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7 Questions on Leadership with Grace Munyiri

Name: Grace Munyiri

Title: Founder

Organisation: Cacumator Mentorship

I am Grace Munyiri, a dynamic and accomplished young African leader who has played a pivotal role in driving positive change across the continent. My fervent passion for education and mentorship has propelled me to be the driving force behind Cacumator Mentorship, an initiative that has successfully transformed the lives of over 500 young African women. Over the past seven years, I have been steadfast in my dedication to providing opportunities for education and empowerment, embodying the true spirit of progress.

As an exceptional academic achiever, my pursuit of excellence has earned me recognition as both a Chevening Scholar and a Prudential Scholar in the UK. Currently, I find myself immersed in the pursuit of knowledge as I undertake an MSc in Data Science and Analytics—an endeavor that stands as a testament to my commitment to continuous learning and growth.

My impact extends beyond the realm of education, as I am a fervent advocate for entrepreneurship and leadership. My journey has led me to be a prominent voice in championing these causes, aligning with my deep-rooted belief in their transformative power.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Grace's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

As a leader, one of the most challenging aspects I have encountered is navigating the balance between inspiring and guiding a team while also managing various responsibilities. Finding the right equilibrium between providing direction and fostering a collaborative environment can be demanding. Additionally, addressing the diverse needs and aspirations of team members requires adaptability and effective communication. Overcoming these challenges involves continuously refining leadership skills, staying attuned to the team's dynamics, and fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I emerged as a leader driven by passion, perseverance, and a deep commitment to effecting positive change. My journey commenced with founding Cacumator Mentorship, where I channeled my passion for education and mentorship to empower young African women.

Through dedicating myself to this cause, I naturally assumed a leadership role within Cacumator Mentorship. The challenges and successes of running the program honed my leadership skills, emphasizing adaptability, effective communication, and strategic decision-making.

My commitment to continuous learning, highlighted by recognition as a Chevening and Prudential Scholar in the UK, further shaped my leadership style. Pursuing an MSc in Data Science and Analytics broadened my understanding of the implications of my leadership, expanding beyond education to advocate for entrepreneurship and leadership more broadly.

In tandem, my leadership journey includes significant roles such as Chairperson of the Nairobi University Actuarial Students Association (N'ASA) in 2019 and Country Director (Kenya) with the World Youth Organization in 2020. These roles, along with my participation in the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and serving as a Youth Mentor during World Youth Skills Day, collectively define my journey. Each experience serves as a building block, contributing to my development as a leader with a holistic and impactful approach.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Morning Routine (6:00 AM - 8:00 AM):

- 6:00 AM - 6:30 AM: Wake up, hydrate, and engage in a brief morning exercise routine.

- 6:30 AM - 7:00 AM: Enjoy breakfast and review the daily schedule.

- 7:00 AM - 8:00 AM: Check emails, prioritize tasks, and set goals for the day.

Work Focus (8:00 AM - 12:00 PM):

- 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM: Tackle high-priority tasks or projects requiring focus.

- 10:00 AM - 10:15 AM: Take a short break, stretch, and hydrate.

- 10:15 AM - 12:00 PM: Continue focused work or attend meetings.

Lunch and Break (12:00 PM - 1:00 PM):

- 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM: Lunch and a short break to relax.

- 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM: Respond to non-urgent emails or messages.

Afternoon Productivity (1:00 PM - 5:00 PM):

- 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Work on less intensive tasks, attend meetings, and collaborate with colleagues.

- 3:00 PM - 3:15 PM: Take a short break, stretch, and reenergize.

- 3:15 PM - 5:00 PM: Continue tasks, plan for the next day, and address outstanding issues.

Evening Routine (5:00 PM - 8:00 PM):

- 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM: Wind down work, respond to emails, and finalize the day's tasks.

- 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Engage in exercise or a recreational activity.

- 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM: Dinner and relaxation.

Late Evening (8:00 PM - 10:00 PM):

- 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM: Dedicate time to personal development activities (reading, learning, etc.).

- 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM: Prepare for bed, wind down, and relax.

Night Routine (10:00 PM - 11:00 PM):

- 10:00 PM - 10:30 PM: Practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation.

- 10:30 PM - 11:00 PM: Sleep preparation, ensuring a consistent sleep schedule.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

One crucial leadership lesson is the significance of active and empathetic communication. Leaders need to not only convey information clearly but also listen actively and empathetically to their team members. Recognizing the diverse perspectives within a team and fostering an environment where everyone feels heard can enhance collaboration and creativity. This lesson is a timeless reminder of the importance of communication in effective leadership.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

"Atomic Habits" by James Clear has profoundly influenced my leadership journey. The book's exploration of the power of small habits and incremental changes has resonated deeply with my commitment to making a positive impact through Cacumator Mentorship.

This insightful guide has shifted my perspective on leadership, emphasizing that it's not solely about significant actions but, rather, a collection of daily habits. I've come to appreciate the potential of cultivating positive habits within my mentorship program, recognizing that these small changes, when consistently applied, can lead to substantial and sustainable growth.

The book's emphasis on consistent, incremental improvements aligns seamlessly with my leadership philosophy. It has encouraged me to focus on the daily habits that can enhance the educational and empowerment opportunities provided by Cacumator Mentorship.

"Atomic Habits" has served as a practical guide for breaking down larger goals into manageable, actionable steps. It has influenced my leadership style by fostering a growth mindset within my team and instilling a culture of continuous improvement. Celebrating small wins has become a regular practice within our program, reinforcing the idea that success is not just about the endpoint but also about the journey and the habits formed along the way.

In essence, "Atomic Habits" has become a valuable companion in my leadership toolkit, shaping my understanding of leadership as a collection of intentional habits that, when refined over time, lead to profound and lasting positive change.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

If I could offer one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be to embrace the journey of continuous learning. Recognize that leadership is a dynamic and evolving process, and each experience, whether a success or a challenge, is an opportunity to grow and refine your skills. Stay curious, seek out new knowledge, and be open to different perspectives. The more you invest in your own learning and development, the better equipped you'll be to navigate the complexities of leadership and make a lasting impact on those you lead.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

One meaningful story that stands out from my time as a leader is the journey of a young woman named Amina within the Cacumator Mentorship program. Amina joined the initiative with a dream of pursuing higher education, but various challenges seemed insurmountable.

As a leader, witnessing Amina's determination and resilience was truly inspiring. We worked together to identify and overcome obstacles, from securing scholarships to providing mentorship and support. Over time, Amina not only overcame her challenges but also became a source of inspiration for other mentees.

Seeing Amina transform her aspirations into reality reinforced the profound impact that mentorship and education can have on an individual's life. This experience affirmed my belief in the transformative power of leadership when focused on empowering others to overcome barriers and achieve their dreams. It's a story that highlights the ripple effect of positive leadership and the immense potential within each person when given the right support and guidance.

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