Tell us about yourself
High School: Achimota School, Accra, Ghana
University: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
My favorite Biblical/historical character is David – a passionate man, poet, warrior, and lover of God. In my personal and professional life, I apply his ethic to challenges and obstacles – they are there to be overcomed so that I can grow to my next goal or level in a plan that God has intricately and purposefully woven.
I’ve had the privilege of an upbringing with parents who immersed their lives in public service, both internationally and locally, and imbued in me a deep sense of national pride, of scholarship, of integrity and of service.
In my entrepreneurial life, I’ve tried to lead with similar principles whether in product development, in corporate strategy, in customer engagement, or in community and stakeholder management.
I have found that the most effective way to lead is to be consistent in your principles so that people can anticipate what you expect and align with purpose. And I enjoy tackling complex problems of scale that involve learning and deep analysis towards strategic and significant impact.
I am a graph enthusiast and have invested myself considerably in exploring graph-native neural networks in machine learning.
My greatest joys professionally have been winning, defined as delighting customers with experiences that deliver real and impactful results, obviously driven by innovative technology.
In my personal life, my greatest joys are in family moments, the opportunity to bond with people who would do and would give anything for each other, without reason other than the unique bond that is family, God’s own bond.
I love also to read – ancient military history, preferably novelized but maintaining a pure historical basis, my favored genre.
Shotokan karate is how I attempt to maintain an intense sharpening of mind and body.
And through coffee, I explore the geographic and “palletic” world from Ethiopia to Indonesia, with the added benefit of a natural boost in a daily brew – french press being my preferred method.
Ultimately, I hope to live a life of learning, pleasing to God, loving to family, service to nation, impact to world.
Walk us through your early career journey (first 5 years)
Year 1: Worked as a Senior Analyst, BIOS Engineering at Dell Computer Corp. in Austin, Texas; learned a lot not only about computer chip architecture technology but also how the whole industry collaborates from innovation to distribution (how business works) and filed a patent in the process.
Years 2 – 5: Co-founded Rancard with Ehi Binitie; learned a lot about all the difference between expressing a passion and even skill versus operating a business successfully to deliver that passion.
What values/skills would you say you demonstrated in your early career journey that have contributed to your career success?
Values & Skills that contributed to my success – persistent pursuit of excellence, integrity, curiosity, developing insights, constant learning.
Did you always know you wanted to do what you are doing now?
I knew by junior (3rd) year in college that I wanted to pursue a career in eCommerce / eBusiness-related product development. Prior to that, I thought I wanted to be an Automotive Engineer.
What were some of the mistakes you made on the career journey?
Mistakes? too many to remember but some notable had to do with:
- resilience: not understanding the time it would take for even the best ideas to mature, to go from gestation to market / commercial adoption and so not building the necessary resilience upfront to facilitate the journey
- governance: initially not having the accountability structures to hold us to properly formulated, time-based, challenging but achievable business goals
If you had the opportunity to change one thing in your early career/work experience days what will it be?
changing the past? I wouldn’t change anything except perhaps to learn faster; either you go through management training before starting a business, or you learn on the job. Either way what you hope to do is to learn quickly, and if possibly mostly from other people’s experiences
Any advice to someone who is confused about their career planning?
career planning: I like the three intersecting circles model that Jim Collins refers to in his book ‘Good to Great’:
- passion: what do you absolutely love and enjoy occupying your time doing
- talent: what are you potentially the world’s best at
- economics: how does it make you money
The theory is if you can find the intersection between your passion, talent and how that translates to making a meaningful income, that’s probably your ideal and sustainable career. Think of the professionals you most admire in business, sports, music, etc…
If you had a minute to coach/advice a tertiary student about work readiness, what would it be?
Read a lot about topics you’re passionate about – so build up your knowledge in the context of your passion, try to get an internship in related areas of work and develop role models (even if you never meet them in person, study their trajectories from afar) in the areas of your passion.
Knowing what you know now as a high-profile professional, what would be your advice to a rising young professional you are mentoring?
Absolutely pursue your career (hopefully aligned to your passions and talents) with depth, that is dig deep like a foundation for a high and mighty structure (your future); stay focused on impact, that is achieving real results from your work that move the success needle in an incontrovertible manner so you and your co-workers can gain both satisfaction and value from your work; and keep a winning attitude – clear goals, persistent pursuit of excellence with uncompromisable integrity.