Nzelu Maitha

Nzelu Maitha ’20, Men’s Golf Alum

A Passion for Leading Diverse Teams
In life—and in golf—patience, focus and confidence can really pay off. Oakton alum Nzelu Maitha has proven this time after time—as a student athlete and as a marketing and communications professional. Nzelu is one of the most prolific golfers in Oakton history. During his time at Oakton and after transferring, he received numerous accolades as a scholar-athlete. After becoming the first person in Oakton history to win the NJCAA Region IV Golf Tournament, Nzelu discovered a passion for leading teams.

“I am thankful to Oakton’s head coach, Louis Walker, for giving me an opportunity to play golf at Oakton, which opened doors to continue my education and athletic career. It wasn’t always easy in the beginning, but I listened and worked hard and—just like my coach said—the work paid off. My success at Oakton proved that I could take on more responsibility once I transferred. After transferring, Coach Main named me team captain. He was looking for someone with experience to help lead a very talented and diverse team. I found ways to get better at navigating difficult situations and performing under pressure. As a result, I grew as an athlete and a leader.”

An Athlete Adding to the Conversation
Along with an amazing athletic career, Nzelu also had a transformative academic experience at Oakton, which inspired him to ask questions about the world around him. After transferring, he spent a lot of time learning about human behavior and thinking while conducting research for his honors thesis titled, “How Are Diversity Messages Perceived Amongst College Students?”

“When I enrolled at Oakton, I was interested in business and planned to study marketing. Taking quality courses at Oakton gave me a chance to explore my interests without making an initial commitment. I value the classes I took outside of my business-focused courses like Dr. Crawford’s African American Culture and Literature class. What I learned in that class really influenced me at a time when a lot was going on in the world like the Covid-19 pandemic and the protests over inequality and police brutality. Through my honors thesis, I wanted to ask relevant questions and add to the conversations happening around the world and on campus.”

Skills That Last a Lifetime
Nzelu credits this research and all of his experiences for the skills he uses daily as an Account Manager for White Cap—a leading distributor of concrete accessories and specialty construction and safety products for professional contractors.

“Experiences in my career and as a student athlete enabled me to develop strong communication and relationship skills as well as learn time management. I learned how to listen, connect, respond and sell to anyone—no matter who they are. I also learned the value of teamwork, preparation, collaboration and commitment to an organization. I apply these same skills and lessons as I assist customers, vendors and associates to resolve issues as an Account Manager. My passion for the game will never cease. I still play and practice golf. My goal is to play and compete in amateur tournaments around the Chicagoland area in the summer.”