Impact Stories & Blogs
Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.
Words like inspiration and game changer tend to get used a lot, but Ernest Tuape, a Cohort 1 alumnus from Uganda, says his experience at YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa was just that.
“In the second half of 2013, I was struggling with personal and career decisions, and I needed to speak to someone. I reached out to someone who I believed would guide me and be a mentor. Instead, this person asked me to pay him for his time, and I did, during our first and what would be our last chat. Paying him was painful for me, so I did not go back and could not continue with him as a mentor. I do not remember what he told me, but what I remember is I was hopeful that one day I would find someone willing to mentor me throughout my career and life,” Ernest recounts.
Because Ernest’s first experience with a mentor proved to be disappointing and unproductive, he sought additional opportunities to find a suitable mentor. Upon learning that the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa offered a mentorship program to participants and alumni, Ernest applied to the Center and was accepted into the inaugural cohort in July, 2015.
Ernest explains why finding a mentor was so important to him: “Whatever it is that you want to accomplish in life, a mentor is going to kick start you on the path to achieve it. We all have dreams and goals, but until we make a move to act on them, they will always remain out of our reach,” Ernest says. “I needed that extra push and guidance, and when I participated in the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa, I found the perfect mentor for me, Nikhil Hira, a partner at Deloitte.”
“Nikhil used his life experiences and personal story to help me see the bigger picture in my career and personal life. He listened to me, identified strengths in me and took time to find out how I was doing at a personal level.” Ernest proudly shares that “Nikhil helped shape my life in the short time I have known him. While I am yet to figure out everything about the future, I have made remarkable progress.”
In addition to offering him a continued relationship with a meaningful mentor and an enhanced set of leadership skills through experiential learning, Ernest credits the Center with helping him to refine what he wants to do with his life and to focus on what matters the most.