As an immigrant, we face different challenges. While some had it tough, they have been able to turn things around. Others are still learning the rope. This is why we started the immigration journey series. We use it to share stories of fellow immigrants. Today, we will be sharing the story of Teslim Salawu. You will read about Tes’ Journey into Product Management. If you missed any of our previous series, you can check it here.
Who is Teslim Salawu?
My name is Teslim Salawu and I am also known as Tes’. I am an IT Product Manager. I built my first product circa 2000/2001 while I represented my Secondary (high) school and Ogun state at the National Junior Engineers, Technicians, and Scientists (JETS) competitions free choice project (senior category).
My Early Days
I studied Civil Engineering at the University of Lagos, I knew this wasn’t my calling. After the second year,. I was overwhelmed, and I can say engineers have my utmost respect. I struggled, but I learnt about “resilience” under the guidance of Dr. Ikponmwosa. I eventually graduated with flying colors.
After graduation, I worked for the local (municipal) government as a Junior Project Manager before moving to what I refer to as my most challenging role, a process improvement project manager for a multinational company. This role pushed me to further improve my business acumen and skill as I had to learn too many things on the go.
I decided to pursue my first master’s degree in Business Administration in the United States of America. I was prepared, and it turned out to be a great experience. With resilience and top-notch business acumen in the bag, I decided to add one more skill, Project Management. I embarked on another Master’s degree this time, another MBA with a specialization in Management of Information technology.. I graduated as Valedictorian in both courses, even broke my GPA record.
It is not all about academics
Away from the professional summary for a bit, and let’s talk about my hobbies. As you probably know, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy :). On the football pitch, I am known as “Tessydinho” or “Pichichi.” On FIFA (video game), I am revered and hence, the nickname “Tesformation.”
Also, I am a lover of books. I am always torn between audiobooks or reading a physical book. Either way, I set a target of 2 books a month. Lest I forget, I always try to put a smile on people’s faces, talk about real-life “life of the party.”. If you are looking for a photographer, reach out to me. I am a self-taught photographer that specializes in portraits and products. Lastly, let’s not talk about my dancing skill! It needs resuscitation.
Turning my passion into a business
I am very passionate about sharing knowledge, and I believe the best way to retain knowledge is to share it. I spend my spare time sharing knowledge. This started as a hobby initially until several organizations required my services. I currently moonlight for The Slim Prep as a training consultant, where I proffer an array of training from Agile (Scrum) to Product Management. So, if you are looking for any training in this space, check out The Slim Prep.
Family is Key
No man is an Island. Every successful person has the right support system. This can come from family and friends. And I attribute all my success to my family and this includes my friends. Please note that all my friends become family automatically. These people have encouraged and supported all of my dreams.
My journey to Canada hasn’t been hitch-free. I have had my Ups and Downs. There is the culture shock and yes, the winters. They come with a bag of tricks each year. The people are lovely, and the food is excellent! I might need another article to talk about food. Be ready to learn and unlearn a lot of things.
This is for you if you believe Product Management is for you.
Almost everyone out there has built or has been involved in designing a product. Yes, those random surveys you filled; they weren’t so random. If you are thinking of going into the product management space, you need to be adept at getting things done, Also, you need to be able to communicate. Project managers and product managers do a lot of communicating. So, be prepared to communicate with stakeholders at all levels with data.
You also need to possess great leadership skills. The interesting thing is that you can develop all these skills if you are willing. Lastly, understand that the Product Management space is broad, and there are several other skills required to be a product manager. I advise that you get a coach / mentor who can point you in the right direction. This is Tes’ journey into Product Management.
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