Out and About




HSM recently attended an event organized by Sterling Bank. It was a career advancement cum entertainment program tagged ‘Get Ready For Work Concert’. It had a little bit of comedy, dance and music thrown in, so it was a bit ‘outside the box’ for a bank. We weren’t big on the musical performances, but the intellectual discourse was so amazing! We had a little chat with Onome Umukoro, one of the organizers of the program and she took us behind the scenes of planning the event. Apparently, Sterling Bank has been big on Education and the entrepreneurship this year and most of their programs are focused on those areas. You remember the Sketchamania contest earlier this year? Onome says it wasn’t a big deal getting the bank’s management to flow with the idea because they’re so young and modern and have a flexible mindset. They definitely got it right because the feedback has been mind-blowing. You can enjoy excerpts from the event below:

Audience looking very relaxed. Out with the suits and in with the jeans
Audience looking very relaxed. Out with the suits and in with the jeans


Lekan giving his speech
Lekan giving his speech

Ever heard of Jobberman.com? It’s Nigeria’s largest online job finder. It was founded by Olalekan and his friends, Opeyemi and Ayodeji while they were undergraduates of ObafemiAwolowo University back in 2009. Read excerpts from his presentation below:

  • After removing his jacket because he felt he was over-dressed for the occasion, Lekan said “Everything required from a candidate in order to get a job is the same for starting a company. This was striking, but he went on to explain…..and he was right.
  • First of all, you have to be able to dream. As easy as this sounds, not everybody can close their eyes and just dream. He said, “Can you project into 2060 and tell me what you see?” Most people never realize their potential because they cannot dream out of fear or resignation. It‘s important not to lose sight of our dreams.
  • After recognizing this dream, the next step is to ask yourself the W questions. What do I need to achieve this dream? When will I get to this dream? Why do I even want this dream so bad? etc. this is a self evaluation process which helps you get everything into perspective. There is a sharper focus because you know where you’re going and how to get there.
  • You must be true to yourself. This pretty much speaks for itself. In all your actions and steps towards reaching your dream, hold on to objectivity. Only then can you maintain a clear picture of reality.
  • Execute. What’s the use of sitting around all day with pipe dreams? All those moments of running your imagination wild are only justified when put it to work. Ideas are a dime a dozen. So, if you continue dreaming without doing anything about those dreams, you’ll end up in the category of ‘would have beens’ and probably end up resenting people who pursued their dreams. The key is to start small, but just start something.
  • Study successful people. Lekan’s last point was to advise the observation of people who have excelled in their field. Note the qualities that made them tick and employ them to suit yourself. “The worst that could happen is that you would not be as successful as they were; but you would be better than before you started”

Small Business Success in Nigeria –Gbolahan Fagbure COO Jumia

Jumia is an online store which sells practically everything you can think of. From clothes, to electronics, to books, beauty products, etcetera. They recently acquired a really large warehouse to store their products. Gbolahan’s presentation centered on the tips to sustain and grow your dream once you’ve started it.

Gbolahan exuding perfect gentle-manliness while delivering his talk
Gbolahan exuding perfect gentle-manliness while delivering his talk
  • Discipline. This is as old as time itself. In all your endeavors and dealings with people, set a standard and stick to it. This includes time management, principles, human relations, etc. Make sure that you are known for having a good discipline.
  • Efficiency. This simply means that you should be reliable. Your clients or whoever should be able to count on you to get the job done properly. Efficiency is a mixture of acceptable standards and customer satisfaction. Achieve both and you won’t have a problem.
  • Hardwork. Well this is obvious isn’t it? We have a saying in Nigeria that “Everybody wey wan chop must work” It simply means that there is no food for a lazy man. You can only truly value and sustain something that you broke a sweat for. So roll up those sleeves and be prepared to burn the midnight candle.
  • Sacrifice. You want to be successful and hit it big? Well, you can forget sleeping in till 9am, or splashing out on that new LV bag. And you most definitely are going to be hanging out less with friends. It’s all part of the price to be paid for your dreams. You can enjoy all that and more when you get to the top.
  • Planning. That cliché about a failure to plan is a plan to fail is quite true. If you don’t decide where it is that you’re going and map out a concrete plan to get there, you’re going to sway whichever way the wind blows. Pay attention to every detail and follow through to the end, so you don’t get stuck mid way. And please remember to always have a backup plan…..and a second back up plan if the first doesn’t work.
  • Team. Even though it’s you dream, your idea, guess what? You’re not getting there all by yourself. Once you decide to start executing your ideas, you’re going to need a second or third opinion. You’ll need people to support you either physically, intellectually, or morally. These people make up your team and it’s your job to keep them in line with your vision so you can all achieve something. Note that you don’t need a football team. Start with a few people who truly know what your dream is about and can be of assistance in taking you there.
  • Ambition. Because we’re human and it’s in our nature to want more, you cannot get to a point and say “oh! I think I like the view here”. You have to keep aiming higher and dreaming bigger. This is why you should develop a system that can run efficiently, even when you’re not there.


    The word which comes to mind when you see Muyiwa is ‘vibrant’. He is so full of life, from the color of his jacket to the spring in his step! He runs a consulting firm which offers various services like psychometric testing et al. He also presents a radio program on Inspiration FM called Frankly Speaking. His speech was quite motivational and he stressed knowledge as the only key to success.

The colorful and very funny Muyiwa Afolabi
The colorful and very funny Muyiwa Afolabi
  • Muyiwa started by informing the audience about startling statistics concerning the wealth of natural resources in Nigeria and Africa. This served to remove the notion that there were no opportunities around us.
  • Education is NOT the key to success, but merely the forum for intellectual, political and socio-economic interaction for the purpose of global advancement.
  • He went on to prove this statement. Some people spend all their lives in classes; degree after degree, but are not successful. This is because education is not globally standardized. Thus, your literacy is defined by your geographical location, until you find yourself someplace where all you’ve learnt is not useful.
  • All education prepares you for is a career. Even then, a career is defined by your entire life’s worth. This comprises the period of paid employment, as well as self-employment.
  • Neither does money guarantee success, because you will never have enough of it. Most people search for jobs based on monetary gratification. Imagine how different the world would be today if people had fulfilling employment, based on their natural abilities. Everyone would look forward to Monday mornings.
  • Knowledge on the other hand is indispensable, because you cannot reach beyond what you know. It is the KEY to success.
  • The best principle of knowledge is to know what people need and how to provide it. In other words, be a solution provider. Solving people’s problems is the one way to stay relevant and amass wealth. This is the open secret of all successful businesses. Someone identified a problem; a need that was lacking; then found a way to fill that vacuum.
  • It is the way in which you are able to solve this problem that stands you out. This means that there is no monopoly of knowledge. It grows and develops alongside human civilization.
  • In response to an answer asked by a member of the audience concerning people with many talents and dreams, Muyiwa responded “Start with the easiest which requires the least capital. You build dreams one at a time and when they can stand on their own, take a bow and move on to the next one”.

Then there was talk about ‘Expectations’ delivered by the CEO, Poise Graduate Finishing School. Her talk centered on the physical aspects of an individual which takes you from unemployed to employable, then employed. Carriage, manners, language….she covered it all. She was the speaker who sent the audience into a mental frenzy with her SIX LETTER GAME. You can play it here. Lastly, Nigerian musician and founder EME Record Label, Bankole Wellington, gave a presentation on Entrepreneurship and Talent Building before serenading the crowd with his silky voice.


Mr Banky W
Mr Banky W

It was a lovely event and we say kudos to Sterling Bank for such a brilliant initiative. We hope you were inspired by the words of the speakers and you’re all revved up to dare to dream.





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