Episode 256 – Supercharging Company Culture With Immigrant Leadership with Ukeme Awakessien Jeter

Episode Overview

Joining Gina on today’s episode is Ukeme Awakessien Jeter, a leadership development expert, keynote speaker, and author of the book “Immigrant Love: Supercharging Company Culture with Immigrant Leadership.” She has extensive experience working with Fortune 500 companies, national law firms, universities, local governments, and specialized agencies of the United Nations. As an immigrant herself, Ukeme’s work is informed by her unique perspective and aims to promote immigrant inclusion leadership, innovation, and business growth.

Ukeme Awakessien Jeter immigrated to the United States from Nigeria at the age of 18 to attend college. She chose to study mechanical engineering and later pursued a career in law. Ukeme also became an elected official for her city and is passionate about shaping policy and transforming workplace culture. Inspired by her own experiences as an immigrant, Ukeme wrote her book to advocate for immigrant inclusion leadership and highlight the unique skills and perspectives that immigrants bring to the workplace. She emphasizes the importance of cultural intelligence and the need for companies to change their systems to better support and attract immigrant talent.


Key Takeaways:

  • Immigrants possess valuable leadership competencies, such as adaptability, resourcefulness, and the ability to build new networks.
  • Accent bias and education bias can hinder the recognition and advancement of immigrant leaders.
  • Companies should elevate immigrants to leadership positions and allow them to lead in their own style.
  • Cultural intelligence training is essential for leaders and organizations to better understand and support immigrant employees.
  • Companies can attract immigrant talent by partnering with non-profit organizations that support new Americans and by reevaluating their recruitment processes to be more inclusive.


  • “English is not a measure of intelligence. English is simply a skill.”
  • “There’s a difference between adaptability and forced assimilation.”
  • “Let’s start peeling back on what it is that we’re asking for in talent versus what we’re getting.”
  • “Networking is a part of the process. We need to understand them and say, ‘Does this system attract or gain from the immigrant population?'”
  • “Change happens with that two-way street.”

Connect with Ukeme here: https://www.ukstopia.com/

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More about Gina

Engagement Expert – Speaker – Sales Trainer – Entrepreneur – Improv Comic

Gina is a Master Sales Trainer for Jeb Blount’s Sales Gravy who combines street smarts and improv comedy skills with her experience in the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds, which sets her apart from her competition. 

“Sass without too much crass” is how Gina Trimarco describes herself. A high energy entrepreneur, engager, speaker, trainer, improv comedienne and podcast producer, Gina credits most of her success on her upbringing by her Italian mobster dad and German immigrant mother.

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