Name: Kevin Muriithi Ndereba
Current profession/Hustle: Electrical power Engineer/Youth Pastor-PCEA, Loresho and Part-time Lecturer at Pan Africa Christian University
What did you study in college/university? Was it what you wanted to study?
Initially, I wanted to be a lawyer, but the bookwork scared me (laughs). I ended up studying Engineering due to my parent’s advice, as I had performed well in the sciences. I was advised that the analytical skills would be beneficial in case I wanted to change my profession later. I would have probably studied the humanities as my work has been with people over the long haul.
What was your first job? Any lessons to share from it?
As a student, I gained a lot of work experience at AIESEC, which is a student-run and student-led organization. The experience of co-founding it was quite immersive. My first job after campus, was in social entrepreneurship as an associate consultant with Ashoka East Africa (now Ashoka Africa). This was somewhat outside of my area of study but within my area of work experience and passion. I got the job because of my prior working with them on campus for a seminar. My main lesson from that period is that people should focus more on developing experience rather than the salary. It was these early experiences in youth work, international exchange programs, and project planning experiences that inform my current work with young people in the Church. Secondly, the importance of working in a team and collaboration. These are invaluable for someone in the job market.
Is there too big or too small a job?
I don’t think so, Those definitions of big or small are informed more by society. The underlying question is what metrics one uses to define “big” or “small”. After Ashoka, I worked for a small SME in the Green Building certification. Although the employee size was small, the work was pretty exciting and at the cutting edge of the industry. I later moved to a large company, Kenya Power. Big by size but then due to its organizational structure, it could feel as if you work in silos. So I think the question is one’s definition of big or small.
Describe a normal working day for you?
I wake up at 6 AM. Since I currently serve in pastoral ministry, there is more flexibility. Sundays are usually the busiest, Monday is an off day. Tuesday involves a pastoral meeting to review the week and give ministry reports. I then usually allocate the afternoon to do admin tasks. On Wednesdays, we usually go to our sister church to attend to any tasks. Thursdays I visit a secondary school for pastoral classes. Since most of the students come from an underserved background, the programming usually involves life skills and career preparation in addition to spiritual formation. We have also used music as a tool for mentorship purposes. Friday is usually my day to connect with the young people and Saturday for small groups. I would ideally be doing sermon preparation in the course of the week, usually from Wednesday as it is quite a demanding task.
What drives or motivates you?
Individual and community transformation. My “light bulb” moments have been when the work was bearing this fruit. And I contend that it is the gospel of Jesus Christ that can change someone from the inside and then outward into society.
Ever had a bad /good boss? Lessons learned or advice to offer?
Yes to both. Bad boss – The boss in our view was not very supportive given the amount of work. Lesson learned – No situation is permanent, tough times enable you to grow and also to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
A good boss – he taught me the place of mentorship. He was a Senior Engineer and a very busy man, but he made time to connect and advise us on growth opportunities. We owe it to others to walk with them so that they can be better than we are. It made it easier to work and inspiring.
Your take on ethics and integrity? Is it important to you?
It is very crucial. It doesn’t matter how skilled one is or the position they hold, in the absence of integrity, people crumble. Ethics and integrity keep you grounded. The illustration is like a ship in the ocean, without values you are swayed in any direction. It is better to have a good name no matter what one is doing.
When you are not in your work element what do you do for fun?
Read books, sports, and games. I played football weekly before the Covid-19 Pandemic, tennis, snooker, and Violin.
Best money advice you received or would give?
My childhood lesson and practice is the importance of saving and living within your means. I’ve also learned that money is a tool to enrich and build others. Investing, that is, delaying gratification and putting money where you are gaining more is valuable. This helped us to own a home. The priority is time. Successful people never achieved it in one day. You must begin somewhere, those who have been privileged to have wealthy parents and guardians, you cannot start from where they are.
Most notable achievements?
Being part of the founding of AISEC at JKUAT, part of the ministry called Apologetics Kenya, which engages skeptics and equips believers to ask questions and find answers about faith. I would also add becoming a dad. That was actually life-changing. And lastly, by God’s help, beginning my Ph.D. in my twenties.
Biggest challenge(s) faced and how you handled them?
Transitioning from engineering to “full-time” Pastoral work Especially in terms of structure to flexibility, and working with machines to primarily working with people who are very unique. Leading others towards shared goals and motivating people to grow. But it expands you and stretches you in finding different ways to a solution.
What do you do for personal development?
Personal Development – self-care. Doing the things I love, for example, sports; writing, which helps me with reflection; Journaling; Nurturing mentoring relationships with people older than me which has helped me to learn from their experiences; And lastly and very important, reading (smiles).
Is reading important to you? what are you currently reading?
Very important. – it takes you to places you have never been to.
I’m also reading a book on social media, which is helpful for the transitions that COVID-19 has brought. I am also studying the Bible holistically. Reading a few chapters a day from Judges, Psalms, Mark, and Corinthians. This is for my spiritual growth in the word.
Who do you look up to for inspiration? / Most influential people in your life?
My father because he has modeled what success looks like in a holistic sense. He retired two years ago and was a successful Engineer at his work. He has modeled a healthy family, the relationship with mum as a present husband and he has always been there as a present father. As they say, the best things are caught and not taught. This has translated to how I live, run my home, and also our marriage.
Buri, my former youth pastor, and his wife are great influences to my wife and I. From a distance, John Piper who is a passionate teacher and ministry leader of desiring God. I have also been influenced by many other people, both near and far, those who are still alive and those who lived many years ago.
Employment or entrepreneurship?
Although it has its challenges, I would take entrepreneurship. The flexibility it brings is what I like about it. I have seen this in my mother who runs a school.
Final words to young and upcoming professionals
Focus on creating value and adding value to yourself and others because it will lead to influence. When I interviewed with Kenya Power, there were about 2,000 or so applicants. Only 300 were shortlisted for interviews and only 100 were taken. I think what differentiated some of those people was the extra value they brought to the company or their unique experiences, and not necessarily their papers, as important as those are. Adding value is important in life.