Impact Stories & Blogs

Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.

By Michelle-Rita, Kenya, Cohort 26.

On 10th April 2019, MasterCard Foundation in collaboration with YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa (YALI RLC EA) and Ashesi University put up a forum for young professionals from different industry sectors to exchange ideas and experiences. Thirty-five YALI RLC EA alumni graced the event all the way from Cohort 1 to Cohort 31.

There was a panel discussion, “The Future of Work & Growing your experience in your career through mentorship”. The panel was comprised of a multi-generational set of experts from vastly diverse industries. A common trait across the panelists was that they all volunteered at some point in their lives, which enriched their skills. They all also had mentors in different phases of their lives from a young age. Some were mentored by their parents, bosses, community leaders and lecturers who helped change their World view.

Among the key issues that were extensively discussed was the perception that millennials are entitled. The panelists were keen on discussing the matter which has led to the widely held belief that this particular generation does not believe in processes and prefers microwaved solutions. This, however, is not reflective of the entire generation as there are differences from one person to another. The general consensus was that there is always something you can learn from everyone and every experience.


In addition, as young leaders, we need to appreciate that a lot in the World is changing. We need not lament in our current situation, however bad. Challenging situations prepare one for greater things ahead if we avoid throwing ourselves pity parties and do the heavy lifting. It is okay to dream but be humble and take up the small opportunities that come your way. They build up one’s character as a person and makes you multifaceted in the long run.

Breeding good and impactful relationships in life also give you an edge. Most of us love burning bridges but in this new World, strong relationships are what will set you apart. A good example is in the workplace where you probably have wrongfully rubbed shoulders with your colleagues or bosses. An easier route would be to hold grudges and when one moves jobs you could wrap it up and throw it all away. In this generation, you need to be the bigger person, seeking to understand before you are understood. Understanding that these relationships will be useful in the future. The panelists reiterated how maintaining good rapport has helped them maneuver their way around life.

It cannot be overemphasized that the desire for instant gratification is destructive for one's career progress. That was a message that was especially targeted at us millennials. It takes time to build the skills and reputation needed in any industry. Rome was not built in a day. The intergenerational conversations proved that all the panelists, from those who were in senior positions to entry-level, had to go through life-shaping experiences.

In conclusion, the three vital things to remember as we transition towards the fourth industrial revolution: be a critical thinker, have effective communication and be hungry to learn.

Monday, 2 September 2019, 10:19 AM