Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Kedari Capital’

kedari

July 25, 2019 Leave a comment

All my adult life, I’d been self-employed, and successfully so. However, Q1 2017 was pretty slow, and I was going stir-crazy being home all day. My sister started pestering a few of her friends on my behalf. Thankfully, one of them was able to call in a few favors [for just an interview]. The first lead, a commercial bank, didn’t pan out. However, mid-March 2017, I got a call from the Executive Director (ED) of Kedari Capital to come over to their head office for a chat.

I looked the company up online. “An investment bank? Cha-ching”, I thought, “I have to nail this.” I did a crash course in financial services terminologies on YouTube, and familiarized myself with their services as well. I prayed and left the rest in God’s hands.

We had the chat in the office of Mr. Muyiwa Oshin (MO), the ED. Mr. Niyi Idris (Niyi), Head of Corporate Finance & Advisory, joined in. I think it went very well. We discussed my academic background, business/work experience, computer skills, and salary expectations. Both men were quite engaging and very easy to talk to. Fun fact – turns out MO is also an alumnus of Federal Government College Lagos (FGCL Ijanikin). We swapped stories and experiences a few times over the course of our work relationship.

The next day, I got a call inviting me for an interview. The interview was in 4 stages – a quantitative aptitude test, a verbal aptitude test, an oral interview with an employee or two, and an oral interview with the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO). I felt I did well in both tests. Also had a good interview – actually, more like a conversation – with my predecessor, Boye. It was then time for the last lap, my meeting with Mrs. Ife Fashola (Mrs Fash), the GCEO.

I was directed to her office when she was ready to see me. It is a large office, and could be impressive or intimidating; depending on how you choose to see it. I was intimidated. She was sitting at her desk, responding to a call via her handsfree, and typing an email on her laptop. She motioned for me to sit and give her a moment. What seemed like eons later, she looked up to face me. She told me I did very well in the tests and got an approval from my interviewer, Boye.

Her first question – tell me about yourself. That question throws a lot of people off balance, but I managed to give her a summary of my education, skills and business experience. She nodded when I was done.

The next two questions she asked were a bit odd. First, she asked, “Have you been to our website?” I said I had. She asked, “What’s the main color on the website?” I said “Green”. She asked if I was sure; I confirmed. She appreciated it and proceeded to explain why she asked [and I was curious to know as well].

She told me the story of a former applicant she’d interviewed recently. She said he came highly recommended. He aced all the tests and scored high in his interview. His meeting with her went very well also. As they rounded up, somehow, the website came up. That’s when she asked him that same question. He said, “Yes, and the main color on the site is red”. She gave him the opportunity to mention other colors, but he insisted he’d been to the website and the major color is red. They opened the website together, and clearly, the predominant color was green, with not even a hint of red anywhere. He’d have been better off saying he hadn’t been to the site. She said she didn’t hire him because he had no integrity, and she couldn’t trust him.

I resumed for my first day as an employee on Monday, April 3rd, 2017 – 8:00am.

I started as an Analyst in Corporate Finance & Advisory. My first assignment was a complete analysis of the Nigerian Pension Ecosystem and offer recommendations on ways the Federal Government could prevent pensions payment delays. Over the next 8 months, I learned how to and took up the responsibilities of drafting call memos, mandates and summary reports; preparing financial due diligence reports for M&A transactions; preparing investment reviews to assess financial viability and investment memos to determine potential yields; and preparing research reports. Mrs Fash also added management of special assignments to my portfolio. One of my special assignments was the revamp of the website. I was later put on the Investment Steering Committee of the 250m Kedari Investment Fund (KIF) as a member and its secretary.

Some time in November 2017, I had a meeting with the GCEO. She wanted to follow up with me on how I was adjusting to investment banking, particularly in Corporate Finance. We had a candid conversation. Corporate Finance is basically about numbers – valuations and recommendations, and I’m not much of a numbers person. I did the work, but honestly, I wasn’t in my element. I told her as much. She said she’d noticed it in my performance.

It is at this point some bosses would issue a query or show the employee the door, but being a leader, Mrs Fash didn’t do that. She said it seemed to her that I did better in problem-solving and research. So, she recommended, as a creative and entrepreneurial person, that I consider joining the Risk Management & Consulting team for a one-month (December 2017) trial period. By the end of December, I could tell her if I feel like I blossomed there, or wanted to return to Corporate Finance. I decided to give it a go. I stayed.

Risk Management & Consulting was a perfect fit. Plus, my supervisor, Mr. Yemi Ajayi (Prof) was pretty cool. My new responsibilities included the preparation of financial risk due diligence reports for investor clients, preparation of risk research reports, and providing training in disaster recovery & enterprise risk management framework. I asked Mrs Fash, due to my passion for small business, if we could explore small business advisory and I’d take up the responsibility. She agreed. So, I was also lead consultant for SME advisory services. Later down the line, I also became the research team lead for the preparation of analysis and reports on the Nigerian financial services sector and stock market. I maintained my position as member and secretary of the Investment Steering Committee for KIF as well. I was quite busy 😄.

I enjoyed working there, and I learned a lot too. Sometimes, the work was overwhelming. There were times when there was so much to do [in such little time]; especially when preparing for bids. I remember when I worked with the Managing Director, Mr. Bolaji Nurudeen (MD), on my first due diligence report – along with Damilola Omisore (Dami) – on my first M&A transaction. It was essentially a 4-man project, along with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr. Taofeek Tiamiyu (CFO). The project took us a little over a month to complete. I enjoyed it – particularly the investigating and verifications. It was fun. About a month later, Niyi asked me to do a due diligence report for another M&A transaction over the weekend! He gave me access to the deal room on a Thursday and wanted the report by the following Monday. He eventually gave me a week, but I actually had it mostly done by Monday; don’t think I’d ever worked so hard in my life!

Sadly, January 2019, I left. The Amuwo Odofin – Victoria Island commute was taking a toll on my health. Every day, I had to be out of the house by 5:45am in order to beat traffic, stay working/wait in the office until 10:00pm [to avoid most of the traffic], and get home 11:00pm; sometimes, midnight. I had to work weekends sometimes too. My medical checkup in November 2018 showed I had started developing high blood pressure. That, for me, was a reality check.

I discussed my leaving with Prof; my office bestie, Ms. Tobi Shodipe (Tobes); and my office big sister, Mrs. Ugo Oyewola (Ugo Plc), the Head of Asset Management. After seeking their advice and praying, I decided to leave January 2019. It wasn’t an easy decision. Kedari Capital is more than a company, it was a family – we called ourselves “Kedarians”.

All supervisors were very helpful. Apart from Corporate Finance and Risk Management, learned a little about Securities Trading and Asset Management from MD and Ugo Plc respectively. In fact, 2 people I never thought I’d have much of a relationship with were Ugo Plc and CFO. They seemed mean and intimidating when I first started there, but they’ve turned out to be 2 of the coolest people I know. Ugo Plc’s nickname for me was “Sly”, while CFO’s for me was “Best man” – he thought I always looked like I was dressed for a wedding; especially when I used bow ties, pocket squares, or waistcoats.

On my last day, Thursday, January 31st, 2019, the company organized a small send-forth party for me! I was surprised. There was cake, finger food and drinks.

Everyone went round saying their initial perceptions and current understanding of me, as well as advice for the future. In a nutshell, I’m apparently: “ridiculously calm”, “seemingly emotionless”, “never in a hurry”, “very soft-spoken”, “efficient and thorough”, and “very well-dressed”. I was advised to keep it up, but try to toughen up a bit ‘cos I’m, as they said, no longer in Canada, but Nigeria now 😄. Thankfully, I didn’t have to give a speech, whew!

I did, however, share a heartfelt message on the company’s WhatsApp group for staff when I got home. I waited for everyone to send their farewell messages before I sent mine in.

Thank you Yemi, Ugo, Bolaji, Ajibola, and Niyi for your kind words.
It means a lot to be respected and valued by people I have great admiration for.

Thank you all for the outpouring of love today.
Thank you for the beautiful cake, snacks, and drinks.
Thank you for putting everything together HR, I mean, Esther 😄
I feel so appreciated and honored.

Thank you for the prayers.
Thank you for your words of advice and encouragement today, Bolaji, Agbolade, Dami, Mikun, Damilola, Ajibola, James, Goke, Niyi, and of course, Ugo.
Thank you for your well wishes also, I could tell you all meant every word.

My decision to leave did not come easy.
Kedari Capital is certainly a conducive place to work and learn, but it’s also a family full of warm, intelligent and hardworking people.

The last question Mrs. Fash asked me during my interview with her was “What’s the color/main color on the Kedari website?” I said “Green”. She appreciated it and told me a story of how someone once came, aced the tests and scored high in his interviews, but when she asked him the same question, he said “Red”. She gave him the opportunity to correct himself and mention other colors, but he adamantly insisted he’d been to the website and the major color is red. She didn’t hire him because he had no integrity, and she couldn’t trust him. That spoke volumes to me. It meant this is a place, or at least, she is a person that values honesty and integrity. I was happy to be welcomed by people of like minds and values.

I felt very welcome from my first meeting with MO and Niyi, and then meeting Mikun and Boye on my unofficial first day. Today, I don’t feel like I’m leaving, but moving on, and I’ll definitely come visiting as often as I can; we’re family.

I’m glad I met each and every one of you.

Thank you for all you’ve taught me Bolaji, Niyi, Yemi, CFO, and Ajibola.
Thank you for all the opportunities and special projects Mrs. Fash.
Thank you all for being wonderful colleagues; it’s been a pleasure.

I’ll miss you all, especially Tobi and Deola.
And my wonderful team, Prof🙌🏼 and Goke, I’ll miss working with you; we had an excellent relationship. I enjoyed our lunches, even though I was scammed out of 2 or 3, I forgive you 😄

Thanks for everything fam.
God bless you all.

Mrs. Fash, who was out of town, decided to put in a few words of her own. I’ll end this post with her message:

Permit me to add my voice to the farewells.

Sylvester, it was great having you in Kedari and I wish you all the very best for the future.

Kedari remains a place of learning and collaboration for you. Feel free to walk in anytime.

You did very well with every project that I handed to you. You showed initiative and saw things through.

You accepted correction with the best attitude. You definitely have the ingredients of a great leader.

I wish success with every endeavour.

punch

February 17, 2019 Leave a comment

I was recently classified as one of the young Nigerians doing well [in his field] by Punch Newspapers and interviewed.

I was asked to share some of my experiences and offer advice that could inspire others.

I was both honored and humbled to be sought out; most of all, always grateful to God for every opportunity.

It was a long one, so the whole interview wasn’t published, but below is the unabridged version of the interview; after it, is a link to the actual publication.

Can we meet you?

Certainly, my name is Sylvester Kay-Adade.

I’m a business consultant, investment banker and serial entrepreneur.

 

What stirred your interest in what you do?

I can’t put my finger on exactly what stirred up the passion for business in me, but what’s got me going is the need for improvement in industries that I find interesting.

 

What is your educational background?

I’ve had quite a journey, educationally, so I’ll stick to the relevant bits.

For high school, I attended Federal Government College, Lagos, and Southern Ontario College, Hamilton. For college, I attended McMaster University and Mohawk College for Social Science/Psychology and Business Management respectively.

 

What is your current position?
I’m the Principal Consultant in Herança Financial.

 

How old are you?

I’m 31 years old.

 

What is your work history?

Most recently, Risk Management and Consulting at Kedari Capital from 2017 till 2019.

However, as a serial entrepreneur, it’s been quite a list, but the most popular are Brand Manager at Pearl Kreations since 2008, and Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Centerprise Global Resources (in partnership with a friend) since 2016.

 

What is your current position and what factors are responsible for your accomplishments?

I’ll focus on Herança Financial, where I’m the Principal Consultant.

I’d have to state passion, persistence, and networking as the top 3 factors, for me.

I’m incredibly passionate about small business – every aspect of it. It’s what I love to do.

I am persistent – I’ve drafted business plans and business proposals pro bono. I’ve taught classes, spoken at seminars, and written articles. I never give up.

I’m reserved, so networking didn’t, still doesn’t come easy, but it’s one of the best ways to meet people and talk to them about yourself, and what you do. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, people get excited about what you’re saying if you’re also absolutely psyched about what you’re telling them!

 

What is your job description?

Herança Financial is an SME advisory firm.

I spend my time offering advice/developing business ideas, drafting business plans/proposals, advising on expansion plans, and generally providing solutions to various business issues.

 

What motivates your work?

Passion and a drive for excellence. I love what I do; it gets me up in the morning. And whatever I’m involved in must be done right, mediocrity upsets me.

 

What are the challenges you face on the job and how do you surmount them?

The greatest was self-doubt. Every entrepreneur has those moments when they panic and question themselves. Sometimes, it was like “I hope I know what the heck I’m doing”. Those were times when my faith in God, His words concerning me, and His plans for my life were tested. It might sound corny, but I learnt to trust in Jesus and talk to Him more, confess God’s word over my life and make positive declarations daily. One of my favorites is: I am the most excellent of men and my lips have been anointed with grace since God has blessed me forever – Psalm 45:2.

Another challenge is getting people to pay for services rendered! It’s ridiculous. Nigerians have to be one of the toughest people to get your money from. I’ve worked with some micro enterprise owners and some politicians, the same thing! I’ll have to get back to you on that one when I figure it out.

 

What are some notable achievements you have recorded?

In 2010, through Pearl Kreations, I was nominated for Business Owner of the Year at The Future Nigeria Awards. Also through Pearl Kreations, in 2009, I was admitted into the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Business Network. We also worked with the Jim Ovia Foundation for a Youth Empowerment and ICT Event in 2013.

 

In what ways do you think the government can encourage the youth?

I think the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN) initiative that President Jonathan launched was a brilliant initiative. I learnt a lot of young people benefited greatly from it. Though, there could have been better checks, because I know of a few who squandered millions. I thought YouWiN! Connect by President Buhari would be better, and it started off that way, but I read it ended seemingly being some sort of scam.

I think the government can focus on educating youth on business and entrepreneurship, right from secondary school level, if possible. Let’s face it, not everyone is cut out for a 9-5 and there very few jobs out there. Even if you’re a salary earner, nothing wrong with multiple streams of income. Our youths can be inspired from a young age to be business owners and employers.

I also think programs like YouWIN should continue, and grants (not equity funding) should be offered, possibly in tranches, to those with good business plans.

 

What aspect of your career do you enjoy the most and how has it impacted your life?

Like I said, I’m passionate about small business. I love to sit with entrepreneurs, watch their eyes twinkle as they share their dreams (it’s like the beginning of a great story every time), help expand their minds/visions, develop a feasible plan with them, and help make those dreams a reality. The impact has just been the immense feeling of fulfillment.

 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’d have to keep to myself, but I’m sure it’s nothing compared to what God has in store for me.

 

What are some of the qualities you think a leader must possess in other to be successful?

I think a leader has to be a teacher and also teachable. A leader has to be kind and respectful. A leader has to be willing to serve and build others up. A leader has to inspire, not only through words, but through action.

 

Was there any incident that changed the course of your life?

By God’s grace, I have experienced great growth in such a short time, through dogged determination and the most random acts of kindness. One that changed the course of my life was my encounter with Suzanne Bourret. Suzanne is/was a journalist. We met at an event showcasing African cultures. I was there selling the most unassuming products, button-badges with flags on them. She was intrigued. She chatted with me for a bit and asked to interview me. My first interview. Before I knew it, I was answering questions, doing a photo shoot, and in a few days, I was on the pages of The Hamilton Spectator (one of the biggest and most widely read newspapers in Ontario). That article was the beginning of great things. I’ll always be thankful to God for that.

 

What are your other interests?

Board Games, Card Games, Charades, Movies, and Tennis.

 

Who are your role models?

I have a bunch of them because I admire different aspects of their lives, but I’ll name a few: My dad, Late Mr. Olukayode Adade, Mr. Elon Musk, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Mr. Jeff Bezos, and Ms. Oprah Winfrey.

 

How would you advise people who aspire to follow in your footprints?

In 2008, a few months after I started Pearl Kreations, I applied to be a vendor for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I was turned down because I didn’t have business registration and other requirements. I felt deflated, but I snapped out of it. I knew getting in could work wonders for my business. I wrote back stating I was a student entrepreneur and shared the link of the newspaper article I was featured in. By God’s grace, about a week later, I was admitted.

You can’t give up. Yes, it takes time, but if you’re passionate about it and it’s solving a problem/improving a solution, hang in there. Never worry, God’s got you.

 

This is the link to original publication.