My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series documenting people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially to tech.

Victor Onyekere is passionate about seeing people succeed. And he spends most of his time pushing them towards their goal. His nickname, “The Strategist,” points to his standout approach toward being a Life, Behavioural Change and Productivity Coach. Today, he has interacted with over 3000 African entrepreneurs through Coaching, Consulting and Strategy and directly coached 50 companies across 5 countries on structure and systems. But none of these feats were in his early dreams. What changed? You’ll find out in Victor Onyekere’s pivot journal. 

How it started

I wanted to be a doctor. Aside from the cliche that everyone wanted to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer, I genuinely care for people. So, I thought empathy made being a doctor or surgeon the right path. After secondary school, I didn’t stop applying to study medicine and surgery year after year. But that didn’t happen. Most times, I didn’t meet the cut-off requirement. And the only time I made the supplementary list, I still had trouble securing my admission.

Eventually, I studied Health Education. My brother had helped fill out my admission form in my absence and (mistakenly) added health education. After another attempt to study medicine and surgery at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) flopped, I took it. I consoled myself with the knowledge that health education was preventive medicine instead of curative.

The discovery

While in school, I noticed that people often came to me for answers. And somehow, I always had the answers. Whether they were seeking a strategy for organising an event or running a business, I knew how to help. I was also organising tutorials for difficult courses. Most of these things were instinctive. I was simply yielding to the same urge to help people that made me want to study medicine in the first place.

I then started an NGO geared towards empowering student leaders. At the same time, I was holding mini-business talk sessions. This was when I realised that empathy could open many different paths. I had been focusing on only medicine and wasn’t seeing how many other ways I could help people. I could also express my care for people by helping them succeed. However, I discovered I was more interested in business strategy and career building. I enjoyed meeting student entrepreneurs and (sometimes unsolicitedly) telling them how to improve their product packaging, customer experience, etc. And gradually, I started disconnecting from the health lane.

Victor Onyekere

After my NYSC, my parents wanted me to get a Master’s degree in Public Health. But by then, I was no longer interested in being a doctor or a health practitioner of any sort. I had paid my acceptance fee and was becoming financially committed to this degree. Then, I woke up one morning and decided to end this pursuit. It was not about the absence of opportunities because I could draw a straight line between taking that step and travelling out of Nigeria. I just didn’t want to commit myself to a career that didn’t excite me.


After my ‘break-up’ with health work, I had to put all my chips on the table. I needed to prove that I knew what I was doing when I suddenly stopped pursuing my Master’s degree. So, I started by getting certified in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). I spent a lot of time learning people’s behavioural patterns because business coaching and strategy rely heavily on understanding these patterns.

The early days were tough. I had to always be on the lookout for events relevant to what I was doing and ensure I participated. I spent most of my time volunteering. It didn’t matter if I had enough money to go or not. Visibility is a strong currency in this field. I still remember attending one event and waiting for everyone to leave because I knew I would have to walk half the distance home. It took me about nine months to get my first job.

Then, in 2019, I joined Cars45 as a Training Specialist. A little over a year after graduating from Olusola Lanre Coaching Academy, I got called to become one of the executive leaders of the Life Coaching Association of Nigeria. In 2021, Cars45 promoted me to Head of Learning and Performance. Interestingly, I never applied to any of the jobs I worked in. The ones I sent in applications to by myself didn’t work out. But that visibility I built over time made people recommend me for open roles.

How it’s going

It’s been over six years since I took that ‘crazy’ decision to put the knife to my health career. Looking back, I won’t have it any other way. Helping people build their careers and businesses has been fulfilling in several ways.

In 2022, I resigned from my job in Cars45 to focus on venture building. The job is to work with founders to raise capital and provide strategic business direction. And now, I have a new challenge since I’m more involved in building businesses. I have a new dream to touch a million businesses. But this new dream comes with new challenges. For instance, I have over 100 founders with incredible ideas that need capital. I also need to build more founder hubs across different cities. My goal is to democratise luck so more people can explore their ideas.

Career hack

Nothing beats excellence. And anything that has my stamp on it is excellent. So, more than anything, the quality of my work is my hack. However, I have also gained a lot from strategic positioning. You will move faster in life when you know how to be in the right place at the right time.

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