NAVIGATING THE “GLASS CLIFF”

What do YOU stand for? There has to be something that you stand for in life. That’s exactly where leadership begins. Mhh…quite evidently, my leadership journey began way long before I ever thought of it as such.

Although I did not hold a leadership position for a long time in life, the qualities of leadership have been at work in my life since childhood. Now that I know so much more about leadership, my definition of it is more sophisticated and detailed and I no-longer see it as something on the other side of the barrier of natural talents. I strongly believe that ‘You do not have to hold a title to be a leader.’

My Sisters’ Keeper has taught me that leadership is not just about title but service.

The main reason I enrolled for the MSK 2020 training was because I had always wanted to learn how to be a leader for years. However this is just not any leader, but a leader with a difference, who stands for principles, purpose, people, and performance and speaks for the voiceless. I wanted change but I didn’t know how to go about it. I kept going round and round in circles not knowing how, what and when to do it. All this was in a bid to improve my ability as a young woman to analyze policies that inform the relationship between communities and workers in order to improve services rendered to the citizens of my country. Thanks for the admission to the program because it has enabled me to unravel the complexity of my myths’ and subsequently been able to get more than what I expected. Emerging Leaders Foundation, the blessing, gave me what I was looking for in the midst of a global pandemic.

But how?

I have learnt a lot of things in the program .The three major segments were on self-discovery, how to connect and eventually create impact which were facilitated by various speakers. After taking the classes on Ethics, Integrity and Values according to the Bill Of rights, Article 10 and Article 232 of the constitution I am now able to give leadership in my field of service with dignity, ensuring that there is justice for all and excellence in service without discrimination of anybody whatsoever. In addition to that, I have been equipped with the skills and knowledge on the face of challenges that young women face as they try to rise in leadership and know how to tackle issues that I face along the way.

The lessons on personal branding changed my general outlook of how I get to present myself to the society. This is because I got to learn that making a name for myself can be tough and sometimes frustrating .It requires a lot of patience and effort in some cases. Image may just prove to be everything. Lisa Gansky once said that ‘Your brand is your public identity, what you are trusted for and for your brand to endure it has to be tested, redefined, managed and expanded as markets evolve. Brands either learn or disappear.’

The training has been so important to me since it has taught me how to be my own brand  as I embrace leadership because if I don’t actively build my brand, other people will build on it by forming their own beliefs on what I stand for.

My Sisters’ Keeper has taught me that leadership is not just about title but service. By getting involved in the community service, I was able to get in touch with the community, understand their needs and able to look at life from their point of view.

This is what I want to propagate and demonstrate in the future ‘Servant leadership’

 

Written By: Martha Murunga- #MySistersKeeper Fellow, 2020

MY SISTERS KEEPER PROGRAM; A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE

For the longest time, I thought that you must have a position for you to be considered a leader. I thought that leadership roles and responsibilities belonged only to the ‘leaders’. I used to try so hard to change my behavior so that I could fit in, never believing in myself while constantly letting other peoples’ opinions inform my decisions. All these beliefs and doubts prevented me from doing the things I loved. I was lucky enough to find light at the end of the tunnel.

In the past few weeks, I have been attending MY SISTERS KEEPER, a training program by Emerging Leaders Foundation. The goal of the overall project is to promote accountable leadership among young women in the health sector. Being chosen for the program was a complete honor.  I remember the mixed emotions I had at the time; excitement, hope, gratitude and even anxiety compounded by self-doubt on whether I was good enough for the program.

I especially enjoyed the first session on different human personalities. I realized that our personalities make us stand out. I finally understood that there was nothing wrong with me, I just had a different way of viewing life and it was okay, I never needed to fit in.

The second session on self-awareness made me realize that I did not know who I really was. I remember the speaker saying that we need to be our own cheerleaders. It was at this point that I remembered the many times that I had self-sabotaged by doubting my abilities. I learned that I should constantly live within my own parameters so that I would finally stop letting external factors define me.

As a health advocate, the program has also equipped me with knowledge on social accountability, public participation, advocacy and personal branding. Courtesy of the training, I have managed to change my views on leadership, and I am fully aware that a leader is anyone willing to take a stand. I am very grateful for the opportunity.

My Sisters’ Keeper was heaven-sent, a life changing opportunity.

 

 

By: Esther Aoko – #MySistersKeeper fellow, and  Sexual and Reproductive Health Youth Advocate.

 

 

 

 

MY SISTERS’ KEEPER: THE NUGGETS, MENTORSHIP AND IMPACT.

I AM POWERFUL BEYOND MY IMAGINATION!!! This is the most important thing I have learnt through my time in this program.

When I joined My Sisters Keeper, it was at a time when I was not sure about myself and what I wanted out of life. I felt that I wanted to make a change in this world and leave my mark in this life because I did not like how some things happened around me. I felt oppressed and stepped on. I just did not know how I was going to make my mark. Then this opportunity showed up and I joined the program not knowing what awaited me as I embarked on this journey.

ELF has opened me up and given me nuggets to make my brand and making my impact and mark in this society. I have learnt to do life-mapping and known my personality and this, has changed how I view life and the people around me.

Through the speakers that ELF brought in, I have learnt to speak power truthfully as well as advocate for social accountability and leant the power that my voice has. Should I choose to start my own organization I know how to make budgets and what the national budget cycles include.

What I say after the words ‘I am…’ really matters. How I ask my questions matters and determines what answers I get.

This has been an eye opener program, I am ready to conquer and be an advocate of social accountability in my sector.

 

By: Ms Musiega Osundwa, MSK 2020 FELLOW

“There are deep lessons buried in failure”~ Vincent Kimosop

Vincent Kimosop is a Policy and Governance Expert currently working at Sovereign Insight. He has been a mentor for over ten year in the Leadership, Governance, Management space.

For Vincent, mentorship is about sharing life, being open and vulnerable. Sharing the most difficult issues and being available are all part of mentorship. Creating time and being intentional in the process. He also believes that mentorship plays a huge role in shaping the next generation, inculcating values and helping others avoid pitfalls that one has made.

Some of his greatest moments in mentorship revolve around seeing his mentees grow in confidence, impact, and become persons of impact in the society. “I have many I can share as examples who inspire me to do more in mentorship. Helping them discover themselves, personality and who they are in society means a lot and very fulfilling. Rodgers, Jim, Charles, Nguka and many others are those I have mentored and have passed by ELF”

His biggest drive to mentorship, “Knowing that I am because of others believed and invested in me. Above all, my faith and conviction. Shining the light and helping turn scars into stars in society by the grace of God.”

His advice to people interested in mentorship, “It is worth it; we all have something to offer and a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. We are because of others and we rise by lifting others. Don’t even think twice, it will be worth it.”

“There are deep lessons buried in failure” – It takes a village to raise a child – Men Make Men.

Alumni of the week: Wendy Omanga

Wendy Omanga is a graduate from the university of Nairobi with a B.A in Political science and communication. Additionally, she is the founder of Moonlight Initiative which is a youth lead sustainability and circular economy consultancy which has specialized in Bamboo consultancy. The initiative also sells bamboo products through her ecommerce site called Bambooka. In August this year, she was awarded the Top 35 Under 35 Youth of the Year award for her environment, conservation, and advocacy on bamboo consultancy.

She was an alumna of the first Husika program, Axelerataz movement, where she had a capacity building training on Digital Advocacy and learnt on the power of social media and opportunities that exist in it. “The knowledge and skills I gained from ELF have positively impacted my advocacy of Bamboo at national level and grassroot level.”

“One of my major interest in life is being at the forefront of the Bamboo policy, especially now that it’s considered a cash crop. The digital advocacy training is helping me in creating platforms to discuss the bamboo policy and the way forward as a country.”

Wendy holding her Top 35 under 35 award

Her most difficult part of her journey has been being a youth in a space where most youth are rarely found. Being in the environmental conservation space has been hard for and pushed her to tougher and consistent as she engages her peers on the same.

“Moonlight Initiative has begun planting Bamboo along river Nyando. With the digital advocacy training I got, it helps me run good campaigns on social media. This has earned me an award with Top 35 Under 35 Youth of the Year: Environment, Conservation, Advocacy,” Wendy.

Wendy has picked several lessons along the way but has three key lessons:

  1. Discipline: As a young leader, having personal principles is key to longevity in any industry. It takes extra ordinally discipline to stand out in a crowded industry. It helps in dealing with compromising situations.
  2. Consistency: Time is a huge factor to success. This separates passionate people from people with a ‘get rich quick scheme’ mindset. Giving up is not an option when you have identified your calling in life.
  3. Mentorship: it saves time and helps one avoid mistakes they would otherwise not known without a mentor.

Moving forward, Wendy plans to establish a bamboo cottage industry at grassroot level in Kenya. “I also encourage my peers to follow the right role models and mentors. Its key to success.”