Victor Asoyo, is a Partner at Solomons Legal & Solomons Capital.
With dual degrees in law and science from the University of Adelaide, he is the founding partner at Solomons Group focusing mainly on Solomons Legal and Solomons Capital.
Victor has over 20 years experience in banking and property, and is the Head of Legal, practising in banking and finance.
From Kenya to Adelaide: a smooth entry into Australia
Moving to Australia in 1998 from Kenya marked a significant turning point in my life. In Kenya, after completing high school, it was usual to take a two year break before starting university due to limited resources and high demand for courses. I didn’t want to take that long off so I started applying to universities across the globe. Adelaide, in South Australia was the first to accept me.
Adelaide, with its diverse international student community, served as a good entry point when finding my feet in a new country. I vividly recall the intense Australian summer heat hitting me upon arrival. Although it was a shock, I was ready to buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Embracing the intersection of law and science
From a young age, I had a keen interest in the sciences, a passion influenced by my upbringing. My parental and family influences, stemmed from a radiologist and crown prosecutor, which instilled in me a love for both fields. Upon entering the University of Adelaide, I pursued a dual degree in law and science, with a focus on biochemistry. This was during the era of the Human Genome Project, which captivated my imagination and spurred my belief that these two fields could come together, possibly in the area of intellectual property.
Even now, as a practising lawyer, I occasionally put on my ‘scientist hat,’ delving into complex scientific concepts (and impressing my kids). This unique blend of knowledge occasionally comes in handy when dealing with clients in the science sector, and engaging with people.
Thriving through adversity: my personal philosophy
My journey from student to founding partner at Solomons Legal & Solomons Capital was anything but straightforward. I was a waiter for seven years while I was studying. I worked as a night porter as well and did other odd jobs to keep the money coming in.
Whenever I’m given an opportunity I make the most of it. I figure if I don’t, not only am I letting myself down, I’m letting down those people who missed out on the same opportunity. There’s no other option.
At the same time I would attend networking events and that’s when I got a break. I met a lawyer who needed some assistance preparing her briefs and she gave me a job. After that I heard about other opportunities to work for small law firms and eventually I got a graduate position in Adelaide.
When I left that job, I applied for various roles and eventually got a job in Brisbane. I worked in one law firm for five years and then moved to Gadens for ten years, and as a partner in their commercial banking and finance team for the last four of those.
I then found I wanted to move to the next level professionally. A couple of friends of mine from Macquarie Bank and I decided to set up on our own. And here we are four years later.
Encounters with redundancy along the way only fueled my resolve to succeed. I held fast to the belief that adversity moulds character. In my eyes, a setback was an opportunity for growth. Just because one person didn’t appreciate a particular skill set didn’t mean another wouldn’t find value in it. This perspective was my guiding light, propelling me forward in the face of adversity.
Remember this: “Sometimes you have good days. Sometimes you have bad days. But so long as you’re having more good days than bad, you’re ahead.”
Embracing differences: navigating culture shock
The cultural transition to Australia held its surprises for me. When I arrived in Australia, I was surprised to see so few dark skinned people like myself. It was like an out of body experience or a movie. After a time though I got used to talking with Australians, learning the lingo etc.
For example, once I was in a cafe and the lady asked “what can I get you, love?” And I was really shocked. We’d only just met and she was calling me love! I know now that’s very common, especially in older people and it’s actually quite nice.
I’ve occasionally encountered negative stereotypes but I don’t dwell on them. It’s up to you how you react. There’s people who just talk nonsense every other day. I just tell them, that’s your opinion – it’s not necessarily right.
Words of wisdom for new migrants
My number one tip for migrants wanting to succeed in Australia is to learn about other people and cultures. Sharing different foods is a great start. Food is like a common joining factor. Have a Korean meal or Japanese sushi or try proper Indian food.
Next is to travel around Australia – don’t just stay in the state you’ve arrived in. The more you explore, the more your eyes are opened. Get involved – I did student associations, but you could try different sports. Challenge yourself and do those different things because you meet people and you engage with people and you learn more about yourself by putting yourself out there.
Local community organisations are invaluable resources for practical advice and support. Volunteering, too, is not just a means of giving back, but a powerful networking tool. It opens doors to potential mentors and career opportunities.
I share this advice from personal experience: engage with the community, exchange knowledge about cultures, and share experiences. I’ve passed this ethos onto my own children, fostering a deep appreciation for their heritage.
My story is one of determination, resilience, and an eagerness to embrace the unknown. I hope it serves as an inspiration to skilled migrant professionals, showing that not only survival but thriving in a new country is possible. As I’ve said before, “There’s no other option.”