This November for the GRAYT PEOPLE Profile Series, I’m excited to converse with people who I am beyond #ThankFor, some of my best friends! Nduka and I became friends close to five years ago, while both attending Pepperdine University and serving Pepperdine BSA. At the end of the day, he’s been nothing less of a big brother I never had. Someone who’s commitment to his purpose inspires you to commit to your purpose! Someone who’s drive to be his very best inspires you to be your very best!
Rightfully so, Nduka’s contributions as a Fixed Income Analyst at Wells Fargo, Chief Financial Officer for Growth With Nigeria, and Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum exhibits the profound value of his hard work!
With only 5-6 minutes of your time, Nduka shares more on his journey, his [graytness], his efforts & ethics, and some motivation to get you throughout the week, below:
1. What do you bring to Wells Fargo that makes the fulfillment of your Fixed Income Analyst responsibilities worthwhile and/or enjoyable?
NDUKA: My training in creative writing and liberal arts taught me one clear lesson: everything has a story. In the investing business, we often talk about numbers and financial metrics; I bring a lens of discussing and evaluating metrics within the context of a company’s story. I enjoy learning about companies, why they exist and how they plan to have impact on the world.
2. Corporate America isn’t the most populated sector of America by minorities. How were you able to surpass any of your own doubts or the doubts of others to embark on impacting Corporate America?
NDUKA: Whenever I doubt my abilities, I recall the countless individuals who sacrificed to make sure I have a seat at the table of opportunity. My grandfather was the first person in my village to attend elementary school and with an elementary school education, he and my grandmother were able to raise children who all have a minimum of Master’s degrees. If he can accomplish such an incredible feat with his level of education, I have no excuse. I call on his courage and bravery when I doubt my own abilities. I also think it is my responsibility to populate less diverse rooms with people of diverse backgrounds and to do that I must be in those settings and use my knowledge and influence to bring in others.
3. What are three (3) values you have brought with you from your upbringing that are significant in shaping your perseverance towards fulfilling your purpose today?
- Start with Prayer: Whenever I have encountered challenges that seemed insurmountable, my Mother taught me to commit it to God and trust that it will be handled. I am guided by the belief that there is a supreme calling on my life and no one event can alter my calling.
- Start Now: My parents have been mentoring and financing other people’s education since they were college students. I refuse to wait until I am the CEO of ‘XYZ’ company to start uplifting others in my community. With my current education and work experience, I will mentor, coach, advocate, raise money and so on. Those are all things I can do today, so I followed my parents footsteps.
- Embrace the Struggle: My Dad always says that anyone who wants to be successful must be ready to struggle. I grew up understanding success, on any level, will be a struggle but embracing that struggle makes the journey all the more enjoyable.
[THEJOSHUAGRAY.COM] defines [graytness] as, “The state of mobilizing confidence to excel beyond “good” and courage to excellently embrace [grayt]—best explained by the actualization of an individual’s potential, purpose, and perseverance to collectively impact their surroundings, with distinction.
4. What is your graytness? What do you identify as your differentiating factor among other financiers?
NDUKA: My liberal arts training is definitely a differentiating factor. The world is interconnected, so I constantly think about the way any given financial transaction will impact society.
5. Considering your commendable placement within Goldman Sachs formerly & Wells Fargo currently, along with your philanthropic efforts with Grow with Nigeria, what advice can you give on the importance of hard work and diligence in pursuing one’s personal [graytness]?
NDUKA: The biggest dreams can be distilled into mini-steps. Anyone seeking to reach the peak of their personal greatness should break that goal into smaller steps and do a little bit every day.
6. Assuming you would like to expand outside of your finance profession currently, what are three (3) routine practices you implement to ensure your purpose in life will consistently align with the trajectory of your profession?
- Continuous Community Engagement: I am a passionate volunteer, especially with organizations that are impacting educational access and outcomes for under-served youth.
- Write & Reflect: I have kept a journal since college. I visit my previous journal entries every few months and remind myself of who I am and what I was called to do in the world.
- Attend Sunday Service: I am committed to the church as an institution of change in the world. At the end of sermon every Sunday, the Pastor at my church says “If you see someone that has fallen down, do not look down on them with a frown, but instead, look to bring them to your level and above, that you may walk side-by-side as equals in the world.” Those words are the lens through which I view my purpose in the world.
7. Within your occupation, you practically sail in the sea of capitalism with greed possibly coiling its waves. Day in and day out, how do you challenge the status quo of the finance sector?
NDUKA: Business’ purpose in the world is to serve society. I fully embrace the fact that a business is accountable to its shareholders; however, I also think business is accountable to society and that those two parties are equally important. I challenge any view that accountability to society is a lower priority.
8. What are three (3) impacting scriptures/quotes/mantras that you use to guide your life?
- Galatians 5:13 – You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
- “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt
- “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” —Aristotle
9. We have been friends for nearly 5 years, if we were on a reality show or our friendship were to be imitated through art, what do you think someone could learn from our camaraderie?
NDUKA: There is no greater gift than the gift of brotherhood. Having individuals who see your vision and encourage you to leap beyond your current abilities is essential to personal growth—that’s what people can learn from our friendship.
10. What was one moment of personal failure or personal success that would motivate someone else to continuously press towards fulfilling their dream?
NDUKA: Recruiting for full-time roles in financial services out of undergrad was extremely challenging. By virtue of the limited amount of roles, the rejection is high. I learned to value my effort and celebrate those efforts—regardless of the outcomes. There is also great value in being consistent but developing the skill of patience. Every game is won with patience. When you don’t get the outcome you want, learn the lesson, refine your approach, incorporate the lessons and try again!
[GRAYT PEOPLE] Profile Series curates an informational collective of inspirational individuals who have shown what it means to mobilize confidence to challenge [GOOD] and mobilize courage to champion [GRAYT]—highlighting their past, their journey to their [graytness], their efforts and ethics, their motivation, and their aspirations.