Welcome to #MySuccessStory interview of the day!

Today I have a very special guest with me, he is also a friend. As you probably know, #MySuccessStory is part of our mission to share with you the stories that need to be heard, stories that were crafted here at ANU, stories of our own people. 

 

V.I.: Welcome to #MySuccessStory!

E.M.: Thank you!

V.I.: Very happy to have you with us, very happy to see you.

E.M.: I’m equally happy to be here.

V.I.: Awesome! How are you doing?

E.M.: Very well, thanks.

V.I.: What did you think about our “secret project”? How does #MySuccessStory make you feel?

E.M.: I think it is a great way to get people to share their journey. It’s an awesome initiative that should be encouraged among the students and alumni because it’s innovative.

V.I.: That would mean you’re very excited to be here, excited to tell your story?

E.M.: Very, very excited!

V.I.: So am I. What I am really curious about is how your story started, how and what shaped it, how you became a leader of your generation, and ultimately an influencer…Tell us a little about yourself.

E.M.: Well, I am Ernest Teye Matey, and Ernest means “someone who is serious in life”, Teye means “third born” and Matey means “someone who is friendly”. Originally from Somanya, I studied Electronics and Communications Engineering at ANUC, graduated in 2013, and I am one of the developers of the GhanaSat-1.

V.I.: That makes you an alumnus, and in 5 short years you’ve gotten so far, so successful. It’s such an amazing transformation, such an explosion and I’m sure all of us would like to know everything about it. Let’s jump into it: What makes you successful?

E.M.: My ability to listen. It’s quite strange but I value this a lot. Because I listen to those ahead of me, those who try to teach me, and those who forcibly try to teach me.

V.I.: Interesting. So, what really attracted you to ANU?

E.M.: It was the degree: Electronics & Communications Engineering and off course, my family. My father believed it was huge and I should join. He came with me here and that’s how it all started.

V.I.: Your father wanted you to become an engineer?

E.M.: Yes, but I remember when I was really young, he talked about Aeronautics Engineering, and told me that one day I will bring an airplane to our house. He instilled the passion in me right from that tender age because he believed Electronics & Communications Engineering was the way to begin that.

V.I.: He was such a wise man to think so. Electronics & Communications Engineering – that’s not simple now, is it? What would you say your toughest experience was?

E.M.: As a student, that was living at the hostel. It was my first encounter with foreign students, first time meeting so many different cultures, upbringings, ways of doing things…and concurrently so much noise. It took a lot of hard work to learn to harmoniously manage it and still study hard and make great friends.

V.I.: I gather you’re probably a quiet person?

E.M.: I was very quiet. Not anymore.

V.I.: What was the critical point in your journey at ANU? The that changed everything?

E.M.: That would be my first invitation to the University Church. One of the foundations of it is the Total Personality Development Programme where the University empowers students and takes them on the journey of becoming leaders.

V.I.: That’s it! At ANU, TPD is the core value in academic, personal, spiritual development of students, faculty & staff. It’s a process that equips you to deliver quality in every single situation you find yourself in. TPD is what makes ANU unique and I’m particularly happy to see that it is the turning point in your story. In view of that, what do you consider to be your greatest lesson?

E.M.: Not following the crowd and not following your friends. I am saying this because I wouldn’t have chosen ANU if I had followed my friends. Initially, my group of friends and I got admission to attend a different University but my father had a man-to-man conversation with me. I remember he said: “it’s not about the crowd, it’s not about friends but about building and following your vision.” That would remain one of the most important conversations I’ve had in my entire life.

V.I.: Fathers are such wise people. He knew you ought to do something valuable with your life. He wanted you to make the right choice. What I love about it is that your father did not pressure you, but he had the 1-on-1 with you and allowed you to take the decision. That decision shows your character. And about that, what would you say your top 3 values are?

E.M.: Self-control, patience and humility.

V.I.: How did ANU shape you to become an influencer?

E.M.: I really didn’t care about having influence until All Nations University. I didn’t care about impact, about making a difference in society. But once I joined and started attending the TPD classes, I realized I have to do something. I have to do something for the nation, for God, for others. That was the seed that grew in me to desire to become successful, to have a positive impact on society. I can now see the difference between not even acknowledging the need to be a positive influence and the burning desire to reach as many people as possible and contribute to a better world. I see it as a responsibility.

V.I.: That took you really fast from “I don’t care about the rest, I care about myself” to “I need to care about the rest before I care about myself”. That went deep in no time.

E.M.: Pretty much…and it’s such personal testimony of my growth.

V.I.: What would you say to anyone looking to join a University?

E.M.: I would always encourage anyone to join ANU. Having studied here, I have the confidence it will transform him or her into someone of significance. I trust ANU to produce the best out of anyone.

V.I.: ANU all the way, right?

E.M.: Yes, just come!

V.I.: How would you describe the University?

E.M.: Distinct.

V.I.: What was your expectation before joining ANU?

E.M.: I had a small expectation and a big one. I will share the small one. Around the time I started, there was this notion that everyone at ANU is a computer genius and I thought after my graduation I would be one too. Even though I studied ECE, I saw others become computer “wizards” and in my own way I’ve also become what I expected I would.

V.I.: Becoming an expert in your field is tough. That journey has a lot of critical moments. What was your secret for survival?

E.M.: Yes, I’ve had plenty of tough times but I’ve always had the place to pour out all that weight. It was at the Student Chapel Services. So that process of going to class, going to the lab, going to church, back to the lab…that helped release so much pressure and kept it all balanced for me.

V.I.: That created the opportunity to blow off some steam, tinker with your ideas some more, go back to the lab and try again. And that’s not something everyone does. Most people tend to give up, frustrated and disappointed. And this is one of the reasons why today you’re here with us, to show you overcame. Speaking of that, what’s one good memory you had here?

E.M.: I never expected to meet so many students from Nigeria. I used to watch a Nigerian movie on TV and I really loved their accent and how they acted. So, the first day in class I noticed everyone around me was from Nigeria and just hearing the accent, looking at them it just got me so excited.

V.I.: You were now part of the movie.

E.M.: Yes, live television. They sounded the same way and it’s probably the nicest thing because it was the first day in class. So, it was exciting.

V.I.: What about lessons? What would your top 3 be?

E.M.: Considering the GhanaSat-1 Project…The first would be “Believe in your leader”. When Dr. Samuel Donkor shared with us his vision to build a satellite, it felt a bit far fetched because we were students, we had no experience. But he spent time making us understand how achievable the vision is, encouraging us to jump. The second and third would be “Listening” & “Teamwork”.

V.I.: You know, it’s very common these days to hear people say “I want to be my own boss, and I want to do my own thing by myself” and while I do not believe it is wrong, I like very much what you said about believing in your leader. When you follow their footsteps, you avoid lots of mistakes which tend to be expensive and brutal at such a young stage in your career. Listening is not a commonly sought-after skill nowadays.

E.M.: Yes, that’s been one of my secrets.

V.I.: What would you say is unique about yourself?

E.M.: I love to listen.

V.I.: Do you have a favorite quote?

E.M.: Yes, I do. It goes like this: “He who strives for mastery should be temperate in all things.”

V.I.: I’m beginning to notice you’re a balanced person who can work with people, who can go through tough times, someone who has big dreams and is anchored in his story. And It’s lovely to know you’re one of our own and you’re only getting started.

As we pointed out, ANU wouldn’t put it in your hands, but teach you how to mine gold. It’s not just about getting a degree but taking charge of your story and making it successful. Let’s find out some more. What would you tell someone who got stuck on their journey?

E.M.: Well…they should always trace their steps back to God. Redefining and refueling come from Him alone.

V.I.: Is that where you go anytime you get stuck?

E.M.: Precisely!

V.I.: To get ahead, and to be on the right path you need to be in constant connection with God

E.M.: And you must always have patience.

V.I.: Then what would you tell yourself if you had the chance to meet your younger self?

E.M.: Pursue. Just pursue. Simply pursue the vision God shares with you.

V.I.: It’s very important to not follow a passion but the vision defined by God’s plan for your life. Go with it even when it makes no sense, when no one helps, just go back, refill your tank and go at it again.

E.M.: Exactly! Persistence and divine guidance.

V.I.: What advice would you have for students about to finish their degree?

E.M.: Two things: “God doesn’t work with lazy people” and “Academic success, a first class but no God is no success at all”.

V.I.: What do you think your secret for achieving so much is?

E.M.: I have a personal secret that governs my life: giving. Sharing. Putting others first.

V.I.: You’ve said in the beginning of our conversation that one of the things that makes you stand out is putting others first. It’s a beautiful way to round this up by bringing the same thing which makes it obvious that your story started from a great talk with a wise man and following through with what God set in your heart, attending a great University, pushing, refueling and then pushing more. But have you ever though it was going to get this big?

E.M.: No. I did not think so. Our team manager always said “this will be big” … but not me.

V.I.: And you were listening…

E.M.: Yeah. But to me, it was never about the height of it. I said let’s just do it. So, I was never really interested in the size.

V.I.: Which brings us back to following your leader.

E.M.: Exactly.

V.I.: Where do you see it in 5-10 years?

E.M.: Well, now I am fully expectant and we know it’s going to be huge. We have fantastic plans, a wonderful team and so much work to do. I strongly believe our path will be brighter and brighter. We started with the “first in Ghana” and now we are working on “first in Africa”. Soon, we will get to “first in the World”.

V.I.: That’s something we’re all looking forward to. What exactly was your role to “first in Ghana to build a satellite”?

E.M.: The GhanaSat Team is just some selfless guys working together towards a common dream. The selflessness was the attribute that brought us together. That’s our core value and what drives us.

V.I.: Your colleagues happen to also be your good friends…

E.M.: Yes, Mr. Benjamin Bonsu and Mr. Joseph Quansah. We were in the same class.

V.I.: Classmates, friends, dream team…releasing Ghana’s first Satellite.

E.M.: Exactly. The selflessness, the respect, listening to each other…that is what allowed us to achieve this.

V.I.: What would you say to the next trio from ANU working towards building the next big thing?

E.M.: I am so looking forward to that; that’s something on my heart and I am now working to raise people who will be able to shine like we did. I am convinced that will happen soon and I’d always tell them “Always give honor to whom honor is due. Always remember we can achieve so much as a community and none of us would be here today if ANU did not exist. I am personally forever grateful to the President of ANU, Dr. Samuel Donkor, for his vision and guidance. We couldn’t have done this without him.”

V.I.: It’s critical to never forget who helped you get started and is a character trait that opens so many doors. I am happy you brought this up because as you said it is not just about you but giving back, helping others, opening roads for others to walk on. Your story is amazing. I am so grateful for spending this time together and sharing these gems. We are so excited you and your team are working so hard at building a bigger, better, smarter project…

E.M.: This is just the beginning!

V.I.: Indeed.