Kofi Douhadji is an Entrepreneur, Author, and Executive Coach.With a very poignant and inspiring background, Kofi is a first-generation immigrant from Togo and author of the book 'Unbroken Optimism'.
His life story is a powerful narrative of perseverance, ambition, and unwavering optimism. As an entrepreneur, author, and executive coach, he has defied the odds to build a life filled with purpose and success. Kofi's journey from a small village in Togo to becoming a beacon of hope is not only inspirational but also offers valuable insights on addressing systemic racism and forging meaningful connections with those who resist change.
Kofi was invited to speak to to the 2023 intake of the Kōkiri Māori Business Accelerator Programme. The Culture and Design Lab team asked him how to humanise the work we do to disrupt systemic racism and how we might create connections with people who are resistant.
Kofi's odyssey begins in a humble village in Togo, Africa. At a young age, he witnessed an airplane soaring overhead, sparking a dream to fly one day. Despite his father's discouragement due to their impoverished circumstances, Kofi clung to his dream. His unwavering determination was fueled by a desire to prove that dreams could be realised, regardless of one's background.
Life took a challenging turn when Kofi's parents divorced, driven by his father's abusive behavior. With limited support, Kofi and his sister faced days of hunger. However, Kofi remained steadfast in his pursuit of education, understanding that it was his path to achieving his dream of flying on a plane.
Kofi's educational journey led him to a different city for high school and eventually to the capital city of Togo to study engineering. To support himself, he ventured into selling second-hand clothes, gradually transitioning into entrepreneurship. After graduating, he founded his civil engineering company, starting with limited resources and a hands-on approach.
The Power of Vision
His success is attributed, in part, to his unique perspective on projects. He believes in starting with the end in mind, a philosophy that empowers him to overcome resource limitations. By reverse engineering his goals, Kofi refuses to place limits on his ambitions, inspiring others to do the same.
Today, Kofi manages three thriving businesses in the United States, with his publishing company, Global Wings, being the standout. Beyond profitability, it serves as a global portal, creating job opportunities for people in underserved countries like Togo and Ukraine. Kofi's entrepreneurial spirit is a testament to the impact one person can make in the world.
Kofi's journey into the world of publishing was not without its hurdles. Despite English not being his first language, he worked tirelessly to overcome self-doubt. Seeking constructive feedback and recognising the value of his work, he persevered in his quest to publish his book, 'Unbroken Optimism.'
Kofi's philosophy on money as energy and a tool emphasises the importance of recognising one's value. He advocates for fair compensation, believing that providing value to others through paid services and products is a form of love and respect for oneself.
Addressing Systemic Racism and Building Connections
In his talk with the Kōkiri Māori Business Accelerator Programme, Kofi shed light on how to humanise the work of disrupting systemic racism. He stressed the need to look beyond the resistance, understanding that fear of losing social status, jobs, and privileges often drives it. By creating a sense of safety and unity, Kofi believes that even the most resistant individuals can be brought to the table.
Kofi Douhadji's life story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. From a childhood dream of flying to becoming an entrepreneur, author, and coach, his journey is a source of inspiration for all. His insights on addressing systemic racism and forging connections with those who resist change remind us that empathy, understanding, and effective communication are powerful tools for creating a more inclusive and compassionate world. Kofi's message is clear: no matter the challenges we face, our potential to make a positive impact is boundless.
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