What I've Learnt: Kike Oniwinde, Founder & CEO at BYP Network

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Kike Oniwinde, BYP Network

Black Young Professionals (BYP) Network, founded and run by Kike Oniwinde, is in the process of connecting future leaders through mentorship, peer collaborations and career development.

Kike founded the network in 2016, supporting it as it grew into what's now known as "LinkedIn for black professionals". In her life, she's studied in the UK and USA, and been a pro javelin thrower on a national level.

And she's been awarded numerous accolades and rankings on high-performing professional lists. These include being named a Sky Woman in Technology Scholar, winning a STEM Trailblazer Batons Award at the Houses of Parliament, and being listed among Forbes' 30 under 30, the Maserati 100, and the Top 100 UK BAME Leaders in Tech.

We sat down with Kike to find out how she's done it all.

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

I can't go without reading my emails. 

What's been your luckiest break?

Getting a 100% funded Track & Field Scholarship to the University of Florida. 

What's your best failure?

Not qualifying for the Olympics. 

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?

I saved £30,000 to buy my first house but ended up using it as a safety net to be full-time self-employed. 

How would you describe your work/life balance?

Initially it was terrible - I worked seven days a week and put in at least 70 hours a week.

Now I work five days a week, 10am to 8pm. However, it does feel strange and like I'm not working hard enough but I'm much more rested and productive. Also I now have a team, so that's helped a lot. 

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

Akala, 'Natives'. It was a compelling read that was filled with so much fact and history along with Akala's personal story. It's very relatable and I believe it's a must-read for anyone of any background.

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Trust the journey and the process because everything does happen for a reason. 

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

My own journey of being an athlete and academic has impacted my working life.

Starting BYP Network came from my experiences of gaining internships at top investment banks, combined with being an international athlete. If I didn't achieve all those privileges, I wouldn't have seen the problem I was trying to fix through BYP Network. 

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I used to train five or six days a week in the gym and on track for my sport, but now I don't even know what a gym looks like. 

What does success look like to you?

Success is changing the black narrative. The world will be much more inclusive and the BYP community will be much better connected to one another and the opportunities that exist.

Success is BYP Network as a global name that is known for helping black professionals gain the opportunities they deserve within corporations, within society and while building businesses. We're here to truly close the income inequality gap that exists and to work with others so that we can truly create a world that the next generations can be thankful for.