COVER: Glenfiddich, Where Next?
…”The Future Belongs To Those Embrace the Unknown and Reach for the Top.”
Nigeria is blessed with industrious and focused personalities across all sectors of the economy. Like true Mavericks, these five have continued to show resilience through the uncertainty of the times we are in.
From their humble beginnings from starting up from the scratch to becoming household names across board is worth emulating.
Meet Maverick Collaborators of the Glenfiddich Nigeria “Where Next Live”, Aderemi Ajidahun, Gbugbemi Fregene, Kene Okwuosa, Dr Kennedy Okonkwo and Nse Ikpe Etim.
Five Exemplary who embody the Glenfiddich Maverick Spirit and constantly challenge themselves to reach for the top.
Aderemi Ajidahun is the CEO of Hole19 Group, a luxury retail group with Subsidiaries of Hole19, Nettetal and Zakaa. Kene Okwuosa is the co-founder of Filmhouse and FilmOne Distribution Company.
CEO, NEDCOMOAKS, Dr Kennedy Okonwko is a Luxury Real Estate Developer.
Gbubemi “Chef Fregz” Fregene is a renowned international Chef and Nse Ikpe Etim is an Actress cum Humanitarian.
Through the recently held Maverick Society Roundtable Series, these Mavericks narrate their personal experiences about life (from grass to grace) to serve as inspiration the youths and also upcoming Mavericks to be resilient, focused and enthusiastic about the future.
Follow @glenfiddich_ng and #GlenfiddichWhereNextLive #MaverickChroniclesLive for more on the Glenfiddich Where Next Live Campaign. The Excepts on Vanguard Allure.
We are all social creatures always looking for fantasy in real life to trigger our thought process and seek inspiration from them. Daily, we come across a lot of strangers but we seek inspiration from only a few of them, and what sets them apart. Even as a child, we grow up listening to stories of how a hero comes to the rescue of his people and his family, we find solace in such stories.
Hole19’s group is a conglomerate that consists of over 45 luxuries internationally recognized brands. Wow! That’s really something to talk about.
With 25-years in the luxury retail business, Aderemi Ajidahun has paid his dues to get to where he is today.
The CEO of Hole19 group, a luxury retail group with Subsidiaries of Hole19, Nettetal and Zakaa has continued to show leadership in the market place, with a glaring dominance in all sectors.
A true Maverick, Mr Ajidahun isn’t scared of challenges as his focus is to continue improving access to the luxury lifestyle in Nigeria, hence creating a suitable platform for the international market to invest in Africa and Nigeria in particular.
In an interview with the business mogul, he explained that ” creativity is finding solutions for your customers, when I am asked what I do I simply say, I am in the solutions business.”
Studies have shown that inspirational stories have a positive effect on our brains and help us become more emphatic, generous and improve our overall outlook on life.
The story of the life of a man who has impacted the entire economy and internet industry in Nigeria is worth sharing and emulating.
His life is nothing less than the story of Robert, The Bruce and the Spider, that we were taught as kindergartens. That’s is the story of movie Producer and Film Distributor, KENE OKWUOSA.
The co-founded Filmhouse, the largest cinema chain in West Africa and FilmOne Distribution Company has over 16 years’ experience in Cinema Development, Operations management, Film Distribution and Production gained from several locations across the world including the UK, US and Nigeria.
He is currently the Group Deputy Managing Director of Filmhouse Cinemas and FilmOne Distribution and Production Limited, Nigeria.
According to Kene, he said people need to take advantage of every opportunity presented to them and turn it into success, “I have learnt from experience that innovation is the virtue that converts challenges to opportunities.” Adding that challenges should be a negative but a means of achieving one’s goal in life.
Kene who was a founding employee and Head, Field Operations at Genesis Deluxe Cinemas (now Genesis Cinemas 2008 – 2011) started his professional career as a Team Member at Europe’s Largest Cinema Chain “Odeon Cinemas” and quickly rose through the ranks to become Assistant General Manager before relocating to Nigeria in 2008.
NSE IKPE ETIM
As a banker, Nse who could have been basking in the euphoria of having a white-collar job decided to quit her job to pursue her passion in the movie industry and yet, excel to become a household name.
NSE IKPE-ETIM is an actress, filmmaker and humanitarian whose movies have been topping the charts for more than a decade.
The delectable actress and humanist have seen barefoot children with struggling parents.
She showed that change comes from the bottom up. Which has really moved her to even feed the downtrodden of the society, aside assisting them in whatever way she can.
“I find peace in feeding people and watching the glint in their eye when they taste anything that comes out of my kitchen. I also worry about the environment and humanity as a whole, in my little way, I do what I can to preserve it,” she stressed.
Aside from being an actress, Nse is also emotional about the environment too and her contribution to the growth and development of the movie industry and entertainment, in particular, can never be overemphasized.
Nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 5th and 8th Africa Movie Academy Awards for her role in “Reloaded” and “Mr. and Mrs” respectively, in 2014, she won the Best Actress in a Drama at the 2014 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards for playing “Nse” in “Journey to Self”.
If you talk about food just as much as you eat it, you’re in good company with Nigerian celebrity Chef, Gbubemi Fregene also known as CHEF FREGZ whose story about how he became an iconic Chef is worth emulating.
Starting his culinary internships at Oakwood Park and Protea Hotel in 2004, he wasn’t deterred by the harsh environment he found himself. in 2009, he started his own catering service called DVARD Catering Service, a step he would always be happy he took.
Gbubemi who has also been a judge in cooking competitions in Nigeria, left the country in early 2010 to study at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Paris, France, earning a Diploma in Cuisine.
He learnt classical French cooking techniques while also experiencing diverse cultural influences from different countries at the institute.
After completing his studies at Le Cordon Bleu, he worked as an intern at the Market Restaurant, Paris from November 2010 till February 2011.
CHEF FREGZ who says he’s inspired by life has been merging vices from different cultures which can prove so difficult. When asked how he managed to combine his French cooking techniques with that of Nigeria and make it taste pleasing to people, his response was electric, “This question is a delight because that’s what the Chef Fregz food soul is about.
We use French techniques and ideas to tell modern Nigerian, Asian and fusion stories in general. My style is very fusion-based because my market is still majorly Nigerian and Nigerians love flavour.
So I always make sure even if it’s elegant, it packs a punch of flavour that’s familiar but still foreign in a sense,” he replied.
DR. KENNEDY OKONKWO
The story of Dr Kennedy Okonwko, Luxury Real Estate Developer, CEO, NEDCOMOAKS is similar to Walmart’s owner, Sam Walton. He had almost nothing to his name when he started his first general store back in 1945.
He relied on a $25,000 loan from his father-in-law to funded that initial purchase and was an instant success in the retail industry. The first official Walmart was opened in 1962, in Rogers, Ark.; and by 1976, Walmart was worth more than $176 million.
Okonkwo’s has worked his way into the real estate sector where he has become one of the leading real estate developers in Nigeria.
A well-respected fellow who was recognised by Forbes Africa for his contribution to the development of the Nigerian economy, providing employment and shelter to Nigerians.
Okonkwo, even with all the awards and encomiums in the real estate sector of the economy, said he hasn’t done enough.
Kennedy Okonkwo Programme for (Tech) Entrepreneurs, KOPETECH, offers grants, mentorship and support to first time young Nigerian startup tech entrepreneurs from different parts of Nigeria.
According to him, he said passion has the “ability to drive you onto a path nobody has taken before or a path several have walked and failed, yet you are bent on walking it.”