We are preparing the strategic plan of Lapid Leaders Africa and one of the pertinent questions that has been lingering on my head is this, ‘what the backbone of this organisation?’
A few weeks ago, a friend asked if I was willing to go back to employment. They indicated that since most of the Lapid Leaders classes were on Saturday, that it would be possible for me to work on a full-time job. For a few seconds, I thought about the luxury that a full-time employment job would accord me; I would have a bit more financial breathing space (I have written more about my financial journey through Lapid in my personal blog here).
However, as has always been the case, I settled for soldiering on, away from formal employment. I believe that this season is more like the post-natal maternity period for many mothers. While you can go back to work a few weeks after the baby is born, this would shortchange a process that works best with the mother at hand to support the baby. Lapid Leaders Africa is still at infancy stages and a full-time job would shortchange the many other things that I get to work on so as to accelerate its growth.
In the process of having these discussion, we ended up having a lengthy conversation with this friend on why I have made these sacrifices so as to build Lapid Leaders. is it because I love entrepreneurship that hard? My quick answer was hell no, between the allure of a constant paycheck and entrepreneurship, the paycheck would win. She asked if then it was because of the allure of creating something from scratch. While this second reason was pretty tempting, it still could not win the day. The allure of a constant paycheck by far supersedes any allure towards creating anything.
So what was the driving force then in this choice. It was simple, a belief in the power of people, a belief in that God can use us to unlock the potential of many people in the Continent, a belief in that God is raising a new generation of leaders for Africa. At center of this was a belief in people. When I work with young guys and see God unlock them into their fullest potential, no amount of paycheck can beat that!
A culture of selfless giving
As the conversation moved away from the why I am engaged in Lapid, I began to see something that is a big part of who we are. LLA started by providing 2-day seminars for various university students. The first seminar was held in October 2014. What many people do not know is that 95% of the students who attended this seminar, were sponsored by either myself or a friend. In the seminar that followed, about 60% were yet again sponsored. By the time we did the third seminar, we had build a culture of sponsoring. While this could be seen as a means to market the program and it probably was initially, it has become a culture of the organisation.
In February we started the 3-month program that was always the focus of LLA. This became cohort 1 of Lapid Leaders. at the end of the classes of this program, as we prepared our reports, it was easy to see how a huge chunk of the program had been sponsored by people who believed in this vision.
Each week we get various guest mentors and market leaders who sacrificially give off their time to mentor the students at no return for themselves. None of the mentors even gets a fuel stipend, they give off their time and money to mentor this students. This is the heart of selflessness.
We are moving towards ensuring the program is more financially sustainable. However, this program is a story of selfless leaders. What is the backbone of LLA, selfless, bold leaders who believe they can be the change they want to see in Africa. We are an organisation build on selflessness and an organisation that seeks to build more selfless leaders for Africa. This is who we are!
I Am African
Simon Mbevi has been reported to have said that what Africa needs is not many more gifted leaders, we have many of those, what the continent needs is more selfless leaders. anyone who has been following the events in Kenya and even across Africa, knows thi to be true. In kenya, we have managed to raise people who only think of themselves. The levels of greed and corruption in this country have reached an alarming level. However, at the center of this, is a very self-centered nation
Every great nation has been born out of selfless leaders. from Singapore to South Africa, at the centre of this great nations are selfless leaders who placed the interests of the country above those of the individual. We need many such leaders. our prayer at Lapid is that we do not just raise gifted leaders, but selfless leaders who can payforward the sacrifice that has gone towards building LLA. Our prayer is that we raise leaders who will be able to look away from their self-interest to raise others behind them.
A story is told of how someone paid the bill for a person behind him at a KFC shop. The person was so intrigued that he paid for the person behind then paid for the one behind and a chain was formed. This continued for several days. This is the heart of paying it forward. If you are part of this vision in any way, we urge you to pay it forward. Give off your time and other resources towards any other cause that’s greater than you, let’s together grow into the selfless leaders that Africa needs!