34; CEO of EveryoneOn, where he leads the initiative to connect more than one million low-income people to the internet before the end of 2020
Toughest obstacle you’ve overcome? The hardest and best work of my life was teaching second grade in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. My biggest challenge was to realize that students like mine didn’t need saviors; they needed servants. They didn’t need prophets; they needed partners. My purpose was to work side by side with their families and them to help them realize that they had always possessed the power to forge lives of meaning for themselves. Those lessons still inform how I lead every day.
Goals for 2018 and beyond? Beyond 2020, EveryoneOn’s goal is to solve the digital divide for the 75 million people in America without at-home internet service. Personally, my parents are from a small, out-of-the-way village in Nigeria. What changed life for both of them was the opportunity to study here in the United States. Without education and the economic opportunity of this country, I would not be here, quite literally. I feel like I’ve been given more than I could ever repay, but I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying.