Our OD Young Person of the Month is Kolapo Imam from Nigeria. He is a writer, product evangelist, SDGs volunteer and Fellow of the Legislative Mentorship Initiative. Previously, Product Marketing Manager at Nexford University and the first Product Marketing hire. He teaches Product Marketing at Utiva Academy and is the Re-Skill for Future Lead at Global Shapers Hub, Ilorin where they launch initiatives to help upskill youths in Kwara state and facilitate an environment where young people can thrive. Kolapo is currently, the founder of Jobs Cabal where he is building a unique talent discovery platform for organizations leveraging social capital and he also mentors tech talents via ADPList.
Kolapo is a Nigerian, born and bred in Lagos State, Nigeria. He had all my education in Lagos and only moved to Kwara State for his University Education where he bagged a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He then completed a Masters of Business Administration program from Nexford University in 2021. Kolapo was nominated for 5 award categories by Hackernoon in 2022 and awarded as HACKERNOON CONTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR- BUSINESS-GROWTH, HACKERNOON CONTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR- BUSINESS-STRATEGY, HACKERNOON CONTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR- GROWTH-HACKING and 2nd runner up for the HACKERNOON CONTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR- PRODUCT-DEVELOPMENT categories. He works at the intersection of Tech and Marketing and my current project at Jobs Cabal is to help organizations of all sizes across any industry discover talents faster. Jobs Cabal is a unique referral system that uses 16 data points to ensure only the perfect match gets introduced to our organisation partners, and the organization only pay for every successful hire. It’s currently in stealth mode, but it’s been running for nearly a year.
On How He Began
Over the years since starting his career in tech, Kolapo has always had organizations reach out to him for referral and he mostly got all his professional engagements via referral as well. So he figured that referrals must be a solid channel for getting talent and decided to research further about it. Kolapo’s inspiration for starting Jobs Cabal was meeting amazing talents who struggled to get jobs and had to send hundreds of applications before landing their first interview. This experience reminded him of the quote from Leslie Cornfed that “Talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not” and one of such way to evenly distribute opportunity is by building a system that will help all talents get discovered and hired regardless of their application and this is something that he has invested time and resources to building a platform to make the hiring process easier for both companies and talent.
On His Successes
With Jobs Cabal, Kolapo has been able to assist a couple of skilled professionals in securing fulfilling roles within the past six months. Through Jobs Cabal’s platform, they have cultivated a supportive and dynamic referral community, albeit currently limited to invite-only access. The platform has proven instrumental in connecting talented individuals with excellent job opportunities while fostering a community-driven approach to professional growth and networking and his focus remains on facilitating successful matches between skilled professionals and prospective employers, contributing to career advancement and organizational success.
In parallel to his professional endeavors, Kolapo is actively engaged in non-profit work through the Global Shapers Hub Ilorin participating in various climate related projects and are currently planning an impactful TechBridge event. This event stands as a testament to a commitment to fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among stakeholders within the security, government, and private sectors. The primary objective is to create a platform where these diverse sectors converge, enabling constructive discussions on current trends and facilitating a deeper understanding of the digital landscape’s implications for security operations. The TechBridge event aims to serve as a catalyst for meaningful dialogue and collaboration among key stakeholders. By bringing together experts and professionals from varying sectors, we aspire to bridge the gap between technological advancements and security practices. Our intention is to empower security agents with insights and knowledge pertinent to the evolving digital landscape, ultimately enhancing their capabilities to navigate contemporary challenges effectively.
On His Challenges and Future Plans
Kolapo says that getting organisations to work with them has been a bit of a struggle, attributable in part to the discretion maintained in “stealth mode” operations and simultaneous commitments to other endeavours. The deliberate decision to operate in stealth mode, while beneficial in certain respects, has inadvertently posed obstacles in forging partnerships with organizations. He also had challenges in generating an efficient revenue model. Currently, they charge a flat percentage per every successful hire to be split between the referral and the platform. Through leveraging his network and speaking with some of his mentors helped with introductions to some startups and more discovery around the perfect revenue design.
In the coming years, he plans to fully automate the process at Jobs Cabal as they manually filter applications before sending them out to the network for candidates which takes a lot of time, but it ensures quality referrals. He will also be dedicating more time to the project and getting more passionate people on board the team with plans to expand the service to the non-profit and development space as well.
His Words of Advice For The Youth
My advice to young people is to embrace volunteering as an avenue to unleash their potential, build formidable relationships and make impacts at scale. Volunteering will give you the unusual opportunities you might not get from a regular job.
Who will be the next OD Young Person of the Month?
You can be the next Opportunity Desk Young Person of the Month! All you have to do is get a friend to recommend your work or fill out the nomination form here. We want to use the platform to recognize and celebrate the efforts of amazing young people around the world. Oh! And you must be an active Opportunity Desk member, either as a fan, reader, or subscriber! Share!