What you need to know:
- I have automated most of the processes I need to achieve my plans. I either outsource, collaborate or tap into family resources.
- I have learned to delegate work that I do not enjoy doing or that won’t pay for my time unless it is a CSR activity or an investment with a futuristic goal.
Ruth Musembi, the CEO of SealComm Consulting Ltd, is also a proficient trainer, ordained pastor and a certified coach. In 2004, she transitioned from teaching to management, and in August 2019, Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) admitted her to the College of Fellows, the highest honour for PR and Communication Management practitioners in Kenya.
How many hats do you wear?
I am a communication expert providing consulting, training, coaching, and mentoring services to businesses and non-profit organisations. At SealComm, I help leaders solve communication and productivity problems within their organisations. As a Fellow of the PRSK, I offer advisory and mentorship expertise to budding PR practitioners.
To add, I am an assistant lecturer at Daystar and Moi University, as well as a consulting trainer for the UK Chartered Institute of Public Relations based at the University of Nairobi. Lastly, I am an ordained pastor.
How do find balance through all this?
I have a mantra I call “Plan4Balance”. I surround myself with resources that help me achieve more within a short time. I have automated most of the processes I need to achieve my plans. I either outsource, collaborate or tap into family resources. I have learned to delegate work that I do not enjoy doing or that won’t pay for my time unless it is a CSR activity or an investment with a futuristic goal.
Which part of your career do you give your best and why?
I find it hard to choose one because my career journey has mostly been punctuated by successes. As a teacher, I really enjoyed interacting with young students and trainee teachers. The 13 years I spent running corporate communication departments were proof that I am gifted in conceptualising new things. Setting up a communications departments and building two corporate brands from scratch gave me utmost satisfaction. In the course of duty, I represented the organisations in Kenya and abroad.
But the icing on the cake is the advisory, consulting, and coaching services I now offer. By interacting with leaders of different organisations, we discovered that many were struggling with communication and productivity challenges despite having extremely qualified staff. We designed a programme called “90-Days Strategy to Upscale Productivity” where we help leaders improve communication and productivity by designing and implementing a high performance culture. The leaders have reported a tangible increase in organisational culture, better performance, employee engagement, and ultimately profitability.
How would you compare your 20s, 30s and 40?
I started my career in my early twenties and excelled. In my 30s and early 40s, I honed my leadership skills. Now, in my late 40s, I am scaling new heights by offering advisory, consulting, and coaching services. Looking back, I wish someone had told me that daring to be different comes at an extremely high price.
What is “Finishing School” about and what was the inspiration behind it?
That is one of our Transition Coaching programmes. It equips young people with soft skills which we call productivity skills. In line with my mission to inspire people to be and do their absolute best, I also run two coaching programmes. For young unmarried women, I run RipeLadies which mentors ladies interested in marriage, and Young Wives Academy that coaches wives to live a fulfilled life.
You are quite vocal on soft skills. Why?
So much talent goes unexploited due to lack of soft skills. Whenever I engage various employers, they report getting below average performances from highly qualified employees, some with Master’s and even Ph.D degrees.
To excel both at work and in social life, soft skills such as communication, teamwork, work ethic, problem solving, creativity, resilience, flexibility and adaptability, critical thinking, personal accountability and self-leadership, public speaking, personal branding, and interpersonal skills are key.
What has been your secret to success?
I value authenticity and excellence. I am reliable and faithful to every assignment. I do not compete with others. Also, I am confident and driven, I keep things simple, I am my biggest cheerleader and I always have a solid plan.
What are some of the mistakes young people today make?
The clamour for immediate gratification without wanting to put in the hours and the effort required for success. The youth have a responsibility to first unlearn, then learn, to have an entrepreneurial spirit both in business and as employees.
Is there anything you are trying to unlearn?
Yes. The desire for perfection. I have come to realise that perfection is an illusion, but excellence is attainable. So, I now focus on improving my previous best.
Also, I am unlearning the urge to “save the world.” Being a firstborn, it comes naturally to be there for others. However, this often leads to burn out. Over time, I have learned to politely say NO without feeling guilty.
From where do you derive your greatest gratification?
Whenever I see someone smile after receiving my services, I get so happy that I hum happy tunes.
Do you have a quote or book that drives you?
The Bible is my go-to text for life lessons and soft skills. Every day, I am guided by one verse: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” On books, StandOut by Marcus Buckingham, and Influence by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini are on top of the list.