In a departure from my daily feature on a personality in Africa, I am delighted to feature not one or two, but five personalities from Africa whom I had the privilege of meeting at the TEDx Stadium Road Conference whose inaugural event held on the 18th of Saturday, 2013.
I know, believe me I know that the majority of you just said, TEDx what?! I will be my usual darling self and enlighten you.
TED which is the acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design is a non-profit organisation that is 100% devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It is one of the foremost symposiums in the world which supports world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED conferences invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers such as Bill Gates, Chimamanda Adichie, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Malcom Gladwell [to name a few], to speak about ideas worth sharing.
TEDx offers individuals or groups a medium to host local, self-organised events across the globe and reach into the very hinterlands which may otherwise be ignored and underestimated. Therefore, x=independently organised TED event.
Moving on from the background information; TEDx Stadium Road was organised by Donald Okudu of Mesh Ads and it was the opportunity I had been craving since I discovered that a good measure of the Stars in Africa personalities had some TED in their bloodstream.
Daniel Nnwoka AKA Dan ‘D’ Humorous was the able and suave compere for the day. Believe me, he shed his rugged, vernacular ways, wore a suit and spoke Queen’s English!
The Roll Call:
There were ten amazing speakers, but I chose to recall my thoughts and state some quotes from half of that number. Let’s fast forward to creativity!
Akpo Kentebe: A graduate of Electrical Engineering and a former employee of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, he owns the Vincent’s Quick Service Restaurant [QSR] chain, a subsidiary of Verse 29 Limited.
He stated that it was perfectly acceptable to start one’s enterprise by copying someone else; however, as you grow, be sure to innovate and add something different to your package to give your brand an edge.
Akpo Kentebe also reiterated the issue of focus; don’t run around trying to be all things to all men. Focus on a field/genre/industry and establish yourself in that industry. If and when you choose to conquer other industries, you may employ people to manage what you have established and free yourself to explore further.
Andre ‘Blaze’ Henshaw: First, this guy has got skills, oh my! Andre is a media personality who has worked as a radio DJ, producer, TV presenter, scriptwriter, director, voice-over artiste and cinematographer. You name it, he’s done it.
Hitting us from a historical perspective, Andre stated, “If you want to see change, find out what went wrong the first time. If you don’t know where you are coming from, you won’t know where you are going.”
He encouraged the mesmerised TEDxers to leave notes for posterity sake through some of the easily accessible modes of social media. Creativity, he opined, is a beautiful thing, but if it does not bring change or improvement, it is in futility.
Melissa Okonny: Petite Melissa with the pretty smile is a social entrepreneur and visionary thinker. A professional career counsellor, Melissa facilitates trainings for teenagers on varying matters. She heads the training department of FATE Foundation Port-Harcourt.
Her presentation which was titled ‘Fight or Flight’ was summarised thus; “Fight for your purpose and take flight into the future that your fight has bought for you. Be like the ant and overcome obstacles.” The ants don’t stop because there is something in their path; they go around it, climb over it, chew through it, or move it aside. Ain’t no stopping them!
She emphatically stated the importance of being a social entrepreneur by passing on knowledge that will bear fruit in the long term.
Michael Adukeh: I think of him, and I want to howl in laughter. Effortlessly funny, Michael [who has promised to jump start my media training; I need to give him a call…call made.] is the Creative Director of Twisted Classic Concepts which is the big Momma of ‘The Legends Theatre’. Michael is an actor, director, scriptwriter, producer and funny guy.
His presentation was entitled ‘Imagination and Innovation’ and he regaled us with tales about being the dumb kid in class as a child because his creativity was stifled by people who wanted him to be a certain kind of person whom they imagined he should be.
Out of the ashes of his constant humiliation rose his desire to tread the path he wanted; not for extrinsic value or gain, but for inner peace, passion and pleasure.
“We must pay the price for creativity,” he said “It will take some time, but keep your eyes on the big picture. Do not hinge creativity on monetary reward.”
Paul Foh: of the ‘Do it now!’ fame was introduced as the ‘Rock star of Motivational Speaking’, and did he motivate! From the lower end of town where he sold recharge units on a plastic table, Paul Foh, is the CEO of Katalyst Consulting. He is a Performance Coach, Customer Service Strategist and Bestselling Author.
“Perception,” he said, “Is stronger than reality; your self-image is a powerful tool which can drive your dreams to reality. Be careful about the words you hear, they make or mar you.” These are tested and trusted principles which have brought him before Governors and empire-lords.
Of course, the most important part of dreaming is doing; flee the dreaded ‘Procastinausorus’ and do it now!!!
TEDx Stadium Road was so well organised and had a fantastic ambience. Great networking, awesome ideas, and a 1000 & 1 reasons to keep doing! Did I mention that the theme was ‘Fast Forward to Creativity? Yeah, I copped it when I used it earlier.
Addendum: Apologies for the less-than-excellent picture quality.