Headshot of Michael Owusu

Leading by Example: Michael Owusu

December 11, 2023

Nicolas Riccio

Community Voices

Through mentorship and entrepreneurship, recent UTM graduate leaves his mark on the community.

For Michael Owusu, the journey to the Digital Enterprise Management (DEM) program was somewhat unconventional.

After graduating with an associate degree in Broadcast Journalism from Sheridan College, Owusu excelled in the banking sector and worked in various customer-centric roles at the Bank of Montreal. Years into his banking career, however, a chance conversation with a client encouraged Owusu to reconsider his options for his professional future.

“I thought to myself, ‘If I’m not really enjoying my job or if I’m not really seeing opportunities, if I go back to school for 4 or 5 years, in reality, what are 4 or 5 years in the grand scheme of my life?’” says Owusu. “That realization put me on the trajectory of enrolling back in school.”

Owusu decided to matriculate at UTM as a mature student in 2018 and has since capitalized on the creative and professional opportunities the DEM program provides.

During a 4th year technological entrepreneurship class, Owusu identified barriers when drafting a will, particularly for young and marginalized communities. Motivated by this gap, Owusu co-founded Willify, an application meant to streamline the will drafting process.

“There’s a huge unmet need for will drafting,” says Owusu. “Given my previous work in banking and government, I’ve seen how not having a will can be so detrimental to people’s lives no matter their age.”

Owusu also says that joining the ICUBE Accelerator expanded his knowledge of design and prototyping and helped materialize the ideas he had for spearheading Willify. Additionally, the ICUBE Accelerator and creating Willify has reinforced Owusu’s entrepreneurial aspirations.

“If you have an idea, if you want to do something, you can make it happen, it’s about finding the opportunities and support.”

Owusu recognizes how important support is for people who are just starting their own academic and career journeys, and so while he was at UTM, Owusu also found more ways of engaging with the student body through the ICCIT Mentorship program.

“I wanted to get involved in ICCIT because I had real-world professional experience, and I wanted to share that with other students in DEM,” says Owusu, adding that witnessing their development firsthand was very rewarding.

These positive experiences in the DEM program and the ICUBE Accelerator, as well as the mentorship opportunity, have inspired Owusu to look towards a future in product and project management. He also further intends to continue building Willify, with the goal of helping 1 million users in Canada draft a will using the application.

Owusu, who graduated from the DEM program in Spring 2023, currently works at the Canada Revenue Agency as a Coaching Specialist in Learning and Development, which he says has been an exciting experience.

“I like the human aspect – that I’m able to connect with people, have conversations with them, and see their progress,” says Owusu.

“Whether it’s training someone new to the learning development community and seeing them experience that ‘aha’ moment or coaching someone and having them significantly improve throughout the session. It’s a great thing to see and a great place to be.”