#40. 10 minutes with Nero Okwa
An Expanded Version
Welcome to the 40th issue of this newsletter. For this issue I thought we should do something different. I recently did a short article at work on what Black History Month means to me. I thought it would be great to write an expanded version, re-introducing myself, and the objective behind this newsletter.
Let’s jump right in!
Table of Content
- About Me
- Black History Month (BHM) Q&A
- Why this Newsletter?
Hello everyone 😊.
I am a Product Manager at QuantumBlack where I help build products for data practitioners. I am a Management graduate from the Durham University Business School, and a Mechanical Engineering graduate from University College London (UCL). I have held management and technical roles in the Energy, Manufacturing, and Aviation industries.
As an entrepreneur and storyteller, I have previously co-founded 2 Startups, and enjoy writing a blog and this newsletter.
Black History Month (BHM) Q&A
1. What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is an opportunity to stop and reflect on the contribution of Black people and those of African heritage like me, to the world throughout history. It’s a time when I consider the stories of what those who came before me have achieved. I think of Sundiata Keita, Mansa Musa, Kwame Nkrumah, Haile Selassie I, Nelson Mandela, Wangari Maathai, and Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
I come from the Urhobo ethnic group in Nigeria who for over five centuries were experts in producing and processing palm oil, which provided the lubricant for the industrial revolution in the UK and Europe. That mindset, and heritage drives me to continue building innovative products that are impactful. I hope I can build on these legacies for the community, and a better world.
2. What led you to this career in Product Management?
My previous experience co-founding a startup led me to this career. Seeing the impact of serving tens of thousands of users was fulfilling. So, I wanted to continue building products that have an impact on more people, and more organizations.
3. What is one professional skill you are currently working on?
The professional skill I am currently working on is Active Listening.
Every day we interact with other people across different scenarios. I believe going beyond ‘listening to respond’ to ‘Active Listening’ could dramatically improve the quality of our interactions and relationships. Here is an excellent guide from Harvard Business Review.
4. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
During my spare time I enjoy researching and writing new articles for this newsletter. This helps me to explore a topic from different angles, clarify my thinking, and communicate insights in a way that is interesting, actionable, and fun.
Why this Newsletter?
As I mentioned here, I started writing this newsletter as a way to share my career and entrepreneurial experiences, and clarify my thinking from different books and resources I have studied.
Today this newsletter is a journal of my lifelong learning journey and work experiences across my interests: Business, Technology (Product Management), Career Development, and Africa.
I don’t see myself as an expert, merely someone documenting his journey to expertise. Hence the newsletter subtitle and sign-off: Racing Towards Excellence.
I am interested in drawing out the practical key lessons/frameworks not so much in a ‘do these 10 things to succeed’ kind of way, but in a way that minimises risk, and makes one best prepared when opportunities present themselves.
For example, an interest in how Strategy, Management, and Teamwork interconnect, led to a 4-part series. The result of which was that -
“great strategy is implemented by good management, and good management needs to foster effective teamwork. Effective teams help to co-create and execute the strategy, towards achieving the overarching business goal”.
If you are interested in these types of deep dives and topics, you should consider subscribing so that you always receive the latest issues when published.
That was more than 10 minutes, but I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about me, my inspirations for Black History Month, and objective of this newsletter.
If you have any more questions kindly leave a comment below or message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also catch up with relevant past articles: Career Strategy, Imposter Syndrome, Failing & Still Winning, Choose Yourself I and II, Spotify Series, Strategy Management and Teamwork Series.
Thanks for reading and bye for now.
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Racing Towards Excellence.