We had the good fortune of connecting with Tremaine Kwasikpui and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tremaine, what do you want your legacy to be?
As I have continued to grow as an Educator and Entrepreneur, I know my want for a legacy stays the same. It is for all to know that I am a people person and I love people.
I say this because no matter what I am doing for a career or hustle, people come first. For every house that I sell, I am hoping my clients feel that I put them first and no matter what they are most important.
I value relationships so much over transactions. Money is great but it is the people that make things are the better.
What I want people to remember is that Tremaine Kwasikpui is a passionate leader, speaker and teacher. I do things that I believe in and will not compromise those intentions just to appease others. I want people to remember that I did not meet a bowtie I did not like!
Passion and People are the epitome of Tremaine Warren Kwakutse Kwasikpui!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As I graduated undergraduate, the country was going into a recession and things were not looking good for the job market. I was working jobs that were not really career material. Until one day my mom calls me and ask “What is a Student Activities Coordinator”
Coming straight from being a very involved student, I knew all about it. I proceed to tell her and explain as if I was giving an oral answer to an exam. She replied ” Well you need to apply as there is an opening for one near us” I apply and the interview process was so unorthodox as they have two finalist. As a finalist we received a $250 budget and we have to create an activity to bring to the college for an event during their Spring Fling.
So I am thinking and thinking. Finally it hit me to bring my fraternity Nu Gamma Psi Fraternity Inc. to do a step show performance. Being a business mind, I hire a DJ and negotiate a price within my budget, print flyers to pass out on campus to all the students for promotion and prepare a run of show to ensure we are set. We kill the performance and I get the jobs hours later. This was my way into Higher Education. Now I enjoy my work and I am making a major impact but I still wanted to do business and see what that was like. So while their I begin writing grants, started a short-order café and working with the local chamber of commerce and our business development office to create programs.
Shortly into my career, I buy my first property and learn al about foreclosures and how you can get sweet deals. This struck my interest in real estate. I begin a Master Degree in Entrepreneurship and during the program, I buy another property and renovate it and begin leasing it. These properties sustained my lifestyle when I first moved to Houston.
Equipped with a master’s degree and a new job in Houston, I still wanted more of a challenge and love for business. So I set out to get a real estate license and become a realtor. This became a dream come true and I began serve my passions of people and real estate. Currently, I have been a realtor for five years and most don’t make it past two years. I also have been in higher education for over 15 years! I lease properties in NC that I or my family own and I sale homes here in Houston to wonderful clients that have become family.
I have learned over the years that you can create opportunities for yourself by continuing to show up =. I have also learned that professional development can come from trial and error. I have not always been right and that is okay, the point is to know how to pivot.
Some of the things that I have seen that are not easy is helping to retain students and keep them engaged in non-residential environments. This is a challenge but I love it so much. I have also learned in real estate that no deals are the same and be prepared for anything. My first deal didn’t close until 8 months later.
I hope that the audience understands no matter where you come from you can make it in the BIG Leagues. Also never give up on what you want to pursue. Many tell me that I am too busy for this or why do this when….. That is nothing more than noise!!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
So being from such a rural area, I would have to say I find beauty and joy in so many things in Houston. I work in downtown so I would definitely start there. We would have to visit the tunnels and walk and get lost to see all of the shops etc. Visiting the Post would be on the list to take photos on the rooftop outdoor space.
Visiting local breweries such as Saint Arnolds and the Yellow Rose Distillery. I would take friends to Third Ward to walk the campus of TSU and UH and see some of the historic sites and visit my favorite bookstore Class Bookstore.
We would have to eat at Gatlin’s BBQ and others that are authentic to the area. I would take them to Discovery Green and see all of the offerings in the area.
Inviting people to PITCH 25 to hang out and have fun would be amazing too.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Ironically, my seven year old son asked me today, ” Who in history inspired me to be who I am?” So this is very fitting for my response on this prompt.
My success is a direct reflection of the love and support I have received from family and friends. My parents really pushed me to work really hard, treat people with respect and do the right thing at all times. My Father is very analytical and a public figure in my hometown. My mother never meets a stranger and has the gift of charisma. She also is not afraid of taking risks and excels to leadership in most everything she does. My paternal grandparents were both educators and visionaries beyond their years. My grandmother started her own publishing company and my grandfather taught economics which leads to my hunger for entrepreneurial practice and the love of business. My maternal grandparents whom I never met but through stories I can imagine loved community and family. This is why I too treat the world as my family and friends.
My friends have always pushed me to be great. We are a tight knit group of business -minded millennials trying to make in this world. We often challenge each other and invest together.
Lastly, my wife has been my biggest support for the last ten years. She was a rock during a move from a town of 5,000 to the third largest city in the country. She challenges my ideas and ensures that I know everything is figureoutable! As we parent 4 wonderful children and create new streams of revenue. I appreciate her for being a consistent through the good and the bad!
The books that changed my life though was Makes Me Wanna Holler by Nathan McCall and It’s a Jungle in There
by Steven Schussler!