What I learnt from Aspire 2018 Conference

By Rehema Zuberi

Aspire 2018 Conference themed Make Your Mark surpassed all the expectations it set. The event running for two days, 6-7th September was fruitful, enlightening, engaging and significantly worth the time.

As promised by the organizers, it was almost purely youngin’! From the delegates in attendance to the speakers, panelists; not forgetting the Talanta Institute team that was recording all the happenings.

Hosted at the American Spaces, 5th floor at the Bazaar, attendees were welcomed with slow music playing in the background as they chose where to be comfortable in the room with warm and cordial decor from 8 a.m.

The first speaker, Reverend Gibson Anduvate greatly emphasized on integrity as a value that guides one in their journey. People will only trust you if they can count on your word.

An electric performance by Anthem Republic which kicked off with the National Anthem followed. His spoken word highlighted issues that the youth face in the ghetto. His other piece encouraged everyone to believe that they were a star even when others didn’t agree.

The playful MC ensured all guests were kept floating in line with the programme. He introduced Destiney Njeri, the moderator of The Creative Economy panel of three that would be dealing with entertainment.

Nzilani Kimani of Make Up by Nzilani shared her story of how she tried it all until she found her niche in the competitive industry. Her take away was to have a heart behind your hustle. That is what people buy from you.

Paul Kihuha (Pro Tisa) who is in the film making industry-producing props to be used in local acts shared his empowering story of how he got to where he was. Amazingly enough, his father horned his current skills when school failed to do much for him. He finished off with, “Every step you take changes your tomorrow.”

A dancer, singer, lawyer and an advocate, Liz Lenjo sure had seen her share fair of the challenges of entertainers. To change this, Kikao Law came to be. She decided to use her education to specialize in Intellectual Property to protect the rights of artists as well as give them an upper hand while making decisions. Among the things she emphasized on was walking away from a bad deal; it will never get better.

The tea break that followed the session was more of a meet and greet session where guests got to know each other better under the sun. Quarter an hour later, we were flagged back in for the afternoon session.

The Director of Moi University, City Campus, Dr Bernard said a few words to welcome the guest of honour who was Dr Mohammed Nyaoga, Chairman Central Bank of Kenya’s Board of Governors.

A man of few words who was careful not to take up a lot of time, Dr Mohammed talked about discipline in becoming a well-positioned and structured person. He left us with the 4 I’s that make up leaders: Inspirational, Impactful, Integral and Influential. Once again, integrity had been echoed as a foundation for success.

Robinson Okenye, a beneficiary of the project gave his testimonial on how his mentorship by the founder, Njeri Kihang’ah changed his life. “Do what you have to do, don’t wait,” he finished his two minutes with the simple but crucial urge.

Moderated by George Maringa of KTN, the Agribusiness session was interactive and mind blowing. Sharing their insights were Paul Mukoma of Talanta Institute, James Onyango of Soko Moi and Kenneth Ngotho.

They all noted that it was important for a person to have human capital. This is the network that will take you to where you want to be. There is no clear cut way to ‘making it’. Employment works for some as well as entrepreneurship does for others. Kenneth’s guide was: Pay Now, Play Later or Play Now, Pay Later.

The MC was back at the podium after a scrumptious lunch of the same meet and greet fashion that The Mentor Me Project believed in. It worked pretty well too. As digestion proceeded, the delegates assembled in one of the three rooms for the master class offered they felt inclined to.

There was Pitching For New Business, Intellectual Property and Digital Marketing. At the end of it all, we all converged to share experiences of the individual divisions. A word of prayer concluded the first day at around 4pm.

The second day was specifically for Personal Branding. Loise Njeri who has been in the Human Resource Department for more than 15 years took us through the half a day.

The 5 things she wanted everyone to walk out of the room were:

  1. Build Competence.
  2. Sharpen your Communication Skills.
  3. Confidence.
  4. Courage.
  5. Character; anything can take you up but only character will keep you there.

She instigated every one of us to keep at what we  are good at as it will come to show. Be who you are every day and it will pay off. Ask yourself WHY and reflect on all that you do.

After a break to fuel and pump our bodies and enable the brain to take up more, Loise got into the business of CVs and good cover letters to bag you that opportunity you are dying to have.

“Your CV speaks for you. It is like a friend putting in a good word for you. It represents you before you get into that interview room.”

Goodies (books and T-shirts) were presented to those who were spreading the Mentor Me spirit across Social Media. I’m not saying anything but I took me a book home!

Cameras went click, click and flash. The Aspire 2018 Conference had been sealed and there was evidence to show for it.

Facebook: The MentorMe Project

Twitter: @mentormeke

Instagram: @mentormekenya

Suggested reads:

1 thought on “What I learnt from Aspire 2018 Conference”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Open chat
Need help?
Writers Guild Kenya
How can we help you?