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My American story – Steve Nson

WASHINGTON (TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA) – The amazing stories of Africans living in the United States are rarely told in the United States where most people in the news are often white. Kids who grow up watching television or browsing news sites often end up believing that the world ends in California and starts in New York. They may also end up believing that success, peace, care, love and intelligence are all white while failure, chaos, terror, ignorance, anger and violence are all black. TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA knows that’s false. Our popular segment “My American Story” highlights the perseverance, tenacity, intelligence, sophistication, struggles and successes of Africans in the United States and Canada – Simon Ateba, editor-in-chief of Today News Africa, Washington D.C., August 18, 2018.

Steve Nson at the New York City Real Estate Tech Week in 2018

Steve Nson is a man of few words who spends time thinking about Artificial Intelligence, Opportunity Zones, Blockchain, PropTech and The Future of Work.

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During an interview he granted TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA in July 2019, his answers were short, unambiguous and straight to the point.

Nson is the CEO and Founder of AnySizeDeals, a company that specializes in organizing global conferences around real estate innovation.

Born in the United States, he moved to the central African country of Cameroon when he was between 6 and 7 years old before returning to the United States in 2000.

Nson earned a Bachelor Degree in Housing Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development from New York University.

His most memorable moment in the United State? “I don’t have one stand alone moment. I would say the day I got married and the birth of my 3 daughters stand out as very memorable days”.

Steve Nson at the ASDSummit

Mr. Nson  granted an interview to TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA, and gave us a peep into his extraordinary life in the United States.

What’s your name now? What was your name before? What do people call you and what do you prefer to be called?

Steve Nson                

What African country do you identify with and what part of that country do you associate with? What state do you live in the United States? What’s your citizenship?

a.     Cameroon (Yaounde & Douala)

b.     New York

c.     I’m an American citizen

Where and what did you study?

a.     Bachelor Degree at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Housing Studies

b.     Master’s Degree from NYU. Real Estate Development

Where do you work or what type of job do you do?

a.     I am CEO and Founder of AnySizeDeals and my company specializes in organizing global conferences around real estate innovation. Some of the topics we cover including Artificial Intelligence, Opportunity Zones, Blockchain, PropTech and The Future of Work.

b.     Our next global conference is ASDinnovate – The Future of Work & The Workplace and it takes place from November 14th – 15th, 2019 in New York City.

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How long have you been in the United States?

a.     I was born in the United States, moved to Cameroon when I was 6-7 years old and returned to the United States in 2000.  Overall about 26 years.

What has been your most memorable moment in the United States?

a.     It’s very hard to say. I don’t have one stand alone moment. I would say the day I got married and the birth of my 3 daughters stand out as very memorable days.

What has surprised you the most in the United States?

a.     How confident people are in their ability and how far it can take them.

What do you like the most about living in the United States?

a.     Opportunity.

What do you miss the most about not living in Africa?

a.     Food.

What’s the biggest lesson you have learned about being in the United States?

a.     Be confident. I have seen people with mediocre talent accomplish amazing things just because they believed in themselves.

b.     So no matter what, if you have a dream, believe in yourself and go for it.

What’s your biggest challenge in the United States?

Lack of a familial support system. My family is spread throughout the world, my Dad is in Cameroon with my Sister, my brother lives in Kenya and my mom is in California. It’s a bit of challenge to stay as connected as when we were kids living under the same roof.

What’s the biggest misconception about life in the United States that people in Africa have?

Not sure. You should ask someone who lives in Africa 

They say that everyone has a book in them. What would your book be about?

What it takes to succeed.

What do you spend the most time thinking about?

How to become more successful and how to ensure my daughters are successful at whatever they do.

What is something you will NEVER do again?

Not sure.

What are some of the events in your life that made you who you are?

I would say one event in particular has heavily shaped my life. When I moved back to the United State in 2000, I ended up being homeless. It was for only 3 weeks but it was a very trying time and I overcame the hardship.

What I learned about myself is that I am resilient, resourceful and meant for greatness.

I shaped my personality in two distinct ways:

1)     I learned the power positive thinking works

2)     No matter what happens in my life moving forward I have what it takes to overcome it.

What is the strangest thing you have come across?

Not sure how to answer this. Whatever it was, I probably blocked it out.

What are you addicted to?

I don’t have any addictions but I think about business and entrepreneurship all the time. I read books, listen to tapes, follow people I respect on social media and consistently think of ways to improve myself as businessperson.

As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of?

I think about health a lot. I don’t fear much but I am just aware of the fact that life can be fragile and to take ones health seriously. I also focus a lot on being happy and spending time with people that make me happy.

What song or artist do you like but rarely admit to liking?

That’s not an issue for me. I’ve always been a Jay Z fan.

If life is a game, like some people say, what are some of the rules?

Make the best of every situation, plan ahead but focus on what you can today.

What’s the most surprising self-realization you’ve had?

Confidence and Persistence will take you very far. Some people have the brains, the right ideas and the work ethic, but they give up and get discouraged when things don’t go their way. If you stick around long enough, learn from your wins and losses, you will outlast the competition and win.

What do you regret not doing?

I try not to dwell on could have, would have, should have. The past is the past; my next move is my best move.

What gives your life meaning?

My children and my entrepreneurial vision.

What are you most insecure about?

Not sure.

How do you get in the way of your own success?

I don’t.

What are you afraid people see when they look at you?

I am not afraid of what people think of me. I am more interested in what I think of myself. I believe we attract people who have the same energy as we do, so it makes more sense to focus on improving yourself which will lead you to work and connect with a better crop of people.

What’s one thing you did that you really wish you could go back and undo?

I’m sure in hindsight there are things I wish I had done better but like I said in a previous answer, I don’t dwell on the past. Besides, where I am today is a direct result of the decisions I made, so for better or worse, it all worked out as it should have.

When do you feel truly “alive”?

When I’m playing sports with my daughters.

What do you like most about your family?

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That we are all resilient. 

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