Knowing, loving Opeyemi Olugbemiro
When you run into Opeyemi in Akure those days, you are inevitably struck by the charm of this young amazing man who is either discussing his vision for Nigeria to a set of young people, talking about his love for journalism or emphasising the need for community-building.
“It is when we come together that we can build strength, consolidate our efforts, and achieve our objectives as individual young people and startups”
I don’t have him on record saying that, but he probably did. If it wasn’t while holding the mic at one of his meet-ups, it is directly to the ears of one the founders of startups the emerged from that time.
When he finally joined our team, he brought a whole new energy on board. Have you ever seen Ope talk through the same situation you thought was complicated? Oh… smoothly. All you have to do is give him the full answer when he calmly asks you “what happened?” By the time he is done analysing and advising, it is you who would be wondering what happened.
At our last retreat where we reviewed 2020, we awarded Ope our Model for Empathy as a core value.
He embodies true love and concern for people. And he has shown this in so many noteworthy ways too simply deep to describe in a note like this.
Beyond the remarkable trait(s) he lives out on the team, I have watched Ope influence us on the best practices and decisions that helped us prevent conflict and preserve relationships. There were many times my ego, or even that of the entire team as a collective would be close to getting the better of us, but there was Ope making a case right from the pit of our blindspot. He is thinking for us, while also thinking for the other party, and he is in the middle finding a balance that is in the best interest of everyone. Talk about CEO level of diplomacy, yes that’s him.
Sometime in 2017, or say ’18, I had a personal experience that changed my personality in some major department of my life. Enough of the grammar… I am talking about my love life. I had changed completely and was exhibiting the opposite of who I really was without giving it a thought.
“This is not who you are though, Victor. This is not your true self. This is not the person we experience every day as our CEO, or as a friend, or as a brother. This person you are (in your love life) is not you.”
Now, that’s a quote of him, paraphrased.
And he was right. And it changed me — back to who I really was — over time.
And he would go ahead to do the same on many other matters. He would take that deeper perspective that is founded on kindness, and edit the emails, the responses, and more, to ensure that way beyond stimuli, every action and reaction is done out of love.