Name: Anna Musya-Ngwiri
Current profession/Hustle: National Director-YFC
What did you study in college/university? Was it what you wanted to study?
My first choice was Theology, but my parents were not for it. In the process of negotiating with them, my admission letter to join university arrived and I ended up studying BSC. Home Economics.
What was your first job? Any lessons to share from it?
I have been with the same employer since 2001 having started at the bottom as an intern, then opting to volunteer because I did not want to stay idle. The assignments given were great opportunities to thrive. They allowed me to grow, explore self-awareness and discover passions that I did not know I had. One day, I wanted to quit because I believed that “the grass was greener on the other side”. I happened to get a lift from a gentleman I consider a father figure and I expressed my intent to leave the organization. When he asked me why I wanted to leave, it is at that point I realized that I did not have a valid reason and I, therefore, chose to stay.
Is there too big or too small a job?
No, because there is always something you can learn. Opportunities may come, but each one of us has to start somewhere. The job you pick can also be dependent on the commitments you have, for example, if you have a family, then you have to consider a job that is able to sustain your family. If you are lucky to have two or more options, pick one and start somewhere.
I started as a volunteer, because I did not have the experience, and did not want to stay home idle. There was so much to learn.
Describe a normal working day for you?
I am usually in the office by 7:30am. I start by checking emails and other pressing issues that need my undivided attention, and then I settle down with my daily dose of coffee. From 8:30 am, I will attend pre-set meetings and in their absence, I decide on the choice of tasks for the day, taking time to reconnect with staff- this is important because it is our core business. Additionally, I have an open-door policy so that staff are able to freely approach me.
What drives or motivates you?
Personal development, because it gives me room to explore. I prefer things that challenge me. Leadership requires you to see a way when there is no way and therefore actively finding solutions to problems. For example, I find joy in knowing a crisis came and I was able to confidently handle it.
Ever had a bad /good boss? Lessons learnt or advice to offer?
No, I have been lucky to work under one boss for most of my work stint. She is someone I deeply admire in the areas of her work, family relationships, commitment to society as well as leadership. She offered me great opportunities to thrive and flourish as a young leader and I can relate to her as a friend. I also got a rare opportunity to understand her well.
I believe that there may not be difficult bosses but rather difficult conversations. One needs to learn how to disagree without demeaning or disrespecting them. Communicate well, don’t let the issue fester and grow. It doesn’t have to be nasty and messy.
Your take on ethics and integrity? Is it important to you?
From an early age, I learnt to pick my own values. In every place, there exists values. Define your own values. I experienced situations that led to certain values been formed. I do not struggle, because the value was set before starting to work.
l learnt to be truthful and stick to the side of the truth. My values are based and formed by the Christian upbringing, and the faith.
When you are not in your work element what do you do for fun?
Read books, watching a TV series especially an investigative one, looking for challenging things to do, cook and hang out with my girlfriends.
Best money advice you received or would give?
Money has a different meaning at different phases of life. For example, the books I am currently reading, are informing my choices.
Money is not just for me only; it also matters what my commitment to society and contribution is.
Money is abundant, it’s all around us. Invest and grow it to do good in the world. The philanthropists are a good example; they have grown their wealth to make an impact in society.
Most notable achievements?
Becoming a CEO at 32 years of age and a young leader for Africa- Regional Director at 35 years. In 2012, I set a vision 2020 plan and it was a pleasant surprise when I recently reviewed it, noting that 75% of the plans have been achieved. The joys of life are to think ahead, write it down and later realize it has come to pass.
Biggest challenge(s) faced and how you handled them?
A leadership role at the top can sometimes feel very lonely. There was a time I felt I needed mentorship and couldn’t find my way around. I also needed a coach to walk with me. Everyone looks up to you, so where do you go when you feel overwhelmed? When I needed help, I felt that there were too few people.
Now I have learnt to reach out for help, I am working with a Coach who has been very helpful.
When I held the regional role, I had the opportunity to travel out of the country for meetings as a member of the Africa Leadership Team. These became a great opportunity to work, rest, rejuvenate and get encouragement.
Lastly, I have learnt to be of service without expecting something in return.
What do you do for personal development
Personal Development has different components such as books, videos, and seminars.
A Leader is a reader. I read a lot, watch videos, network and attend seminars.
I have become a Lifelong learner and would share the same advice to others.
Learn through sitting at the feet of Jesus (through those that are ahead of you).
Be in a place of service, using your skills and abilities, it helps you know what you can do.
The late Myles Munroe once said that “The wealthiest place in the world is not the gold mines of South America or the oil fields of Iraq or Iran. They are not the diamond mines of South Africa or the banks of the world. The wealthiest place on the planet is just down the road. It is the cemetery. There lie buried companies that were never started, inventions that were never made, bestselling books that were never written, and masterpieces that were never painted. In the cemetery is buried the greatest treasure of untapped potential.”
Be willing to flow wherever the water flows.
Be willing to get out of your cv qualifications, be the one to volunteer, you discover yourself. Take in and take out to avoid “obesity” with knowledge that you are not executing. Remember, a freshwater lake receives and gives.
Is reading important to you? what are you currently reading?
- The 5am Club by Robin Sharma –The 5am Club
- The Millionaire Mindset- Gerry Robert-Millionaire Mindset
- Abundance Now by Lisa Nichols-Abundance Now
- Mindset by Anthony Gitonga-MindShift
Who do you look up to for inspiration? / Most influential people in your life?
God, because He has the blueprint of my life. Read all, choose all but don’t idolize.
Employment or entrepreneurship?
I would choose Entrepreneurship after all the years of experience I have. In the near future, I am looking to be a Leadership Coach.
Final words to young and upcoming professionals
Do not be idle, do not be jobless, find a place to volunteer or intern, that little faithfulness opens doors. Commit and give yourself a chance to grow through the ranks. The Asians are a good example of this, where they introduce their children to the family business, they start at the bottom of the ranks in order to learn the business all-round.
Begin at your entry point, allow yourself to learn and grow through all resources available to you at that moment.
Many times, we know the right thing to do, but we never commit. If you read a book, put the lessons into practice and commit to the needed action.
Identify a dream, set aside 10% of any money you get and commit to investing it.
Begin to save for that dream (funding your dream). Save and Stand for your dream.