by Olutayo Irantiola
In certain industries, some names resound more than others, this is not only as a result of the years into which they have put in practice but also as a result of all they have been to several people and how they have been able to constantly up their ante, Dr Joshua Olatunji Olugbodi, the helmsman of the Verdant Zeal Marketing Communications Group popularly addressed simply as TJ is a force to reckon with in the IMC space in Nigeria.
The towering figure of Marketing Communications across Africa, has brought a cerebral touch to the industry with his distinct way of creating bespoke solutions to all his clientele across all the spectrum of Marketing Communications ranging from Advertising, PR, Media Buying, Experiential and Activation, Digital media amongst others.
TJ, the curator and convener of Innovention, an elipted form of Innovation and Invention, a yearly intellectual discourse on the ways in making Africa stand out despite the global noise clutters. The Innovention series is the melting pot for the public and private sector to chart a way forward for Africa and champion the course. Everyone from across Africa and even those in diaspora, look forward to this event annually.
The Pioneer President of the International Advertising Association, Nigeria Chapter, has always found ways of grooming youngsters to become leaders in their own capacity. There are many Head of Agencies who have had a stint in the VZ family while there are hundreds of people on the client side that honed their skills while in the engagement of VZ.
I recently heard a quote of the renowned Nigerian televangelist, Pastor Sam Adeyemi that goes thus, “the best way to keep power is to give it away”. TJ has lived by this dictum all his life. As noted of him, he has built a trustworthy team over the years, retained his best hands and he has grown the leaders of the various subsidiaries of the VZ family. TJ also has a way of sorting talents and grooming them. He bestows responsibility on people and supports appropriately.
Another way in which I have seen the brilliance in TJ’s management style is the way in which he empowers his members of staff. From the stable of TJ, many people have been able to garner more academic certificates and laurels, for instance, the pioneer COO of the Group, Mr Dipo Adesida, became a Mandela Washington Fellow while in his employ. As the saying goes, “What if we train our employees and they leave? What if we don’t and they stay?”
In as much as TJ is a busy man, he has never stopped to identify with people in terms of celebrating with them, he has a way of reaching out to people, sharing in their moments of joy and felicitating with them. If you need more facts on this, check his instagram handle, it is not just about him, he celebrates his family and friends periodically. In fact, the entire VZ family is in support of the Nigerian Society for the Blind, Oshodi, Lagos, The Sickle Cell Foundation, Centre for Child Development amongst other CSR activities.
Personally, I have encountered the OTOBOS Master, firstly on linkedin before I became a member of his team and later to discover that we have some mutual friends and denominational beliefs. My first attempt at the Verdant Zeal Group was when I sent my CV to him directly and the second attempt was when I sent my CV to the MD of the Public Relations subsidiary, Cornelius Onuoha. My encounter with TJ has been pleasant and I make bold to say that VZ is a great place to belong in the Marketing Communications industry. I hope to up my ante as fast as possible and be the TY, TJ can also refer to. What about that!
Happy Birthday, Don TJ!