I rose above a crippling accident to be a top academician

Dr Mercy Igoki, Academic Registrar at Aga Khan University-Kenya. Photo| Pool

What you need to know:

Dr Mercy Igoki was bedridden for a year after a car accident. The scholar in her 50s rose above the tragedy and today she is the Academic Registrar at Aga Khan University-Kenya

On May 15, 2005, Dr Mercy Igoki experienced a life-altering car accident that confined her to bed rest for an entire year. The accident further interrupted her career as a teacher, leading to her resignation to focus on recovery. “I however recovered fully from this, and I can now walk confidently in high heels,” she states.

Dr Igoki currently holds the position of Academic Registrar at Aga Khan University-Kenya. She is also a professional mediator and life coach who mediates conflicts. Originally trained as a teacher of Mathematics and Geography, she possesses a deep understanding of the content she teaches.

“As an educationalist, I actively engage in shaping educational policies and practices, ensuring that the learning experience remains relevant, dynamic, and inclusive. Away from professional career, I take immense pride in my role as a mother. I have two accomplished children who reflect the values of excellence and dedication instilled in their upbringing,” notes Dr Igoki who is in her 50s. 

Raised in Gitare, Runyenjes Constituency in Embu County by her grandparents, Dr Igoki describes her journey as one of resilience and an unwavering commitment to education. After completing her secondary education at Moi High School, she pursued her A-level education at Kangaru School, focusing on Mathematics, Geography, and Economics. Initially trained as a teacher of Mathematics, Geography, and Physical Education, she began her career as an untrained teacher before pursuing further education.

 “Although I did not join university immediately after high school, my passion for education led me to study a Diploma in Education at Siriba Teachers College, which is now known as Maseno University. I later earned a Higher Diploma in Guidance and Psychological Counselling after leaving the University of Nairobi, where I had initially pursued a Bachelor of Commerce degree. I then obtained a degree in Education and Counselling from Kenya Methodist University (KEMU). After this I pursued a Master of Education in Educational Management and Leadership, further enhancing my understanding of effective educational practices. I recently attained my Ph.D. in Educational Management and Leadership in 2022.”

“My journey also includes additional professional development. I am a certified mediator, trained to facilitate resolution and harmony in various contexts. Additionally, during the COVID-19 lockdown, I expanded my skill set by obtaining a certificate in Life Skills Coaching, equipping me with valuable tools to empower and guide individuals,” Dr Igoki notes with a sense of pride.

In 2005, the scholar was involved in an accident that interrupted her career. “As I healed, I worked as an Account Manager of Psychometric Tests at a company called Career Compass. Later, I joined the International Christian Centre (ICC) as the Church Training Coordinator. At this time, I also took on the position of school manager for a kindergarten and primary school initiated by the church,” she narrates.

Driven by her passion for education and experience as a part-time lecturer, Dr Igoki decided to explore university management. She initially joined PAC University as a Senior Assistant Registrar before transitioning to KAG EAST University as the Dean of Academics. Her exceptional performance she says, led to her subsequent appointment as the Registrar of Academics where she also assumed the responsibilities of Acting Dean of Students.

Dr Igoki has authored different books to express her deep-rooted belief in the power of guidance and support in shaping a person's future and helping them overcome obstacles. “My first book was on, ‘Shaping the Generations, Raising a Disciplined People’. I also authored a second book, ‘Becoming the Best Me, Shaping my Career to Impact Generations’ to positively impact the lives of those around me. She recently launched her third book titled “The Hand in the Hurdles”.

On the kind of leader she is, she confesses to being a firm believer in people-driven leadership. “As an Academic Registrar, I embrace a consultative approach, valuing the input and expertise of my team members. I understand that a good team leader is also a skilled follower, and I empower my team members to occasionally take the lead and contribute to the team’s success and ultimately organizational growth.”

Her proudest accomplishment in life so far is graduating with a PhD. “Coming from a humble background, where I faced financial challenges and struggled to afford necessities, the completion of my Ph.D. was evidence that resilience and hard work can change a life.” Her second source of pride is the success of her children. “I take immense pride in my role as a mother. I have two accomplished children who reflect the values of excellence and dedication instilled in their upbringing.”

Currently, she actively serves as a board member in several secondary schools, and is also the Mentorship Coordinator at Affecto and Watoto Wasome Foundation. Further, she is the Runyenjes Constituency representative for the Embu County Professionals Development Association (ECPDA) where she contributes to the development and growth of professionals within the region, advocating for their interests and fostering opportunities for their advancement.

For fun, she loves making friends and enjoys engaging in conversations that can last for hours on end. She is also passionate about photography and believes in the power of capturing moments that bring joy and happiness. “I embrace the concept of "Project makes me happy" and find immense delight in perusing a collection of my photos. Each snapshot serves as a vivid reminder of precious memories.”

Dr Igoki aspires to become a professor and has been actively writing books and articles, contributing to her field, and showcasing her expertise.

In conclusion, she encourages people to view life through the lens of God’s guidance. “Through my own journey, I have learnt that life may not always be easy, but it is possible to overcome obstacles with the right mindset. I encourage other people to approach every circumstance with a positive attitude, recognising that perspective and attitude can transform even the most challenging situations.”