By Dr Hanningtone Gaya, CEO – The Knowledge Warehouse Kenya
This issue’s TOP 25 Recognition and Nominations, is unique and rich in its diversity. We have men and women from mainstream public service, independent institutions, all the three arms of government, private sector, business lobby groups, Global ICT brands and the United Nations (UN).
First, is a number of men and women who have been selected more for their transformational leadership attributes that transcend more than one initiative or discipline that needed courage, clarity of purpose and personal focus, to achieve a turnaround. This criterion brings in the Cabinet Secretaries (CSs) who are making a mark and leaving indelible foot prints on the state surfaces they are treading, leaving behind transformed services and systems that impact and improve the environment of doing business, building in efficiency and effectiveness of operations, hence, improving the life of Kenyans and growing the economy. Others are men and women who have turned around the destiny of the nation at critical moments of history.
The second are men and women thrust with the responsibility of transforming public services and turning around the institutional images of strategic national institutions and are actually succeeding in these mandates (Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the National Youth Service (NYS).
The third are CEOs in the private sector, who have recently taken new jobs that require innovative strategies, new vision in leadership, not only in the organizations, but beyond, and are actually showing transformational results while breaking national boundaries and barriers to competition.
The fourth category are CEOs who have in a very short span of time, shown their teeth in transforming how things ought to be done in their respective industries, including in manufacturing, one of the Top 4 priority development agenda, including taking courage to introduce new processes, products and services, despite taking over their new assignments in this devastating environment fraught with negative effects arising from the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Fifth, are men and women leading beyond their call of duty, and acting as thought leaders, Policy interventionists and hands-on managers in their respective sectors to help the country manage the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Last, but not the least, men and women with their fingers on all the important touch points of the nation, influencing and impacting all the spheres of business to keep the country moving, while engaging the policy makers, government authorities and the country at large through presence and participation in influential mainstream public media, meetings and webinars.
In a nutshell, the achievements of these men and women, have lifetime positive effects on the economic recovery and sustainable growth of the country.
Unique, additionally, is that those shortlisted, were requested to tell their own stories. The final write ups were then slightly edited and recreated for house style and to ensure each story is served differently in narration and presentation.
Not being repetitive, but for emphasis, the contributions of these men and women that propels them to this honourable wall of recognition and appreciation, are rang from a wide spectrum and over a longer period of time, rather than or in addition to single contributions, although the recognitions have been prompted by the recency effect: the latest memorable achievement or performance or appointment to a new office or organization, and the display of transformational leadership traits whose effects spill and permeate the entire spectrum of the country or industry or sector or field of operation.
The men and women in the public service have proven many times and in numerous work environments that they are inspired and fired by entirely different set of compulsions than is the norm, and in most cases, beyond what is expected of them in their call of duty. They singularly serve the country; not working for their livelihoods, wealth and fame.
From our analysis, these 25 men and women appear to share a common thread: they remain consistent in pursuing results in all the public spaces they occupy, they display hard work, patience, focus and diligence. And that in staying the course, these are the attributes of leadership needed to transform institutions, systems and processes. Hence, our desire at Business Monthly East Africa, firmly remains in bringing to the public domain, acknowledgements of these successes and achievements and above all, promote the pursuit for excellence, as the keystone for transformative leadership.
In humility, we also note that for each of the 25 named in the Top 25 Most Transformative CEOs to Watch in 2021, there are hundreds deserving and not yet recognized. This is life and with patience, your turn will come.
To those who remain elusive and unreachable when approached, we respect your choice, style and reasons. Most probably, you are yet to meet the criteria to be on such an honourable list of publicly accountable leaders, or alternatively, you have good reasons to shy away from media and therefore public scrutiny. It is also your right to privacy. So, relax.
For those of you who willingly consented to be on this list, we thank you profusely for your humility in letting Kenya document some of you and celebrate you. Consider this recognition as a public endorsements and appreciation for your work and the time that you continue to give beyond your call of duty.