Thanksgiving Note

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

Life is about experiences, both good and bad. All these have people involved in them one way or the other. Earlier in July when I wrote Part II of a World of Possibilities, I promised to pen down a thanksgiving narration for those who’ve been critical in my professional journey however short it has been. On the same note I purpose to share some key pointers that may be critical to a young person wondering what moves to make next. In the spirit of learning, life and business are integrated with my first reflection on this being to Big Bank Take Small Bank, that I wrote last year. Experienced professionals have an opportunity to play a role in junior professionals lives, in my case this has been a key piece. The future of our professions, corporations and societies are anchored on supportive, nurturing and transformative intergenerational relations. When seniors extend a hand to lift juniors, they open a world of opportunities. It is then upon the recipient to make the best of these and pay it forward when the time comes. I will do this piece in parts reflecting on the different roles I’ve taken up since graduation:

1. Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF)

The most daunting of experiences in any persons life is where to go next upon graduation. As clockwork, our transition from pre-school to college/university are almost pre-determined. The challenge comes after graduation especially in the era of unemployment and tough economic times. With a university degree, the expectations on you by society in general are high and you need to make the best of the investment in your education. Unfortunately, this is almost never guaranteed unless luck deals you a favourable card. In my case this happened.

Upon graduation, I was lucky to have met Dr Elizabeth Wala during the Kenya Healthcare Students’ Summit (KEHSS) where I was a moderator for a session and she was a speaker. We exchanged contacts and got busy with life as is the norm. Four (4) months down the line, I was getting done with school and needed a job. Making a cold call is not the easiest of experiences being we didn’t know each other except for the chance meeting we had. I sweated through the call and to my surprise she asked me to send her my resume which I did shortly after the call. By good luck, KHF needed a project assistant to support with the organization of the 9th East Africa Healthcare Federation (EAHF) Conference. This was my first job with my immediate boss being the bridge to my second job. I was also lucky to get a mentor.

Lesson: As a student, take advantage of networking opportunities especially through professional associations and be keen to engage with people. You never know when you’ll meet the angel you’ve been praying for.

2. Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI)

During my service at KHF, I worked under Anastasia Nyalita who doubled up as the Chairperson, KAPI at the time. When my contract with KHF came to an end, the serving administrator for KAPI was also leaving for other opportunities thus there was an opening. By virtue of having served KHF with favourable track record in my opinion, she considered me for this opportunity. Coinciding with part of my internship I had to juggle both and ensure I deliver in terms of meeting the organizational objectives through this term. For the vote of confidence in my abilities and willingness to take chances with me, I’m utterly grateful. Through this role, I was honored to work with pharmaceutical industry leaders in the country including the Vice Chairperson, Vinod Guptan who became a full-time mentor always thinking of how to stretch me for my growth, Winnie Ng’ang’a the Executive Secretary (Current Chairperson) who was always available to guide, Douglas Weru (Former Honorary Treasurer) who was keen on my future prospects through the association, Willy Soriney (Former Chairperson) who had mastery of the industry dynamics, operational aspects and was always willing to advise & support when needed, Evah Amwayi and Francis Karanja the ultimate guides who were there to support steer the operational nitty gritties. I am a better person because of them and their support through this period of my professional journey.

Towards the tail end of my tenure, I had the opportunity to work with Sarah Muthuri, my current manager and former Director, KAPI in organizing a Biosimilars Workshop at Strathmore Business School. When she later needed additional team members based on our interactions, asked for referrals from me.

Lesson: Be open to learning. You learn by stretching yourself, widening your horizons and exploring new possibilities. Key is to be in an environment where you are free to dream with the support system needed for you to soar. Seek these environments out as much as you can and when you find them, do not disappoint.

3. Novartis

In my current role at Novartis, I was lucky to be among the three (3) who were recruited. I made two referrals and followed up with a request if I could be considered for the same opportunity. Luckily, it became my next step in the professional journey. A step I am glad to have made.

Lesson: Make the best of opportunities and when in a vantage position, do not hesitate to extend a hand.

Early this morning before I came around to writing this article, I read an article by Clayton M. Christensen on how we measure our lives and one key point that I took from it is that, as much as we are in pursuit of monetary compensation in order to satisfy our needs, the ultimate motivator is the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for our achievements. In my journey, I’m working to get clearer on this and hope I make the right choices along. For they extended a hand to lift me up, I’ll do my part to lift others.

Ps. As Melinda states, “If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.”

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

Happy Holidays!!!

See you in 2022!

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