Opportunities for young leaders will favor the prepared

By Chris Kirubi

Earlier in the week, social media was awash with the news that Centum’s CEO is the best paid executive in Kenya. From the reactions I could tell that some people were stunned while others were motivated. But I also know that some dismissed the story as a fabrication to gain public relations (PR) value.

The story however, does not paint a complete picture and barely scratches the surface. You need to understand that compensation is not only based on an individual’s performance and achievements but also on the company’s performance and growth. Fortunately for Mr. Mworia, the company he works for awards its employees bonuses based on the company’s growth in shareholder funds. The consistent growth comes a result of Centum’s expansion across numerous areas of investment.

Achieving consistent business growth does not come easy and Mr. Mworia will tell you that it has taken many years of hard work, sacrifice, sweat and tears.

One of the books that I have enjoyed reading is the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. In this book, Paulo speaks about his personal legend and argues how everyone should sacrifice everything to see that their personal legend is honored before the world.

As I reflect on those who positively change and impact their environments, I am proud to say that in the past week I have met and interacted with such trailblazers in the ICT industry. I attended the Oracle Open World Convention in San Francisco which is the world’s largest conference for Oracle customers and technologists.

Equally as I interacted with various experts and enthusiasts of Technology, I realized how honored I was to represent one of Africa’s best ICT firms, Smart Applications International Limited. Smart Applications received an Oracle Excellence Award in the category of Cloud Independent Software Vendor, Partner of the Year for the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions.

The award recognizes milestones Smart Applications has made in developing innovative products using the Oracle Cloud platform and biometrics which has revolutionized the management of healthcare schemes in East Africa.
The Excellence Award generally recognizes organizations that have refined best practices in the ICT industry as well as celebrating thought leaders and inspiring them to achieve even greater success in the future.

The Smart Applications’ team of young, dynamic, intelligent men and women has toiled for a number of years under the radar as they refine their processes and innovate great products for the African market. Finally, their hard work and diligence has paid off and they have been recognized by one of the global leaders of ICT as a trailblazer in technology.

Even so, there is no magic to this. If you find what you are truly passionate about, the world will conspire to reward you. You will attract various opportunities and the environment around you will pull together resources and see to it that you become successful. This prompts me to ask; how many of us pursue what we truly want from life?
Allow me to speak to the young people of our nation Kenya.

As a leader, I recognize the potential that lies latent within young people. I realize the immeasurable contribution that you can make in this country but for that to happen, you must step out.

How many young people are paying the price now so that they can reap the benefits in future? How many choose to be innovative and/or specialize in areas that will give them a competitive edge over their peers?

Remember no pain, no gain. You only reap what you sow and you are the sum total of your habits. Stop living in regret, blaming your family, tribe, religion, race and nationality. Your life is a plain canvas and only you can draw what you want on it.

Recently, when I watched the debate of the aspirants for the Nairobi gubernatorial on Jeff Koinange Live (JKL), I could not help but wonder where the young people were in the race for the city’s top seat? I am not only talking about those young in age but also leaders who can articulate their vision for the city and win the hearts of the people.

In a nation that has at least 60 percent of its population below 30 years, it is a shame that we cannot account for a good number of them rising up to take the leadership mantle of this country. This is not only in politics but also in business. Can our young people rise up and be the drivers of our economy?

Age alone is not sufficient and cannot drive people to vote. You must be worthy of the crown and prove to the people that you deserve to be in leadership. Have a purpose and craft out a viable plan that will help you achieve that purpose. If it’s the Governor’s position, you must clearly understand the roles and responsibilities.

In the era of information, young people cannot wallow in the pit of ignorance and folly. Research and consult widely before engaging into anything. Arm yourself with the relevant information that will guarantee you a nomination or to be shortlisted among those highly qualified.

The moment you step before ‘greatness’, you cannot afford to slide. Do not pay the costly price of trivial mistakes.

The country belongs to the young people but young people must begin positioning themselves to seize various opportunities. With the guidance of elders, business leaders and mentors, the young people’s strength can be harnessed to change Kenya for the greater good.

Young people, I believe in you like I always have. I continuously tell my fellow business leaders and colleagues that if you give young people an opportunity, they will move like bushfire! This is the reason why I employ many young people in my businesses and will continue doing so.

May you be inspired to be prepared for the many opportunities that are out there and those that are yet to come. Go out there, seize the opportunities and create your legend. Time waits for no man.

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