During the AMWIK secretariat Motivation Monday segment, we get the pleasure of hosting professionals in the communications industry to engage us with insights on industry best practices and inspire the secretariat.
Last week, we were delighted to host one of our board members, Cylia Kathambi, who is in her second and final term. When she entered the room, it was hard not to notice her Afrocentric vibe. From the Africa and cowrie shell pendants on her brass rings and bracelets, to the tribal headband that held her long healthy dreadlocks that sat on her head and flowed down to her neck gracefully, to the tribal tattoo that peeked through her sweater, she was just a breath of fresh air. She fit right in with her different comedic pronunciations of words and her extroverted nature. She started by asking the group where each of them wanted to be in 10 years.
She narrated her personal story, saying that her journey was not linear, rather it was full of ups and downs. Beginning from when she finished her fourth year in high school. At the time, Information Technology was the new thing in town and she compared it to how AI today is in its infant stage. After campus, proceeded to get an internship but midway through it, her father fell ill and since she was the only sibling who was not in an urgent position in school, she had to drop out as the illness took a toll on her family. Years later she joined that organization but soon realized that it was not what she wanted to do. Her heart was not in it. She described working there as acrobatics. She felt her future break and was miserable. Between working, getting married and taking care of her kids, she didn’t have time for herself. “I didn’t have a life.” She said, One day, she met up with her best friend and they decided to write a 10-year plan. It had to be ambitious but realistic. They exchanged the papers and promised each other to read them after a decade.
She knew she wanted to be in radio because of her extroverted nature. She quit her job, enrolled in Moi University and took a Public Relations and Communications course. She compared herself to her peers who had completed school a long way back and were now well up their way up the corporate ladder, but that did not deter her. She simply did not care. In school, there was a competition for a radio presenter called Radio Idol that she decided to join. She made it to the top 3 but eventually radio did not work out for her. In school, she was business savvy and she started her own company, EKAR Communications, which has been running up to date.
As an affected member of epilepsy, she decided to integrate health into her work. She now deals with advocacy and policy for health issues through media and does a lot of philanthropy work. She dabbles with health communication as she started the Angaza la Kifafa movement to shed light on Epilepsy and how to help those affected in the community. She won two awards for it. She also spearheaded the recent rebranding of AMWIK. She was also part of the team that came up with the famous ‘wacha mpango wa kando’ advert that aired for years on National television.
The key takeaways from her story were:
1. Always give 100 or nothing. She said most of her work at her company came from referrals of people she worked with. Because of her good work ethic and giving her all in a project, her clients referred her to more clients. “I don’t take jobs I do not believe in. I need to put my all in my work.”
2. Never compare yourself with your peers. Your journey is your own. If she had compared herself she would not be where she is right now. She added that the recent past decade made up for the previous 10 years she was unfulfilled. She was content with what she had but she was thirsty for more.
3. Everything takes time, do not rush it. She alluded to the current Generation Z and Alpha that want things instantly and without working too hard for what they want. Good things take time and the gradual process is what makes the things you want even more worth it.
“Leave a mark wherever you are and be known for something, whatever it is you want to be known for”. She concluded.
Article by Benedette Wanyaga, Intern, AMWIK