The Millennial Source spoke to Lionel Foy, football agent as well as founder of LionHeart In The Community (LITC), a London-based social enterprise, about what sets him apart. “The best advice I can give my younger self, is to never take no for an answer,” he says.
How did you feel when you realised you could go into entrepreneurship full time?
How did I feel? I felt…it is a scary thought of course, when you know you don’t have that guarantee of income coming your way and you have to create that for yourself. It is scary. But I got a lot of satisfaction from being able to pay myself.
You know, even as an entrepreneur I had members of staff who earned more money than myself. The wages or expenses I was able to pay myself, I really derived a lot of satisfaction on that. And I feel that it is what kept the dream alive.
Describe your mind using three words
Hyper-active, analytic, constantly solution-focused.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a footballer and my dad wanted me to be a lawyer. I was caught in both wherever I went. So the football thing didn’t work out, obviously because I didn’t have parental support and I did train to be a lawyer. After that I did football, which is what I always wanted to do.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Never take no for an answer. Go and find out yourself and determine whether it is for you or not.
What’s one critical moment that has shaped your life?
There have been a lot of moments, but I had to pick out one single moment, it would be about 20 years ago when I was moving to the UK at the time I was living in France. Getting the visa to the UK was quite difficult. So I went to the UK consulate for the interview.
Went in and met this gentleman. He turned out to be a Middlesbrough fan. We spent about an hour talking only about football, about his team.
Funnily enough it turned out at that time there two Cameroonian players playing for Midldlesbrough Joseph-Désiré Job and Geremi Njitap.
So we spent all of that interview talking about football. And the next thing, he was like “Just go around the front and collect your passport. It is all done.” I was like…that was the day I knew that football is my destiny . Because football opened my way to the UK and here we are today.
What’s your spirit animal? And why?
I think I mean my name is Lionel. So I would have to go for a lion. Because of the bravery, the courage, the utter domination, that it holds on the animal kingdom.
Not that I’m saying like I’m here dominating the human kingdom but I’d like to, I think, a spirit that I share that spirit- going somewhere, conquering it and you know having my satisfaction that you know, I have achieved. That purpose. So that I’m more alike to the lion than to any other animal.
What’s something you’re currently working on achieving?
Personally I’m working towards being more receptive to ideas from my collaborators because I tend to be very single minded. I need my collaborators to work very hard, convincing me. That has been my modus operandi. So I feel like I need to allow myself to be influenced more by the people I trust. And it’s hard letting go but I’m working on it
My name is Lionel Foy. I am a football agent as well as a social entrepreneur.