Christopher Ouma (prefers Chris Ouma), is an expert in research and development in health and education sector. Currently, he works with the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, as city-based Research Consultant. He also doubles as an Associate Partner and part-time Researcher at Public Health Innovations (PHI). Prior to joining the University of London, Mr. Ouma served as the Managing Consultant at PHI and Projects Development Specialist with Camerafrica Consultants. His previous works spans across sub-Sahara Africa including working with top and leading international NGOs, research and academic institutions, and healthcare regulatory agencies. He has also led a Kenyan team for a multi-country initiative to address deficiencies in the Reproductive Health policies and laws in the East African Community region.
Besides, Chris has co-authored and published several articles and research papers/reports, and is a regular speaker at national and regional conferences and in the media (on matters HIV/AIDS, SRHR, Youth Leadership and Development, Innovation and Future Thinking).
He mentors in the policy, research & development, entrepreneurship & innovation, and projects development.
Chris describes mentorship as a two-way relationship which does not only require a good mentor but a good mentee as well. “The program must be deliberate, right from the beginning, in helping the mentee find their way/true north star from the very beginning, and be able to stay connected to it as he/she (mentee/student) evolve and navigate life and career.
“The biggest difference between people having a successful mentor relationship boils down to initiative, by mentees – mentees, just like mentors, have to take responsibility for cultivating the experience of mentorship too.”
Chris describes his mentorship experience as a journey of discoveries, unlocking and awakening his deepest self and that of his mentees. “Times spent together with my mentees sharing with them stories about my failures are my best. The shock and surprises on their faces get me humbled and amused. When mentees stick with you even in your most dire moments and continue believing in you – I got not excuse but to emerge stronger and continue inspiring and giving them hope. This makes me feel real and authentic.”
Losing a mentee during the mentorship journey is one of the greatest challenges for Chris. In his case, most mentees struggle with issues of identity and take time to identify what they are relay good at which in turn leads to them bailing out of mentorship.
His advice to those interested in mentorship, “Mentorship is the best relief from stress for any professional out there. If you are thinking of add more things into your life outside work, mentorship should top on your priority list. It keeps you refreshed, recreated and increases your wisdom.”
“Being mentor makes you an understanding human being. It keeps your mind young and your skills fresh. Successful people who don’t mentor others will over time lose touch with their own excellence. Mentoring someone connects you back to the original you who became so excellent.”
His motivation to mentor young leaders is driven by simplicity & inspiration, interest in young people and commitment towards creating brands in the young people that he mentors.
Favourite quote, “The sky is full of stars and there’s room for them all.”
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