Thursday, 17 September 2015

My Life as Nigeria’s No 1 Wedding Events Planne r— Temmie Amodu | + His Secret deal with Clinton, Kiyosaki & Preston Bailey

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Temmie Amodu to Asabeafrika...'Having a police parents who believes in command and follow up helped my life a great deal'
Temmie Amodu is tall, handsome and gifted with a baritone voice that is synonymous with leadership. Apart from his well trimmed beard which matches his gangly tallness that greets you as you walk into his ambience on a first encounter,  you equally discover his articles of work  like a white marking board where several events of the weeks and the month are sketched out and a  mini-library stocked with great leadership books in his office.
His Adisa Bashua, Surulere Lagos-South West Nigerian office can also be described as Head Quarters of Wedding and Event Planning in Nigeria as a big showroom by the right side of the building displays all sorts of wedding event  props from LED electronic lights to ordinary props that  can make a wedding venue glitzy. Yes, this Ibadan, Oyo state born big boy is Nigeria’s best wedding planner. In year 2013 and 2014, Temmie Amodu was declared winner of the Wedding Planner of the Year award by WED Awards Magazine for the two consecutive years. Between 2012 and 2013, organizers of The Nigerian Events Awards (TNEA) carried out a public research and voting where Temmie Amodu emerged as Winner of the Young Achiever Award for year 2012 and 2013. He has equally won several awards in many other spheres of life.

 Amodu is a member of Association of Professional Party and Events Organizers of Nigeria (APPEON) and winner of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) recognition award and several other awards home and abroad
 His role model Preston Bailey is world’s number 1 wedding planner and Temmie Amodu has met him one-on-one with the evidence of an autographed book written by Preston Bailey to show for it. He has equally met other global leaders like former US President Bill Clinton and American Born Japanese author Robert Kiyosaki whose book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” influenced Amodu a great deal. His company TSOULE Incorporated is Nigeria’s leading wedding and event planning company. He is equally the only Nigerian event planner with an annex in Houston-Texas, USA called Nathanael-King Signatures (Named after his first son)
Penultimate Thursday afternoon, our Google Representative and one of Nigeria’s innovative thinkers Mr. Olukanni Seun Lawrence (OSL) facilitated an extra-ordinary encounter with the widely travelled Event and wedding expert. Get your favorite drink and a handful of tasty snacks as you join your Africa’s number 1 celebrity encounter blog Asabeafrika as we unveil the story of Temmie Amodu’s grass-to-grace. Enjoy!
The GDA engages Temmie Amodu as  OSL looks on
Temmie Amodu to Asabeafrika..'Dad's stylish lifestyle aided my passion for Events and lifestyle'
Who is Temmie Amodu?
My name is Temitope Amodu, I am the founder and CEO of the Tsoule group. We have been in operation now for about 8 years and we have our annex in Houston, Texas, USA. We expanded into the US market because we discovered after series of trainings and projects in the United States that there is a market for us there, we found out that if a white person can do a white wedding the way we all like to see them do for example, then it is going to be a lot difficult for them to do a traditional wedding the way we will do it. We have a country with over two hundred different tribes. Why have belly dancers perform for your social event when you can have Atilogwu dancers perform? And we found out that it was a good market for us because there is a huge Nigerian content over there. We have been able to plug in with the right places because there is a huge cultural diversity in the United States as well. We have several multi-national cultural celebrations like African cultural day celebration. Sometimes, they used the Chinese Orientals and some other times, they use the African contents. These are all the individual opportunities that we have exploited and it has been a very huge opportunity for us as a company.
“My dad and my mum were police. They were both police officers and they both reached the peak of their career of 35 years where they both retired and they are both pensioners. They are okay, they are happy”.
The GDA, Temmie Amodu & Olukanni Seun Lawrence (OSL)
Temmie Amodu to Asabeafrika...'Preston Bailey gave me my best book'
So, how did the entire journey started. Why Events management and nothing else?
I studied Engineering and at a time I was working with Philips (Electronics) and I resigned from working with Philips in Netherlands as a Senior Project manager. When I was working with Philips, my responsibilities were project management which also has a bit of events management because you have your carpenter to fix your door, the electrician to fix the lights and your plumbers just the same way you handle all the accreditations for each of this people when you have a proper project. You have your baker, architect and project manager. It is the same concept only that it is a lot more interesting with being an event organizer. There is a whole lot of creativity involved, you go out there and you do something fresh, bring in new ideas and delight your clients. Your clients are always happy and that is the reason some of us do this business, to create delightful experience.
The Wedding Event Guru preparing to grant the interview with Asabeafrika
At what age of your life did you really discovered that organizing events was what you will like to do for a living?
Well, my dad has being a show man and I think he inspired me in a lot of ways.
What is his name?
His name is Ejalonibu Ato-Aseku Hoseni Amodu, he is a twin. While we were growing up, he is been a show person, when I was younger he will ask me to match his caps and his shoes and all of those helped me with a sense of style. He will attend the shows of King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and Kollington Ayinla back in those days. For me, I won’t go to the party and start spraying people I would rather sit down and do a more strategic use of funds. But then, that helped a great deal at the initial stage. And I was equally creative, I used to write songs, I used to write poetry but I eventually studied engineering but all I can say is that, it brought me back to what I love doing. So, it is all about doing what you like doing. Seeing the norm, getting bond with it and changing it and that is what has given us our peculiar difference. You see a car like Toyota looking at other vehicles and changing few things about theirs to give a new market brand.
“I wasn’t allowed to mix very much with a number of things. My parents were strict disciplinarians and I grew up knowing that this thing they were saying was for my own good, it helped me to be alone and develop my inner strength”.
Are you from Edo state?
I am from Oyo State, Ibadan.
Quite interesting how many of you in the family?
My family is made of four kids, girl-boy-girl-boy, I am the last born. So, we are a family of six.
Temmie Amodu to Asabeafrika...'A reader is a Leader and a leader is a reader'
So, your dad is a monogamist?
Well, we thank God that he and my mum are still together, they stay in their house peacefully. They are still alive. My dad and my mum were police. They were both police officers and they both reached the peak of their career of 35 years where they both retired and they are both pensioners. They are okay, they are happy.  My Dad was a DPO before he retired and my mum worked in the administrative session of the Nigeria Police.
So, what did their lives as Police Officers do to you?
My mum was a workaholic; I saw leadership from both mum and dad because with the police work, you see orderlies come home. They do things for their principals. I see how they relate with staff, how they relate with other police community and the kind of regimented barrack life we lived because we lived in the barrack in the initial stage. So, you know what next to be done and that also helped as a project manager, you know that this has to happen before this and it just goes simultaneously. That leadership is about follow ups. To be a successful business man in Nigeria, you need to have leadership skills especially if you are going to have to be touching lives from different parents to different clients and different staff over the years, a great leadership attribute is very important.
Temmie Amodu listening to a question from the GDA
So, who influenced you most between Dad and Mum?  
If I am to be critical I think it is my dad but I don’t think he will be very aware of this singular fact. You know every kid growing up is either running towards dad or running away from dad but in my case I think I ran towards dad.
Temmie Amodu to Asabeafrika...'Working at the Project Department of Philips Electronics really helped my horizon to understand Events Management'
Maybe you danced with your father like Luther Vandros Sang?
Well, he is still alive that has not really applied to him yet. I am still dancing with him. I remember to dance with him now and when the issue happened recently that my car was stolen, he was the first responder and he called his people. So, for me I tended towards dad and that really helped to groom me a big deal in the art of leadership. I think I took a lot from him in terms of leadership but when it comes to being over worked, dedication to work and all that, mum taught me that.
Can you tell us a brief of what society looked like when you were growing?
For one thing there was a lot of security while I was growing up. I was restricted in terms of movement in the barrack. I wasn’t allowed to mix very much with a number of things. My parents were strict disciplinarians and I grew up knowing that this thing they were saying was for my own good, it helped me to be alone and develop my inner strength. I was able to fashion it out that ‘well, this thing is for my own good and it will be better I sit down and get baptized by fire so that the gold in me can shine’.  And that really I think is what is lacking with the youths of today, they don’t want to do the work but they want to earn all the accolades. And don’t forget that I was the last born and I needed to do the work. I had elder ones who were ready to whip me to comply and I complied and instead for me to rebel, I saw it as a knowledge opportunity and a good lesson of life that you must know when to talk, know where to talk and know how to talk. That if you tell this elder aunty something and she takes it, that elder uncle might take it in a different way. And today when you go out to meet clients and you are on the table you know how to talk, you know what to speak with; you see the young Hip-Hop guy and you are telling him “What’s-Up” and all that and you see the elderly mum and you know you have to prostrate and keep your voice low with her, in the same meeting and you are speaking their language because people react to you based on how you speak with them. Parental protection also enabled me to be able to read and anytime I read a book, it takes me out of my normal self. It is like I am on a journey, on a venture because it is like you are caged in the house you are not allowed to miss with the rough-rough people; so  you read and it catapults you to another realm and that helped to broaden my creativity because I see things in abstract. So, I can look at a venue and see what will work. I see germs, I see the dirt and I see what the finished product will look like. So, reading nourishes your mind and gives you a peculiar education that is not conventional.
Temmie Amodu to Asabeafrika...'My Postion as the last born allowed me to learn a lot about people and attitude'
You said you had the gift of composing songs and poetry, why you became a musician or it never occurred to you?
My voice was my giveaway, I could write but I couldn’t sing. So, I used to write songs and I had a friend that could just say a couple of things but it end there. Those talents are still actually there and from time to time it manifests in other areas.
“That is the power of books on someone’s life. Reading is like getting the best consultancy servics from the author at a minimum charge”.
What about your education background?
I started at Aunty Ayo International School back in the 80s and I went to Methodist Boys High School. Late Nnamdi Azikiwe is an alumnus of that institution. I did my OND at Offa Polytechnic where I studied computer engineering and did my post graduate, while I was rounding up in Offa I went to Lagos to do my IT and due to my culture of hard work, diligence and sense of duty, the company decided to retain me as a staff and they were paying my salary and school fees through the HND period. So, I had CISCO certification in networking, I had CIS, CCP, ACCNP and I also did Microsoft and we were establishing different banks. So, I have been a service person all my life. I grew up as a service person, even when I was in secondary school I was working under a fellow who operated a photo-copy machine center and when I started then, he was making something like a thousand naira per day and I was able to gather business to something that was making up to twelve to fifteen thousand Naira daily. I had him bring in type writer, we went into typing, and we were doing projects and binding of articles. So, I expanded the business while I was a teenager then. That was my first job; so, I am a service person, I understood customer relations. And that is why I am not into buying and selling. A lot of people have asked me to go into buying and selling but I will rather dash you my service than asking for money for it. I like being a service person, it allows you to position yourself in a way that will allow you to perform, be retained and get referrals. That is what I learnt, the power of compound interest through service delivery.
Temmie Amodu displays Preston Baileys' autograph to Asabeafrika
You are a book person I can see lots of great books in your mini-library here. What does reading do to you?
Well, read and lead, lead and read. As we are having this interview I can tell you that I am also writing my own book, it is my memoir which I titled “My eyes, my body and soul”. We are at the advanced stage. You see, when you write a book or when you have the opportunity to read a book, it is like having the opportunity to meet the author. The idea is to have their own life experience transferred to you in the form of a book; you know a lot of people that have existed on this planet that are close to you but have not even though about writing a book and you see this people as wise. But for those who take the initiative to write a book, they might have something extra, something important to say. So, reading that book can help your life. It is like having a chat with the person in a no hold barred situation, you are given an opportunity to hear him. Just like my own table of content that I am developing has deep information that only me, only my personality has experienced, uniquely, and I am putting that in a book, hopefully, that will add value to some people’s lives. So, the same thing for all the books you have read or all the books you will read in life. Those books that give you a full journey into the mind of the author in that field or space that he intends to talk about.  That is the power of books on someone’s life. Reading is like getting the best consultancy service from the author at a minimum charge.
The GDA with Temmie Amodu
Which one book made the difference in your life? 
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I have actually been to his training in Housto-Texas and met him one-to-one, he was organizing a leadership lecture in multi-level marketing in properties which I was meant to do some work with him but I have not decide to commit myself financially. You know you have to pay over a period of time which I have not been chanced to do at the moment. But the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” was a very important book that I read when I was in secondary school and it changed a lot about the way I think.
Temmie Amodu to Asabeafrika...'Parental restriction and ability to read widely makes me to think in abstract'
Did meeting Robert Kiyosaki in person do anything to you?
Well, I felt okay. I have met several other World leaders. I have met Bill Clinton; I have met Preston Bailey the top event designer in the world. I even have his book here and he is my role model. He actually, personally autographed this copy for me in Las Vegas (Showed me the autograph by Preston Bailey). The guy has a Ph-D in his field (Event Management and Decoration) and very, very gifted. This book “Doing Business with Your Heart” touches on empathy for business, it is not really about money because some clients will not pay you, and some don’t have the money.  I had a client some times back; he made deposit but couldn’t make the balance. So, yes, we have a principle to be paid in full but this is a once in a life time opportunity for this fellow and we can’t afford to make him lose the experience. So, we had to use empathy alongside understanding to implement his event. I learnt that from Preston Bailey and ordinarily being a Nigerian I could have said “No, we need our money in full” but that was directly off this book on “Empathy and Professionalism” taking ownership of people’s emotions. All of us have failures, nobody is perfect but you must find the easiest process to go through alleviating the pains of your client. If things go wrong or there is any complain your responsibility is to do above and beyond what the client initially asked you to do. That is the training for customer care, if  you are meant to do A standard and you do it a little bit lower than that, the advice is go back there, do that A standard, do it better and give a recommendation towards B, C, D. You must respect the journey of the process between when you made a contact with the customer and when you finally execute the project. From the meetings, the reports down to post event delivery, there is a full customer journey that must be maintained at a serious level. That is what Preston Baileys’ “Doing Business with Your Heart” is all about.
Some of Temmie Amodu's Wedding Event Props
An Old Picture of the big boy when he started years back
The Symbol of his Events Company, TSOULE

Temmie Amodu to Asabeafrika...'We are the only Nigerian Event Company with a strong presence in the United States of America
Temmie Amodu to Asabeafrika...'Our Company offers diversity of culture'

(Watch out for Part 2 of Temmie Amodu’s exclusive titled “How a couple paid me N2m for only flowers by pool side” on this blog after this time out)

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