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Posts Tagged ‘Sylvester Kay Adade’

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.

 

déjà vu

June 12, 2010 Leave a comment

You know how sometimes and somehow, you’re put in a similar situation over & over? Or you’re told something by different people in different ways? Well, it’s happening to me a lot lately! I’ve been having the feeling that I need to read in between the lines.

It all started with one of my best friends, Kasope A*, saying to me in passing, “the future is only for those who prepare for it”. It has been stuck in my head. Then, I discovered the Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC), and now watch most of its shows. There are two of its originals I’m particularly fond of – Biography on CNBC and How I Made My Millions. On a recent episode of the latter, a woman who went from broke to a net worth of $150M USD said something profound. I can’t remember her exact words, but I spun it in my head as, “you have to be worth millions in your mind before it materializes”. It hit me like she was saying it to me directly. Lastly, I have a habit of reading biographies online and watching interviews on millionaires, and most of them chorus statements like: “dream big and bigger”, “no dream is too big” and “don’t give up”.

I decided these weren’t coincidences and I needed to act…fast! I learnt it wasn’t enough to just think it in my head, I had to put in down. And possibly also put it out there too, and by God’s grace, accomplish it all. To that effect, I typed out future me and then made a Wikipedia page, but it was soon deleted. This note was posted as the reason – “relevance of article?”. I guess that’s their way of saying, “the world doesn’t know you yet buddy.” Alternatively, I’ve set up a Facebook page, and if you aren’t already a fan on Facebook, you can become one by following this link directly to my page and like me :). I also put a detailed biography of  this future me for my bio page.

This “future me” write-up is drawn up from my perception of what future articles about me would state. Some of it has already begun, but I won’t tell what stage(s) I’m currently in. I did not put in a net worth so as not to limit myself, but tens of billions (of dollars) won’t be a stretch from what I’m thinking it could will be lol 😀

SYLVESTER O. KAY-ADADE

Sylvester Kay-Adade II is a Nigerian-Canadian Businessman, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist.

Please click here to read more.

That’s it! I don’t remember if I made this up or I heard/read it somewhere: “if you’re going to dream at all, might as well dream big!” It’s pretty smart so yeah, I most likely made it up lol. In case you’re wondering why there’s nothing about a wife or children, I do want to get married and have children. This is where I see myself in about 5 years from now. I think I’ll try to update it from time to time as things progress 🙂

I challenge you to do the same. Think of where you want to be in the next 5, 10 or 15 years and write it down. Setting and writing down your goals is half the battle won. I think it helps put things in perspective. Trust me 5 years isn’t a long time from now. I’ll see you at the top! 😀

ska legacy

April 10, 2010 10 comments

Prior to the one year remembrance of my dad, I’ve decided to do something significant. Rather than just look gloomy and reminisce every 11th day of May, I want to honor his memory annually – on his birthday, not the day of his passing. I’m calling it SKA Legacy. I hope to eventually make it a befitting annual celebration of a very remarkable man.

In commemoration of this decision, I will share my final words to my dad with everyone. This is my farewell message as it appeared in the program of his funeral mass on Thursday, May 28th, 2009.

The banner placed over the main gate into our residence during the ceremonies

FAREWELL DAD

There are so many things I wish I could say, but I literally would use up everyone else’s spots so I’ll attempt to make this as brief as possible. Growing up, I didn’t really have him around so I didn’t know a lot about him safe for a few things- he rushed everyone out of the house into the car workday mornings, he loved to watch CNN, he playfully called me ‘Sonny Jim’, we were both hairy, and that we are both Sylvester (which I thought was cool)…later, when I asked him if I was Sylvester Jnr or Sylvester II, he laughed and said anyone I like.

When I got into my teen years, he had retired so I got to see more of him…which was a disaster waiting to happen- a teenage boy and his ‘stay home’ dad. He was practically on my neck half the time- Sola, you’re too conscious of pimples…stop acting like a woman, turn off the lights when you’re not using them, girls shouldn’t be calling you this late, go get a haircut, turn off that television and read, keep to time…don’t be like your mother, learn to save etc. Not to mention the holidays when he would always insist I read ahead for the next session or term, go to summer school or read a book. He hated us waking up late. In fact, the ‘terror’ list is endless. I was certain I didn’t want to be anything like him. I thought he was not cool, mean and too much of a disciplinarian. The only thing we agreed on then was my choir practice because he was in the grammar school choir, and WWF wrestling on Sunday evenings.

Growing into a young man (which is the present), I started getting wiser and began to admire and understand him. The pimples were a phase. Time waits for no one and every second counts. Study now and enjoy the fruits later. The reading helped my grammar.  And now that I live alone, I save on my electric, water and phone bills. I might not have wanted to be like him, but we were alike in so many ways. I started spending more time and doing things with him: going to the barber shop together, enjoying the evening breeze outside together and listening to his life adventures, teasing my mom, listening to ‘Ikan be’ by Akolawole Olawuyi, buying shares etc.

He was a very loving dad in his own special ways. I was told of when he would put me on his laps while he drives so I could put my hands of the steering wheel and drive, sponsoring my formal education and holidays, driving to Ijanikin every month in 2002 just to see me in school along with some lunch, crying bitterly both times I was leaving Nigeria for Canada, giving me the best, and calling me “Mr Buttons” when I started my button-badges business. I also realized he was cool. For example, he had a nickname in high school – he was called ‘Wild Cat’. He was also quite athletic. I remembered the day he chased me around the house trying to cane me for something I did; I thought I was quick on my feet until that day. We both eventually had a couple of laughs after he finally had me cornered though.

All his kids and I will never forget, “Read Hard, Pray Hard, Play A Little, and you’ll succeed” and in the last two days I spent with him, God made me persuade him to give me advise for business, life, relationships and family; and he did! He always drove me to better than the best. He didn’t live to see me graduate, but I know he was proud that was becoming quite the family man (being close to all my sisters), a business man and my new last name.

My dad was responsible, thrifty, intelligent, soft-spoken, generous, good-looking, polished, honest, well-mannered and humble. He wasn’t perfect, but he was pretty close. Well, I think I’ll stop here and say, if I am ever a man worth emulating or celebrating, I owe it to God who gave him to me. Rest in perfect peace dad. I love you.

– Sylvester II Olusola Kay-Adade

I don’t think we shared the typical dad-son bond, but I miss him. This has a few entertaining stories of my life with my dad, but there are more – more I hope to share in a book called Sonny Jim, by God’s grace. A few weeks ago, a friend said to me, “I know you miss him, so what keeps you going?” I replied, “We miss him, but knowing he’s happy being in a better place, and knowing we’ll see him again is very comforting.”

Contrary to what people say, time doesn’t make it easier, God does. Thanks for reading.

think big

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

When I first decided I wanted to become a Doctor, I was so into it. I remember in grade 2 (1994), my mum got me a first aid play box – it came with a stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, otoscope and reflex hammer. In grade 3 (1995), I made my first set of colored bandages and swipes during an art class. And then, in grade 5 (1997), my dad got me “operation”. It was a fun game that mimicked the operation table of a surgeon.

Somewhere along the line, I decided to be a Chemical Engineer like one of my maternal uncles because I learnt he was making a lot of money. Sadly in 2000, based on my JSCE results, I was placed in the senior school for those poised for medically inclined line of work. I was so upset and wouldn’t have it. I complained and fought for engineering. I got it, but then it took me 2 years of bordering on failing advanced math to realize engineering wasn’t my calling.

One night, I remembered again that I wanted to be a Doctor and decided never to derail again. I fueled the dream by reading think big by Dr. Ben Carson, M.D.; and 2 of his other books. He became my first mentor and motivator. My fight to become a Medical Doctor, took me into Covenant University where I studied Computer Science for one year. It wasn’t a waste because while I was there, I got the inspiration to be an Oncologist.

I left CU and spent the next 2 years of my life in Houdegbe North American University (HNAUB) in Republique du Benin. While I was there, I was being trained to be a Medical Doctor and I loved it. The school had one too many challenges so I accepted by mum’s suggestion to transfer to Canada to continue.

I got to Canada and after a while, I began to have a twenage life crisis after at sat down one day to do the math. First, I had to do a 9-month program. Next study any 4-year program (most likely Psychology or Health Studies). After that, write the MCAT and then study Medicine for 4 years plus another 2 years in clinicals/internship. Finally, about 3 years shadowing an Oncologist. That was 13-14 years before I would be free to practice – at age 32/33. Tell me you wouldn’t freak! I couldn’t help thinking that if the Nigerian system wasn’t so sloppy, fresh out of high school, I could have been an Oncologist at 26 (10 years). Sometime after getting into McMaster, I lost absolute interest in medicine. I decided to focus just on Health Studies (which I’m in my Third year of presently) and do a Masters program in Public Health – and most likely get a job with the UN or WHO.

At age 17, while in Covenant University, I did a compulsory course in Entrepreneurship – we were educated on entrepreneurship and investments. I didn’t really pay do much attention during the investment classes ‘cuz I was already radical about it lol; and besides, my dad had taught me basically all we were being taught. He had tons shares in pretty much every company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, kept buying more for himself and all of us – his children. Much to my mum’s dismay, I caught the fire at age 15 and continued to buy for myself from my savings (built primarily from the dividends lol). Anyway, we were given a project in CU to map out our dreams over the next 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. Mine included Oncology, Research Labs, Automobile Company (Ritmo Car Company) and Resort (Pearl City/Adade Resort) with my younger sister, Veronica. That was my first attempt at thinking big.

I guess it was no surprise that at 20+, I started Pearl Creations. Funny thing is I still don’t know how I remembered about the buttons. It was birthed from a plan I had with my HNAUB roommate in 2005. Almost two years into my business phase, I still catch myself thinking if I’m actually doing the right thing. I wonder if I was meant to be doctor or if all I went through was to bring me to this end ‘cuz I can’t read medicine anymore. I feel like I might feel fulfilled, but will be simultaneously miserable. Miserable that I spent 26 – 27 years of my life in school becoming an oncologist! I already did the calculations and I couldn’t be an Oncologist before the age of 30. People tell me it’s not how long, but how well; frankly I don’t think they’re putting themselves in my shoes. For goodness sake, I can’t spend practically my entire life in school? I think it was around that time I decided, you know what, I’m going to be an Entrepreneur. I’m going to be business-oriented, work for myself, start from scratch, think BIG and build my way up.

I started by dreaming new dreams and pondering on some new ideas; and just as I was done, I watched “Two weeks notice” with High Grant & Sandra Bullock. In it, there was an appearance by a Mr. Trump. He was portrayed as some wealthy socialite. I had heard Trump a couple of times, but never really bothered to look him up. So after the movie, I decided to google Donald Trump and see what all the fuss is about. Well, he is a big deal. Just check out trump.com and see for yourself. After this, I read his biographies and story. Now, he’s my new motivation; not just because of his story, but because he has built a thriving empire (similar to the one in my dreams) from virtually nothing.

I have spent time thinking about how short life is and how little the time we have to make an impact on earth. It’s been six years since I left high school. I was one of the first to go straight into college and I’m still there! A lot of people tell me I should be happy and content, ‘cuz at 20, how many people can boast of a company (especially in a country that they aren’t from), earning their own money and even being profiled in newspapers and blogs?! I thank God for all of that, but I believe I can be much more!

One day, I decided, no more medical school…just like that! Next, I decided to put my new bigger dream in ink – Pearls Incorporated. Pearls Inc consists of Pearl Cafe, Pearl Creations, Pearl Academy and Pearl Hotel. I was so excited! I began drawing up plans, blueprints, structures, websites etc. It all sadly came to a halt after my dad passed away in May. It made me think more about time. It made me more family oriented, motivated to succeed, but I digress.

More and more, I think everything happens for a reason…even the passing away of my dad. I see reasons why things happen – where I am, why, where I was, what’s happened. It’s all coming together like a puzzle that’s being put together piece by piece. So to the array of dream companies, I decided to add my dad’s start-up – SKA Ventures (a financial solutions company). I think SKA (pronounced “scar”) came from his name – Sylvester Kay Adade; which is in tune with something I learnt from him and Donald Trump – the power of personal branding. He also thought me the importance of expanding and not limiting oneself. Hence, believing God, I pluralized all the Companies (e.g. Cafe to Cafes, Hotel to Hotels & Towers etc). And until last week, I called the umbrella company, The Pearls Incorporated, because it was all pearl this and pearl that. But now, taking a cue from my late dad and the donald, it is now: The SKA Group! Since I am Sylvester Kay-Adade II, the company name ain’t far fetched lol.

While I was in CU, Dr. David Oyedepo made two statements that have stuck to me all these years: 1. When purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable, and 2. We can only possess the future we see. Nothing disciplines a man more than the future he sees of himself; because only goal-setters ever become goal-getters. I know how easy it is to make plans and not execute them. So I prayed, started making new profiles & plans…which was fun, but also a ton of work. After all the restructuring of the brand, I came up with a draft design which was a lot better than the previous picture of a white pearl lol. My talented colleague, Najim Z*, cleaned it up and it came alive:

My initial plan was to put it all out here, but then, there are dream stealers and killers. Therefore, nahhh may be later…after it is all patented and legally registered lol. Anyway, for getting this far in reading all this, here is a brief:

The SKA Group – The umbrella Company for all my companies. So, as of January 1st, 2010, the umbrella company for Pearl Creations, Suave Clothing, SKA Ventures, Pearl Academy, Pearl Cafes and co will not be The Pearls Incorporated, but The SKA Group.

The Pearl Academy – middle and high school. Kasope A* (my high school best friend) and I thought of this way back in high school. The plan is still underway, though I think it is eventually going to be a lot more than just a high school.

Pearl Cafes – group of high-end coffee shops.

Pearl Creations – creative arm.

Pearl Hotels & Towers – accommodation and relaxation.

Pearl Lands & Realtors – real estate leases, rentals and sales.

SKA Ventures – financial services & solutions.

Suave Clothing (formerly Pearl Clothing) – formal and stylish clothing sales.

Sylver Publications – printing and publication services.

Please remember:
– Don’t be afraid to think big and dream bigger.
– Never underestimate yourself!
– And, no idea stealing or forgery! 😛