Have you ever heard the expression it takes a village to raise a child? Well I’ve come realize it also takes a village to succeed in your PULSE assignment. Since landing in Nairobi I have become painfully aware of how much I DON’T know, a humbling experience to say the least. But one thing I’m very grateful for is my network and the willingness of my colleagues and friends to help me on my journey. I was suggested early on in my PULSE prep by my dear friend, Helene Pineau, to start building my PULSE Rolodex because on PULSE it’s not only about what you know, but who you know. And she was so right!
Just this week I was able to leverage a personal contact to help my NGO get in the door at one of Kenya’s largest manufacturers of clean cook stoves, Burn Manufacturing. One of Cheshire Disability Services Kenya’s (CDSK) flagship programs is called EmployAble and one of the core activities is to place persons with disabilities (PWDs) into sustainable and equitable employment. Getting appointments with HR departments to talk about employing PWDs isn’t easy in Kenya (or likely anywhere for that matter!), but when you have an “in”, sometimes that’s all you need. So, we leveraged my “in” and got the appointment with BURN HR. We learnt about their motivations for hiring PWDs, the different roles they have and gained agreement to move the conversation forward.
I share this story because there have been times on this assignment when I felt defeated, like I have nothing to add, as though I’m going to leave without making a real impact (I know my fellow PULSER’s can relate). Then I tell myself, if even one person gets a job as a result of the introduction that I was able to facilitate, I will have won at this PULSE game. So, the key take away is, if you don’t have the answer, find someone that does and leverage your relationships to help open doors. Sometimes that’s all you need to do to make an impact.
Big thanks to all the GSKers who have supported me on my journey to date, literally too many to list but you know who you are and I’m forever grateful. Asante Sana!