It’s hard to believe it was almost 4 years ago when I gave this interview to my Alma mater. But I think it speaks definitively to my approach to life and pursuing one’s purpose, passion and presence. I feel so fortunate to be able to say that 4 years later I’m living out the desires I laid out in this conversation:
Olagunju’s vision is in Africa, where he wants to help economies by working with banks or consultants who support small businesses.
“Small business is a big part of why the United States is where it is,” says Olagunju who, at 7, moved to Newark from Nigeria with his family in 1989 for more educational opportunities. “That’s something that’s lacking in developing countries around the world. Being able to create financial intermediaries that can give access to these kinds of businesses can really jump-start or sustain these kinds of economies.”
Olagunju’s interest in international connections is a theme for him. He developed the concept at the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, a summer leadership program for African-American men in college. Founder and president William Keyes is a UNC alumnus and board of visitors member. Olagunju created a plan to take a group to Ghana for an international program on scholarship, leadership and service.
His idea was inspired by Kenan-Flagler’s Global Scholars Program, in which Olagunju participated by living in a dorm and taking classes with students from business schools from around the world.
“One of the unique things about UNC is that there’s really this bent toward public service. It’s something that UNC preaches a lot,” Olagunju says.
That resonates with the self-described idealist. He wants to combine economic empowerment and the sort of social responsibility and sustainability he learned about at Kenan-Flagler.
“I’m really trying to take stock of what I’ve done thus far and how I can meet the best of both worlds for myself. One of the things that was really important to me about (the Institute for Responsible Citizenship) was the feeling every day like there was purpose to what I was doing. I want to combine that with being involved with the economic development of Africa,” Olagunju says.
Read the full interview here.
So recently, as I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing I started to ponder How did I get here? What helped me realize these dreams? Is there something transferable to be gleaned from it.
I remember a couple of key conversations that helped me in shaping my thinking about my career. One of those was from a fellow Kenan-Flagler alum…
Cheers for now,