What inspires you?
I draw my inspiration from the vibrancy and drive of Africa’s youthful population. Their hopes for a better future realised through honest hard work, innovation and a pride in their authentic cultural identity is a revelation. I see it, I feel it and I live it. These young people are the lifeblood of our communities that in turn make it possible for our business to exist. To see the life of a young person change and their perspective informed is a fulfillment that keeps me going.
Which B Team challenge or initiative are you motivated by most?
The motivation behind The B Team is to address perennial problems collectively through the power of the private sector with a network of forward thinking leaders. There are numerous urgent challenges that we continue to face today, global warming for example is an alarming issue, poverty and unemployment are equally crippling our economies to name a few.
I am particularly passionate about achieving the net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 and the shift from fossil fuel subsidies to renewables. This is, without a doubt, at the front and center of our sustainable business agenda today. Business does not operate in a vacuum but in an environment. Therefore my aim, and that of KCB Group, is to provide significant influence on socio-economic prospects whilst being considerate of the impact of our operations.
How is your company/organization helping to lead on the issue?
As the leading banking solution in the region, we believe that business is no longer about making profits but also about being mindful of lives and communities where we operate. Our environmental conservation efforts are aimed at protecting our planet and natural resources. KCB Group for instance has a 100% solar powered branch in Maasai Mara, our building located in Upper Hill Nairobi is a green building and the extensive roll out of digital banking has reduced our consumption of paper reams. I am delighted that sustainable banking practices are now part and parcel of the way we do business at KCB. We continue to take the necessary steps in training our staff on the implementation of various sustainability strategies as we continue to entrench technology and innovation to drive efficiencies in our operations.
What convinced you to take on this challenge? Why do you believe that it cannot be achieved without business engagement and leadership?
Firstly, it’s unfortunate that international socio-political debates that shape perception on a long list global issues are no longer backed by facts but by sentiments. I believe it will be the business community who refocus our attention towards topics that directly impact lives.
No matter where you live, climate change poses risks to both our economy and our way of life. The time to start solving this problem is now. What we are witnessing now in the United States for instance is rising seas and coastal flooding, wildfires, frequent and dangerous heat waves. This is enough convincing to take up this challenge. I am determined to partner with forward thinking leaders and pool resources to curb this threat sooner rather than later.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned on this journey?
That the only predictable thing in life is change. And in that constant cycle of change, it is the opportunity to learn and reflect that will define your journey. In my journey, I have learnt to appreciate the virtues of patience and consistency. I continue to resonate deeply with these values as time goes by.
What is the first thing you do every morning?
I try keep fit and use the early mornings to get some exercise. I run a few kilometers every morning as it helps put me in a positive mindset before I get down to business!
What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur seeking to start a new company today?
Possibility and opportunity for growth is huge. My advice to budding entrepreneurs is to start small, but dream big. Strive to dedicate resources at the beginning of your venture. Be patient as good things come to those who wait. Capitalise on the small beginnings where growth of your business is most crucial. It is also important to channel enough resources around both capital and time into your business. I encourage young entrepreneurs to be willing to put in work because there is no one formula for success.
If there is one big change you could make in the world today, what would it be?
Change is not achieved overnight. Change calls for hard work and focus which translates to years, sometimes decades, of toil. Notwithstanding, I would give priority to education as a pillar of economic, social and cultural development. Growing up my parents were particularly cognizant of the value of education in society and personal wellbeing. Through education, our minds are opened up and we get the ‘yes I can’ attitude.
If you were given an extra day next week, how would you spend it?
I am mentor to many young people. I do this as trustee of the KCB Foundation. I take time off to counsel this young men and women who we fund in multiple flagship programs across the region. This year, the foundation and various partners will recruit 10,000 beneficiaries in agribusiness, automotive engineering, and domestic services at various technical training institutions in Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu and Mombasa counties. Given an extra day, spending time with these youth will be a day well spent.