Kayode Malomo: A Day in the Life of an Immigrant Entrepreneur
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
By: Kayode Malomo
Kayode Malomo is a multi-talented and multi-media artist whose work has been commissioned dignitaries such as the President of Nigeria, Sierra-Leone, Mali and Philadelphia’s Mayor to name a few. He also co-chairs the Business Services of the Mayor’s Commission on African & Caribbean Affairs and is co-founder of Atlas Communications PCS
For a second, I stare at my desk, looking at the picture of President Bill Clinton and I earlier this month at the 2030 Clinton Global Initiative. CGI addresses the challenges of the next generation and prepares business and government leaders and industry innovators for roles as global leaders of tomorrow. I remember President Clinton’s words 14 years ago during his trip to Nigeria, which I watched on my black and white TV set in Nigeria as a college student. He said, “For a nation to be great, it must be greater than the sum of its individual parts.” I was deeply motivated by these words. 14 years later, I shared these same words that inspired me with him. As he patted me on the back, he said, “Wow, you still remember that? You know, the same is still true today for nations, for businesses, and for individuals.”
After completing my MBA at Temple’s Fox School of Business in 2012, I decided to dedicate my life to helping businesses and individuals succeed and maximize their potential. I’ve had an amazing journey as an immigrant in the U.S. since I relocated to Philadelphia to further my education about a decade ago.
My Monday typically starts at 5am with a short meditation, 20 minutes exercise on the treadmill, and a warm bath. I go over my “To Do List,” check my emails, and respond quickly to pressing issues, as I sip on hot coffee and moin-moin (African bean cake) made by my darling wife. From my Philadelphia home, I call my colleagues in Sierra-Leone (five hours ahead) via Skype at Atlas Communications, a telecommucations company I cofounded about seven years ago. I go over quarterly sales goals with our marketing team. Impressive! Our aggressive marketing, radio commercials and successful product launch has resulted in a 25 percent customer growth and increased sales. I go over next quarter targets with the team and recommend bonuses for our top performers.
At 7 am, I have my weekly one-hour project management call with my team currently working in Maryland. The assignment is a multi-million dollar logistics management project for a big telecom company that has saved the client almost $150 million nationwide. I receive an email from Accenture explaining that my team attained the fastest deployment nationwide for a second time. When I inform my team, everyone is very excited and motivated. I let them know dinner is on me after work. Its 8:15 am now, and I quickly drop off my four and five year old children at school. We chat about their art projects along the way.
At 9 am, I arrive at the office of the healthcare company I consult for in Fairmont Park, where I oversee a program that helps people with disabilities become gainfully employed. It is very rewarding and challenging at the same time. I meet with a potential employer to advocate for an individual in the program. With one more job secured this morning, we are at 90 percent success rate of matching our intakes with the right employers.
It’s 12 noon now, and I feel hungry, so I drive down to Kilimanjaro Restaurant in West Philly for lunch. I order my favorite lamb special which really tastes good. Over lunch, I chat with a friend who is starting a new business, go over his two-page executive summary, and make some recommendations on accessing citywide resources.
At 1 pm I return back to the office responding to emails from clients. At 2:15 pm, I receive a call from an unknown number on my cell phone, which I pick up anyway. It’s a client whom I helped complete his grant application for the merchant fund a while back. He calls to say thank you as the grant has been approved for $10,000.
It’s 4 pm now, and I go to the conference room to meet with my team at When in Need (WiN) Foundation, a Philadelphia based non-profit where I volunteer. WiN awards educational scholarships to disadvantaged youths and addresses preventive health issues in Africa and theUnited States. We approve four scholarships for youth at four different schools in Philadelphia and decide to make the donations at the schools next Tuesday. I also give a progress report on a new community water system and school building WiN has just helped rebuild in Eastern Nigeria that accommodates 100 students.
I look up, and it’s 5:30 pm. I quickly drive down to Courage Center in Overbrook Park where I teach an art class to help children develop their creative abilities, understand money management and entrepreneurship. Today I am teaching about 20 students (ages four to twelve) how to make collage paintings and t-shirts. We all vote on the best shirt, which earns a $20 gift card from me. The kids are really excited, and it’s a high point of my day even though I am tired. After an hour painting, we come together as a group and make one big piece themed “Peace, Love and Happiness.” The kids love it and recommend we hang it in the hallway, which we do.
By now, its 7:30 pm. I drive home with my two boys and wife, who have been part of the art class as well. Over dinner we crack jokes and recap each person’s day. After this, I take a quick shower and get a little rest while watching my son’s favorite program, “Octonauts” on the Disney Channel.
It’s 9 pm, and I am dozing off a little, ready to retire for the night. Suddenly, a thank you text hits my phone from a happy client, which simply says, “Thank you for all your help. The bank has approved our financing.” It made my day. The signature line of the text is Aristotle’s quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I fully agree. My life is about giving back. A busy day, but worth every minute.