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Never too young to lead [Nation (Kenya)]
[March 07, 2014]

Never too young to lead [Nation (Kenya)]

(Nation (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jane Kagiri is an IT consultant running her own firm, Creativedge Solutions, and an aspiring politician My day begins at 5am. The first thing I do is read a verse from my Bible, then say a prayer.

By 5.30am, I am usually in town at the Sarova Stanley health club for my gym sessions that last up until 7.30am. By 8am, I am in my office, which is located along Standard Street. The first thing I do when I get to work is to check any tender advertisements that I may qualify for, then decide on pitching bids.

This is my seventh year in business and I have never been employed, but it has not been easy, given that I compete against more established businesses.

From my daily entrepreneurial experience, I have learned that it is difficult for a youth-owned business to compete fairly, especially for government tenders, due to lack of experience and the requisite financial statements and/or operating capital.

These were the challenges that gave birth to my political dream and inspired me to contest for the women's representative seat in Laikipia County in last year's General Election where I garnered 35,800 votes. I may not have won but I am enjoying the 30 per cent allocation for youth and women in government tendering, fruits I fought so hard for.

After going through the dailies, I check in for the office meetings and after that I go out to meet clients and market my company. I rarely break for lunch since this is often the time I meet certain clients. If we are working on an urgent project, I always ensure that I put in extra hours or cover for my employees during their tea or lunch breaks.

The other day, I had a client for whom we were networking and trunking. At 1pm, he called complaining that my staff had left, although it was their rightful time to break for lunch. I went there, took their tool boxes and completed the assignment on their behalf. I believe that before I tell someone to do something, I ought to ask myself if I am in the best position to do it.

Unfortunately, the society does not expect you to be running your own company if you are young. Recently, I met a client who thought I was too young to own the company. He looked at me, gave me some documents, and asked me to go and ask my boss to sign them.

This was also common during the campaigns. Word spread that I was "too young to lead". I do not believe young women should be judged by their age but according to the world's best practices in their professions.

On a normal day I am at my house by 6pm. However, on Wednesdays, I spare time to play tennis at Nairobi Club. I also try to spare time to motivate young people. For instance, I am member of the board of governors at Thome Boys School, which was the best district school in Laikipia in last year's KCSE.

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