Nigeria-born, US-educated and Joburg-based, Alex Okosi has been a very busy chap over the last decade or so. After spending five years with MTV in the USA working on MTV and VH1 as well as a stint in the UK developing MTV Base, Okosi brought his skills and the brand back to home turf.

He’s the guy you can thank for bringing MTV, VH1, BET, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon to Africa as well as launching the locally-focused MTV Base Africa. Under his watch Viacom’s channels have a collective audience at over 100 million viewers. But it’s not all about the music. Okosi has jumped in on social issues with programming focused on sexual health messages, HIV prevention and education. – His programme MTV Base Meets, features top global players like Sir Richard Branson, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in intimate televised sessions in order to provide platforms for African youth to learn from characters unlikely to be found twerking in a music video.

Okosi, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2013 attributes his success in part to relationships and innovation. “When I first started my career, I had a really difficult time getting people to help me because I thought it was all about getting the job done. I quickly realised that in business, people matter the most and you have to cultivate great relationships in order to really move the needle. You also have to continuously innovate to meet the ever-changing consumer needs and wants. It always amazes me how great companies fail because they stick to producing products and services that don’t evolve with consumer tastes and attitudes.”

#BestAdvice: Make every day count
“Make each day count in a positive way. Each day can present a different challenge, but a positive attitude can go a long way in helping you to overcome any adversity and achieve great success. Do the best you can with every opportunity that you are given. To be exceptional, you have to put in great effort and have a plan. Luck is not sustainable – hard work, passion and commitment are requisites for success in most endeavours.”

*By Tudor Caradoc-Davies