” The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tiwa Aganga-Williams who is better known as “Tiwa”, is the Founder and CEO of TiwaWorks Inc. Born in London to Nigerian parents, Tiwa, who is the first born of his parents three sons, was taught at a young age, that success does not come without hard work and dedication. After going back to Nigeria for most of his teenage years, Tiwa came to the United States for College. He attended Georgia Southwestern State University and majored in Computer Information Systems. While in college, he was a part of many organizations, and also became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, through the Lambda Psi chapter. Tiwa was able to plan and host many events on campus and in the community, bringing in enormous amounts of money. One party in particular, solidified his hard efforts of party planning.Tiwa was able to bring in $16,000 with a friend ($8,000 each) for a party in college. That was then he knew he had something working for him, and a career worth exploring.
I had the pleasure of meeting and sitting down with TiwaWorks himself, so check out the interview below!
Q: When & how did the name TiwaWorks come about?
A: In 2003, after graduating college, I knew I wanted to start an upscale international event planning and promotions company, so the first order of business was to create a name. I struggled thinking of a name initially, because I wanted it to be different and not the normal ” Tiwa Ent” or “Tiwa Productions”. So one day while at friends house, I noticed a movie coming on the television, but before it started, I saw the word “DREAMWORKS” flash across the screen. I then replaced “Dream” with “Tiwa”,and that is how the name ” TiwaWorks” came to be.
Q: Wow, that is very interesting, how did you make sure that TiwaWorks Inc., would stand out from other event planning and promotion groups?
A: When creating my brand, I knew I wanted it to be “upscale” because those types of events last longer and are more attractive when it comes to looking for sponsors. I studied my competitors and what they were doing, and tried to figure out how I could step it up a notch. I would see them pass out paper fliers, so I made sure mine were glossy. I reached out to local media companies to enquire about advertising. I just wanted to make sure that each event created a memorable experience for whoever attended.
Q:Speaking of events, what influenced you to start Atlanta Greek Picnic (AGP)?
A: In 2003, I went to a Greek event, and thought to myself, hmm there should be an event for fraternities and sororities to look forward to attending in the summertime. I saw that other cities were hosting different Greek events, so I thought, ” Why not one in Atlanta?”. I remember always hanging out at Morris Brown College for events, and knew that would be the perfect location. I was able to contact the right people, and in 2004, we had the first event. In the beginning it was just local people averaging around a few hundred attendees, to now over 10,000 attendees over the last 10 years. I knew the event was growing when around 2008, I met someone who came from DC for the event. I thought to myself, ” Wow, people are really traveling to attend AGP”. I wanted to make sure that people had something to look forward to every year, so it went from a weekend event, to almost a week of events, and community service. I just hope that everyone who continues to attend, comes to have a good time, represent their organization in a positive manner, and not destroy the legacy of AGP with poor choices.
What is Atlanta Greek Picnic? (From www.atlantagreekpicnic.com) :
“The Atlanta Greek Picnic weekend is the #1 yearly event amongst 9 other similar events across the country designed to provide members of the prestigious Divine Nine Greek letter organization a unique experience that caters to them. This group of influential leaders and tastemakers have consistently drawn a wide variety of Divine 9 members of the Black Fraternities and Sororities all across states across the country that have proclaimed Atlanta Greek Picnic as the “Biggest and Best Greek Picnic weekend in the country”. This event has grown from its subtle beginnings to becoming the most popular destination and focal point for all Greek Chapters, Line Brothers, Line Sisters and Sands to reunite and socialize for one exciting weekend of unity, Service and bonding.”
Q:What other events have you started?
A: Being that I am Nigerian, I was asked since I throw so many nice, upscale events in Atlanta, why don’t I come back home and throw events there. I went back to Nigeria for a week, visited a few events, saw what the local promoters were doing, and saw that there was an opportunity to really do something big. The market was open, and I came right in and staked my claim. At that time, I knew Banky W, Wizkid and a few other Nigerian music artists, so together we were able to create many events around the week of Christmas. All Black Everything (ABE) is an elite annual event, that people near and far look forward to attending. I am now looking to expand this annual event to 11 cities in the U.S this year.
Q:What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome thus far in your career?
A: There are several obstacles that I’ve had to face. But for sure it was the moment I had lost $10,000 due to a party flopping and I knew that was the end for me. I was asked to host a party for an artist who was a part of Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records, so I knew I couldn’t blow it. The event was a complete flop, and there was nothing to sure for it at the end. I remember sitting across the venue with my head down, literally sick to my stomach. But from that day on, I learned that even if you have a successful party before, each new event, you treat as if it was the first one. I relied on my past successes, and didn’t fully do my research on the venue and area of the event.
Q: With all these events that you host, you need help. How do you know who to surround yourself by, and to have on your team?
A: I’ve learned that of course not everyone can be trusted, but there are some genuine good people out there to work with. You have to study their behavior and how they operate. You find a lot of people who can “talk” but not “perform”. On my team, with any event that I host, I make sure there is a system in place, to make sure things go smoothly.
Q:Throughout everything you have been through thus far in your entrepreneurial journey, what excites you the most?
A: I think seeing the finishing result of the production. Nothing feels better than to see your vision come to life. When I see people are excited and praising us about the event, I know I did my job. It has not been an easy road, so to see the fruit of my labor, is a beautiful thing.
Q: You have two handsome sons right now that you are raising, what are you teaching them about business?
A: My sons are two and five, so although they are young, they are very interested in what daddy is doing. Since I work from home, I know sometimes they may wonder, ” Why doesn’t daddy leave the house in the morning for work” but they have come to learn that daddy is the boss of his own business. I am training my kids to be financially disciplined and to be well prepared for any field they want to go in. I am able to share my personal experiences and knowledge, to help shape them to become the best entrepreneurs and leaders they can be.
Q: Congrats on being featured in Forbes Africa May Edition. How did that make you feel?
A: Thank you! It was such an honor and privilege to be recognized for my hard work, and I hope that my entrepreneurial journey will inspire others to follow their passion, and be the best in their respective field.
Q:What tips would you give to someone who is trying to embark on a similar entrepreneurial journey?
- Remember to always protect your brand
- Always have things written down and dated
- Keep fresh and new ideas coming
- Do your research and be familiar with the field you are trying to get into
- Be humble and don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Treat every event like it is your first time having the event
- Stay focused and be ready to sacrifice hours of sleep and fun to achieve what you want
Q:How can people get in contact with you or follow you for updates on different events you may be having?
A: Contact Information:
- Website: http://www.tiwaworks.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @tiwaworks @atlgreekpicnic
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/tiwaworks https://twitter.com/ATLGreekPicnic
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tiwaworks
Thank You so much for reading !