Talking with Jinmi about his life story brings up a beloved memory of a conversation with his father. On growing up in Nigeria, Jinmi’s dad responded to their discussions about challenges he faced with this advice: “You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution.” That advice, which Jinmi later learned was inspired by a Black American author and activist, became the driving force behind every career move Jinmi has made. He’s now a program manager for Meta Connectivity’s Deployment team, helping support the company’s efforts to increase global connectivity.
Jinmi takes a selfie wearing a t-shirt with a logo for 'Take Action', part of Meta's internal social justice initiative.
Access for everyone
Currently based in Dubai, Jinmi’s career journey is one filled with many passport stamps but each experience shares a common theme: connecting people. In 2008, after working in London at a major telecommunications company, Jinmi returned to Nigeria to start a consulting firm and help pave the way for better access for everyone across the country. At the time, Nigeria only had one internet cable connecting the country, which made it incredibly hard and expensive for millions of people to get online. After talking with the CEO of the company charged with expanding access, Jinmi says, “I was immediately sold on the vision to create better, faster, cheaper internet access. Within three weeks, I was back in Nigeria and ready to get to work.”
Two years later, the project went live—on time and on budget. You can feel the pride in Jinmi’s voice when he recalls his time working on the project as Technical Project Lead: “I started to think about what our work meant for the rest of the country,” he reflects. “Regional connectivity and international bandwidth were key pieces in the puzzle, and there was much more work to do. Prior to joining Meta, while I was running my consulting company, we pitched the Nigerian government’s Minister of Communication our ideas, and wrote what became Nigeria’s first-ever broadband plan. Together, with industry leaders, we redefined what broadband meant and started work on bringing internet access to everyone across the country.”
It was around the same time that Jinmi was chatting with two friends from Meta who were persuading him to join the company. The Meta Connectivity team’s mission appealed to his greatest passion: connecting people. It was largely because of their discussion that Jinmi took the leap and started the interview process. “For the first time, I felt my life mission perfectly aligned with a large corporate mission—connecting the next billion people,” he shares.
As a member of the Express Wi-Fi team, Jinmi often thinks about how the team’s current efforts will impact the future. He calls it a powerful source of motivation. “The people are so amazing that it’s easy to get up in the morning and say, what magic will we do together today? What amazing things will we do for the future?” he effuses. “This gets me so excited and has been really fulfilling. Truthfully, I didn’t expect to find this at Meta.”
Jinmi poses with his Express Wi-Fi team members Rama K. and Prashant BV. in a magazine-inspired photo booth at a year-end Meta event.
Connecting cultures through allyship
For Jinmi, bringing the world closer together is about more than just facilitating connections with technology. It’s about being involved, building community and championing different perspectives on many levels. In his words: “If I’m not part of a community, then I’m an ally.”
“When I joined Meta, one of the first events I went to was hosted by the Women@ Meta Resource Group. Coming from a family with a long line of strong women, being an ally to women was not something I needed to think about. It’s core to my DNA. But being at this event and feeling the energy within the room had a cascading effect on me. It showed me how I could be more of an ally in so many other ways. Attending the ‘Be The Ally’ course was a life-changing moment, highlighting so much of what I took for granted as a man; like feeling safe enough to walk home by myself, and how, in many ways, we all have some blindness of privilege. I quickly started connecting with other groups within Meta, so I could continue building strong connections and creating a stronger sense of community.”
When you listen to Jinmi’s story, you can hear the passion in his voice. It’s immediately clear he’s an ally for all underrepresented voices, and his approach to bringing people together is centered on learning.
“Being able to be in the room and hearing different opinions and stories from someone else’s perspective is the best opportunity to learn and grow. Allyship is about giving others a voice, and listening intently.”
A co-lead, with two amazing women, for the Black@ Meta Resource Group in the Dubai office, Jinmi strongly believes that bringing everyone together is the best way to create an inclusive culture. He shares, “If you’re not sure where to start, you can ask, ‘What do you think?’ to open the door and empower others to speak up and participate in conversations. We all have to put in the work to acknowledge cultural differences and resolve conflicts quickly, so we can focus on being our authentic selves.”
Moving forward together
He continues: “At Meta we have posters that say ‘what would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ and this is something I think about often. We are a company of solutions. Being at Meta and having the opportunity to do something so meaningful with other people who share the same mission is motivation to keep pushing forward.”
Jinmi lightheartedly reflects on his Nigerian upbringing, another source of motivation, when talking about his career: “Every Nigerian will tell you about the parent who is often in your ear suggesting you should be doing something more productive with your time; ‘Why are you idle? What are you doing with your time? Where do you see yourself in five years?’ So I try to make sure I’m doing something every day to make a little progress toward that goal. In that sense, the adage, ‘progress, not perfection’ is true.”
This post, originally published on March 22, 2021, was updated on October 20, 2022, to reflect our shift to Meta and new details about team members, roles and responsibilities.
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