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Shawn Ageyman unites hip-hop and tech worlds with Hip Hop Hackathon

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Photo courtesy of Shawn Ageyman

Shawn Ageyman, whose mission is to help people, discusses his role as CEO of Hip Hop Hackathon. Read on to find out how he recruits talent and why he feels teamwork is important.

Please describe your leadership style as CEO:

I don’t subscribe to leadership styles. I’m Christian, so I try to let biblical principles guide my decision making. Each challenge or project is different. If anything, I’m like a quarterback. I read the situation and make the best decision based on a thorough analysis of all available information. I’m open to feedback from team members, but ultimately I take responsibility in making the final decision. I like to assign teams and let them manage themselves. I offer strategic input as needed, but trust teams to manage themselves.

What is your mission statement?

Help people.

What three skill sets are critical for the future executive that you hire for your organization?

They must [have] humility, extreme intelligence [and] a sense of humor.

How does having an advanced degree benefit you and your clients?

I don’t have an advanced degree. I’ve been able to marshal resources to leverage the best minds available to me to do amazing things. I’ve been putting off graduate school for a while, but when I complete it, I’m pretty sure I’ll learn the intricacies of business and be able to use other’s experiences to my advantage when helping clients.

How do you utilize technology to benefit your organization?

We build technology platforms, so for me all technology is important. Hardware (Mac products, obviously) and software (Python, Ruby) all help build excellent products. Technology is so vast, and there are so many moving parts, so we strive to stay abreast of what we have going on.

Finish the sentences

Team work is important because …

No one man should have all that power. Seriously, I believe team work is important because as an entrepreneur we tend to get married to ideas, but having a team, especially a diverse team can help you put out amazing products because you’re not bound to one school of thought.

The best way to recruit great talent is …

Find people that are 20 times better than you. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve. It’ takes humbling yourself and admitting that you don’t always have the right answers, or may not be the smartest person in the room.

Speaking a second language is important because …

It’s always a great icebreaker. The francophone is especially critical to my African heritage. My parents respective native Ghanaian dialects have also gotten me discounted cab rides at times.

What social media platforms do you engage in the most?

It gives me the diverse perspectives from thought leaders to influences as well as the supporting articles/documents to support. Linkedin is great as well, but for up to the minute current news, Twitter is king in my book.

What professional organizations do you support?

I support Blue 1647 in Chicago. It’s a training and workforce development center that teaches coding and programming skills to Chicago’s underserved communities, which ultimately levels the playing field for STEM jobs.

Describe your networking style.

My networking style is “what can I do for you?” I think I have more social capital than most people, and it compounds daily. I love playing the role of the connector, so when I can put two people in contact for the greater good, I feel like I’ve done my job as a networker.

If you were giving a graduation speech to college students what would the title of your speech be and give three reasons for that title.

The title would be $%$% Everybody – Be Yourself

Three reasons why:

Imitation is great, however being yourself lets you operate in your blessing.
By accepting your flaws and weaknesses you can focus on your strengths and be an amazing person
Advice is given freely, however not all of it applies. By focusing on yourself you will be able to filter out what does not work for you apply what does

Name your two favorite vacation destinations to relax and recharge and explain why you like them

Ghana – it’s my parents stomping grounds and I feel a certain level of autonomy.
Pittsburgh – I feel like it’s my favorite underground jewel in the United States to get away and enjoy myself.

What are you reading and what are your two favorite books?

I am currently reading Antifragile by Nicolas Nassim Talib

Two favorite books:

The Bible – so many spiritual, physical, and business gems in there
The Power of Focus

Name three business or political leaders who inspire you.

Sam Zell
Barack Obama
Sean “P. Diddy” Combs

Favorite sports team and hobbies?

My favorite hobby is reading.
I don’t have a favorite sports team (Pittsburgh Steelers are up there)

Two favorite quotes that motivate you?

What would Jesus do? (Not exactly a quote, but it applies)

“Live the life that is meaningful to you.” (Emmanuel Bosompra)

Hip Hop Hackathon

Shawn Agyeman

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