Alex Okosi is a Nigerian-born, US-educated media executive responsible for developing and launching MTV Africa (MTV Base) in February 2005. Currently, he is responsible for managing the growth and development of the Viacom International Media Networks Africa business – a multichannel portfolio that reaches over 100 million viewers and includes MTV, MTV base, Nickelodeon, VH1, BET International and Comedy Central and he is the creative force behind the MTV Africa Music Awards.
What Drives Me | I have always had a strong personal ambition to succeed which was instilled in me by my parents who both had a strong work ethic. I want to make a positive impact on the world with a key focus on creating initiatives that empower the youth of Africa. Leveraging my skills and experience to help drive Africa’s development and improve the perceptions of Africa around the world are also important to me.
My Highlights | I was thrilled to earn a full basketball scholarship to attend University at St Michael’s in Vermont, USA, where I graduated with a double degree in business administration and economics. However, the birth of my son tops my life highlights. From a career perspective, developing and executing the business plan for our first localized channel (MTV Base) and expanding our portfolio to 6 brands along with launching the MTV Africa Music Awards are milestones that I am proud of. I was also very honoured to be recognized as a WEF Young Global Leader in 2013.
The Difference Between good And Great | People who are great at what they do are always in pursuit of excellence. Yes, things may not always turn out the way you want, but having that desire to put in the extra time not only to learn from your failures but also your successes is, I believe, an important quality to have. People who are great have relentless desire to reach that bar that they are always moving higher.
My One Key Talent | I believe that one of my strengths is being able to identify opportunities as well as in investing a lot of time to research them. I am very persistent – I will persevere with a project until it gets realized. This was true of the launch of MTV Base Africa, in which I developed the business plan and persuaded Viacom to invest in launching a business in Africa. It wasn’t an easy sell and we started off small, but we now have more than 60 people in Africa delivering 6 entertainment channels to the continent, including 3 bespoke localized channels.
Characteristics That Have Led To My Success | My determination, personal drive, analytical skills and a sheer passion to be part of ground-breaking initiatives have helped shape my journey to date. I am a decent listener, and my intuition often helps me get to the heart of what people want in order to help find solutions to meet their needs. I am also able to relate to people from diverse backgrounds, which helps me forge authentic relationships that help grow my understanding.
Principles I Live By | Work hard and smart with a goal to be better than you were the day before. Don’t waste time – make everything you do and everyday count.
Critical Skills Needed To Be Developed | To be successful, you need to continue developing a variety of skills. My negotiation, people management and business strategy skills have really helped me. However, it is crucial to combine great skill with great habits in order to achieve real success.
Lessons I Have Learnt | You have to continue to learn and grow in order to evolve in such a way that you are always able to add meaningful value to your environment. Because peoples’ tastes and attitudes change every day, you have to work to be at the forefront of providing new ideas and solutions. History has shown us that many great people and companies have failed because they lost touch.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I am lucky enough to have had very strong mentors who helped shape my career, particularly when I was younger. I find inspiration in many other places including friends, family, business associates, music and more. I am also keen to expand my knowledge across a variety of fields and I am always reading about great leaders and entities.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | I went on holiday to the United States with my parents at age twelve. My older brother convinced me to stay behind without my parents to pursue my education there – it was definitely one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received as it changed the course of my life.
Inspiring Others | While using traditional search methods can help you find good people, I prefer leveraging my network to find talent, as the people you know can tell you more about a candidate’s character than any interview process. I motivate my team by letting each individual know that we need their best in order for the business to thrive. My colleagues also know that I am with them every step of the way – no matter what time of the day – and that together we can create and deliver amazing products and experiences for our consumers and partners.
I Am Inspired By | My late parents, the late Steve Jobs, and other leaders that I learn about who have the audacity and courage to make the tough choices that lead to great innovations and results in their field.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I would like to have made a difference in a way that inspires people to pursue their goals no matter which background they come from.