Leadership is one of the CLAIRE values of the Academy and has developed a well rounded student. Looking back, I have always thought of myself as a leader and been one. The most vivid memories are organising and leading a group community service for my county (Nyeri), leading Cuisine Club, serving as resident coordinator in form 1 and class coordinator in form 1 and 4. The most rewarding for me was leading Pastry Cafe (a baking enterprise) as CEO. All these came with great achievements but most importantly lessons that I learnt. The mistakes made were vital lessons in the making of a transformational leader.
Additionally, at the Uongozi Centre, leadership is at the core of the curriculum and within the few months, it was an icing to the cake to the foundation. It had emphasis for self and experiential leadership. Part of what I hope to carry forward from the Centre is leading as a steward. In his presentation, Tijani Bello, the Academics Program Manager at the Uongozi Centre, passionately said that leadership as stewardship is about choosing service over self interest and that it begins with the willingness to be deeply accountable for a body larger than yourself.
As I progressed to university, I knew I would love a good challenge and put those leadership skills into practice. Just 3 weeks into my first experience as a freshman at Drew University, the student government was running elections. In my heart, I knew I wanted to be part of making students’ life better on campus, so this was it. Making up my mind, I decided to run for student senator. I put in my application to be selected as one of the four student at large, where one is expected to represent the interests of the whole student body. for senator at large in the 2nd round.
The first step was expressing interest that I’d run for a position and the second and third, and probably the most difficult, was getting signatures and campaigning, so that my name would be on the ballot and my fellow students could vote for me. Considering the fact that I didn’t know as many people, what mattered was the effort I made. I sent out posters through emails and social media getting as many people to sign up. Long story short, out of 15 candidates, I manage to get the 3rd most popular vote for the position. The 4 most popular votes were then elected as the senators. That was a great achievement and I gave myself a pat on the shoulder.
As senator for the 2020-2021 year, I’m excited to serve and make a difference. I want to look back in four years with a broad smile on my face and say that I left Drew better than I found it. They call it transformation.
Lastly, I was lucky enough to be selected by the Drew African Student Association as treasurer. I won’t take this role lightly as well. To whom much is given much is expected, it’s time to serve my continent.
Whenever, I reflect, I’m very grateful to the Mpesa Academy family, for changing my life forever. Getting a once in a lifetime opportunity and second chances, leaving me with one option only; living it up.
What will matter in the end is the difference I make, playing my part and changing Kenya and Africa for the better. What is best way to start?
A prefix, Senator Mwaniki.