Why I chose to leave my job and start Lapid Leaders Africa (Part 2)

In the previous blog, I shared about the journey that got me to this point of working on Lapid Leaders Africa (LLA). LLA exists to prepare the youth to be values-driven leaders and entrepreneurs in the marketplace. We utilise a blend of training, personalised mentorship and exposure to equip Lapid Leaders with the skills and values that will distinguish them in the marketplace. 

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Some of the Lapid Leaders who were part of a Study Mission to Kigali, Rwanda

In the previous blog, I articulated my passion for the banking industry and how over time I have amassed relevant experience on the industry. This then took me to the question that people have asked me in the past, but this time I asked myself, “why am I working on that Lapid Leaders Africa”, “why am I not engaged in a bank utilizing all the knowledge that I have amassed over the years”?

While the answer to this question can and does take many forms, in the end it boils down to this; “I have been blessed to go to spaces that I never thought possible, I have had opportunities that I did not know were possible, I have had people invest in me in ways that were only possible by God’s grace; I have been blessed to a blessing”.

While each of these opportunities could end with me getting ahead in my career, in 2012 I made a decision to be a pipe through which many others can be blessed.

A few months prior to this decision, I had been part of setting up a Mentorship Program for Fina Bank. As God would plan it, I had chaired the committee that was tasked with rolling out the program. As I engaged with the program, and with various other mentees, I was astounded at how big the need for this program was. I had been fortunate enough to start my career with an organisation that was very intentional in training and mentoring its employees. In less than 3 years, the organisation had equipped me with skills and attitudes that impact my life 12 years down the line. I was a totally different person because of this Experience. However, my short stint at Fina Bank and the many other organisations that I engaged with in the 12 years, had revealed a very different truth in many organisations. Very few organisations have the capacity, or even the willingness, to invest in their employees the way PWC had done. The result is that many of us are complaining about Gen Y, about half-baked graduates, but doing nothing about it. Even sadder is the fact that over 50% of Africa’s population is ‘half-baked youth’.

So why do I choose to work on this vision that’s LLA? It’s simple, I believe that it is my responsibility and the responsibility of every other person who has been blessed by this Continent to not only engage but give the best of themselves. Is it possible to be a banker and still bless others, a resounding yes, but for now the work is too great for both to co-exist well. Our Continent is on its knees, in need of a new generation of African Leaders and Entrepreneurs.

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#JoinTheTribe #IAmALapidLeader

The Talented Tenth

One of the books that impacts my thoughts on the why question, is  ‘talented tenth’ by W.E.B DuBois, which shares great insights with the community of Black Americans.

“Was there ever a nation on God’s fair earth civilized from the bottom upward? Never; it is, ever was and ever will be from the top downward that culture filters. The Talented Tenth rises and pulls all that are worth the saving up to their vantage ground. This is the HISTORY OF HUMAN PROGRESS; and the two historic mistakes which have hindered that progress were the thinking first that no more could ever rise save the few already risen; or second, that it would better the uprisen to pull the risen down – The Talented Tenth W.E.B. DuBois September 1903

 

I dare believe these powerful statements in the book; coupled with a strong conviction in God’s Hand in all I do (and lots of evidence to support His Hand in my life}, I choose to do the impossible, to walk on the seas of my day. and while this vision is one for years to come, each day I see it is already bearing fruit.

I work with young people who’s thought processes are greatly impacted by LLA, I see young people who are starting initiatives that will solve a problem in this Continent, I see young people who as they enter the marketplace, they are an asset to work with as they not only have the skills, but the heart of great leaders. And because of what I see, I ask God to fan this flame.

My conviction is that one day I will still greatly influence the banking sector. I believe that God does not waste any opportunities and experiences. However, for now my responsibility is to invest in the next generation of African leaders, a responsibility that I take very seriously. This conviction is not just for a few but for all the ‘Talented Tenth of Africa’.

You are the talented tenth

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A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine living in UK asked us to organise a High Schoolers Experience for students in her village. It was such an eye-opening Experience. In two days we saw students who had not been exposed to any opportunity outside their village open up, we saw how they had become a pillar in just 2 days!

As we came back to Nairobi we were convinced that God is calling us is to do County Experiences for High Schoolers, the need is immense. We the Talented Tenth must engage with this need. You maybe unable to mentor the high school students in your village, but you definitely can sponsor us to do it. Can we think about our Counties, the villages we came from and can we raise the next generation of the village leaders? You cannot stop working for the bank but you definitely can take a young student through an Experience that raises them into leaders. We invite you to partner with us to deliver this vision.

 

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7 comments

  1. Esther, it’s been long since I read a blog of yours. Your writing has improved immensely, you keep getting better and better and the article is awesome. I think every person should read this article and then go out and find out what his or her purpose is. Thank you for writing it.

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    1. Hey Maureen, asante for the feedback and the compliment! Good to know the writing has improved, you have been it’s follower for a while so I believe you hehe

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  2. Hi Esther, so proud of you! You have embarked on a long and tough journey but hopefully not a lonely one; there are more and more people today who are understanding the power of living for something big enough to die for. You truly are a blessing!

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  3. Esther, I think your leadership skills were set part right from high school. PWC and Fina Bank enhanced skills that were already existing. I have been reading and following your blogs and am in awe of the magnitude of work that you are doing. It is also an encouragement for some of us struggling on what career path to take. Keep up the good work

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    1. Thank you dear! I had forgotten high school kazi, you are right God planted the seeds then! Asante for following the blogs, and in His time, He will make your career path clear as well.

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