And the dream goes on
Nigeria’s Ayo Owodunni has emerged as the first black person to become a City Councillor in Kitchener, London Ontario. Ayo won the Municipal elections for Ward 5 in a keenly contested race for the office.
The five contestants were:
- Ajmer Mandur.
- Jon Massimi.
- Farah Muhammad.
- Naveed Najmuddin.
- Ayo Owodunni.
The current city councillor, Kelly Galloway-Sealock, did not seek re-election.
Ayo Owodunni ran his campaign on three top reasons and promises:
- Speeding on local roads.
- Keeping taxes low.
- Housing affordability.
Owodunni said “I’m pushing for safety on our local roads by implementing traffic-calming measures, especially in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
The issue of speed control is a major concern I have personally heard from the thousands of doors I have knocked on.”
Ayo also wants to keep taxes low and make smart decisions when it comes to capital expenditures.
Housing affordability is also one of the biggest issues in Kitchener and most of Canada. House prices have reached record levels and many Kitchener residents have been priced out of the housing market.
Ayo Owodunni promised to tackle this issue and find long-term solutions. He said “the city needs to work with the region on solutions for affordable housing.”
Who is Ayo Owodunni?
How did Ayo Owodunni win and what are the lessons for immigrants? How did Ayo emerge into political stardom when he has never delved into politics before? And who is Ayo Owodunni?
Ayo has spent the last 10 years of bis career working as a consultant, facilitator, and trainer, supporting businesses in their efforts to promote learning and bring diversity, inclusion and cultural understanding in the workplace. Ayo is currently the Senior Manager, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Black Professionals In Tech Network (BPTN) Inc.
He has worked with small businesses, large corporates, and nonprofit clients in a variety of industries including well-known brands like Spotify, Canada Life, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, CIBC, TMX Group and Hydro One.
He is also the co-author of the book : Values, Culture, Period – Redefining the Value of Values to Drive Business Results.
In addition, Ayo has the following positions:
- Board Member, Leadership Waterloo Region
- Board Member & Ambassador, Immigrantnetworks.com.
- MBA Entrepreneurship, University of Waterloo
- Senior Manager, Diversity Equity and Inclusion at BPTN
- Podcast Co-host The Immigrant View and CBC Radio guest presenter
- Co-founder – Coalition of African Associations (now merged with ACAWRA)
- Canadian Association of Management Consultants
- Active church member
My best job in the whole world
Ayo said his best job and “the most important, without a doubt is being a husband to my amazing wife Folake and being a father to my two children Dayo and Kemi.”
Lessons for immigrants
The biggest lessons for immigrants from Ayo’s victory are threefold:
- Don’t be afraid to dream big and never give up on your dreams.
- Persevere and whatever you do, give it your best shot.
- Seek feedback and never stop learning.