Richard Obede (author of bestselling book Friendship Matters and director of public relations at Love Revolution Canada) took part in the "How to Reach Your Potential" initiative, a series of 100 interviews with leaders who inspire Alex Rascanu and whose insights can help you reach your potential.
Richard Obede is a board member and director of public relations at Love Revolution Canada, a non-profit charitable organization that serves Canadians who are hurting through counseling, education, and talent identification, and by inspiring hope. In the past, he served as a manager at No Frills in Vaughan, a grocery store with a weekly sales volume of over $700,000 and 130 employees, and has over 30,000 hours of face-to-face customer service experience. While at No Frills, Richard was the Union Steward with UFCW Canada Local 1006A, which represents about 12,000 members at No Frills locations across Ontario, Canada.
Richard is the author of The Globe and Mail bestselling book Friendship Matters, The Essential Roles Friends Play in Your Life that’s available worldwide and was released in 2017 by Guardian Books and Essence Publications. He has travelled to numerous countries to speak at conferences about the importance of friendships, and will be the keynote speaker at the 2018 Kingdom Millionaires conference organized by The Remnant International in Pretoria, South Africa (expected attendance of 4,000).
Richard graduated from Canada Christian College with a bachelor’s degree in counselling. He also holds a diploma in Sales Management and another Diploma in Marketing from Tracom College, Kenya. Richard is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Counseling at Canada Christian College.
Alex: What is your life’s purpose?
Richard: My purpose is to create awareness about the importance of good friendships and to build a bridge between cultures through arts. I thrive when people come together and have meaningful conversations as they show care for others and celebrate each other’s talents and potential. I’m of the opinion that good friends believe in each other, support each other’s dreams, love each other, and bring out the best in each other as they progress forward. People always say they feel encouraged and motivated in my presence, and I strive in creating a stage for talents where friends can have a platform to showcase their creative side.
Alex: What are the three things you’re most passionate about?
Alex: How do you stay healthy? What’s your main health-related goal?
Richard: I have challenges in this area. I do eat homemade lunches while at the office. My wife is in a health and fitness program, and I enjoy the healthy food she prepares. I am trying to lose some weight and will be joining a gym soon. I’m reading many articles on healthy food these days, and am cutting down on sugar and bread.
Alex: How do you build wealth? What’s your main financial goal?
Richard: I struggled in this area until a friend introduced me to World Financial Group and they have helped me change my perception about wealth. I’ve done most of my investments through them. We consolidated our debts and paid it through easy steps WFG taught us. We live below our budget, we’ve saved money for emergency situations (the equivalent of our 5 months’ earning salaries), and we’ve bought life and other types of insurance. We decided to buy real estate assets: we live in a condo in east Toronto - it has already multiplied in value, we bought 17 acres of land in Kenya and a house in Shanghai China, and now we’re planning to buy 2 more condos in Bourneville, Ontario. We’re also looking at buying trucks for a transportation business project. My wife is planning to open a soy and avocado drinks shop in 2019. We buy shares and stocks, and we’ve invested in mutual funds and 8% compound interest accounts.
We also have the Friendship Matters book sales that bring extra income to the family, on top of our work incomes. Our main goal is to be able to live a comfortable life, leave inheritance to our children and also help others who lack. We’re currently paying for the education of 3 orphans.
Alex: How do you balance work and family life?
Richard: I work six days a week and attend school for my master’s program part time. I try to work around my wife’s schedule so we can spend some time together every day. We plan together, do house work, read, watch news or other TV programs, then we pray every night before we go to bed. We believe God gives us power and faith that provides confidence that things will go well.
If I’m every late coming home, I compensate with more family time the following day. Another thing that I try as much possible is to leave work issues at work, so that when I am with my family its 100% family time.
Alex: How do you enjoy spending time with family and friends?
Richard: Sundays have been our friendship days for a while now, but we always try to accommodate friends into our Friday evening schedule too. We love to cook different kinds of food and we invite friends over for dinner. Sometimes we get as many as 20 friends coming over every other week. We eat together, share stories and laugh as we build bonds. We watch movies together or play games. We have a party room within our condo complex that we use every 3 months or on long weekends when we get many people over. At our 2016 Christmas party we had over 100 friends come over with their families.
Spending time with friends is as important to us as spending time with family. We believe they are equally important. Sometimes we go to restaurants, movie theatres or friends’ houses to celebrate with them. Our friends come from different cultures, backgrounds, languages, and ages, and spending time with them helps us understand people better.
Alex: What has been the most fulfilling role you’ve ever had, or the most fulfilling project you’ve been involved with so far?
Richard: Writing the book “Friendship Matters, The Essential Roles Friends Play in Your Life” has been the most fulfilling project I’ve worked on. The feedback from those who have read the book and are inspired has been really encouraging to me.
When I served as Union Steward with UFCW Local 1006 for about five years, representing workers and protecting them at their workplace, is a really fulfilling role I’ve had.
Paying the school fees for orphans and supporting them is very fulfilling. We want to inspire children with the hope that they will be great leaders in society when they’ll grow up.
Alex: What’s one career planning lesson that has made a significant difference in your life?
Richard: I began as a grocery clerk, role in which I stocked shelves and helped customers pack their shopping items. Then I got promoted to be a receiver, and slowly made my way to a management role that saw me help the company bring sales volume of over $700,000 weekly. A constant lesson at every professional level has been to have integrity and a good character. Building a good name that can be trusted by both fellow workmates, customers and the company owners helped me build genuine friendships at all levels of the company, and those friendships inspired the book Friendship Matters.
Alex: What would you like your legacy to be?
Richard: I believe that Friendship Matters in today’s world, and that life would be boring without genuine good people who care, love, enjoy your presence and celebrate with you. I would like my legacy be that of a friendship builder, counselor, love revolutionary, human rights activist, and a good family man who shows that with God all things are possible for those who believe.
Alex: Thank you, Richard, for taking part in this interview! Thank you for being so open and for sharing your insights!
Did you find one or more of Richard's thoughts helpful? Are there any ideas or resources that came to mind as you read the interview?
Please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below, and consider sharing the interview with a friend via social media or email.
Also, consider checking out the How to Reach Your Potential interviews with Trina Boos, Hamza Khan, James Tjan, Vlad Rascanu, Drew Dudley, Alexandru Holicov, Andrew Mizzoni, Christa Dickenson, Louise Adongo, Sarah Chaudhery, Jake Nicolle, Andy McIlwain, Busola Akin-Olawore and Rebecca Laramée. Thank you.
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