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7 Questions on Leadership with Yinka David-Kaiyewu

Name: Yinka David-Kaiyewu

Title: Executive Director

Organisation: Purpose-Drive Global

Yinka David-Kaiyewu is a Visionary leader, Founder of SixthBreed NG, and Chairman of Purpose-Drive Global. Transforming lives in media, tech, and entrepreneurship.

A global impact-maker. With a strong track record of leading transformative projects and facilitating corporate success, Yinka is dedicated to empowering the next generation of leaders.

Her life-changing coaching sessions and innovative courses have multiplied her clients' ROI, guiding them on a journey to personal and professional success.

As a dedicated advocate for connectivity and collaboration, Yinka believes in the power of connectivity and networking rightly to drive positive change.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Yinka's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

The most challenging aspect of my leadership journey has been navigating the balance between fostering innovation and ensuring consistency. As a leader, I'm deeply committed to fostering an environment where creativity can thrive, where my team feels empowered to share new ideas, and where we can adapt to a rapidly changing world. However, it's equally essential to maintain a level of consistency and structure to keep our vision on track. Striking that balance between nurturing innovation and providing stability has been a dynamic challenge. It's about encouraging creativity while preserving our core values, and it requires continuous learning and adaptation. But it's a challenge I embrace wholeheartedly, as it's essential for the growth of my organization and the people I work with.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

From a very young age, leadership wasn't a role I aspired to; it was something I naturally gravitated toward. I grew up in a close-knit neighborhood where kids would often gather for games and adventures. As we played, I found myself organically taking on the role of the one who guided our activities. It was as if an innate compass was directing me to chart the course and make decisions.

One vivid memory comes to mind. I was about 10 years old when my friends and I decided to build a carton car soaked in glue. The problem was, that none of us had the tools or know-how to construct such a thing. But rather than shying away, I stepped up. I gathered whatever materials we could find, made rudimentary plans, and rallied my friends to help. Through trial and error, a semi-functional car plastered with glue and every make-believe car part was created. This experience showed me the power of leadership, even at a young age.

Almost two decades down the line, after college, I got a job at an automobile company. When I look back at that seemingly innocent attempt as a child and how I'd eventually lead a Public Relations team in a similar sphere, it gives me joy to know how the little things and attempts matter.

As I grew older, my leadership journey continued to unfold. I found myself organizing school projects, leading community initiatives, and eventually founding my organizations, all driven by a deep-rooted desire to make a positive impact. Leadership, for me, has never been about titles or recognition; it's about a genuine passion for guiding others toward their fullest potential.

This early inclination to lead, combined with countless real-life experiences, has shaped my leadership style and philosophy, emphasizing empathy, adaptability, and the unwavering belief that leadership begins from within.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I am an early riser, and my day begins with the tranquil embrace of dawn. It's during these quiet moments that I find clarity and chart my path for the day ahead.

Mindfulness is a cornerstone of my daily routine. Before the world awakens, I practice meditation. It's a practice that centers me and readies my mind.

Physical activity is non-negotiable for me. Many times it's simply a morning walk.

A healthy breakfast is my fuel for the day, ensuring I'm charged with the vitality to tackle what lies ahead.

My early hours are devoted to the tasks that demand my best self, the most challenging, and significant endeavors.

I have learned the value of short breaks, a pause to refresh my focus and renew my energy.

My mid-morning to early afternoon is when I engage in collaborative efforts, innovation, and meetings with my dedicated team.

At Lunch, for me, it is a moment to savor a wholesome meal, nourishing my body.

The afternoon is reserved for deep, uninterrupted work on projects that inspire my creativity and drive.

As the evening sun settles, I embrace quality moments with my family, it is a time to connect and unwind.

Some evenings are also when I devote time to personal growth, diving into enlightening books, online courses, and research.

I usually conclude my day with a thoughtful reflection, noting achievements and areas for growth in my journal.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

A few years ago, I found myself in a challenging yet rewarding position - managing multiple projects simultaneously. I was leading a diverse team across various initiatives, and our objectives were ambitious. One project, in particular, held immense promise and potential. It was a groundbreaking venture that could reshape our organization's future.

The demands of overseeing multiple projects had become increasingly complex. I was dedicating substantial time and effort to ensure every aspect of each endeavor progressed according to plan. I juggled meetings, deadlines, and decision-making across the board, driven by a desire for excellence in each project.

However, despite my best intentions, one day, I received a wakeup call. The project I had so passionately envisioned began showing signs of strain. It was an initiative that demanded undivided attention and dedication, and yet it was overshadowed by my commitments to the other projects.

The moment of truth arrived during a crucial presentation to our key stakeholders. As I delved into the details, it became evident that I wasn't presenting the project at its full potential. It felt like something was missing, an essence that I had failed to capture. The feedback was clear - the project that had held such promise was suffering from my divided focus.

This experience served as a powerful leadership lesson. It was a humbling reminder that managing multiple projects, while an essential skill, requires a careful balance. I realized that sometimes, striving for excellence means recognizing the need to allocate time, attention, and resources appropriately. I learned that even the most passionate vision can falter if not nurtured with the care it deserves.

As a leader, it became clear that my role wasn't merely to spread myself thinly across all endeavors but to prioritize and focus on projects that required in-depth commitment. I revisited our strategy, rallied the team, and redirected my full attention to that pivotal project. It was a moment of growth, demonstrating that true leadership entails acknowledging limitations and adjusting to meet the evolving needs of your projects and team.

The result was a revitalized project, which ultimately delivered outstanding results. It was a testament to the adaptability and resilience inherent in leadership. This experience solidified my commitment to managing multiple projects efficiently while recognizing when certain endeavors require a more focused approach. The lesson I learned that day was unique to me, emphasizing the delicate balance required to excel in the ever-evolving landscape of leadership and project management.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

One book on leadership that has profoundly impacted my leadership journey is Good to Great by Jim Collins. This masterpiece dives deep into the attributes that set extraordinary companies apart from their good counterparts. It brilliantly illustrates the significance of leaders who possess unwavering determination and a commitment to the long-term vision.

I vividly recall a pivotal moment in my career when I was entrusted with reviving an underperforming project. I was faced with numerous challenges, but the insights from Good to Great resonated in my mind. The book emphasized that great leaders are marked by their ability to confront brutal facts and, more importantly, their unwavering resolve to make necessary changes for long-term success.

Amid adversity, I applied the principles from this book to our project. I assembled a team, shared a compelling vision, and encouraged everyone to work cohesively. Just as Collins had outlined in his book, I realized that creating a culture of discipline and ensuring the right people were in the right positions was vital.

Over time, we observed the transformation - a shift from mediocrity to excellence. Our project began to achieve results that were nothing short of remarkable. This experience reinforced my belief in the power of visionary leadership and the principles outlined in Good to Great. It's a book that I continually revisit as a source of guidance and inspiration in my leadership journey.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

A less conventional yet impactful piece of advice for young leaders is to embrace discomfort. In a world that often encourages comfort zones and familiarity, true leadership growth often emerges from embracing unfamiliar and challenging situations.

It's natural for leaders to be drawn to what they know and feel comfortable with. However, some of the most significant personal and professional growth occurs when we step into uncharted territories. It's in these moments of discomfort that we learn to adapt, innovate, and develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.

Encouraging young leaders to actively seek out situations that make them uneasy, whether it's leading a team with diverse perspectives, tackling complex problems, or exploring different cultures, can accelerate their growth and broaden their horizons. Learning to navigate discomfort with poise and resilience equips them to handle a wide range of challenges as they progress in their leadership journey.

It's in these unconventional experiences that we find the grit, adaptability, and fresh perspectives that set exceptional leaders apart. So, I encourage young leaders to seek discomfort as a path to true growth and leadership excellence.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

One of the most meaningful stories that come to mind as a leader is the transformational journey of a young woman named Adesola. Adesola was part of our youth empowerment program through Purpose-Drive Global. She came from a disadvantaged background, faced various societal challenges, and had a dream of pursuing a career in the tech industry but lacked the resources and guidance.

Her determination and potential were evident, but the odds were stacked against her. Our organization, alongside other partners, offered her a scholarship to enroll in a coding boot camp and provided mentorship and support throughout her learning journey.

As she immersed herself in the world of coding, Adesola's talents began to shine. It wasn't long before her skills and commitment caught the attention of a tech startup. They offered her an internship that eventually turned into a full-time position as a junior developer.

Her transformation was remarkable. She not only acquired technical expertise but also grew as an individual. She blossomed into a confident, empowered young woman who was no longer limited by her circumstances. Her journey from hardship to success is a testament to the power of providing opportunities, mentorship, and support to young talents.

Witnessing Adesola's transformation was a poignant reminder of the impact that our organization can have on individual lives. It also underlines the immense value of nurturing young talent and providing the tools and resources they need to thrive. Her story with many others that have emanated from our organization is a source of inspiration for all of us, emphasizing the importance of our work and reaffirming our commitment to shaping a brighter future for Gen Z. It exemplifies how, as leaders and organizations, we can elevate lives and drive meaningful change, one person at a time.

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