The Power of One: Dapo Bankole

August 23, 2018
Ali Blythe
Dapo Bankole
“We try to do our best to change the world. Right now I’m focusing on immigrants like me, trying to help them have a better story.”

Before graduating from the Master of Arts in Leadership program in June 2018, Nigerian-born Dapo Bankole contacted the Royal Roads Advancement team to ask how he could donate to the university. He wanted to help newcomers like him—people who want to study at Royal Roads but may struggle financially.

He wanted others to be able to have the same life-changing experience that he’d had.

“These were not your typical classes,” says Bankole, who now hosts the Immigrant life Podcast, which aims to help first generation Canadian immigrants achieve their dreams in their new country. “We were all learning together. We were co-creating the future. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

Bankole set up a monthly donation to Royal Roads Master of Arts in Leadership bursary with the idea that he would someday be in the position to create his own named fund. “I thought, let me start small, start where I am.”

Bankole always knew that he had a lot of potential; he just needed to focus on what came naturally. For him, that meant leadership.

“Although my whole professional background was in IT, the recurring theme in my life has been leadership,” Bankole says. “I read leadership books. I follow leaders. I practice leadership. So, I had to ask myself—if this is the one thing that is consistent with who I am, why don’t I just go for it and follow my heart?”

Bankole is no stranger to risk, having packed up his life and young family to move from Nigeria to Calgary in 2012, finding work as a business analyst and then in project management. He still operates a growing consulting business.

“When it was time to look at master’s programs, I came across Royal Roads. The curriculum made a lot more sense to me than anything else I’d seen,” Bankole says. “I liked the philosophy, the distance learning, the caliber of people the program brings together.”

The power of education is another big theme in Bankole’s life.

“Growing up in Nigeria, my parents took care of kids who weren’t theirs. These were people I called ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties.’ We weren’t all necessarily related but we lived together and my parents paid for us all to go to school.”

It was at school that Bankole would meet his “Power of One”—the person who would change the course of his life, Dr. Tai Solarin.

“Dr. Solarin was an educator, a social activist and founder of the Mayflower School in Ikenne, Nigeria. He set me on the path of giving back, and of caring for humanity. He loved education and he fought for the masses. He influenced me in every way. Now I think life is a gift. What we give back, that’s what really matters.”

Bankole believes in leaving the world better than he found it.

 “We try to do our best to change the world. Right now, I’m focusing on things that are dear to my heart. Focusing more on immigrants like me, trying to help them have a better story in Canada.”

Share your own Power of One story with us on Giving Day: September 18, a day to raise funds and awareness about making a life-changing difference. Join us on social media using the hashtags #RRUPowerOfOne and #RRUGivingDay to celebrate your connection to Royal Roads and the gifts you make. Make a donation of any size to support the area of the university that matters most to you. Learn more at