When you’re a professional athlete immersed into the sports world, it’s easy to lose sight of planning your next steps after retirement. For former National Football League (NFL) defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, he recognized early on that he would ultimately have to decide on his next path when it was time to put down his helmet.

“I always knew in the back of my mind that I’ve got to basically find a second career,” Ogunleye told AfroTech in an exclusive interview. 

NFL To The Wealth Management Industry

After playing in the NFL for 11 years, Ogunleye went to George Washington University School of Business for his MBA. Once reflecting on his own experience and mistakes during his time in the league, he grew a deep interest in wanting to promote financial literacy for not just athletes, but entertainers as well. In December 2019, his passion landed him as the Head of Sports and Entertainment at UBS, a global financial services company.

“I realized that there were some gaps that I feel like the financial institutions had when it came to providing the best service for entertainers,” Ogunleye says. “It was about five or six years ago we had just started talking about how UBS could help change the status quo of the way we look at athletes and entertainers and this was the genesis of me starting at UBS.”

The Importance Of Financial Literacy

While the football vet describes his transition into the wealth management industry as “seamless,” his understanding of the importance of financial education early on in athletes and entertainers’ careers drives him to guide them ultimately toward financial freedom and creating legacies for their families and communities. 

“It’s just basic tools, suggestions and ideas around money,” Ogunleye shares. “Things that we hope these young women and men are not only able to practice themselves, but to take back home to whoever helped raise them and provide them with these resources and give them to their communities that they come from.”

UBS And The SIAC's Partnership

As the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA’s) names, images and likeness (NIL) laws have recently changed, collegiate athletes are securing partnerships at young ages. Since they are able to monetize their talents in the early stages of their careers, Ogunleye and UBS have launched courses to ensure that these young athletes gain a general knowledge of their finances before deals start lining up for them.

In a partnership with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), UBS speakers visit Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to introduce students to the opportunities available for them in the financial services industry,” according to a UBS press release. The partnership further fuels Ogunleye’s mission to promote financial literacy to people of all ages.

“That’s really important for me,” Ogunleye says. “We’re able to get in front of these young, talented Black and brown bodies and teach them about all the capabilities that we have at UBS and more importantly the opportunities to better themselves from a financial side. To make sure that with all their hard work and money that they’re gonna be able to have people that really care for them and it’s not just a transaction. We’re making good relationships.”

Ogunleye's Future With UBS

After nearly two years at UBS, Ogunleye plans to continue moving with intention to spread the knowledge of financial literacy with more initiatives through the company.

“We’re just going to continue to find connections and partnerships that are meaningful,” he said. “Not just glitz and glamor, but something of substance behind everything we do.”