also my biggest success. GDPR, who’d have thought!

I’m very good at…

I’ve always been a people person. Building relationships really helps with my role. I’m also very organised, you have to be if you’re the only lawyer in a company with over 150 staff. I write a lot of lists, which is something I’ve always done. I haven’t lived with my parents for years, but my mum is still finding lists all over the house.

The type of person we look to recruit into my organisation is…

We are quite picky. We definitely like polymaths, so people who have a detailed knowledge of their subject but have a general curiosity as well. For example, our Head of Talent is also a successful playwright. Other characteristics that we look for to make sure they fit in with our culture, which is very important to us, are self starters, being proactive, the ability to think outside the box and problem solvers. We really recruit by evaluating the full person, and not only their skill set, so we can ensure that everyone we hire is adding something to our culture, not just fitting in to it, enabling us to grow our collective knowledge and perspectives to make the best products we can.

The part of my day I most look forward to is…

My dad’s a Chef, so I love food. I actually base my day around my meals. Each day the whole company sits down together for an hour and eats lunch prepared by our amazing in-house chefs. I genuinely look forward to lunch every day, not many people can say that.

If I could give my 18-year old self one piece of advice it would be…

I would say constantly dream big and focus on what you want to do. If you go for it, you’ll get there.

Outside of work I can be found…

Trying out new restaurants, I love food but don’t like cooking, I much prefer eating. I’m also a firm believer in healthy mind, healthy body. I do Yoga, I’m on the ROLI football team and I have been training over Summer for a 100 mile cycle.

My philosophy on life is…

My favourite quote from John Lennon sums that up for me, “Everything will be ok in the end, if it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”

What I like about working with Ignition Law…

Having worked in Private Practice, Ignition have a refreshing approach to clients. Startup and Entrepreneurs have different needs to big companies and Ignition definitely understand that as they are a start up themselves.

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