Jael Keya is the continental Editor-In-Chief at African Real Estate Blog Post (A-REBP), a provider of information on real estate in Africa. Ms Keya also heads a community called Unveil and recently began facilitating a psychological support group called Healing Hearts. She shares her Career Path with the Sunday Nation:
“I am the fourth-born in a family of five. Growing up, we moved quite a bit as my mother was a teacher, so whenever she got a transfer, we moved with her. My father was also a teacher; however, he was stationed away from home for the most part. I remember he would come home every Friday. Sometimes he would carry for us remains of the food he had prepared for himself prior to his coming home. My favourite was something close to pilau that had big pieces of meat and cabbage.
“Between nursery school and Standard Five, I was in different schools as we transitioned with my mother. I eventually went to Hill School Primary where I sat my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam. From there, I went to St Joseph’s Girls’ School, Kitale, where all my leadership capabilities were nurtured.
“I desired to pursue Law; however, my points didn’t allow me to. My second option had always been journalism, which, lucky for me, was what I was called to do. I then got admitted to Multimedia University. Immediately after campus, I enrolled for a three-month programme under Lapid Leaders Africa.
“It was while there that I got my first official job. I worked at Kenyans.co.ke for almost a year before I left. It was during that gap period of about six months that I actively worked on building my portfolio in the modelling industry.
“I then got an opportunity at Kahawa Tungu. I didn’t stay long at Kahawa Tungu before I got an opportunity to branch out into the corporate space. I embraced that opportunity and took it on. Not long after that, the pandemic hit and there were transitions that needed to be done. It was during that time that A-REBP as I had worked with my current boss in a different engagement where he saw my potential in taking up the role I currently am in. Besides being the continental editor at A-REBP, I also host a show on Testimony TV every Monday called #MyBecoming. I also head a community called The Unveil.
“I remember one thing quite often when I think of my career as a writer. Just before Covid-19 hit, I was working with some individuals I respected and regarded highly. One time, as they offered feedback on some of my writings, they said, ‘Maybe you are not as great a writer as you deem yourself to be.’
“I started doubting my capabilities. It took me almost a year before I fully got back my confidence in writing again. And as soon as I reminded myself of what I was able to do with words, I got it all back and became passionate about showing how good I am. And now I am an editor to boot. I have published some articles on the work site and on my personal blog and they have garnered so much traction. I even wrote my story that was recently shared in a national newspaper!
“One of my greatest lessons in life is to believe in myself. You are the unrepeatable miracle. The world will never see anyone else like you. So, show up as yourself and shine in your gifts, talents, and every space you take up. Consistency is another big one. I must admit I fail miserably at it sometimes, but there are times when I thrive on it. So, I am learning to be consistent.
“Also, I am proud that the various twists and turns of life’s challenges have not altered who I am at my core. Some have surely changed how I view things or how I handle some situations but they haven’t changed the values I hold dear. I am also proud that I have been able to always pick myself up when things have gone wrong.
“To the youth, there is no overnight success in anything. We have to put in the work.”