Roti Akinsanmi has been an instructor in the Project Management program for two years. Taking the program himself was one of the first things he did upon arriving in Canada from Africa. We spoke with Roti about his philosophy in the classroom.
Q: Tell us about yourself and how you came to teach in this field.
A: In 2007 I moved to Canada. I decided to study Project Management so I took the Mount Royal class. I did the Fast Track, including my Final Assessment, all by Christmas. When I started I said to myself, one day I would like to teach this class.
Two years ago I was working at Cenovus and began to think I would like to give back to Mount Royal and teach for them.
My interview went well and I became an instructor, which has been great. Now, when I start my classes I tell my learners, “I totally understand what it’s like to be sitting out there. I used to take the class.”
Q: You’re changing lives, when you think about it. What’s your philosophy for teaching? Is there anything you really want to instill in your students?
A: Here’s one of the key takeaways from my class. I always reserve the last few minutes of class to make a pitch — not about the tools and techniques of project management, but the people side. I say to them, “You know, by definition your projects must come to an end. But the people that you work with on projects, those relationships don’t have to come to an end.” That comes from my own personal experience. Because projects can get difficult at times and we lose sight of the fact that we’re working with people.
Q: That’s a theme that keeps coming up when we talk to our instructors. You have to be good at working with people as well as knowing the subject you’re teaching.
A: I can teach all the tools and techniques; it’s technical. But let’s not forget, it’s all about the people you’re going to be relating with during the project. I say to my students, do whatever you can to maintain those relationships.
It’s all about the people side. Calgary’s small. The world is small and getting smaller so why not connect with people?
About Roti Akinsamni
Roti is an enterprising professional with two decades of successful business and technology experience. He brings real-world experience to the classroom to create a unique learning opportunity for his students. His portfolio includes Cenovus Energy, Optimal Payments (formerly Neteller), Shaw Communications and The City of Calgary.
As co-founder of mobileXcetera, a pioneer in mobile technology, he led multiple engagements for international brands like Coca-Cola, Unilever, Chevron, Ladybird, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, MTN Communications, Globacom and Airtel.
Roti is a PMI-certified Project Management Professional, with a BSc in Computer Science and an MBA from Cornell University and Queen’s University.
— photo by Krystal Hurt