Olori Boye Ajayi is Nigerian by heritage but British by birth. She is co-founder of Ark Coaching Company, a global firm focused on human potential and enablement across Africa. She had part of her education in Nigeria and as such she proudly tells you that living with her grand mum in Mushin, Lagos changed her mindset as a teenager. Today, she is a life coach and on a global mission to revolutionize Africa. She is the founder of Katie Wang Company, a business which she started with less than $89 and currently a growing global export fashion trading company with operations already in four continents: Europe, Australia, Africa and North America. Speaking with Saturday Sun, she spoke about the first ever transformational Pan-African Virtual Fix-It conference, held recently, changing mindset and her life.
How did you come by the name Olori?
The name Olori was given to me by people. They said the way I behave and carry myself depicts an Olori. They want to address me the way I carry myself. Apparently, the name just struck. That was back in the University.
Which university was that?
University of Bradford, UK.
You are planning a virtual conference soon ‘Fix-It conference’, did you decide on this out of boredom due to COVID-19?
We had started planning Fix-It conference before COVID-19. It was scheduled for April 2020 but because of the whole pandemic, we knew that people are not in their right state of mind to be attending conferences. We gave it sometime in July,2020. We conceived Fix-It Conference from a place of, we need to address some fundamental issues that Africans are known for. If it is not around their money, it is around their business or around their mind. That is why we want to address these specific areas. We want to address these with speakers that already have tangible results to teach these people that will be attending the conference. That is how we conceive the Fix -It Conference. Attendees will be tutored on how to fix their money, change their mindsets and their businesses in a way that produces transformational results to their immediate environment.
As a coach, what are the challenges you face?
The challenges have to do with the mind. If you tell me you are making 10 million naira a month, I’m not impressed by that. I want to know why you can’t do more. I realized that people are resistant to the process that you want to take them through to get better results. Technology issues, we want to focus on more people in other African countries. They don’t have internet coverage, technology is not really big there, and we can’t get there. Those are the challenges we get. Virtual coaching has to be the real thing. I’m happy with virtual coaching which I’m happy about. African mindset is the focal point in this conference.
Who are your target audience?
They are people that want more. It is so frustrating when you know that you can do much more than you are doing but you just don’t know how to do it. What we want to do is target those people, who want to know more. It could be people at a lower class. Because they are living in Makoko does not mean they don’t know how to hold the camera. If they are given the opportunity they would do it. We want people from all walks of life to attend. That’s why the price is $1 for the conference. It could have been more. I want other Africans; Uganda, Burundi, to join because what they are going to get is very meaty. We want to take 50 people and help them with businesses. After the conference, we are expecting a magnificent change.
How do you intend to sustain the conference after COVID?
Because it is a virtual conference, there’s no issue for us. More people will hear about it, more people will see results. We want to have people we can fund and help them with business. There’s an investment fund that Ark is putting towards the programme to help people and their businesses. We want to take 50 people and help them in their business. Again, it’s not going to be an easy work because mindset issues are intangible. We believe that with those first 50, after the conference, they will be able to have magnificent stories of change. We are going to be talking about ‘New Money, your digital footprint’, because the Air is where the money is, but it’s only those people that understand how to position themselves. We want people to be positioned globally. Boye (her partner) will be teaching ‘Don’t be Stupid,’ that is what the session is called. He just wants people to know that if you are struggling in your business or career, just come to terms that your business or your career is not doing well. He helped a multinational a year ago; they were in millions of dollars debt and he brought them out with certain steps he taught them.
The Ark is a coaching company that wants to see Africans move the continent forward positively in their own way. It started officially last year. The road is not easy, we don’t promise you an easy ride, we promise transformation and that’s what we get out of every single student. Our targets are people between 18-55 years.
What do you want to achieve?
We want participants to feel that if they had known this all their life they wouldn’t be where they are. We want to deal with mind exposure. COVID-19 or not, you could still rise above whatever you are doing and repackage your mind. Like I said earlier, I grew up in Mushin, but I was born in London. How I found myself in Nigeria, I don’t know. But I fixed my mind to be who I am today. It is possible, you can fix your mind, your money and your mindset.
Tell us a bit about your growing up?
When I was growing up, all I had was the love of a grandmother. My grandmother was very pivotal in my growing up. She taught me a lot of what I know. But where I grew up, I just knew I didn’t belong there. I have never lived with my parents, my grandmother was as good as a god, and I went through the usual Nigerian typical kind of life. At a certain point, I just made up my mind that I want a rebirth for myself. People call it repackage but I call it rebirth. I told myself, I don’t want to live in Mushin, we used to visit other people in Ikoyi, and I always pinched myself that what it is they know that I don’t know. That was what spurred the hunger to want for more. I remembered vividly, as I was living in Mushin, I said I cut my ties with average. I was 18 when I came in contact with my first mentor in a church. That preacher was my first encounter in my mind transformation. I was very naughty growing up.
What advice do you have for young people in the environment you grew up?
Good life is not reserved for a specific type of people. It is yours if you want it, but you have to repackage and get a rebirth for yourself. Honestly, there are some days I forget I was raised in Mushin, it’s during interviews that I just remembered that I have not been always like this. But I was able to detach myself. I don’t need to bring out that topic in all my conversations. But I just used it to remind myself that I didn’t always start this way. So, I tell them that this life they live is not reserved for educated people or people who were born into rich background. How badly do you want to leave Mushin, how badly do you want to be the next big thing in Africa, Nigeria or Lagos state? You determine it but make sure that you continuously strive for it. It’s only those who are hungry that would be fed.
What lessons have you learnt growing up?
Anybody can change and everybody deserves a better life. Those are the two things that I would say. The life you are living now is not your best. I say that to myself also.
How is it working with your husband?
It is purely business working with him. You don’t even know he is my husband except by the name. Working together has been very good. We are very professional in our approach. We keep the work different to our private life.
How do you unwind?
I like my space. No one should disturb me, including my children. I just take my passport and fly out with a first class; I’m good.
Where is your favorite holiday destination?
So far, Cape Town in South Africa.