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Akunna O. Nwamuo: Finding fulfilment in education

Educational background I started my secondary education in El Cerrito California where I attended El Cerrito High School, graduated and received my diploma in 1998.…

Educational background

I started my secondary education in El Cerrito California where I attended El Cerrito High School, graduated and received my diploma in 1998. I gained admission to California State University Hayward where I obtained a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration with emphasis in Entrepreneurial Studies in 2004. I went on to further my education and earned an MBA in Strategic Management with a minor in project management from John F. Kennedy University in 2008.

 Career Background

Due to the nature of the American system, I was able to start my first part time job while attending secondary school with a fast food restaurant as well as the local shopping mall. My parents taught my siblings and I early in life that if you want something you have to work hard for it. That mentality has followed me into my adulthood. 

My first corporate job was with Bank of America in which I held various positions within for five and a half years. I went on to hold great middle management positions within the Finance and IT sectors of Silicon Valley, California. In my spare time I volunteered at my family’s church, St. Johns the Baptiste Catholic Church. In addition, I also co-founded a non-profit Nigeria youth organisation in California named BANYA (Bay Area Nigerian Youth Association). 

Corporate Nigeria work Experience

Before I relocated to Nigeria, I secured a management level position from the US in a subsidiary of FIN Bank in Lagos, and later transitioned into a managerial position with the multinational technology company Hewlett Packard also in Lagos. I did my NYSC with NNPC in Abuja.

 After spending several years working in corporate America and corporate Nigeria, I wanted to do something that I had a passion for. So I opened a school. I am currently the proprietress of La Petite Academy in, Abuja. Honestly, working with children has always made me happy. I feel extremely fulfilled with what I am doing, and God willing I will be in this line of work until I retire.

Growing up 

Growing up was interesting, and fun. Being the youngest of four siblings, everyone had a role in my upbringing. My parents really tried their best to give us what we needed. We spent a lot of family time together. My parents always made sure that we didn’t lose touch of our Nigerian roots so every year we would plan family vacations to Nigeria.

Life lessons

Life has taught me to always believe in onself; Try to stay positive in the midst of any adversity. Be careful in the company you keep and remain prayerful. All these have helped me go through this journey called life.

Balancing work and home

I try to create a list of priorities daily; most days its works. As an entrepreneur you’re always working but I try my best to leave my work in the office so when I am at home I focus on being at home. It is not easy.

Most rewarding part of your career

Being able to work with children. Seeing them every day gives me a special type of joy that I can’t fully articulate with just words.

Aspirations growing up

I always wanted to be in a privileged position to help others as well as be wealthy enough to live an exceptionally good life. Financial freedom was important to me. I initially wanted to become a pediatrician which would give me the opportunity to help children and make good living, but I changed my major and studied Business Admin instead. It still worked out well in the end.

Fond childhood memories

Playing team sports. I was on the basketball, volleyball and track and field team as an adolescent up until my university years and I fully enjoyed the experience and friendships I made with my team members.

Your typical day

I wake up at 6:30am, say a little prayer, look at my phone for messages, look at my schedule for the day, go to the gym, eat a light breakfast, shower, dress up, and head to the office. My schedule changes daily, but my priority is making sure I am around the school to give my staff and my pupils the support they need. Even if I travel and have to work outside of the school, I always make sure I am available to my staff. I usually have long days that end by 8pm.

Most cherished gift

The good health of my family members and mine, especially my parents’.

Top 5 things on my wish list
I wish I had enough time to travel more. I wish my family and I lived closer to each other. I wish that the economic situation in Nigeria was a bit better for the masses. I wish that everything I am working hard for works well and others are able to benefit from it and I wish that all of my pupils grow up to be as positive and progressive as possible.
Favorite kind of music on replay
80s and 90s R&B.
First app I check in the morning and at bedtime
Whatsapp. My family and I have a family chat group so I check it to see who left messages.
Favorite fashion item
Nice maxi dress.
Flats or heels?
It depends on the attire! I can rock both.
Best travel destination
California. Most of my childhood friends are there and so are my family members. I have an awesome time every time I visit.
How do you relax?
I’m a movie person, so when I get the time I tend to watch movies. I love period pieces.
Favorite quote or saying?
Never let “THEM” see you sweat. Always remain prayerful and lastly, when they go low, You Go HIGH (Michelle Obama).
Favorite kind of food
Thai food! I love the basil and spice combination.
My definition of style?
Classy, well put together pieces, but not over accessorized. I believe less is more.
Favorite perfume
Chanel Mademoiselle, Tom Ford (various), Prada (various) and Versace Diamond.
Favorite shoes
Salvatore Ferragamo and Michael Kors.
Favourite fashion designer
I don’t really have a favorite designer, but the Nigerian designers that I buy from and I appreciate their sense of creativity and quality are DZYN, Yutee, Style Temple, Lanre Dasilva, and Wana Sambo.
Mums’ advice that stuck with me over the years
You will never know if you’re good or bad at something if you don’t try it and always try your best at anything you decide to do. Always be honest with yourself and others.
Favorite sports
Volleyball, basketball, and track and field.
Favorite day of the week
Sunday. I use that day to reflect and worship before the busy Monday.
Beauty routine
I usually keep it simple. Eat healthy, a lot of fruits and veggies, water and green tea, exercise regularly, sleep at least 7 hours a day; try to get to the spa for ‘me time’ once or twice in a month; try to stay moisturized using Ambi products; and most importantly keep your skin clean and fresh by bathing at least twice daily.
Role models
My parents and my older siblings. Apart from God everything that I am is because of them. Family is everything.

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