Tolulope Ilesanmi

With a degree in Computer Engineering, I worked in various banking departments including Strategic Planning, Operations, Marketing, Relationship Management, Financial Control and E-Banking. After a Career in Banking in Nigeria, I immigrated to Canada with my wife, Ronke and started an MBA program at McGill.

During the MBA, I chose to become a cleaner, a direction that was much simpler than was presented to me in business school. I found cleaning profoundly simple: bring out the shine and the essence of something by removing dirt. I decided to continue my education after my MBA by devoting an indefinite amount of my time to being a cleaner, studying cleaning, studying human interaction, human behavior and organizational behavior, not through an academic or a consulting lens but from the viewpoint of a cleaner.

As David Hawkins so beautifully said, “If we can understand one simple thing in depth, we will have greatly expanded our capacity to comprehend the nature of the universe and of life itself.”

In addition to the privilege of contemplation and humility as prerequisite for wisdom, innovation and systemic change, cleaners have the distinct advantage of being able to see the truth because cleaners are relatively invisible. Over time, I realized that what cleaners already do is what we desperately need: love, heal, restore, renew, transform, beautify, simplify. I also realized that the practice of cleaning was an apt container for the metaphor of cleaning, which works in any context. I realized that the real cleaning that needed to happen in our world is not tangible but intangible. I realized that if we were as committed to cleaning the intangible as we were to cleaning the tangible, we will have healthier people, thriving organizations and a peaceful society in the most wholesome sense.

After 10 years studying cleaning, being a cleaner and studying human behavior, I decided I wanted to be a cleaner of the intangible.

I work in a variety of contexts including: Education, Healthcare, Banking, Construction, Criminal Justice, Religion, Government, etc. Together with Zenith Cleaners members and collaborators, we now employ Cleaning as an embodied experience for the metaphor of cleaning. Using the practice and metaphor of cleaning, we offer Leadership Development, Organizational Development, Education programs in various contexts. I am privileged to work with amazing thought leaders and compassionate “disrupters” around the world whose paths are far from normal.

I speak at conferences and organizations around the world. I am a regular guest teacher at McGill University and a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University.

At heart, I am a cleaner so I endeavor to bring everything beautiful about cleaning into my relationships, my talks and my work with leaders and organizations. My intention is to so embody cleaning that I leave every space better than I met it.