In his first-ever Instagram Live session, Tony O. Elumelu was hosted by the Tony Elumelu Foundation for its weekly #TEFLiveSeries on March 26, 2021. The hour-long session was tremendously impactful, insightful and above all else, cheerful. He made pertinent revelations about his own entrepreneurship journey; why mentorship and training are very important tools for success, and even more. By the end of the session, he had rolled up his sleeves, taken off his tie, and left us with a wealth of valuable information.
Here are 10 fun facts we learned from our #TEFLiveSeries!
On the last book he read: There was a time in his career he used to read voraciously. But increasingly, with the weight of his responsibilities as the chairman of Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa, his reading habits have been altered. However, he is re-reading “The Prince” by Nicolo Machiavelli, reminding us all that reading is important and that re-reading a book is so much more fun.
On whether red is his favourite colour: Interestingly, red is not his favourite colour. Whenever he socialized during the pre-covid era, he leaned towards black ensembles. However, the reason red is the corporate colour for the Heirs Holding group is because it depicts warmth, friendship, freshness, fertility, and strength.
On how many red ties does he own: As expected, he does not know exactly how many it is, but he (and so do we) know that it is a lot. He often tells himself, “okay, no more red ties”, but then enters a store and sees another red tie and then starts a new journey with it.
On his favourite sports team: Although he has a tennis court at his residence, he cannot quite remember when he last played a game of tennis. However, he loves lawn tennis and football and even served as a goalie in in primary school!
On how many minutes he can plank for: His new planking routine is to strengthen his upper body core. He can do a 2-minute straight plank, and then 30 seconds on each side. He tries to do 5 minutes in total and confesses that the toughest part of planking is the first 2 minutes.
On what age he started his first business: One of the most poignant things he said was that the route that one takes to setting up a business is more important than the age they were. For some, this route could emerge from as young as when they were in primary school, or secondary school, or even college or university. For him, it was in his university era. He emphasized the importance of being present and pursuing whatever it is one is passionate about, in order to identify the right time to pursue that path. It is not mathematical or mechanical that you start at 20, or 30, or 40, but to strategically pursue that which you are passionate about.
On why he is called Lion King: There are many reasons he is called the Lion King. The lion is agile. The lion is a big animal, but extremely fast, especially when he is running to feed. A lion also moves strategically, while also knowing how to take care of his cubs. A lion knows when to strike at the right time, and that is what makes the lion the king of the jungle.
On how he ensures a good work-life balance: It is about “the genius of and”, a life hack he once read in a book. For him, it is about making sure work does not suffer and at the same time, your wellbeing as an individual, as a family man, and as a member of society is continually sustained. It is the realization that if you are not healthy and mentally balanced, you cannot be a productive member of the society. If there is harmony across board, you will be able to work better.
On if he has mentors: He does have mentors, role models, and people who have influenced him greatly. His biggest mentor is Ebitimi Banigo, who gave him a career opportunity and changed his life. However, he has other people who have also influenced him, including Michael Jackson, who was a perfectionist. He loves how disciplined and dedicated Michael Jackson was to his craft. Another musical artiste he admires is Bob Marley. He flew to Jamaica two years ago with a single mission to step on the soil/and enter the house of Bob Marley. He is also influenced by Steve Jobs for his great mind and endless ideas. He is influenced by people who, despite challenges, make a difference and leave lasting legacies.
On his love of corn: When it comes to eating corn, he keeps it simple: boiled with a pinch of salt. Sometimes he pairs it with coconut. But he has not eaten corn in a couple of months, and he is beyond thrilled as the corn season approaches.
If you missed our #TEFLiveSeries chat with T.O.E, be sure to check out the full video on our YouTube page HERE.
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