It was the great management guru, Peter Drucker, who once said “There is no success without a successor”. This is a quote that well justifies Ms. Taiwo Dayo-Abatan’s commitment to raising another generation of HR professionals who can outlast her successful two and a half decades in the industry.

Taiwo Dayo-Abatan can be described as one of the most respected HR staff in Nigeria. She is an experienced human resource management specialist, a skilled trainer and mentor. She is listed among the top 100 professional women in Nigeria and also among the top 100 powerful women in Nigeria in 2021.

Dayo-Abatan has a quarter century of experience that has made her an expert in performance management, cultural and people transformation, learning and development, workforce planning, recruitment and selection, organizational development, and employee relations.

She recently joined VFS Global Services as Regional Human Resources Director, Sub-Saharan Africa. But she doesn’t stop at building her career. She is now impacting and mentoring a younger generation through HR Foundry and Taiwo’s Coffee Chat.

Educational background of Taiwo Dayo-Abatan

Taiwo attended Ado-Ekiti University where he earned a first degree in Economics and then proceeded to the Federal University of Technology, Akure where he earned an MBA in Management in 2002.

Much later, he attended the London Academy Business School. She is also an alumnus of the Olusola Lanre Coaching Academy, where she trained as a Life Coach, Mentor and Career Advisor. Dayo-Abatan is also a Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources, International (SPHRi), as well as a Trained Professional in Adult Learning Experience (ALE).

He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM); International Training Federation (ICF), Nigeria; the African Professional Trainers and Facilitators Association (APFTiA); the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM); Nigerian Institute for Training and Development (NITAD); and the Institute of Professional Managers and Administrators (IPMA).

Your professional career

After completing the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps as a Bank Operations Officer at United Bank For Africa Plc, Jigawa State, Nigeria, Taiwo spent another 14 months as a Funds Transfer Officer still with the UBA group.

In April 2000, he joined Gerizim Group Limited, Lagos, Nigeria, and spent almost a decade working in various roles including Treasury Agent, Head, Leasing and Investments, and Head of Human Resources and Administration. This extensive experience within the same company explains how he gained depth and breadth in his career.

She spent two years with Bellforte Integrated Services Limited, Lagos, Nigeria, as an office administrator, before joining Total Health Trust Limited, Lagos, Nigeria (a member of Liberty, South Africa) as head of human resources. While she was there, the company transitioned from being an owner-managed business to a fully corporate entity after Liberty’s 100% acquisition, and Dayo-Abatan was instrumental in driving the culture change that accompanied this transition. Taiwo led her team to win the CIPM HR Best Practice award in 2014 and 2017.

Her rich career includes her time at Mutual Benefits in Assurance PLC, as Group Director of Human Resources and Administration, overseeing the Organization’s 4 subsidiaries in Nigeria and the West African Coast with a workforce of over 4,000 people.

Taiwo joined Primera Africa Finance Group and worked as Group Head, Human Capital and Corporate Services. His role involved leading the team in Strategic Planning, Organizational Leadership, Change Management and Process Automation and providing Thought-Partnerships and driving the Group’s Human Capital Agenda.

In October 2022, he joined VFS Global Services, a visa outsourcing and technology company, as

Regional Head of Human Resources, Sub-Saharan Africa. His current role includes overseeing the operational activities of Human Resources at the 36 locations where the company has operations in West, Southern and Central Africa.

Building a generation of HR professionals

Taiwo is not just a full-fledged HR professional. He is also on the faculty of consulting firms such as Beth’s Consulting Limited, Rome Business School, and Bellforte Consulting, and on the Advisory Board of Vantage Consulting, CA. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Association of Professional Trainers and Facilitators in Africa and on the Board of Directors of The Power Women Network.

Abatan is also the founder and host of “Taiwo’s Coffee Chat”, a capacity building platform for HR professionals. The platform holds a free assistance event to impact and train young professionals in human resources.

He also started The HR Foundry, a learning platform for creating and nurturing exceptional HR professionals, with hundreds of members. There is also another mentoring platform called “ADD Premium Mentoring Program” where she mentors professional women.

Taiwo convenes and speaks at different events for HR professionals, such as HR Banters With TDA, which she convenes. She is also a facilitator with Vantage Certifications and was also a facilitator with Certification Edge until December 2019. She was a speaker at the HREA 2022 Work Festival conference in Kigali, Rwanda; Speaker at the HREA Work Festival 2021/2022 in Lagos, Nigeria; volunteer professor at the CIPM Study Center, Lekki until 2016; and Professor at Rome Business School, Nigeria (RBSN) since 2021.

She has written a book Climbing the career ladder for success: for young professionals to use as a guide.

Awards and honours

Over the last decade or so, Abatan’s efforts have attracted the recognition and appreciation they deserve and he has several awards to prove it. Some of them include Top 50 Nigerian Influencers on LinkedIn and Revenue Leadership Award – Premium Content Creator, both from SalesRuby in 2019; the Africa LinkedIn Influencer Award 2020 – Tech Times Africa HR/Recruiter Category in 2020; and Top 250 Hr Influencers in the World – Social Micole in 2020.

She also won the SalesRuby HR Thought Leadership Award in 2020 and the African Women’s Industrialization Award in 2021.

WordenHCD included her among the 30 leading women in human resources. Dayo-Abatan was also among the Top 100 Professional Women in Nigeria as listed by 9-5Chick, and the Power Women Network’s Top 100 Powerful Women in Nigeria in 2021.