Posts Tagged ‘Mohawk College’


February 17, 2019 Leave a comment

I was recently classified as one of the young Nigerians doing well [in his field] by Punch Newspapers and interviewed.

I was asked to share some of my experiences and offer advice that could inspire others.

I was both honored and humbled to be sought out; most of all, always grateful to God for every opportunity.

It was a long one, so the whole interview wasn’t published, but below is the unabridged version of the interview; after it, is a link to the actual publication.

Can we meet you?

Certainly, my name is Sylvester Kay-Adade.

I’m a business consultant, investment banker and serial entrepreneur.


What stirred your interest in what you do?

I can’t put my finger on exactly what stirred up the passion for business in me, but what’s got me going is the need for improvement in industries that I find interesting.


What is your educational background?

I’ve had quite a journey, educationally, so I’ll stick to the relevant bits.

For high school, I attended Federal Government College, Lagos, and Southern Ontario College, Hamilton. For college, I attended McMaster University and Mohawk College for Social Science/Psychology and Business Management respectively.


What is your current position?
I’m the Principal Consultant in Herança Financial.


How old are you?

I’m 31 years old.


What is your work history?

Most recently, Risk Management and Consulting at Kedari Capital from 2017 till 2019.

However, as a serial entrepreneur, it’s been quite a list, but the most popular are Brand Manager at Pearl Kreations since 2008, and Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Centerprise Global Resources (in partnership with a friend) since 2016.


What is your current position and what factors are responsible for your accomplishments?

I’ll focus on Herança Financial, where I’m the Principal Consultant.

I’d have to state passion, persistence, and networking as the top 3 factors, for me.

I’m incredibly passionate about small business – every aspect of it. It’s what I love to do.

I am persistent – I’ve drafted business plans and business proposals pro bono. I’ve taught classes, spoken at seminars, and written articles. I never give up.

I’m reserved, so networking didn’t, still doesn’t come easy, but it’s one of the best ways to meet people and talk to them about yourself, and what you do. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, people get excited about what you’re saying if you’re also absolutely psyched about what you’re telling them!


What is your job description?

Herança Financial is an SME advisory firm.

I spend my time offering advice/developing business ideas, drafting business plans/proposals, advising on expansion plans, and generally providing solutions to various business issues.


What motivates your work?

Passion and a drive for excellence. I love what I do; it gets me up in the morning. And whatever I’m involved in must be done right, mediocrity upsets me.


What are the challenges you face on the job and how do you surmount them?

The greatest was self-doubt. Every entrepreneur has those moments when they panic and question themselves. Sometimes, it was like “I hope I know what the heck I’m doing”. Those were times when my faith in God, His words concerning me, and His plans for my life were tested. It might sound corny, but I learnt to trust in Jesus and talk to Him more, confess God’s word over my life and make positive declarations daily. One of my favorites is: I am the most excellent of men and my lips have been anointed with grace since God has blessed me forever – Psalm 45:2.

Another challenge is getting people to pay for services rendered! It’s ridiculous. Nigerians have to be one of the toughest people to get your money from. I’ve worked with some micro enterprise owners and some politicians, the same thing! I’ll have to get back to you on that one when I figure it out.


What are some notable achievements you have recorded?

In 2010, through Pearl Kreations, I was nominated for Business Owner of the Year at The Future Nigeria Awards. Also through Pearl Kreations, in 2009, I was admitted into the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Business Network. We also worked with the Jim Ovia Foundation for a Youth Empowerment and ICT Event in 2013.


In what ways do you think the government can encourage the youth?

I think the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN) initiative that President Jonathan launched was a brilliant initiative. I learnt a lot of young people benefited greatly from it. Though, there could have been better checks, because I know of a few who squandered millions. I thought YouWiN! Connect by President Buhari would be better, and it started off that way, but I read it ended seemingly being some sort of scam.

I think the government can focus on educating youth on business and entrepreneurship, right from secondary school level, if possible. Let’s face it, not everyone is cut out for a 9-5 and there very few jobs out there. Even if you’re a salary earner, nothing wrong with multiple streams of income. Our youths can be inspired from a young age to be business owners and employers.

I also think programs like YouWIN should continue, and grants (not equity funding) should be offered, possibly in tranches, to those with good business plans.


What aspect of your career do you enjoy the most and how has it impacted your life?

Like I said, I’m passionate about small business. I love to sit with entrepreneurs, watch their eyes twinkle as they share their dreams (it’s like the beginning of a great story every time), help expand their minds/visions, develop a feasible plan with them, and help make those dreams a reality. The impact has just been the immense feeling of fulfillment.


Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’d have to keep to myself, but I’m sure it’s nothing compared to what God has in store for me.


What are some of the qualities you think a leader must possess in other to be successful?

I think a leader has to be a teacher and also teachable. A leader has to be kind and respectful. A leader has to be willing to serve and build others up. A leader has to inspire, not only through words, but through action.


Was there any incident that changed the course of your life?

By God’s grace, I have experienced great growth in such a short time, through dogged determination and the most random acts of kindness. One that changed the course of my life was my encounter with Suzanne Bourret. Suzanne is/was a journalist. We met at an event showcasing African cultures. I was there selling the most unassuming products, button-badges with flags on them. She was intrigued. She chatted with me for a bit and asked to interview me. My first interview. Before I knew it, I was answering questions, doing a photo shoot, and in a few days, I was on the pages of The Hamilton Spectator (one of the biggest and most widely read newspapers in Ontario). That article was the beginning of great things. I’ll always be thankful to God for that.


What are your other interests?

Board Games, Card Games, Charades, Movies, and Tennis.


Who are your role models?

I have a bunch of them because I admire different aspects of their lives, but I’ll name a few: My dad, Late Mr. Olukayode Adade, Mr. Elon Musk, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Mr. Jeff Bezos, and Ms. Oprah Winfrey.


How would you advise people who aspire to follow in your footprints?

In 2008, a few months after I started Pearl Kreations, I applied to be a vendor for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I was turned down because I didn’t have business registration and other requirements. I felt deflated, but I snapped out of it. I knew getting in could work wonders for my business. I wrote back stating I was a student entrepreneur and shared the link of the newspaper article I was featured in. By God’s grace, about a week later, I was admitted.

You can’t give up. Yes, it takes time, but if you’re passionate about it and it’s solving a problem/improving a solution, hang in there. Never worry, God’s got you.


This is the link to original publication.


listening styles

March 18, 2011 Leave a comment

This week’s test was another eye-opener in my Supervision class. This time w discussed effective listening and analyzed our individual listening-styles. Apparently, too many of us are terrible listeners – we listen primarily because it is the price we have to pay to get people to let us talk!

Anyway, according to the active listening survey, I scored 24 points. A score between 22 points – 26 points suggests that I’m a good listener with some listening deficiencies. This exercise has highlighted some of my good attributes like maintaining eye contact, but it also helped identify some bad listening habits I have; which include loss of concentration and slightly inactive listening. I have always perceived myself as a good listener and this status has consistently been confirmed by a number of close friends who have dubbed me a very good listener. Until I started grading myself on issues involving selective and judgmental listening, I did not actual realize that I listened for specific facts and sometimes made judgments on the logic demonstrated by the speaker. I also thought I had a special skill of easily recalling all that was said in a conversion. Now that I think about it, it is probably more of a characteristic of a good memory rather than good listening.

Apart from maintaining eye contact, two other strengths of my listening style are asking questions, and the interpretation of nonverbal cues. I usually ask questions to ensure I fully understand and to clarify any misunderstandings I might have had. My mum has said that I was very inquisitive and always asked many questions as child. In listening, this strength has been very useful. I remember when I recently moved from Nigeria to Canada. I was once in a public library and needed a calculator, but I didn’t have mine with me. I noticed that the person seated opposite me had one so I asked if I could quickly use his. His response was “Sure. I don’t care”. I was slightly offended. When I asked what he meant, he looked puzzled and said “Yes I can. No need to rush”. This helped clarify his message.  In Nigeria, if someone asks for a favor and it won’t be any trouble; people almost exclusively say “I don’t mind”. If one says “I don’t care”, it simply shows a lack of concern, regard or respect; most times, when it is used, it is intended to be rude. Here in Canada, the two phrases apparently mean the same thing in some contexts. My second strength is the ability to interpret nonverbal signals and vocal cues. I’m highly sensitive to changes in body language, facial expressions, moods and vocal sounds. It helps me decode and read latent messages without the person having to hint. This strength has been particularly useful in my friendships and relationships. At one time or another, a friend/girlfriend might have been upset about or tired of something, and without even audibly or visibly suggesting so, I could imagine/tell just how they felt. I do this by merely reading/being sensitive to his/her body language, the sound of his/her perplexed tone and choice of words. I’m almost always right and it has helped me in being an empathetic listener.

Even with all the above qualities, as a good listener with some deficiencies, I obviously have some things I need to work on. In other to be a more effective listener, one thing I need to improve on is avoiding distractions. This means I have to consciously try to always give the speaker my undivided attention. I’m a lot better in person (face-to-face), but over phone, sometimes I’m unattentive. I usually find it difficult to drop what I was initially engaged in and focus solely on the speaker, so I continue my previous engagements. This has caught up with me a number of times. One of such occasions was at a birthday party. I was told to introduce some people in a certain order different from the list’s order. I was so engrossed in watching the couples’ activities that did not even hear that instruction. I ended up doing the wrong thing! Thankfully, it did not turn the party into a complete disaster. Another thing I need to work on is not interrupting. I tend to do interrupting actions like making irrelevant comments or cutting the speaker off. It has taken me sometime to realize that what I have to say is not more important than what the speaker has to say. An example of a situation when not interrupting would have helped was in a meeting. Again, there was a clash of cultures. In Nigerian culture, it is acceptable to talk over someone in order to have a say. When I did that while another group member was talking, he saw it very disrespectful. Apparently, in Canada, most people deem that as offensive behavior. I have changed in that aspect in my approach though…obviously! lol.

An effective listener is one who listens actively. Active listening is listening with intensity, empathy, acceptance and willingness to understand the speakers’ reasoning. I found some of the tips highlighted in my text (Robbins S. P.: Supervision in Canada Today 3rd Edition) here –

I hope you learn/you’ve learnt something(s) too.

decision styles

February 17, 2011 2 comments

Since January, I’ve been taking a course in Supervision, as I continue my Small Business Management classes. In this course, I’m learning how to manage employees and situations effectively. Half way through the course, we are required to do some personal assessments. One of those that was particularly shocking for me was this week’s. It was on our decision-making style.

According to the decision-style model, my dominant style is the Conceptual style. This means I tend to be very broad in my outlook and consider many alternatives. It means I also have long range focus and very good at finding creative solutions to problems. My least preferred style is the Behavioral style. This means I probably do not work well with others. It also means I am not receptive to suggestions from others and not very concerned with the achievements of subordinates; I do not seek acceptance or avoid conflicts.

I believe the decision-style model is quite precise. As a matter of fact, I am highly imaginative, constantly reinventing and finding creative/innovative solutions to problems. I have foresight; I think deeply and carefully before making a decision. I also like knowing my options so I make, in my opinion, the most accurate and logical decision. On the flip-side, I prefer to work alone, not with others. I usually make my decisions independent of suggestions from others. I am not big on constantly communicating with others either, although I will, if I absolutely have to. I am also not bothered about being accepted by others; which is evident from my little number of friends. However, I avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.

Before doing the questionnaire, I initially thought I was part conceptual style and part directive style, because I am usually formal in my approach to formal settings. I like efficiency, professionalism and logical decisions. I do not believe in intuition, although do not believe emotional feelings should have a part in business or the workplace. Surprisingly, after completing the questionnaire, I scored 75 on directive, 72 on analytical, 94 on conceptual and 58 on behavioral; which means my initial perception of myself after reading the definitions of the different styles was accurate.

To emphasize just how judicious I believe the decision-style model is, I have an illustration from my childhood. During an art class in elementary school, each student was given a bowl of clay and asked to mold shapes. I didn’t want to mold balls and cubes like everyone else so I was inactive for a few minutes. Some classmates who thought I was stuck offered to help me mold, but I wouldn’t have it. After pondering for a short while, I made a decision to make animals so I singularly molded a miniature swan and a miniature dog. That is one of my earliest memories of my creativity and imagination; non-acceptance of suggestions and desire not to work with others.

I like the fact that we were asked to do the test individually, before being taught the appropriate way to make decisions effectively. Apparently, there isn’t a right or wrong answer because it has to do with one’s temperament. However, the golden rule is that all colleagues and employees should be handled firmly, but treated with respect. I can’t wait for what next I’ll discover about myself…and I’m sure you can’t either lol.

black book

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Everyone should have one little black book. Well…every determined person should. I know there’s a twisted connotation that comes with it, but it actually has a good one too.

I have one.

I first got the idea when I started watching Shark Tank. Each of the “Sharks” had a little black book. It was in those they did their calculations on the valuations of businesses and their offers. I decided to get one after I started following the Canadian version- Dragons’ Den. The “Dragons” also had little black books for the same reasons the “Sharks” did.

Obviously, I got one for slightly different purposes- to write down every idea, thought and calculation that is business-related. So far, it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. There are some calculations and ideas I have on there that are dynamite.

If you decide to get one, you’ll be happy you did. I have to warn you though, take very good care of it. I’ve had to buy 3 between March and late October because I lost 2. It serves me right though, I kept carrying it in my hand, rather than in my messenger bag or buy a small satchel for it. Now it is permanently in my messenger bag.

It’s a good thing I hadn’t put anything every significant or futuristic in them before they got stolen. Right now, I would literally lose it if it got stolen. I’ll give you a few reasons why:

– If you read the “ska redefined [2010]” post from last August, then you must have seen the page on which I drew out the companies’ logos before they were professionally redone. It was because I had my black book handy at the time that I could spontaneously decide to draw logos.

– Right now, amidst my Health Studies program, I’m also working on getting a diploma in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship from Mohawk College, Hamilton. Some of my courses like Accounting, Operations & Legal Issues and Introduction to Small Business require deep thinking and calculations. Outside class, I have factual calculations of my annual business expenditures, cash flow analysis, coin collection valuation, personal investments and net worth calculations etc in there.

As you can see, I have important info handy, but at the same time, it has to be well kept. In an animated movie, this would the part where I say, “…if it falls into the wrong hands, it would be the end of the world”, but I’m sure you get the message.

Get a black book! If you’re not a careful person, may be you shouldn’t.

Just thought I’d mention it because it just might help someone just as its helping and very useful to me.

déjà vu

June 12, 2010 Leave a comment

You know how sometimes and somehow, you’re put in a similar situation over & over? Or you’re told something by different people in different ways? Well, it’s happening to me a lot lately! I’ve been having the feeling that I need to read in between the lines.

It all started with one of my best friends, Kasope A*, saying to me in passing, “the future is only for those who prepare for it”. It has been stuck in my head. Then, I discovered the Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC), and now watch most of its shows. There are two of its originals I’m particularly fond of – Biography on CNBC and How I Made My Millions. On a recent episode of the latter, a woman who went from broke to a net worth of $150M USD said something profound. I can’t remember her exact words, but I spun it in my head as, “you have to be worth millions in your mind before it materializes”. It hit me like she was saying it to me directly. Lastly, I have a habit of reading biographies online and watching interviews on millionaires, and most of them chorus statements like: “dream big and bigger”, “no dream is too big” and “don’t give up”.

I decided these weren’t coincidences and I needed to act…fast! I learnt it wasn’t enough to just think it in my head, I had to put in down. And possibly also put it out there too, and by God’s grace, accomplish it all. To that effect, I typed out future me and then made a Wikipedia page, but it was soon deleted. This note was posted as the reason – “relevance of article?”. I guess that’s their way of saying, “the world doesn’t know you yet buddy.” Alternatively, I’ve set up a Facebook page, and if you aren’t already a fan on Facebook, you can become one by following this link directly to my page and like me :). I also put a detailed biography of  this future me for my bio page.

This “future me” write-up is drawn up from my perception of what future articles about me would state. Some of it has already begun, but I won’t tell what stage(s) I’m currently in. I did not put in a net worth so as not to limit myself, but tens of billions (of dollars) won’t be a stretch from what I’m thinking it could will be lol 😀


Sylvester Kay-Adade II is a Nigerian-Canadian Businessman, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist.

Please click here to read more.

That’s it! I don’t remember if I made this up or I heard/read it somewhere: “if you’re going to dream at all, might as well dream big!” It’s pretty smart so yeah, I most likely made it up lol. In case you’re wondering why there’s nothing about a wife or children, I do want to get married and have children. This is where I see myself in about 5 years from now. I think I’ll try to update it from time to time as things progress 🙂

I challenge you to do the same. Think of where you want to be in the next 5, 10 or 15 years and write it down. Setting and writing down your goals is half the battle won. I think it helps put things in perspective. Trust me 5 years isn’t a long time from now. I’ll see you at the top! 😀