Yanju Lawal, Product Manager in Birmingham, United Kingdom
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Yanju Lawal

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Birmingham, United Kingdom
Toptal Member Since
May 14, 2021

Yanju is a product leader, strategist, and result-driven individual with 12+ years of experience. She is a recipient of the prestigious UK Global Talent by Tech Nation in recognition of her extensive impact on digital technology, leading the development of various digital products from fintech, edtech, proptech, and HR tech to eCommerce industries. Yanju has successfully led digital transformation initiatives and managed products across different lifecycle stages.

Project Highlights

B2B Closed-loop Lending as a Service
Led the product management, design, integrations, tech stack migration, product launch, and marketing initiatives for a client's lending as a service software.
One-stop Non-banking Financial Service App | Fintech
Managed a team of developers and product designers by developing and launching the MyAXA Plus app for Android and iOS.
Inter-dealer Brokerage Application | Fintech
Introduced agile delivery, product discovery, and metrics-driven product management into the product development process.


Work Experience

Product Manager

2022 - 2022
Talent Acquisition Assessment Solution
  • Established the product vision, strategy, and roadmap for the talent acquisition products using product feedback, qualitative and quantitative data, design thinking, research, and brainstorming workshops.
  • Conducted extensive market and user research and extrapolated insights to redefine the unique product positioning for talent acquisition products.
  • Served as the voice of the customer and ensured proactive communication across multiple stakeholders and cross-functional teams in various regions.
  • Implemented an objective-based roadmap for iterative improvement of the MVP version of a virtual assessment center over a medium to long term.

Senior Product Manager

2021 - 2022
Architectural Office Design & Home Improvement
  • Achieved an international expansion strategy milestone defined in the 2021 NASDAQ milestone maker program within three months.
  • Coordinated the product management activities, including customer discovery, roadmap definition, prioritization, and go-to-market strategy for a new product line.
  • Collaborated with the internal stakeholders to define short to the long-term product roadmap, OKRs, and product metrics.

Product Manager | Portfolio Analyst

2021 - 2022
Cloud-based lending software
  • Led the product discovery and go-to-market strategy of the loan portfolio within the digital services center.
  • Conducted the customer discovery to validate product idea viability.
  • Developed a lean business model canvas to validate business feasibility and viability.
  • Served as a product evangelist to secure internal stakeholder buy-in.

Product Manager

2021 - 2022
B2B eCommerce marketplace
  • Managed the back-end workstream of the migration of an eCommerce platform from old to new technology within six months.
  • Coordinated the engagement with third-party providers to ensure timely project delivery.
  • Established the product requirements, backlog grooming, prioritization, and pre-launch activities.

Product Manager | Product Owner

2021 - 2021
Chemistry plus, OPC
  • Developed the product strategy and managed the development of a logistics marketplace product.
  • Conducted the product discovery to map out the short to long-term strategy.
  • Defined the short to long-term product roadmap to support overall business objectives.

Product Strategy Manager

2021 - 2021
Investment Platform
  • Redefined the product growth strategy in line with the corporate scaleup and spinoff ambition and created a short and long-term execution roadmap and OKRs towards reaching the set goals.
  • Took ownership of an app redesign project and created a close-out plan toward a hard launch date.
  • Oversaw the product redesign and partnered with the design lead to achieve a user-centric interface design.
  • Analyzed the existing database to create user personas and customer segments based on trends to drive targeted marketing and demand creation initiatives.
  • Managed a database migration project for an app and web databases.
  • Defined the product launch plan with clear metrics to track user acquisition, activation, engagement, retention, and satisfaction.
  • Introduced agile delivery, product discovery, usability testing, and metrics-driven product management into the product development cycles.

Head of the Product Management Competency Center

2020 - 2021
Fintech - Venture Garden Group
  • Drove the center's standardization and created a repository of product artifacts, improving product managers' efficiency across the organization.
  • Facilitated the recruitment and ensured the attraction and hiring of qualified personnel while driving capacity development programs aligned with the organization and product managers' goals on an inclusive, participatory sustainable basis.
  • Championed the product management best practices and rigor within the product organization.
  • Developed a framework for enterprise product delivery, team strategy, and OKRs.

Head of Product

2020 - 2021
Lending and EdTech Startups
  • Transformed lending in Africa by leading the build and launch of Advancly, a SaaS platform that brought together an ecosystem of funders, aggregators, OEM/suppliers, and borrowers in six months.
  • Led the product delivery, implementation, and support for five edtech apps. An app portal, a student information system (SIS), a learning management system (LMS), an exam portal, and an education financing system (EduCollect).
  • Achieved over 100% month-on-month growth in GMV within months of launch by collaborating with C-level executives and stakeholders to build and evangelize the Advancly product vision and unique selling proposition to potential partners and investors.
  • Improved accountability and productivity of two remote teams by introducing a metrics-driven product management approach and using Jira, Kanban, and Planner, which drove the adoption of agile best practices for product and project delivery.
  • Enabled the edtech business to achieve its full-year target, even in a pandemic year, by defining and driving the implementation of a disruptive growth strategy.
  • Established and maintained strategic partnerships and engagements with several third-party service providers for crucial integrations to achieve product-market fit and optimal product delivery.
  • Translated short-term and long-term strategies into an annual work plan, OKRs, roadmap, and release schedules toward reaching the individual product vision.
  • Drove the user-centered product design, development, and delivery by designing and coordinating surveys, discovery interviews, and usability testing.

Head of User Experience and Product Management

2017 - 2020
Financial Services (Insurance, Investment, Pensions, Health Insurance)
  • Incorporated the overall business objectives into each product vision and roadmap, which enabled seamless prioritization of execution.
  • Oversaw the managing and optimizing of two business-to-business and four business-to-customer eCommerce channels across four business segments and two internal-facing applications.
  • Led the planning and implementation of short and long-term strategies to achieve the digital transformation agenda for an insurtech business.
  • Redesigned the company's website to align with the new global brand guidelines while improving the UX, discoverability, and overall performance.
  • Pioneered the platform upgrade to newer technology and made the site PWA-ready. Thus, improving Alexa and similar web rankings and increasing the number of active users and the leads-to-sales conversion.
  • Developed and launched the unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) project that catered to the company's four business segments (insurance, investment, health, and pensions), which promoted self-service and increased revenue.
  • Managed the development of an AI-driven robo-advisor app called Coach Idris and redesigned the company's mobile app.
  • Collaborated with key stakeholders to grow a retail business portfolio from 6 to 14 across three business segments (insurance, investment, and health).
  • Facilitated the automation of post-purchase interactions like claims, liquidation, straight-through renewal, and quote system, and designed the offerings for product bundling.
  • Supported the product marketing initiatives and demand creation to drive customer acquisition and a 10x revenue growth within 24 months.

Associate Product Officer | eCommerce Officer

2015 - 2017
Financial Services (Insurance, Investment, Pensions, Health Insurance)
  • Supported the executive leadership in establishing the eCommerce team and was tasked to optimize the user experience across all digital platforms.
  • Served as liaison between business stakeholders and the development team to digitize traditional retail products, where it successfully grew from one to six product lines.
  • Created the user flows, wireframes, and mockups for the features and products deployed on a platform used to manage sales generated through third-party partners and corporate organizations.
  • Conducted insightful user research to validate product offerings, necessitating the deployment of two major product lines in health and education insurance.
  • Defined the process flows and mapped the user journey for features and products onboarded on the eCommerce platform.

Product Marketing Associate

2012 - 2015
Financial Services (Insurance, Investment)
  • Enhanced the brand position by facilitating the design of several marketing collaterals, advertising materials, marketing campaigns, trade shows, events, and other promotional activities to increase product awareness and adoption.
  • Initiated a product portfolio review and analysis to recommend solutions to the team, which informed strategies to maximize marketing, branding, and communication decisions.
  • Served as a pioneer member of the new product development team (NPD) that developed two flagship products explicitly designed to meet the client's requirements based on market intelligence and customer needs analysis.
  • Facilitated the several product-and-sales training sessions for sales agents and assisted in new product launch and release activities.
  • Conducted the product reviews, discovery interviews, surveys, market research, competitor analysis, and customer discovery sessions, facilitating the development of new products and features.
  • Worked as a project lead for a rebranding project due to the divestment of a significant shareholder and onboarding of a new investor.

Relationship Manager

2009 - 2011
Financial Services (Insurance)
  • Created a customized insurance product to meet the needs of high net-worth individuals (HNIs).
  • Managed a high-profile clientele database and achieved over a 90% customer satisfaction rate.
  • Reduced the churn and increased customer retention by 80% within 12 months.
  • Met and exceeded the financial targets for the team consistently.
  • Received commendation for excellent service for two consecutive years.

Education Finance Platform

Spearheaded the end-to-end product strategy, execution, and launch of an education financing marketplace that bridges education finance providers and borrowers.

EduCollect is an education finance marketplace connecting funders to borrowers to provide access to educational loans without collateral and at relatively low-interest rates. The goal is to bridge the gap between demand for and access to quality education. I championed the definition and execution of the product delivery roadmap and growth-hack strategy.

I actively collaborated with various internal and external stakeholders to coordinate the entire product development lifecycle, including strategic planning, requirements analysis, QA testing, and product launch. I then facilitated the go-to-market strategy while providing technical guidance on achieving customer satisfaction.

I also led sprint planning sessions, daily stand-ups, backlog grooming, and sprint retrospective sessions. I conducted usability testing, user interviews, and surveys to gather customer insight for rapid iterations due to my sophisticated understanding of customer motivation and a knack for proactively driving go-to-market strategies and achieving product-market fit.

In addition, I provided personalized training, coaching, and mentorship to a team of product officers and business analysts to ensure their professional and personal development.

B2B Closed-loop Lending as a Service

Led the product management, design, integrations, tech stack migration, product launch, and marketing initiatives for a client's lending as a service software.

Advancly is a loan services platform that offers lenders and non-lenders a 100% digital loan application, automated risk assessment, liquidity, servicing, and repayment tracking solution in a B2B2C approach. I managed the product from the ground up and successfully achieved product-market fit within the first few months of the MVP launch, which rapidly attained a growth stage with an increased market share within six months.

The ability to support customers to make the right decision at the right speed was an essential part of the platform, which required integrations with payment gateways, data validation service, credit decision engine, know-your-customer (KYC) integrations, and credit bureaus. Furthermore, I also managed the engagements with third-party providers, ensuring no blockers during and after integration.

I collaborated with the business leaders and CTO to ensure that the platform was adequately positioned to support the key players within the lending ecosystem: funder, aggregator, OEM/supplier, and borrowers. I also worked with the design lead to instill a rapid design, test-and-learn approach, which saved development time as most iterations were done at the design stage.

One-stop Non-banking Financial Service Platform


Led the platform redesign and upgrade to newer technology—making the site PWA ready; this improved Alexa and similar web ranking and increased the number of active users and the leads-to-sales conversion.

AXA Mansard is a member of the AXA Group that offers a range of financial products. The web platform called MyAXA Web is a self-service platform for the purchase and management of insurance, investment, and healthcare plans. The overall goal of the revamp was to redesign and upgrade the platform to newer technology and improve user experience and customer satisfaction.

I defined the product strategy, scope, requirement, and execution roadmap. I also oversaw the implementation by working closely with cross-functional teams and relevant stakeholders (internal/external) to deliver the product objectives. I then designed the onboarding, pre, during, and post-purchase process flows and collaborated with the design lead to successfully align with new global brand guidelines while improving the user experience, discoverability, and overall performance.

I also managed engagements with third-party service providers, business expansion partnerships, and the global team. I followed up by conducting surveys to gather customer insight for rapid iterations. Finally, I also handled the requirements analysis, user acceptance testing, usability testing, user interviews, and creating a detailed go-live plan.

USSD Platform for Financial Inclusion

Led the development of Nigeria's foremost non-banking financial inclusion platform

AXA Mansard's Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform—sometimes referred to as quick codes or feature codes—is a communication protocol used by GSM cellular telephones to communicate with preferred service providers without using the internet. I was tasked with the scope definition, requirement gathering, process flow definition, content development, user testing, and application development management.

I led the end-to-end product strategy, execution, and launch of the financial inclusion application, which helped to deliver AXA Mansard's financial services, such as insurance, investment, etc., to low-income customers, especially those in remote areas with limited internet service.

The code served as a great tool to help customers solve location and access problems. Users can buy new products and policies, renew existing policies and make payments for value-added services by dialing *987# from their mobile phones, even without the internet.

VigiLearn Exam Portal | CBT Examination Software

Led the development and launch of a custom CBT exam platform for a distance learning institution within two weeks.

The VigiLearn exam portal is an offline and online computer-based test (CBT) examination platform that helps institutions conduct assessments and examinations remotely, a significant need due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I led the requirements gathering from institutions, scope definition, implementation, and launch of the MVP in one sprint. I conducted product discovery interviews with key players and developed an execution roadmap for subsequent releases.

I applied the Agile methodology to manage a team of developers and product designers to ensure timely delivery. I also facilitated the sprint planning sessions, daily stand-ups, and sprint retrospective sessions.

Coach Idris | Robo-advisor

Championed the development of Nigeria's first non-banking financial robo-advisor.

Coach Idris is a digital platform that provides automated, algorithm-driven investment and insurance advisory services without human interaction. It collects information about their finance and future goals through an online survey and then uses the data to advise them automatically–directing them to the right products in minutes.

I was fully accountable for the requirements gathering, ideation workshops, scope definition, algorithm document, custom content development, technical specifications, and execution plan. I actively collaborated with various internal and external stakeholders to coordinate the product development lifecycle, testing, and iterations. Lastly, I also led the product launch plan.

One-stop Non-banking Financial Service App | Fintech


Managed a team of developers and product designers by developing and launching the MyAXA Plus app for Android and iOS.

MyAXA Plus app is a three-in-one self-service platform for purchasing and managing insurance, investment, and healthcare plans. The goal is to offer a convenient way to manage health plans, insurance policies, and investments while delivering a seamless pre, during, and post-purchase experience within one application.

I managed the entire product development lifecycle, including planning, requirements gathering, design thinking sessions, customer interviews, competitor analysis, wireframing, user testing, and validation.

I also facilitated the go-to-market strategy while providing technical guidance on achieving optimal user experience. In addition, I led sprint planning sessions, daily standups, backlog grooming, and sprint retrospective sessions.

Inter-dealer Brokerage Application | Fintech


Introduced agile delivery, product discovery, and metrics-driven product management into the product development process.

I-invest is the first-ever app in Nigeria that enables customers to securely purchase and manage treasury bills, Eurobonds, and equities directly from their mobile devices without needing any banking officials, paper documents, or forms to fill.

I oversaw the product redesign and partnered with the design lead to achieve a user-centric interface design. I initiated market research initiatives, competitor analysis, product review, and analysis. I then conducted usability testing and customer validation. In addition, I introduced agile delivery, product discovery, and metrics-driven product management into the product development process.
2012 - 2014

Master's Degree in Public Health (Health Management)

University of Lagos - Lagos, Nigeria

2005 - 2009

Bachelor's Degree in Physiology

University of Ilorin - North Central, Nigeria


Agile Development Practices

LinkedIn Learning


The Emotionally Intelligent Leader



Management Certification in Developing People, Leading Teams, and Process Improvement



Product Masterclass: How to Build Digital Products

Product School


Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt

International Lean Six Sigma Institute


User Experience Design

The School of UX, London, United Kingdom


Project Management Professional (PMP)

Project Management Institute (PMI)


User Research Methods and Best Practices

Interaction Design Foundation


Sales Leadership

Pan-Atlantic University - Lagos Business School


Design Sprint