Howard Osaitile is a public speaker and senior project manager for Optum.
Born and raised in Nashville, Osaitile grew up in a city that today has a “diverse group of talent, young and old,” but years ago that multidimensionality was less prominent, and for the athletically gifted Osaitile, he was often typecast as someone who didn’t prioritize his education.
Yet, post-high school, Osaitile would prove to many that his talents extended beyond a field or arena when he enrolled at Middle Tennessee State University.
With an enrollment of nearly 18,000 (as of fall 2021), MTSU has a vibrant campus that attracts students from across the country.
MTSU also has an esteemed college of science, which is a major reason why Osaitile chose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration and Management.
Looking back, Osaitile enjoyed his time as a Blue Raider, but the Nashville native also admits that going to school less than an hour away from his hometown stifled some of his personal development.
“MTSU was a great experience, but being only 45 minutes away from where I grew up, I didn’t fully develop because I was still so close to home,” he says.
“That close proximity to home was ultimately a crutch, and that limited a growth mindset I could have otherwise adopted, had I gone to school further away.”
It then came as little surprise that after undergrad, Osaitile exited the comforts of The Volunteer State and traveled south to Baton Rouge to earn his MBA from Louisiana State University (LSU).
For Osaitile, dropping further down into the Bible Belt was about more than expanding his worldview.
He also wanted to earn accreditations that would allow him to support a family.
“Right now, I have a wife and a five-year-old daughter, and back then I wanted to become my best self in order to provide for them,” Osaitile explains.
“And as an individual, I’ve always wanted to grow and develop. Historically, I’ve always shown the ability to be consistent and working toward something greater, and so getting an MBA felt like the next step in that journey.”
Being mindful of his progression is key because once Osaitile finished school, he went to Atlanta and entered a scholar’s program run by the CDC and Morehouse College.
To outsiders, Osaitile was on a trajectory that would lead to him financial stability and personal fulfillment, but this route didn’t mesh with Osaitile’s long-term plans.
“I quickly realized that if this was the height of public health, then this career path wasn’t for me,” he shares.
Stuck, but not entirely lost, Osaitile knew he didn’t want to go to medical school and attempt to become a physician, but given his background, he recognized that he could work on the software systems that clinicians use in their day-to-day practices.
“So I quickly pivoted to IT, and that led me to now, where I am working for Optum and leading projects related to EMR (electronic medical records) for clinicians.”
At present, Osaitile is content with his role at Optum, but the MTSU alum also has visions of one day getting out from behind a desk and transitioning full-time into a public speaker.
Considering that he put in substantial effort to attain an MBA, one might wonder if Osaitile needs to pursue a venture outside his traditional 9-5 employment.
The short answer is no, but Osaitile has never been one to let complacency settle in.
For context, as a young athlete, Osaitile was always one of the best performers on the teams he played on.
Consequently, teammates looked to him for guidance, and while Osaitile often preferred to lead by example, over time he began to understand just how vital a role his voice also played in willing his teams to victory.
“By playing sports, that’s how I learned the fundamentals of leadership,” Osaitile mentions.
“It’s funny how things come full-circle because now being in Corporate America, I have quickly realized that people here are seen as leaders based on the way they communicate, which is why I have made a concerted effort to become a better speaker in order to impact more people.”
To prepare himself for life as a public speaker, and to garner interest from potential clients, Osaitile went through John Maxwell’s renowned speaker training program, which in turn has afforded him the title of certified public speaker, meaning Osaitile’s talents have been verified by third-party sources.
At the same time, Osaitile knows that, much like his educational journey, becoming successful in public speaking will take years to accomplish.
Not that he’s complaining though, because right now Osaitile is hoping to use his platform, and whatever stage he’s granted access to, to help others tap in to their true self, a process he believes will bring others more fulfillment.
“My goal is to help other people become their most authentic self,” Osaitile says.
“And the way to do that is you have to understand your fundamentals, and who you are at your core.”
Osaitile’s message will likely resonate with anyone looking to escape their internal apathy or struggles, and that’s why Osaitile is quick to mention that his message doesn’t have an ideal audience.
“But since I am in the healthcare field, I also want to help healthcare providers, clinicians, and also administrative staffs through leadership training,” he notes.
Osaitile would also like to impart his wisdom on the youth, namely high school students who may feel aimless or lacking in direction.
“I want to give them [young students] the tools they need to succeed, and give them a face that they can look up to so that they realize that they are not that far away from being able to accomplish a dream as they might think they are,” Osaitile masterfully explains.
As for where Osaitile would like to one day be, he says that under ideal circumstances he would not have a traditional employer; that instead he would be a self-employed public speaker.
Perhaps in the not-too-distant future Osaitile’s name will be synonymous with industry titans like Eric Thomas and Tony Robbins, even though Osaitile is striving to be more of a trainer versus purely a motivational speaker.
Still, regardless of label, his goal is to go out into communities and have a positive impact that will improve the long-term outlook for many of the attendees, but that can only be accomplished through consistency and hard work, plus an intense commitment to upholding his virtues of honesty and integrity.
“I’ll say this: you can’t be the best version of yourself if you’re not living authentically, so I want to show people how living outside of their authentic self is actually detrimental to their success,” Osaitile says.
“But then they need to be able to overcome this, so I also want to give them the tools that will allow them to do that.” QS
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