Deloitte’s Blessing Folayan talks to SiliconRepublic.com about the transferable skills she gained as a radiographer and the value of a growth mindset when making a career change.
Blessing Folayan was drawn to radiography and healthcare due to her love of problem-solving, people and science. “Radiography was a great intersection between all three,” she says.
“It also has a great collegiate professional atmosphere and is a great allied health profession for clinical exposure and impact – you meet most people who come through the doors of a hospital, so every day is, in some way, different.”
Folayan is a radiographer and technology consulting analyst at Deloitte. She has held this position since September 2022.
Prior to joining Deloitte, Folayan studied radiography at University College Dublin, where she participated in clinical placement across five different hospitals in Ireland over the course of her studies.
“I loved the environment, the people and producing a diagnostic image that gave you insight into what might be causing the patient some issues. I also enjoyed the challenge of acquiring diagnostic images while working with different patients and with different equipment.
“Radiography, as a discipline, taught me a lot, but I feel patients taught me the most about healthcare.”
What made you decide to switch careers and move into the consulting area as an analyst?
Over the years, I found myself regularly thinking about issues across the health and social care system – like waiting lists, communication, cultural competency, role development and technology as an accessible means of getting there.
Consulting felt like the next best place to leverage the experience I had and learn skills that would allow me to join others in making a difference in health and social care on a wider scale. There’s also never a better time than the present when it comes to learning a new skill or pursuing a new path. If I didn’t go for it last year, I would still be wondering about it now and that’s no way to live.
‘Healthcare is all about connecting with people and supporting them with whatever skills you have’
Tell me about your role now as part of the health and social care team in the area of digital health.
As an analyst in Deloitte, I am one of the junior members on the digital health and social care team so I’m learning something new every day. I support senior staff in recommending and helping to implement digital solutions with clients in the health and social care industry.
Technology is a fantastic enabler but healthcare is complex. A lot of effort and careful consideration goes into looking at what option is the best fit for the client at that point in time, taking into account constraints and opportunities specific to not only health and social care in Ireland, but also the local context of where the client is based. The team does a lot, it would be impossible to try and capture it all, but I do feel like even in my learning, I am making the sort of difference I envisioned when joining.
What transferrable skills, knowledge, and expertise have you brought to your current role from your previous experience?
Healthcare is all about connecting with people and supporting them with whatever skills you have. Consulting is very similar. If I was to be more specific to radiography, I would say the problem-solving, critical thinking, organisation, communication and the need to work well in interdisciplinary teams that every radiographer requires has helped me immeasurably. Deloitte has been great in helping me upskill in technical areas specific to digital health projects, but these soft skills have really stood to me since I joined the company.
What were the biggest challenges to switching your career and how did you address these challenges?
Making what most would see as a drastic switch was a decision that I considered from every angle. I knew I would be starting from scratch in some areas which my new colleagues might already be proficient in. I also love my previous colleagues from radiography – many of them were my classmates in college so work was always great craic.
I knew these things would be difficult, but I knew I would regret not challenging myself to learn how to support health and social care clients in delivering considerable impacts. I also took comfort in the fact I was going into a graduate programme so there was a lot of training integrated into the role from day one and I would be joining with other people early in their career.
What has your experience been like starting out your new career path with Deloitte?
I chose a great company to start with. I have been working with truly inspirational people and have been encouraged to go above and beyond by example. Starting as part of a graduate cohort has also been valuable, as I started with over 100 others on the same day. I have met people from all walks of life across the business and beyond. Everyone has a unique background and perspective to share. I feel I get to work with my skills and interests every day.
Being in Deloitte does not mean you only attend meetings with clients and team members on the health and social care team – there are also social impact initiatives, training opportunities and internal firm activities, such as organising health events that you have the opportunity to get involved in. Every day is incredibly varied.
What advice would you give to others who are just starting out on their STEM career journey or thinking of making a change?
I think it is important to think about what sort of work energises you and the sort of impact you want to make and let that motivate you on your journey. I am conscious these are big questions, but if you have even a vague idea, why not start walking in that direction?
I would also encourage that learning something new (and sometimes completely different) is never a bad idea – I think a growth mindset is key when you decide to make any sort of change.
The world’s biggest challenges are complex and span across many sectors and cultures. People who can recognise and harness opportunities across both are bringing us closer to real sustainable solutions. By joining STEM from any other field, you and your experiences are part of the solution!
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