My first encounter with Emerging Leaders Foundation-Africa was during a career service week at the University of Nairobi in May. Being a final-year student of Journalism and Mass Communication, such events help in networking. I left my contacts at the ELF-Africa tent and moved on to the next one. 

I forgot all about it until I received a call from the organisation about the possibility of a three-month internship. After a vigorous interview, I started my three-month internship as a Communication Associate in the month of July. This was the start of an important season in my life after my academic. 

One of the skills I picked from my time at the organisation was that my opinions matter, and my voice counts. At the start, I found it intimidating and often chose the path of silence. But with time, I came to learn we were all resourceful to the organisation, right from the senior management to the lowest cadre. And they valued my opinion, not just as a formality but as a resource. 

At Emerging Leaders Foundation-Africa I learnt to think on my feet. This helped me improve my communication and quickly adapt to different circumstances. I had a great team of coworkers and a supervisor who saw in me potential far beyond what I thought of myself. I was allowed to make mistakes and, more importantly, learn from them and grow professionally.   

After all, making mistakes shows that you are pushing yourself to solve problems that are new to you. This helped me to see mistakes as part and parcel of growth. Society, on the other hand, has conditioned many of us to avoid mistakes at all costs, and this, in turn, has hindered the growth of many. Not everything in the real world is picture-perfect. 

A trying moment was when I was left in charge of Communication during a training session with young public servants. I pulled it off and realised that the power to succeed in whatever we do is in us. ELF-Africa helped me realise this. 

I also learnt the importance of mental health. Every morning, the sessions of devotion provided an opportunity for self-reflection and forced our attention off self-indulgent destructions. They provided an inward reflection and, irrespective of one’s religious beliefs, served as an exercise for the soul. 

Finally, the different programmes and events provided an opportunity for networking. I believe that networking can take you further than your academic qualifications, so these moments were greatly treasured. 

ELF-Africa has given me the platform to reach out and try new things. Given the chance, I would do it all over again.