Founder & Managing Director of Optimoida Security
Tell us a bit about you.
At my most basic level I’m still a rural Jamaican country boy chasing my dreams. I’m a romantic in the sense that I still do believe in ideals like true deep heart felt love, life happiness and that dreams can and still do materialize, what we dream can become reality. However I’m not naive enough not to realize that in this life you will have to fight for your dreams and sometimes in the pursuit of love and happiness you heart will be broken. My faith in God keeps me going, and my point of view of this world is such that whatever happens to me “good” or “bad”, I still win – there will be something good I can learn or take away from the experience. That’s who I am as person.
As for my education and career story that all started in the Jamaican primary school system, I was never at the top of my class, I was more or less an average student. I’ve always felt that way and because of it I have always put a lot of effort into my work hoping to do better the next time. My family moved here to Toronto when I was 16 where I did 2 years of high school. After high school I moved 4 and a half hours away for an Engineering degree at the University of Ottawa. It took me 5 years to complete a degree that should take 4 years, however I’m proud to have graduate with the distinction of Cum Laude.
Right after university I left the country to work as a software engineer with Motorola just outside Chicago Illinois only to return to Toronto a year later to work for TELUS as a network engineer. I stayed at TELUS for almost 13 years working in a variety of roles. It wasn’t until August of 2014 that I moved from TELUS to pursue an opportunity to work with Herjavec Group, owned by entrepreneur Robert Herjavec of ABC’s Shark Tank.
After working at my craft for a number of years I came to the realization that it was within me to move out on my own and start my own enterprise, which led to the creation of Optimoida Security..
Optimoida Security is a boutique information systems security firm focused on working with our client to ensure they are sufficiently protected from malicious security threats. My partners and myself have over 30 years of verifiable experience in the information security & technology field. Combined we have provided solutions for clients in a variety of markets including legal, finance, healthcare, government, transportation and manufacturing.
Our intent is to grow this firm into a global provider providing services in Canada, USA, Caribbean and Africa. It’s a pretty ambitious dream, but I did start off by telling you that I’m a dreamer.
What is the most rewarding thing about starting your own enterprise?
The feeling of knowing I’m building and labouring on something that I own, it’s mine. Also enjoying the creative process of taking something from the dream stage and birthing it to reality.
What would you recommend to anyone considering starting his or her own business?
Just start – you have to just make the first step to get things off the ground. You will never be 100% ready for anything new. You will run into challenges that you are not prepared for, but that should be entirely expected, get started anyway and figured it out as you go.
What is the best piece of personal advice you were ever given?
Fear Not – fear is a dream stealer. Whenever you try to go into something new and wonderful fear will be right there standing in your way, I must step over it and move forward in courage.
How can Optimoida benefit the African diaspora?
I could see Optimoida being another example of a black own business that’s outside the stereotypical type of businesses our communities are known for, maybe others would be inspired to also pursue their own possibilities.