Mar 8, 20201 min read

Interview with Lara Oyesanya, Legal Director at Klarna.

Emily Thomas

by Emily Thomas

Where did you start your career, did you always know what you wanted to do?

I started my career in Lagos, as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. No, I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I studied law because my then-boyfriend (now my husband) thought I would make a great lawyer!

What are the greatest challenges or frustrations you face as a woman at the top (if any)?

In previous roles the occasional expectation to ‘know your place’ and not having your views or opinions acknowledged.

Who is a woman who inspires you?

One that is determined and who is not defined by people’s judgments of her.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Being a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales practicing at the height of my in-house career and a parent to five incredible adult children who as doctors, solicitors and a VC investment associate, all of whom are making contributions to their communities.

What’s the riskiest move you’ve taken in business?

Leaving the financial services sector to move to BAE Systems, a multinational defence, security and aerospace company with a market cap of £20bn.

What 3 traits do you think are most important when running a successful business?

Focus, problem-solving skills / solutions-oriented and a huge dose of pragmatism.

What’s the best business advice you have ever received?

Be bold!

Any advice to future female leaders?

Be bold, speak up and use your voice even if it’s a lone voice. You are more impactful than you think when you do.