By Betty Cortina-Weiss
32; born in Ann Arbor, MI, the younger of two sons; father, an oral surgeon was a native Nigerian who moved to the United States to attend the University of Michigan on a scholarship; mother, a radiologist; growing up, he lived in Nigeria, Wales, London, Kuwait, Bahrain, Riyadh and finally returned to the U.S. by way of attending a prestigious boarding school in Austin, TX; graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in international finance and marketing; married for seven years to Remi, a CPA; father of 6-year-old Julian and 3-year-old Kemi, who “adores her big brother!”
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Executive Director and Senior Private Banker for J.P. Morgan’s Ultra High Net Worth Miami division. “That means families and entrepreneurs who have a net worth of $50 million and up,” he says. “They’re out there, and right here in Miami because this is an incredible place to be, and people from around the world are recognizing that.”
First major deal:
“My first $100 million deal. It was with a client who I became close to over time, an entrepreneur who had a lot of equity in his business but who went through some rough times. We stuck with him through good and bad and thenit happened. We were there at the right time. I remember feeling elated but then thinking, okay, now let’s go get the next one!”
“As a college student, I worked at the financial aid office at the UM law school. Basically, I helped out with whatever they needed—filing, putting papers together. The money I earned there went toward paying my tuition and I was grateful for the opportunity to do it.”
When you were a kid you dreamed of
“playing for the NBA. In fact, I was a walk-on to the UM basketball team in the 1999-2000 season. We played in the Sweet Sixteen! But I quickly realized I wasn’t really going to make it to the NBA. And I’d see other guys who had the same dream dedicate all their time to the game and none to schoolwork. When they didn’t make it, they didn’t have many choices. I decided that was not going to be me. I walked away from the game and started focusing on my studies.”
Real life hero:
“My dad. He had a tough upbringing in Nigeria, lost his dad when he was 9. His mother couldn’t afford to raise him, so he was sent to live with an uncle. And yet, he was studious and took every opportunity very seriously. After he graduated from Michigan, he went back to Nigeria to try to make it a better place. He accomplished so much but was the most humble man I ever knew. He would look for people to help. He delivered oral care to people who could never afford to pay for it. He lived and breathed helping people, and in the end he died for it. He passed in 2006 after contracting hepatitis during a surgery.”
Best advice ever received:
“From my dad, who wrote to me in a letter that this life is like an ocean and you have to keep rowing. You might get tired, but don’t ever rest and always stay humble.”
One thing people who know you...don’t know about you?
“That I’m a nut for 80s music. Anything with synthesizers!”