Segun Oke

Where Segun is from

Lagos, Nigeria

 

Interview

What was your dream when you were a kid? What was the reason?

I wanted to be an army general because my father was a retired soldier and influenced me a lot to think that the life of army general is one of the best with respect to influence, wealth and success.

I love the taste of battle and victory.

 

What was your dream when you were 18 years old? What was the reason?

I wanted to be a community/political leader; someone who helps to lead my community out of poverty, rewrite our stories, give opportunities to young people and inspire people to do great things. I read a lot of books written by many writers who fought for the independence of many African countries and books by Shief Obafemi Awolowo and the Bible.

 

What made you start thinking about social entrepreneurship/social enterprises? When was that?

I noticed that I have strong passion for community development since I was 11 years old. And this passion was fueled by the knowledge of Jesus Christ, who gave up his life for humankind, when I was 15 years old. Since then, nothing else has given me much fulfillment as living for others and helping others fulfill their purpose. In 2009, the burden to be a blessing to others became very great that I founded my own non profit organization. When I managed this organization for a few years, I needed the knowledge of sustainable business model so I enrolled social entrepreneurship.

 

How much do you think social entrepreneurs play an important role in the world?

To the extent that human beings as social animals with economic, social and medical needs, social entrepreneurs find a place to make impact, innovate and create opportunities to foster a mutually beneficial relationship / ecosystem. The world is better if we can make money with human face preserving the habitats and innovating in a sustainable way. I think this is the value that social entrepreneurs bring to the table.

 

What would you say to future social entrepreneurs / those who are interested in social entrepreneurs?

Follow your heart, do what is good and live for a purpose that is beyond you. In the end, nothing else would matter as much as the lives that you have touched. When you grow, you die. Every material thing that you have possessed loses value to you. Follow your heart and do good.

 

What is your favorite quote? Who said that quote?

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. – Jesus Christ

 

Who Segun is

Segun actually cannot see things clearly because of an issue with his eyes, but I sometimes feel like he sees people more and better than I do. The other senses that he possesses are very, very sharp, especially his auditory sense. Segun usually listens to others firmly and fixedly while they are talking. Then, Segun suddenly opens his mouth and gives you meaningful opinions that could be critical and also  supportive.

I think that his brain works as if it were a database that contains many pieces of information. For him, listening is a process of scanning the data and matching the data to what he is hearing, then he speaks when the match is found. What’s more, he is very knowledgeable. His questions are incredibly on point every time.

First of all, it’s unimaginable he remembers everything. is brain has much more capacity than you think. It is said that Evernote is a digital brain for you for remembering something important instead of putting everything in your brain. However, Segun would not need Evernote, Google Drive or Dropbox or those kinds of apps. He is not able to take notes and to review them later but every single information that he needs is still in his head.

When I interviewed Segun for this article, he was bending his body in a weird way. He said, “I’m writing a sentence in my head. This is the perfect position.” I loved the expression. His words are not just falling out haphazardly, they are written and well structured in his head before being vocally published to the world.

Can you imagine how you would be if you were Segun? Well, Segun is amazingly very positive, easy-going and never looks desperate. He overcomes difficulties in his life where other people might give up.. Segun is just awesome and I love him.

segun

 

Awesome Episode

Segun and I became teammates one time in a class. It was my first time working with him so I was very excited about that, but it unexpectedly became a meaningful opportunity for me to get to know about him more.

The class was called Change Management and we needed to give a presentation about how an organization had changed something bad. We could talk about a culture, or maybe a system. I shared my experience of working for a car company in Japan and suggested to use the example for our presentation. The company had contracts with several outsourcing firms to deal with small details but they changed the system, which added a big company to manage the outsourcing companies well.  Four of our teammates including me supported the idea, but only Segun could not agree with that. The idea was not clear for him because he was suspicious of one thing.

According to Segun, the perspective through which we approached the problem was vague, it could be from the car company, the management company or the outsourcing ones. Actually, Segun was absolutely right. In the end, he was the only one who found out the root issue with the idea, which none of us could originally see. It took 30 minutes to convince Segun to take my idea but he kept resisting, trying to understand the content and asking questions to make sure of everything. After 30 minutes, we were convinced. If we had remained with the original idea, we wouldn’t have got our job done with high quality.

I will never forget what he said after we thanked him and gave appreciation that he did not give up in insisting that we were wrong. “People usually don’t care about what I say when I don’t agree with something, so I got used to this. Thank you for accepting me and taking my opinions seriously.”

It is the proof that you need at least one person to disagree with you instead of gathering only people who are always on your side. To this day I think that he taught me what being “blind” really means.

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The Power of MSE

What Segun is holding is a symbol called “go-en(ご縁)”, which means ‘fate’, ’destiny’ and ’special tie.’

I believe that it is meant to be that we met in San Francisco! I studied Social Entrepreneurship with Segun for a year, saying “We will make the world a better place.” I would love to spend the rest of my life with MSEs (Master of Social Entrepreneurship; my classmates) until the very day I die. They have already completely changed my life.

At the same time, however, I also think that we should not be together all the time, because that is not the reason why we learned Social Entrepreneurship. That is not how we will deliver the impact we want to give to society and to the world.

I think MSEs are like dandelions. We were seeded at the first day at Hult and we bloomed on our graduation day. Our mission is that we spread all over the world like dandelions and seed the future, the next generation, from each place where each of us has landed.

本当にありがとう(Honto ni Arigato-); Thank you very very much for everything!! The world needs you! Let’s make the world a better place together!!

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