As a kid, all I wanted in life was to be was a professional in the NBA. I ate, slept and breathed basketball and every day I would spend hours at the Crystal Palace Arena trying to emulate my heroes.
I had talent; playing originally for London Towers I progressed to play National League level for Westminster Warriors. I knew that playing college basketball in the USA would be a huge step toward my dream career. A scholarship was my passport into the college system but it’s competitive.
When I heard from prospective universities it was a case of so near yet so far. I was offered a half scholarship by Valparaiso University, Indiana, but that meant I had to find £20,000 a semester to fund my studies. It was money my family and I simply didn’t have and I had to turn down the offer.
I realised my NBA dream was not going to materialise and I needed to reassess. I decided to channel my determination into another career and spoke to relatives about my options. A cousin mentioned property and I believed I had the skills to make it in the industry. I decided to go for it.
I attended interview after interview but was rejected 13 times due to a "lack of experience" so I decided to take my future into my own hands. I approached companies directly and offered to work for free in order to build my knowledge and experience.
Nine years later, I became the manager of one of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward’s flagship offices and have a career I am immensely proud of. My sports background gave me the determination to have a goal and do everything possible in order to achieve it. Others can’t do it for you, it’s up to you,
Through KFH’s charity partnership with London Youth I have had the opportunity to support the London Basketball Association (LBA) with fundraising and mentoring. Recently, I took a small group of KFH managers to an LBA training session where we spoke to the kids about our experiences and how we pursued our goals.
Our message to them was to use the skills they develop in basketball and apply them to their lives, whether in school, at home or in their future work. Sport is an incredibly powerful tool for motivating children of all backgrounds. Not only does it help kids stay active and instil discipline, it helps develop the skills to build relationships, work as a team and, perhaps most importantly, lead. Vital ingredients for whatever career path they decide to follow.
About: Daniel Montaque is Sales Manager at KFH Lee. KFH has partnered with London Youth to help improve the lives of young people in London. So far this year, KFH has raised in excess of £55,000 for London Youth and their community of youth organisations.