So I have been collecting stories by great men whose stories inspire us all. One of them is Dan Eke, who has resiliently navigated through limiting life circumstances to creating a better world through his work. Enjoy reading our exclusive interview with him. He talks to Jenny Chisom in these chats.
Can you introduce yourself? Dan Eke is my name. I am from Enugu state and I am resident in Lagos state, Nigeria. I finished from the Department of Arts Education, University of Nigeria Nsukka, where I studied Education/English. I taught in a few secondary schools in Enugu state before finally took the course I am into today.
How was growing up and what are some of the remarkable things about it, you can remember? Vividly, I remember. Growing up wasn’t as bitter as lemon neither was it as sweet as honey. I was very sickly as a child so much that at a level, it was doubted if I would ever walk. In 2001, I left home to stay with my uncle in Gboko, Benue state, where I diligently served as a "House Boy". The memory there wasn’t quite pleasant as I didn’t find favour in the eyes of my Aunty. I left Gboko in 2004, that was a year after my father’s demise in 2003. In 2005, I wrote and passed a scholarship exam and was admitted to the prestigious St. Teresa’s College, Nsukka, in Enugu State Nigeria. In 2012, I got another scholarship into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and that was how I was able to enjoy a good quality education.
You see why I said growing up was remarkable?
How has any of these experiences contributed to who you have become today?Very well. I am firmly of the belief that everything happens for a purpose. So saying that my transitions in life are sets of coincidences is nothing but a BS (belief system). The contributions were much but I would summarize. If I was comfortable in my uncle’s at Gboko, my winning a scholarship to the best secondary school in Enugu state wouldn’t have been possible, as I would have had no reason to leave my uncle’s house to the village. I had to leave for home because life was to every extent, tough. In SS3, I was forced to seek out individuals to help me register for my WAEC exam, as the scholarship board was taking time to release the registration fee to the school authroity. It was during that that I met the godly man who later became the shoulder that carried me through the university. These are just a few, but God had a purpose! He always do.
Do you think born male had an effect on your upbringing? Well, not categorically.
Can you explain how? I can’t stand to say now that all I have become today are possible because I am born male. It is only the Grace of God and the work of destiny. Who knows? May be I would have performed more excellently were I born a female. It is the Grace of God at work. I am taking the path of destiny.
What do you currently do to earn a living? I am a Brand Strategist and the Founder of elinae.com. I help to Accelerate Growth and Increase Brand Visibility, Credibility and Reputation for Professional Services Firms.
I am laser-focused in such professional services as accounting, consulting, human resources, architecture, construction & engineering and real estate.
What was the turning point for you in business/work? The turning point for me was when in 2016, it became very evident that I was not graduating with my classmates. A carry over kept me in school for extra one year. Am I the first to have a carry over? Of course not, but mine was of a special type, "it wasn’t meant to be in the first place". Many things happened between then and when I decided to dig deep into developing who I am, and a talent I know I have into the branding and marketing I do today. It wasn't had transitioning. My father (may God rest his soul) was a blacksmith. My two uncles and even my grandfather, I was told, were blacksmiths. Apart from that creativity no doubt, runs in our blood, there's a great lesson I learnt from these great men. It is specialisation. While my father was the go-to person for crafting of all farm tools you can think of, my uncle was the go-to person for local guns. I never had the chance to their reason(s) to specialize, neither can I go back to becoming a Black Smith. But today, I have become The Brand Smith, specialized in helping just those in the professional services attain high-growth in their businesses.
What would you say is your life purpose and life call? To affect life. I went into this business of branding and marketing because I see people struggling everyday from defining why they are in business and what differentiates them from others, to building visibility, credibility and reputation in their industries. But it's not just about business. I have literarily smoked poverty and all its kindred. And I am out to help as many people as possible not to go through what I went through in the past, which is why I am out to help people grow in every way my experiences and training allows me.
Who are your mentors and role models? I choose not to mention names here (for personal reasons). But Denzel Washington is someone I enjoy listening to.
What about marriage? I am working towards that, but not there yet.
What do you do when you are not working or sleeping? Truth be told, in my life as an Entrepreneur, it's hard to separate what is work and what is not work. But I read books and watch good movies.
How would you say, you have inspired other people? This can take various shapes. However, when what I have said or done or the life I live has encouraged one to take action that bring good results, then I have succeeded in inspiring him/her. Whether in business or other areas passion takes me to, it's the same - when I am an agent of results.
A word of encouragement for your readers. To you that is reading these lines, I want to let you know that however the past has shaped you today, your future is yours to shape today. In this life journey, you cannot be until you have become. You cannot be yourself until you have become who you are. Discover who you are and the world will be grateful. Those things you are leaving undone are imprisonment to some people. Don’t despise your lowly place, it is your road map to your highly place. Your story is not your glory. But don’t be comfortable with your story. Start something, and keep the work going. Always remember that you attract the likes of what you spend your time on. So fix your eyes on what is working, and stampede what is not working, to death. What you focus on, expands.
Any other thing you care to share. Yes. The world is full of good people. Thank you for being one of them Chisom.
Hello fam, what do you think about Dan? Share in comment 👇