It’s interesting how our style and fashion sense evolve with our careers. Remember that day you got your first job and got all excited about your first suit which probably didn’t fit but hey it was still a suit? This is what Yoeal, former CEO of ASPIRA, a credit finance company has experienced as well. Born in Eritrea but brought up in the USA, his background is in engineering but spent most of his life working as a trader in the New York and Hong Kong, before launching several successful startups in the continent over the past six years. He first came to Kenya in 2013 on a business trip and marvelled at the bush, the coast, among others and fell in love with the geographical diversity, prompting him to finally moved here in 2017.
With COVID-19 prompting for safety and social distancing becoming the trend of the day, you can almost guess that this interview was done online. And for someone who’s always on the move about the next big thing to bloom, it was obvious that Yoeal was driving and you can see the passion that he has about fashion when he pulls over to answer a few questions for the 7 Menswear series segment.
7. Tell us about your career. Has it influenced your style and the way you dress?
When I started working in finance as a business professional, I was wearing shirts and pants that don’t fit, something I would probably be embarrassed to wear today. This included ties that don’t go well with the colours of my outfits. I then transitioned to business school afterwards started working with start-ups, where I haven’t had to really dress up at all. At Aspira, I have had interviews, wearing suits a couple of times a week.
 I got a pair of suits done from Genteel and I love the Africa fabric accents- It made me feel like even if I have a business background, I can still look chic. So this has been my style since, wearing prints from Rwanda and even Ghana. That is my style and always will be my style- occasional suits.
6. Tell us more about your business in Finance
I was a stock trader at one of the largest banks in the US and was trading stocks for firms, both big and small. I went to business school to learn more about finance in business, got my MBA and afterwards was interested in pursuing opportunities in Africa. I joined Africa Leadership University, where I was the Chief of staff to the founder and worked there for two and a half years. I was basically learning how to do business in Africa and how to grow and scale up startups.
I then moved to Kenya in 2017, started a company called ASPIRA and over the last two years, have grown a team of 100 employees. Ever since leaving Aspira I have worked on several business ventures like WineLife.
5. One thing you are most passionate about besides your job?
I like to travel. I tend to travel once a month, but for now haven’t seen my family in a year.

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