Senior Analyst and Entrepreneur
Oyin Antwi (née Akintan) is accustomed to having a foot in many worlds at the same time. On a purely geographic level, she was born in Nigeria, but because of military conflicts in that country during the early 1990s, she was sent as a toddler to live with her aunts in London, where she grew up. Some family members had settled in the U.S., and Oyin ultimately chose to attend college on the East Coast, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo before coming to Brooklyn for her master’s.
Industrial engineering — her chosen field — has also allowed her to inhabit different worlds at the same time. “I grew up in a family of interior and architectural designers, seamstresses, and artists, and early on in my academic pursuits, my skills and interest in the arts juxtaposed with my knack for mathematics often created a battle in my mind between choosing the creative or technical path,” she explains. “This led me on an exhaustive search for a career that would leave me feeling fulfilled from both of these perspectives; that’s when I discovered Industrial Engineering.”
Many of her classmates set their sights on automotive manufacturing or other such industries, but Oyin wanted to leverage her ability to engineer massive, complex systems and processes in a different way. She headed instead into the world of fashion and home textiles, completing internships with the designer Nicole Miller and others involved in that rarified milieu. “It was wonderful to see a beautiful piece of fabric or elegant accessory as the end result of my work,” she says.
She now works as a senior analyst for Gabriel & Co., a designer and manufacturer of fine jewelry, but, as anyone who knows her might suspect, she is not content to be active in just one endeavor: she is also an entrepreneur. “I am devoted to efficient systems and processes, and I have an enthusiasm for high-quality products that enhance people’s lives, and that combination drives me to apply my industrial engineering skills to a variety of businesses,” she says.
In 2014, when her sister, a London-based interior designer, wanted to offer her services to a wider range of clients, Oyin dove in on the operations side, and Via Asha Design was born. “I helped conceptualize, create, and implement a streamlined and efficient e-design process,” she explains, “so users simply take a style quiz, get matched with a designer, and collaborate with them to envision an interior that will suit their lifestyle and budget. It’s very gratifying to help students getting their first apartments or young families create inviting, comfortable homes, because the concept of home is very important to me.”
In 2019 she joined her husband (whom she had met as a student in Buffalo and who provided a major impetus for remaining in the U.S.) in launching Digital Park, a creative tech agency and startup studio. Teaming up as head of operations (her) and head of product (him), they provide web and mobile app development services to clients and recently released their own app, "Drift - wellness + sleep,” which consists of a growing collection of videos and audio aimed at increasing focus and relaxation.
Oyin credits NYU Tandon with setting her on her path to her fulfilling and varied career. “It started even before I arrived on campus,” she recalls. “I had submitted my application and it caught the eye of Michael Greenstein, who sadly passed away in 2017 but who was then an industry professor. He called me to chat about my essay, and he became an important mentor throughout my time at the school. Professor Albano, who still teaches in the Department of Technology Management and Innovation, was also instrumental in guiding me.”
Oyin’s ethos — forged in part at her alma mater — includes a commitment to developing innovative ideas, services, and products that promote resourcefulness and efficiency in society, while never forgetting the importance of the human experience. She believes, as well, that she has a responsibility to pay it forward in a meaningful way. To that end, part of the proceeds for Digital Park’s apps go to Africa’s Health Matters, a foundation that promotes mental health awareness and treatment on the continent and throughout the diaspora.