We had the good fortune of connecting with Kagame Li-A-Ping and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kagame, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The thought process behind starting my own businesses was understanding that not all minds are 100% the same. To be more specific, i I had to realize that I cannot expect other people the think the way I think, or implement ideas the way I envision them. I saw myself saying, “There needs to be an organization that teaches financial literacy THIS way,” or, “There needs to be a game that spotlights THESE cultures.” Instead of asking those questions, I began to answer them myself, and that’s how the businesses (Li-A-Ping Financial, Inc. and IslandFLlava LLC) were created.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am currently working as a Senior Financial Analyst for a major Technology company. I have been working in financial services since I graduated from Hampton University, but this is my first time changing industries and getting into Tech. What sets me apart from others is my approach to the workplace and the industry overall. I have always considered myself to not being a “typical “Finance Guy.” The outside image of financial professionals are sometimes just some pricks in a suit who can’t cannot relate to everyone else. That’s not me, that’s far from me. I am going to be my full, vibrant self. I’m am going to laugh, I’m am going to wear more colors instead of the standard white and hospital blue shirt, I’m am going to give hugs, I’m am going to leave work at work, and so much more. I’m all about putting yourself first, especially when it comes to working in the industry. Take those sick days, and take those vacation days. My first couple weeks in industry were not easy. I gravitated towards the only other Black person on my team and we became close friends and held each other down. The misogyny and microaggressions were on full display everyday. This never deterred me, though. I know my worth and the quality of my work, and where I want to be, so I kept it pushing, and got out. The biggest lesson I learned along the way is the importance of having good sense of self. Trust your judgement, trust your skillset, trust your intelligence, and speak up.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Whew – I’ve bounced around a lot, but NYC is always going to be home. The best part of New York is the food. We’re going to Harlem for some Soul Food, then to the Bronx for some Dominican food, back down to Brooklyn for some Caribbean food, unless my Mom and Grandma cooks it themselves, haha. In a pre-Covid world I loved to party – so we are definitely going to go to a few bashments and let loose. I’m not big on the sight seeing because there are too many tourists, but we can go through a few strolls through the park to at least get some exercise in. Definitely hit a couple concerts too and maybe a Nets game. The options are endless when it comes to New York City.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My village deserves credit in my story. My village started with my Grandma, Mom, and Aunt who played pivotal roles in raising me, and currently includes some of my closest friends and partner who push me to be my best self everyday. One of the greatest parts about being surrounded by like minded people who are pushing to achieve their goals and dreams, is that it pushes me to do the same. Being able to share my wins and losses with them is truly a beautiful thing.
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