Shortly after AK Ikwuakor launched a fashion company in 2020—and just as he was preparing to leave to conduct an international motivational speaking tour—all US flights were grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Suddenly not a lot of folks were wearing suits and ties, nor were many organizations planning in-person speaking events.
Ikwuakor, BS ’07 (sociology), a serial entrepreneur and three-time All-American Ducks hurdler, found himself grounded in more ways than one.
The year 2020 “taught us a lot,” he says. “That we’re not in control.”
And yet this strange time in history has brought Ikwuakor intense personal clarity. “It’s been one of the best experiences for me,” he says.
Ikwuakor converted his speaking engagements to recorded, shareable content that audiences tapped remotely. He shifted focus to helping entrepreneurs expand their businesses in 90 days. He also landed an opportunity with Google, joining a small team that trains the sales staff.
Now living with his family in Marina del Rey, California, Ikwuakor continues as founder of MobileXA business consulting and as the sales excellence coach lead at Google. He also produces an inspirational podcast, Mornings with Coach AK (akikwuakor.com/podcast).
In August, Ikwuakor helped moderate the Lundquist College Digital Speaking Series, which featured students, faculty, and alumni who are making a difference while navigating life, business, and entrepreneurship during the pandemic.
His time during the pandemic, Ikuwakor says, reinforced lessons he learned as an athlete.
“You can feel worse, sore, but know that is part of the growth process,” he says. “And know that it’s possible to push beyond your limits.”
—By AnneMarie Knepper-Sjoblom, BA ’05 (news editorial), Lundquist College communications
—Image courtesy AK Ikwuakor