Article
In Conversation With Tayo Rockson
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Founder and CEO of Use Your Difference Magazine, Tayo Rockson believes in a global identity. Upon discovering the definition of a Third Culture Kid (TCK), Tayo realized his diverse background was shared amongst a growing community around the world. In an effort to connect that community, he wrote The Ultimate Guide to TCK Living, and is now heading a podcast of the same name and a blog on his personal website.

What would you say you do in life? What do you think has most contributed to your present career?

I run a media company called UYD Media and I speak, write and produce a lot of media content. I think my passion for educating people about other cultures led to my current career.

Judging by your website tagline, and much of your online writing, you’re a proud TCK. So how did you first find out about the concept? What makes you proud to be one?

I was scrolling through something on Facebook on Twitter or Facebook sometime last year and I came across the BuzzFeed article titled 31 Signs You’re A Third Culture Kid and I immediately got curious about that so I clicked on it and BOOM! I felt like someone was describing me. The great thing about BuzzFeed is that they use a lot of humorous GIFs to express their points and this was no exception. If you have the chance check it out.

To answer your second question? It was a complete game changer for me. Just knowing that there was a word that described who I was. It gave me something to identify with. I was already comfortable with my identity but just knowing that there was a word that describes you brings some sense of satisfaction. It also let me know that I was not alone and I immediately started seeking other fellow TCKs.I am proud to know that I can truly identify with several cultures and in a way I can be an educator of sorts and build cultural gaps.

Tell us about your newest venture, Use Your Difference Mag. How did it come to life? What purpose does it serve, and what kind of individuals do you anticipate working with in it?

Last year before I launched my podcast, I started thinking about different ways I could make a difference and it dawned on me that a lot of the problems in the world are caused by people not willing to embrace change. Whether it’s religious strife or ethnic genocides or racism, a lot of people today tend to want to stay in their lane. I come from a country that can’t seem to get past its differences whether it comes to tribal groups and religion and having grown up in several countries I started to notice that there are varying degrees of intolerance and discrimination based on people’s backgrounds, color or difference and that this lack of willingness to adopt change and embrace diversity is the reason for a majority of a lot of the problems we have.

Think about it. Religious wars are caused by one group wanting another group to either adopt a new way of thinking or a willingness to wipe “unbelievers” from their environment. Racism is caused by a false sense of superiority based on the color of people’s skin. Ethnic problems are caused by beliefs and stereotypes that have been passed on from generation to generation about how and why certain groups cannot coexist. The common denominator in all these situations is the lack of willingness to embrace change so out of my frustration so I decided to do something about it. I created a platform that targets the youth and millennials while they are still in their formative years and educate them on what the world is really like. My team and I gather content that highlights multicultural individuals all over the world and show what culture is really like in different parts of the world. It is my hope that with this platform people will be inspired to embrace what makes them different and go about making a difference and maybe even change the world as the next set of global leaders.

Using non-business terms, how do you describe yourself? What are your interests, hobbies, etc., outside of your work life?

I am a sports junkie. My favorite sports are basketball, soccer, and tennis but I also have grown to love American football. I love being active so I’m in the gym a lot or just randomly dancing to music.

Your almost-casual suit-and-tie style is very distinct in all your ventures. How did you build up that image? Is there an interesting story behind your love for suiting-up?

Ah well I can’t really say when the genesis of this was or if there’s an interesting story behind it but I have always loved how wearing a suit makes me feel. I almost feel like an international man of mystery. It also projects confidence. I always loved watching action movies and spy movies growing up and seeing how cool and calm CIA agents looked so when I could finally afford it I started stocking up on suits.

Tell us about your podcast. How did you come up with the idea for it? What kind of guests do you feature?

So there I was sitting in Ariana Huffington’s Thrive event when she made one casual statement that went over most people’s heads. She joked about how her kids made fun of her Greek accent even though she had been in America for a long time and that resonated with me because of my Third Culture Kid background.

I was covering the event as a blogger but the main reason I went to the event was because I wanted to hear her speak as I am a huge fan of her work. Anyway back to the statement she made. She said her kids sometimes asked her where she was from because of her accent and went on to discuss how she embraced it because it was who she was and boom! My creative juices started to flow. I thought back to the same Buzzfeed article I had read earlier that introduced me to the term “Third Culture Kid” and I began to dream up ways that I could help people who identified with different cultures and many homes and the idea for the podcast was born.

I feature global nomads, Third Culture Kids, entrepreneurs and multicultural individuals who are leaders in business, culture, travel and global affairs to discuss what it takes to embrace your global identity and become global leaders.

What’s next?

First we recently launched a crowd funding campaign to help raise money for a lot of our projects this year and you can find all the information on www.patreon.com/uyd. The other thing is I’ll be launching UYD University which is based on the central theme of all the work I do which is “use your difference to make a difference” and the premise is to feature courses that will inspire the next set of global leaders. We believe that at UYD teaching others how to navigate among cultures as well as thinking outside the box will create better global leaders so we will feature courses that range from traveling better, fitting in among cultures, life hacking, as well as embracing one’s differences.

You can participate by submitting your article.

About The Author

Kanzi Kamel

Kanzi is an American-Egyptian writer, baker and adventurer living in Salzburg. She spent the last seven years of her work and studies in Lebanon, where she graduated with a BA in Media and Communications from the American University of Beirut, and worked as an Editor and Project Coordinator at Keeward. She is currently acting librarian of the Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, and the European Ambassador of Bookwitty.

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