Tell us a bit about yourself ?

My name is Charles Herve Aka, I was born in Dabou, a city in Ivory Coast. I was raised by my grandparents, and I lived there until I was 17 years old. Afterwards, I joined my father in Toulouse (known as the Pink City in France), where I completed my high school and continued to postgraduate studies.
I hold a degree in law and a double Master's Degree in International Law. In 2004, I visited Quebec during a university exchange program, and in 2007 I returned and settled in Quebec City where I got a Masters in International Economic Law. Since July 2014, I have been the clerk and director of the legal department of “Ville de Bois-des-Filion, Région des Laurentides”.

What is one of your biggest accomplishments so far?

One of my greatest achievements so far is my career. Upon my return to Quebec in 2007, I faced many difficulties. I even considered giving up and going back to France. On the contrary, I persevered and I kept my ambitions intact to this day, and I am still on the path to be a lawyer, a profession which I always wanted to pursue.

Tell us about your definition of leadership?

In my opinion, being a leader is to have a goal. Moreover, it is to get all the elements we need to achieve this goal. Also, a leader, must lead by example, he has to be present, to share his experience with those who need it so that they can be inspired and encouraged in their journey. Finally, a leader knows how to listen, learns from others and his experiences.

Tell us about your favorite spot in Montreal?

My favorite place in Montreal is the Holy Sacrament Sanctuary. It is my peace haven. This is the place where I go for recreation, to pray, share and give to those in need.

Do you have a piece of advice for aspiring young men and women who wish to be successful in your field?

I would tell them to be persistent. They will face difficulties, judgments, and obstacles, but the answer will lie in their hard work. Believe in yourself and what you do, get back up every time you fall, learn from your failures, and above all, work, work, and work again.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

The best advice I received was from my deceased grandfather, who always repeated to me that success is built every day. Indeed, it is every day we build success by our choices, our decisions and by working harder every day. Thus, if we made the right choices every day, they would lead us to success.

Tell us about a person who has influenced you and helped you shape your view of the world.

My grandfather was my first inspiration. From him, work was the first lesson and effort a necessity. He taught me to dream and gave me the means to realize my dreams. Then, my father taught me to be open minded and learn from others. He also showed me the path of humility, respect for others and charity. He used to say that the left hand needs the right hand to be cleaned (you always need others to achieve our dreams).

Why is networking important to you?

Networking is a way of exchanging information and ideas among people who share a common interest. It is definitely a means for developing our community, and to meet people who can be an inspiration or mentors

Tell us about an experience which has shaped who you are today?

2010 was a year full of lessons: I went through many predicaments and it forged the person I am today. Indeed, after losing my job, I went over refusal after refusal. I did all kinds of odd jobs that had nothing to do with my training. When I finally found an opportunity in my field of study, my mother passed away two weeks after. This period taught me humility, perseverance, gave me a fighting spirit, and I learned the fragility of the things we have. In short, every time I let myself go a little at ease, I remember those experiences and realise that nothing is won, I have and to work hard, and to enjoy what I have.