WOMAN TO WOMAN: My mission is to help people discover their hidden talents

Ms Pauline Kiraithe, Founder and Director of Talent [email protected] PHOTO| COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • I believe that when you find your passion, you are able to create your next job.
  • With your skills, you can see and solve problems in the society.
  • But all is not lost because we now have career and life coaching, where they can get the necessary guidance.

What does your company do?

We are a HR consulting firm where we believe there is a genius in everybody as we are all endowed with unique natural talents and capabilities.

At [email protected], we help individuals and organisations to unearth their genius. We believe you cannot perform at your peak until you are well aware of this genius.

We do this through general HR consulting services via our bespoke leadership programmes — The Ignite youth self-leadership and Ascend self-leadership the Corporate Program. We train, mentor and coach individuals in discovering their key strengths.

What did you do before founding your own consultancy?

I was in mainstream corporate world for 21 years. I grew in the HR profession from the lowest level to the pinnacle of my career.

What is your ideal day like?

I spend my first hour with God – listening to worship music, reading the Bible or listening to sermons. I then commit my plans to God for his guidance.

I spend the next hour with my daughter before I leave for work. I then start out with external client or sales meetings before I get to the office to do desk work and follow-ups with clients.

I typically work for between 8-10 hours. If I have no business/social evening engagement, I am home by 7pm to spend time with my daughter. I then do the evening turning down routine with her after which I put her to bed. It is after this that I manage to get some ‘me time’. I catch up with news, read a book and do my evening devotions.

Why did you quit a well-paying job in an established media house?

As I mentioned, I had worked for 21 years without a break. I had just delivered my daughter, and felt I needed to spend more time with her.

When you are at the C level of an organisation, you basically have little time for yourself and family. With my daughter being young, I felt I needed to spend her formative years with her. She is now about to start school; a sacrifice I thank God I was able to make.

In addition, I felt it was time to reinvent myself, having been in HR for two decades, a profession I expertly mastered and totally enjoyed.

I, however, felt a great need to start working on a bigger project that will impact people’s lives other than living for myself. One that would utilise all my talents, experiences and skills in a project that will impact generations. It was the obvious next progression in my career path.

What did you study and what did you want to be as a girl?

I did a Bachelor’s degree in Education (Home Economics, a post graduate diploma in Human Resources (HR) and a Master’s degree in HR and Leadership. In addition, I took numerous leadership and executive leadership coaching certifications.

Growing up, I had a real passion for all things food and home care. I was the best in my school in Home Science and always thought I would end up owning a restaurant.

Upon joining campus and getting my first job, my boss realised my organisational and people management skills that led me into finding my passion of people development and leadership.

What drives you?

Making a positive difference in people’s lives, helping them get their “light bulb” moment after which they start living a purposeful, productive and intentional life.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Knowing that there is no irredeemable case. Everyone can operate at their area of excellence with guidance and focus. Seeing the transformation in my students, coaches and mentees is enough reward in my work.

What do you find most challenging?

Working with unauthentic people. I am a straight shooter. What you see is what you get. I struggle with people who have different motives, can’t keep their word, and can’t follow through.

Integrity is one of my core values and I therefore struggle with superfluous individuals. I am a true believer; I am my word. I also don’t like mediocrity and having low/no standards. I believe in excellence and I always strive for it.

Tell us about your family

I am a mother of one beautiful, already vivacious toddler. She was born when I turned 40, a true gift from God.

How do you balance between your job and family?

For many years it was all about my career, where I put in a lot of hours, but now I am clear that I have to set time aside for family. In consulting, I am able to manage this, so I don’t have to travel much so as to spend more time at home with my daughter. She is my first priority and we spend most evenings and weekends together.

What do you like doing when free?

Reading, watching Ted Talks, You Tube stories – I am constantly learning something new, sing in a choir for charity, do a lot of self-development through trainings and conferences, both spiritual and career based ones.

What mantra do you live by?

‘Being the change I want to see’ – Mahtma Ghandhi – I never settle for status quo. Wherever I go, I strive to make a difference

Highlight some of your successes

I thank God that he has enabled me to achieve a lot in my life and career. To sum it all, I was able to plan and pursue specific career goals and I achieved them all way ahead of their timelines.

And my epitome was in 2017 when I won a global award in recognition of my past and current work in people development.

What’s your greatest joy?

Having developed the Ignite Youth Leadership Programme, over a period of 10 years, developing the content, successfully rolling it out to some schools in Nairobi and seeing its successful uptake and impact on youths. Their passion and confidence have been reignited. Changing one student life after the other.

Of graduates who never seem to get or keep a job. What could be the problem?

Unfortunately, many have ended up pursuing courses they aren’t passionate about. I believe that when you find your passion, you are able to create your next job. With your skills, you can see and solve problems in the society. But all is not lost because we now have career and life coaching, where they can get the necessary guidance.

Do you charge for career coaching? If yes, how much?

Yes, career coaching is a paid service as we use qualified coaches and internationally certified psychometric tools to help in the process. The cost is dependent on the client need, although it is Sh10,000 to do the initial personality test and interpretation session before the real coaching begins.

Advice to parents selecting careers for their children?

It’s important to invest in career coaching for their children to avoid their future agony and dissatisfaction in jobs. It’s good to help them gain clarity on who they are and what they are good at.

The era of guesswork or imposing careers on children has ended because it’s their talents and passions that will differentiate and enable them to succeed.

What are your future plans?

I hope to get my youth programme entrenched in as many schools as possible as we assist students to discover their passions, select the right subjects and ensure they get it right from an early age.

Parting shot

Career selection is one of the most important life decisions one will ever make. Invest in doing it right for a lifetime of career enjoyment, growth and excellence.

Equip your children to want to make a difference and leave a mark in this world.

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