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Glenfiddich Maverick Collaborations: Embrace The Unknown

By Akinwale Akinyoade and Njideka Agbo
06 December 2020   |   6:34 am
William Grant, the man behind Glenfiddich, created a legacy we all know as the World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Whisky today. Reflecting on how the business came to be, and how far it has come from its early days, it is clear to see that five generations of this family have taken inspiration from the…

Glenfiddich Mavericks

William Grant, the man behind Glenfiddich, created a legacy we all know as the World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Whisky today.

Reflecting on how the business came to be, and how far it has come from its early days, it is clear to see that five generations of this family have taken inspiration from the founder’s legacy. Passion, boldness, and determination are all characteristics that remain at the heart of what Glenfiddich represents to this day.

The brand encourages a way of life to inspire the maverick spirit distilled in every point of engagement with its consumers.

Glenfiddich’s “Where Next” is an ideology that explores the uncertainties and mastery, which comes with the journey to growth where reaching the top is just the beginning. Every success story is a tale of struggle and constant adaptation; eventually, we arrive at the top where the only contender is you. To see possibilities in a time of uncertainty and take the step to embrace the unknown.

As Glenfiddich continues to celebrate and align with exemplary Maverick individuals in Nigeria and across the globe, we strive to bring together all those who have or dream of challenging the norm with the launch of our “Where Next” Campaign.

The campaign also highlights some exceptional Maverick collaborators, and their stories – each a story of embracing the unknown for meaningful growth – thus embodying the “Where Next Stag” story reflected through their own experiences:

Kene Okwuosa – Group CEO The Filmhouse Group (Filmhouse Cinemas & FilmOne Entertainment)

Kene Okwuosa | Photo – Kelechi Amadi, Assisted by Mayowa Aboah

Filmhouse Group, the largest cinema chain in West Africa,’s effect in the minds of entertainment lovers is akin to music to the soul. Made up of Filmhouse Cinemas and FilmOne Entertainment, the group CEO, Kene Okwuosa, returned to Nigeria to “help to create the version of Nigeria we all dream for. A Nigeria that was full of so much potential and possibilities.” According to him, there was an underserved market with the potential of becoming the next big thing in the entertainment industry. Indeed, he was the right person for the job. Having risen quickly through the ranks to the position of Assistant General Manager of Odeon Cinemas, Europe’s largest cinema chain, he saw right through the void that Nigeria had when it appeared to have few platforms that were serving millions of film lovers. An opportunity he grabbed, satisfying clients with quality. That was a few years ago.

Kene Okwuosa | Photo – Kelechi Amadi, Assisted by Mayowa Aboah

Filmhouse has grown to become the largest cinema chain in West Africa with offerings of premium cinema experience, quality in terms of technology, architecture, guest service, and the finest content. If there has been any time that he had challenges, he notes that experience has taught him that “innovation is the virtue that converts challenges to opportunities.” Besides this, collaborations have positioned Filmhouse Group on the frontline of the film business. Speaking of challenges again, the Cinemas were hit by the Coronavirus pandemic that shook the world. An optimistic Okwuosa believes that his team’s commitment, effective and honest communication will enable them to rise in no time. Kene who has 16 years of experience in the business, however, gave an important yet abandoned strategy that continues to work for Filmhouse, “At the initial stage, we also paid attention to the basic steps we could adopt to assist the team however much we could.” Now that the coronavirus is over, he says Filmhouse is looking forward to 2021. Just when you thought it cannot get any better, Filmhouse just launched their newest cinema in Osogbo.

Deremi Ajidahun: CEO Of HOLE19 GROUP, PURVEYOR OF LUXURY

Deremi Ajidahun | Photo – Kelechi Amadi, Assisted by Mayowa Aboah

Hole19 group is a luxury retail group with Subsidiaries of Hole19, Nettetal and Zakaa. Having over 25 years of experience in the luxury retail sector, Hole19 Group is the market leader and dominates this sector. Hole19’s group ever-growing portfolio comprises over 45 luxury internationally recognized brands across a vast range of sectors.

Enters Deremi Ajidahun, Hole19 group’s CEO. Having lost his hero and mentor at 18, he quickly realised that success is determined by how well your execution is. “You cannot have such work and not understand hard work and graft,” he says.

As a luxury lifestyle creator whose responsibility is to create a unique experience tailored to each client’s need, his passion to live up to the client’s expectations with his service is to ask himself “What will Yakov do?”. Interestingly,  he says of Yakov, the Chairman/CEO of the now-defunct HNP, a major construction company in Lagos, “His modus operandi always ensured if your freight train does not stay on the rail and fast, you would crash.” As such, “if a client asks for something that seems impossible, like a pink elephant with blue spots. I do not think ‘We can’t do that, I think of how we can create a solution to the request.’”

Deremi Ajidahun | Photo – Kelechi Amadi, Assisted by Mayowa Aboah

His business tact sprung again in the 90s after losing his job with a luxury lottery company as a Marketing director due to the company going out of business because of government issues. His passion for golfing quickly became another goldmine. He recalls that the first time he reaped off his newfound interest was when a South Korean approached him to buy the golf set from him for the exact price he had gotten. He used the money to purchase another set only to have it sold again. This was when he realised that he had a Eureka moment. He quickly identified a market and established a golf marketing company. Although there were small shops retailing golf equipment, his company raised the bar to the international standard supplying to multinational companies including MTN. Today, his company has its own golf clothing brand.

Dr Kennedy Okonkwo: Luxury Real Estate Developer, CEO NECOMOAKS

Dr Kennedy Okonkwo | Photo – Kelechi Amadi, Assisted by Mayowa Aboah

Kennedy Okonkwo has cut his teeth in the real estate industry by giving young people the opportunity to become homeowners at discounted rates, with the opportunity of mortgage facilities.

With recognition from Forbes and other leading establishments, his real estate development company, Nedcomoaks, is the proud company behind The Victoria Crest Homes development which won “Best Housing Development” at the 2018 Africa Property Investment Awards. His personal efforts have not gone unnoticed as he was awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year, 2018” by the Nigeria Entrepreneur Award organisation “in recognition for his self- less pursuit to sustain human capital development…”

A philanthropist, the ongoing development of an ultra-modern sports complex in Ojoto Town, Anambra state, is one of his many empowerment and developmental interventions as well as the Kennedy Okonkwo Programme for (Tech) Entrepreneurs, KOPETECH, which offers grants, mentorship and support to first time young Nigerian startup tech entrepreneurs from different parts of Nigeria.

Dr Kennedy Oknkwo | Photo – Kelechi Amadi, Assisted by Mayowa Aboah

Yet, Okonkwo, whose innovation and culture of having personal touches from the best Architects in the world in his projects, argues that he has not done enough. “We haven’t even scratched the surface of the gap that exists in the sector. There is still a very wide margin that leaves me asking myself, ‘what next and where next?’”

“Africa, like Nigeria, is still a goldmine that needs exploration, not exploitation. I like the thought of being able to go around different countries in Africa and seeing amazing development throughout the continent.

Constantly evolving, his passion has driven him to a path of excellence. “We are in an environment that expects you not only to plant the seed and water it, but also to be its needed sunlight,” and it is the understanding and his resilience that has been a part of his secret to success.

“You cannot thrive as an entrepreneur in Africa without passion. The road can be extremely foggy – and the road is actually foggy all the time when you think of the hurdles you have to cross – but the picture I prefer to hold in my mind is what lies at the finish line. Will the reward be worth taking a risk for? If the answer is yes, there’s no turning back.”

Chef Fregz- Celebrity Chef

Chef Fregz | Photo – Kelechi Amadi, Assisted by Mayowa Aboah

Inspired by the realities of life, Chef Fregz has found different creative ways of infusing his experiences into his delightful meals. According to him, taking from his travels, as well as the array of ideas that social media has on offer, has made him able to tap into his inner creativity for inspiration when coming up with meal ideas.

Food is an integral part of any culture and it takes a creative and expert approach to combine two or more cultures together. Chef Fregz who is in the habit of combining French and cooking techniques with that of Nigeria explains that this is done to tell modern Nigerian, Asian and fusion stories using French techniques. As a major player in the Nigerian culinary scene, he is sentimental about good markets and stores that sell quality products. Oddly but fascinating enough, he says, “plates inspire me. If I see a plate I like, I start.”

An individual’s success is based on the yardstick with which they measure themselves and this is why despite all he has been able to do so far, Chef Fregz believes he still has a lot of ground to cover. Not one to rest on his oars, he humbly declines being rated successful because he does not believe he has scratched the surface. As much as he might now sit pretty atop the ladder of his career, it was not a smooth ride to the top as he had his moments of insecurity and doubts. On an experience that left him doubting his skills, he shares:

“I had done dinner for an esteemed client and it was a total mess. I couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong. I got a blasting that made me so scared, but it also made me realise maybe I got too confident and didn’t taste enough. It made me readjust my leadership skills and attention to detail a little more consistently. I also had issues with staff and structure that made me question my leadership skills, but all in all I see them as learning curves and I’ve grown from them.”

Nse Ikpe-Etim: Actress And Showbiz Impresario

Nse Ikpe-Etim | Photo – Kelechi Amadi, Assisted by Mayowa Aboah

Nse Ikpe-Etim may be a household name thanks to her talents, but this Nollywood star does not consider herself a celebrity. She would rather, a simple “actress who has chosen to embrace humanity in the pursuit of my purpose.” This pursuit includes embracing the unknown and cherishing new frontiers.

Her fearlessness to achieve her dreams is evident, both on-screen and off-screen having proven over time that she is a determined individual. Anyone familiar with her sojourn into the world of acting can attest to this. Yet, when she quit her job as a banker, everyone thought she had lost her marbles. “I had no idea what I wanted. As someone who is unafraid to muddle the waters here, I am in my line of work fulfilling my purpose.”

Like the rest of the world, this superstar actress is still but human and she has her moments of vulnerability. For her, her job as an actress is her vulnerable moment because “being different people in itself is the most vulnerable thing for an actor. Having to experience all these levels of emotions even when you are not feeling up to it as the vessel of communication can be harrowing.”

Nse Ikpe-Etim | Photo – Kelechi Amadi, Assisted by Mayowa Aboah

Her films see her in different characters and she says she avoided this because not only would she be bored out of her mind, but it wouldn’t feel challenging. However, she draws her strength from this as it toughens her to face challenges, make positive decisions and no matter how uncertain the future might seem, it never really is blurry. She wants full stories to be told because society is too diverse for one-sided stories as people need to see themselves in these stories.

“Stories are so central to how different kinds of people see themselves, and how they are perceived by others,” she says.

Outside acting, Nse considers herself “a flawed cook and somewhat of a mixologist with a penchant for whisky cocktails.” Just as she takes delight in entertaining on screen, she has a penchant for wanting to bring joy through her cooking.