Welcome to another edition of #SummerSearcherMade -- a blog series to lift up our Summer Search students and alumni who are business-owners, leaders, entrepreneurs, activists, artists, and creatives.
Obinna Nwadike: Founder, Investor, & Boss
“When presented with an opportunity, your responsibility is to make the best of that opportunity. It may never come again.” – Obinna Nwadike, Summer Search Boston Alumnus.
Today, Obinna is the Co-Founder & Director of Business Development for Global Drilling Resources, based in Houston, Texas.
But, how did he get here?
Obinna and his family are of Nigerian descent and he grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. In high school, he found Summer Search, seizing the opportunity to join our unique program.
"Most instances, whether you come from the inner city versus a fancy prep school, the only difference is opportunity. That's what Summer Search does for a lot of us. The opportunity to meet folks from different backgrounds. To travel through the summer. To hear different ideas."
As a young adult, employment in the real world didn’t quite meet his expectations.
"I was going from one job to another…nothing glamorous. I was just looking for the next job," Obinna told me.
And then, a DM.
"[An Oil & Gas company] found me on LinkedIn. They flew me in from Boston to Indianapolis to their headquarters," Obinna said.
The company was looking for someone who could expand their reach in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Obinna made the most of this unexpected opportunity and confidently gave his pitch as to why he was the best candidate for the job. A few days later, they extended an offer.
"When I showed my sister and mom the offer, they thought it was a fraud company! But they checked out. My first year was really good, but there were growing pains,” Obinna reflected. “But most times you never know what you can do unless you start doing it. I didn’t know what [my career] would grow to be at the time."
Becoming His Own Boss
Eventually, a bug was planted. What if he opened up his own shop?
“My job introduced me to billionaires and high-ranking government officials from all over the world," Obinna explains. "They told me, 'you can work for a company and one day they can say, we don’t need your services anymore; Think about having something you can start where you can establish a legacy for yourself, your children, your people, and your friends. You have the talent, that's why they hired you.'"
"[Oil & Gas] is a big field," he continues. "There’re things for everybody. Upstream, downstream, midstream…meeting all these people, I had to find out, what would be my niche. What would separate me from everyone else? Why would folks want to come to business with me?"
Why wouldn’t they? Years before, Obinna learned that he could tackle any challenge placed in front of him.
"I actually learned that from Summer Search…when you’re in high school and they send you on Outward Bound with people you never met, in the middle of nowhere, you can’t just say, I’m going home. You have to get along with these people you just met."
With the support of his family, friends, and memories of the lessons learned with Summer Search, Obinna jumped. He enlisted his trusted college roommate and they started the next journey.
“The first year all we had was a website. No phone was ringing. There were times when I was like, I’m going to get another job. Forget this!”
However, Obinna's persistence and patience paid off. “I got my first client from Singapore who happened to be doing business in Nigeria. The only reason why they gave me the first contract was because I responded on Christmas day."
Obinna began making a name for himself and his organization. Eventually, clients were knocking down his door.
Despite many positive moments, there were also times when Obinna was reminded of how foreign his presence in the $2.1 trillion good ol’ boys club of Oil & Gas was. As he opined, "…it’s hard being a minority."
Today, Obinna’s clients are multinationals. The networking and relationship-building element of what he does is something that Summer Search introduced early on.
The Biggest Investment
He’s building an empire, but then what?
“I’m taking it day-by-day. [I strive to] be content for today and look for something better tomorrow. I try to take on different experiences to learn from. There will always be another thing. I try to be as grounded as possible. I try to give back where I can."
Obinna is doing just that, investing in organizations outside of his industry, like a healthcare research company called DrugViu and a philanthropic/donation platform, Givelify.
However, Obinna stresses that the biggest investment one can make, is in yourself.
"My advice to Summer Searchers: bet on yourself! You have everything plus more. Cultivate relationships, utilize mentors, and build your network in areas of interest and go for it. Don't be afraid to go confidently in whatever direction your dreams take you!"
Obinna Nwadike is a remarkable, self-made individual and Summer Search is proud to call him an alum.
Climate change is real and hits racial minorities in the U.S. the hardest. The Oil & Gas industry has contributed greatly to its acceleration; however, the industry has the opportunity to fix some of the damage.
(Click here to read about the Summer Search Environmental Justice Brigade.)
It is also true that petroleum plays a massive role in the day-to-day lives of Americans, from shower curtains to soft contact lenses to the makeup we affix to our faces. Well-after the last gasoline engine motor vehicle rolls off the production line, society will rely upon crude oil for some time to come.
Obinna’s work in the Oil & Gas industry ensures that society will continue to function as we continue to find safe, more environmentally-friendly ways to serve the needs of the 7.9 billion human beings on this planet.
Stay tuned for more #SummerSearcherMade stories.