As mentioned in my previous post, I had the pleasure of being a panelist for the Biashara edition of Free Mind Sessions. Free Mind Sessions is “a community that comes together once a month to chat about emerging issues as Creatives and Thinkers alike. Free Mind Sessions stands for something unique and powerful – being able to generate solutions together, as we grow each other.”
They host the event every month at The Yard which is inside the compound that hosts The Alchemist and several food trucks. It’s fitting that they host it there because the vibe and audience sync wonderfully- it’s chilled, expressive and vibrant. The team do a fantastic job with the event set-up.
Charlene Migwe, Managing Partner at Considr, an innovative research and Monitoring and Evaluation firm that works with non-profit organisations, donors, corporates and government departments providing specialized services
Dean Okonji, Co-Founder and Business Development Director of Magiq Lens Kenya, a collaborative photography agency
DJ Andre, a deejay
Kevo Abbra, a fashion stylist, prop master, set designer and location & talent scout
Muthuri Kinyamu, Chief Evangelist at Metta and Co-Founder at Turn-Up Travel
Patricia Kihoro, Singer, Actress, Radio Presenter, Improv Comedian and Sporadic Blogger
We shared so much but here are some of my key takeaways:
Don’t be Afraid of Time– Sometimes we are scared of the time it takes us to achieve. Time teaches us so much- to be patient, to be relentless, to be strong. There are important things we find when we allow time to take its natural course- so don’t rush yourself- relax and do your best
Trust your Dopeness– Believe in yourself, believe in your work
You Learn by Doing– The only way to learn the career that’s right for you, the type of food you like best, the kind of partner that suits you, is by doing- and that can be frustrating. But, by doing, you learn so much about yourself and open yourself up to the best opportunities
Sometimes You Need to Put People in their Place– When you’re young, and particularly as a woman, some people feel that they can push you around and disrespect your time and work. Although I understand that it’s important to have ‘thick skin’, you can’t take everyone’s shit. Sometimes, you have to assert yourself and call people out. This can work out great and set a boundary for a future working relationship or it can put you at a loss. It’s up to you to assess what’s most important to you in the particular context
Ask for Help When You Need It– Recognise when you need help and open yourself up to it. You can learn from other people’s involvement in your work and sometimes the best work happens through collaborative effort
Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.
I’m grateful for:
A few meetings – In light of my reflective holiday period, I’ve been reaching out to people to bounce ideas off and gain some clarity. Some of whom I thought I’d never get the chance to speak to in person, but to my surprise so graciously offered their time to me. So far I’ve met 3 people; one is the CEO of a leading incubation centre, the other runs an agri-tech company in West Africa and the final one leads an organisation that outsources services to start-ups. I’ve realized this- no one’s got everything figured out! Surprise. You just keep moving until it becomes clearer. You can’t stay out of the game to figure things out- you’ve got to be on the ground trying and failing. This reminded me of something I’ve heard Oprah say– when you’re stuck and wondering where your life is going, just ask yourself ‘What’s the next best step?’ Don’t always burden yourself with what happens 5-10 years down the line. Things will figure themselves out!
A reconnection– I work with a great team. And it felt good to reconnect! We have a long distance relationship- half of us are in the UK and the other half in Kenya. It’s difficult to get things moving consistently but we are doing our best! Reconnecting and remembering why we’re doing all this has really left me hopeful. We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars (said by someone else- google it, if interested).
Endless matatu ride(s)– The one thing I miss when I’m abroad is matatu’s! For me, matatu’s are more than just a means of transport. They represent Nairobi culture. I love being fought over by the makanga’s as they make their best efforts to convince me to go into their ride; I love the fact that sometimes a mat will be playing my ideal playlist through speakers with deafening volume and I love the stories I hear being shared. Matatu’s represent the vibrancy and ambition of this city.
A feature(s)– I’m grateful to have been featured in two fantastic blogs this month! Alisha gave me the opportunity to share a bit about being African, living abroad and navigating independence on a feature on her blog called ‘People On The Way‘. I also wrote a letter to myself on Hellen’s blog, Youth of Our Time. Check it out here.
Several event(s)– This holiday is also about feeling the pulse of Nairobi. I’ve been to some really cool events this past month! I attended- a welcome event for MyAfricaIs, a documentary that’s showing positive stories from the continent; the Global Entrepreneurship Summit pre-innovation fair; a fireside chat with the Airbnb CEO, and a fashion and tech panel hosted by Nest Nairobi. I always thought it was difficult to meet like-minded people in this city. Turns out I was going to the wrong places! There are so many amazing people and activities in Nairobi. I’ve been looking forward to this.