Sink or Swim with Raphael Adegboye · ShiftWorkPlace

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E50 Sink or Swim with Raphael Adegboye


Respect attracts respect: A Nigerian financial professional shows us how to infuse our life with respect for other people and cultures.

Bio for Raphael Adegboye

Raphael Adegboye is Senior Manager, Global Risk Management with Scotiabank. He is an experienced business and risk professional with almost twenty years of work/knowledge-building experience across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

In the last ten years of working within the Canadian financial services industry, Raphael has undertaken key responsibilities in credit risk adjudication, asset-based lending, inventory and dealer financing across multiple industries with TD Bank, GE Capital, Wells Fargo and Scotiabank.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria and a Master’s degree from the University of Bonn, Germany. Two of his books are published on Amazon and other platforms. He currently lives in Brampton, Ontario with his wife and 3 daughters.

Episode highlight

Born in Nigeria, Raphael Adegboye learnt to value academic accomplishments and being quiet in the presence of others. Listen in on how moving to different countries has changed his personality, taught him the importance of experience and helped him find his voice.



  • “We all evolve and there are phases in our life that we think we know it all… As we allow ourselves the opportunity to learn, to take… calculated risks and to also rely on others around us who may be more experienced in specific aspects of life, I think eventually we discover that we could be better, we could make better decisions and we could impact our world in much better ways.”
  • “Life is not about what you do not have, life is about what you make out of what you have.”
  • “Sometimes in life, you can put in your best or you could try as much as you can, things happen and when they happen, you don’t let them define you. You still have to pick up yourself and make necessary changes, make necessary amendments and move on with life.”
  • “Wherever we are in life, we should understand that all of us are trying to get somewhere, and we should, if we can, encourage them and offer support as we may be able to, knowing that nobody is there yet, we all are on the journey, and everybody is trying to get to something or a specific point in their life”.
  • “The Nigerian environment is one where experience matters but there is a strong push for a lot of academic and professional qualifications”.
  • “If you want people to respect you, you have to show respect.”
  • “You have to celebrate the uniqueness in others. When you do, others will also celebrate the uniqueness in you.”
  • “Sometimes, people will not treat you well, sometimes they will not… receive you the right way, but you still have to make all the efforts you can to live right and live right with others.”
  • “There has to be something higher than us that we live for.”
  • “Patience, it’s a virtue which… when you anchor your life on a supreme being, God in this instance, it helps to build the necessary virtue to relate with others in different circumstances… being patient with others, being tolerant of others, trying to understand the perspective… which others are coming from, trying to understand that even when you have to be growing up within the same environment, their realities can be different.”
  • “I’ve learned the value of respect, and leadership for me is about influence, and you cannot truly lead a people you do not respect.”
  • “Every society loves the way it works and if I have made a decision to be a part of this society, then I have to be open to how the society works.”
  • “There are aspects of ourselves that we can never take away.”
  • “[A] culture that promotes silence and cultures that have a tendency to keep people quiet are cultures that often end up being repressive, cultures often that end up being subjugative.”
  • “We have to look at issues from the context of where we are at today as a people, what is right in our time as opposed to what used to be right many years ago.”
  • “There is no one size fits all approach in communication and working with others.”
  • “Learning empowers us to be true leaders, both for ourselves and the people around us.”


Childhood Incidents

Raphael claims he was a brilliant child who always topped his class. In 2nd grade, he stood 5th in his class and was disappointed in himself. From that moment on, any time something doesn’t go according to his expectations, he reflects on what went wrong and what he could have done better.

A similarly defining moment in his life occurred at university when he failed two of his classes. However, in order to prevent himself from repeating a year, he worked hard and passed both classes within the year.

Influential groups

Raphael grew up in Lagos, Nigeria with 2 brothers and 3 sisters. Even though his parents worked hard, “what they could provide was just not enough”. From sharing joy and sorrows with his family, he learnt the power of hope, respect, collaboration, resilience, hard work and education.

Raised a Christian, he was taught to establish good relationships with others, a value he holds dear in today’s diverse world. Even though he believes society has a long way to go in understanding cultures and co-existing with others, his faith helps him navigate through these complexities.

Growing up in Nigeria, with communities that speak over 500 different languages, has also shaped his worldview. “It gives you that sense of tolerance, that sense of humility, that sense of relationship, to know that others matter and you do not know it all”, he explains.

Temperament and Personality Influences

Even though Raphael is an introvert, he presents himself as an extrovert. He defines himself as a methodical strategic thinker and takes his time to act on any problem. However, in Canada, “being silent could be interpreted as being ignorant”, so he makes his presence count now.

Moving to Canada, he acknowledges that he needs to drop certain aspects of himself that living in Nigeria taught him and to embrace certain aspects of Canadian living that will help him become adaptable so that he is not stuck in limbo between the 2 cultures.

Cultural Epiphanies

In Nigeria, you took a lunch break where, when and with what you could. However, Raphael has realized that going out for group lunches in the corporate environment in other countries helps strengthen work relationships, participate in important discussions and open doors in his career.

In Nigeria, if an older person is speaking, even if they are being verbally abusive, it is taboo to interrupt, and the norm to sweep it under the carpet. However, Raphael has learnt from living in other cultures to politely address problems in communication and break the cycle of abuse.

In Nigeria, academic accomplishments are celebrated but Raphael has observed that in Canada, job experience and capabilities are considered more valuable. So even though he was highly educated, he was willing to work his way to the top when he moved to Canada.

Advice to an Employer

Raphael stands by the philosophy of “if perspective is wrong, objective will be wrong” and works to keep an open-minded approach so that the right outcomes are manifested. He checks in with himself to ensure he is taking the right approach to understand people and their self-expression.

More Great Insights!

Raphael claims that living in Canada affords people the opportunity to learn about themselves, different cultures and personalities and jointly contribute to the success and prosperity of the country.


Raphael Adegboye has been shaped by his Nigerian upbringing but has learnt to incorporate the beauty of many other cultures in the way he lives his life. In this episode, he shares how keeping an open mind can help us make the best of life, no matter where we live.


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