Osagie O. Imasogie, Esquire
A Business Executive and Attorney with over 36 years of extensive professional experience in the fields of law, finance and business management, healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry. Imasogie also served as a Vice President at GlaxoSmithKline Research and Development and was instrumental in the external value maximization of various GlaxoSmithKline assets, such as compounds, technology platforms, databases, compound libraries and patents. From 2000-2005, he served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International House of Philadelphia. He also served as a Senior Consultant to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Imasogie earned his initial legal education in Nigeria, obtained his LL.M at the London School of Economics and another LL.M from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Law in Philadelphia. He is active in charitable and community pursuits and serves as a Board and Executive Committee member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition, he is a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Board of Overseers of the University Of Pennsylvania Law School, where he is an Adjunct Professor of Law.
Describe a discovery you made as a Black man?
I think one of the most fundamental discoveries that I have had as a business person is that anytime that I have invested in business and my primary reason for the investment is the technology or a product, I have not done as well as I could have. However, every time I have invested in good people, those good people have always been able to create more value for me. So, I look for very good people who are trustworthy, reliable, creative, and hardworking.
Regarding “especially as a Black man,” the way you see yourself influences what you think you can achieve. If you think of yourself and everything you are confronted with from the perspective of race it will impact your ability to excel. Now that is not to say that racism does not exist, because anyone that says that is not being truthful with the reality of our country. I do what I want to do the best way I can do it. I do not do it in the context of being a Nigerian American. So my advice is, do what you want to do, focus on your success and achieving your goal and do not let the filter of whether you are an immigrant or of a different complexion in any way hinder you and your dreams. Do whatever you chose to do with passion. Do not let other people stop you with their prejudice, ignorance and false assumptions.
How do you push through your worst times?
You know every person has difficulties. When you are confronted with a difficulty, in my experience, I think there are two things that are important. Number one: not to be depressed, not to let the challenge get you down. It is crucial that you are able to put the difficulty into perspective because if you let it get you down emotionally and intellectually then it sucks all your energy and that makes it much harder for you to be successful or to overcome the difficulty. So no matter how difficult things are, you have to intellectually and emotionally resist the tendency to get depressed about it. The second thing is to put one foot ahead of the other, to really understand that most of the time in difficult situations you simply have to walk through it and not to give up. If you do that more often than not you will come through the difficult period.
What is your refreshing story about Black love and/or Black family life:
Look at Barack Obama. We had a president who was clearly very happily married and had two lovely children. He had no scandals while he was at the White House, and the family was a beautiful family with his mother-in-law moving in to help the President and Michelle raise their children. I have been very fortunate; I knew and loved my grandparents who were married for a long time. Both have passed away. In addition, my parents have been married for a long time. I have been married for over 26 years, with two lovely children, both of whom have graduated from very good universities and are working. My experience of family life, has been positive. It has been of families that have had marriage, children and that have had joy and fellowship within the families. I am very grateful for this experience as I equally know that not everyone has had similar experiences of the family.
Here is another perspective of entrepreneurship from Osagie O. Imasogie.