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7 Questions on Leadership with HAVUGIMANA Straton

Name: HAVUGIMANA Straton

Title: Teacher

Organisation: Education sector

Straton HAVUGIMANA, a resilient and determined individual, hails from Rwanda, where he was born in 1998. Growing up amidst challenges, Straton overcame adversity to pursue education, eventually earning an Honors degree in Development Studies with a focus on Peace Building.

At 25 years old, Straton is a dedicated educator in the Rwandan education sector, specializing in teaching citizenship. His journey has been marked by diverse experiences, including roles as a receptionist, waiter, and direct sales agent in a bank. Notably, he worked as a telemarketer in a gaming company, showcasing his adaptability.

Despite life's difficulties, Straton's belief in hard work and a global perspective drives his quest for personal and familial success. Residing in Muhanga district, Kiyumba sector, he envisions a world where success knows no geographical boundaries.

Contact Information:

Mobile: +250788329005

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

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


Jonno White

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

Leading in a context deeply influenced by culture, high illiteracy, and economic hardships has been my primary challenge. Navigating traditional beliefs and fostering open communication in such an environment demands a nuanced approach. Additionally, addressing economic struggles is met with skepticism at times, with remarks like 'you have eaten, that's why you talk too much.' Balancing these dynamics while striving for positive change requires resilient and empathetic leadership.

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

I became a leader through a journey of resilience and adaptability. Growing up amidst challenges in Rwanda, I overcame adversity to pursue education, earning an Honors degree in Development Studies. Diverse experiences, from teaching citizenship to roles in banking and gaming, showcased my adaptability.

The leadership journey evolved organically, influenced by my commitment to hard work and a global perspective. From addressing economic struggles to navigating cultural nuances, each experience shaped my approach. Leadership, for me, is a continuous journey of transformation rooted in empathy and understanding.

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

My daily routine reflects a disciplined and well-organized structure. Starting at 5 a.m. with prayer, exercises, and self-care sets a positive tone for the day. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., work commitments take precedence, showcasing my dedication to professional responsibilities.

Evenings are a blend of physical well-being, personal interests, and professional development. The gym session until 8 p.m. emphasizes the importance of health. Post-gym, I balance relaxation with preparing for the next day's class, ensuring a seamless transition between work and personal pursuits.

Despite a busy schedule, I allocate time for leisure, enjoying drama movies, and engaging in kitchen activities. This routine demonstrates a commitment to a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle, incorporating both professional and personal growth.

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

A recent leadership lesson that resonated with me is the power of adaptability in the face of unexpected challenges. I was reminded that leadership is a dynamic journey where unforeseen circumstances demand flexibility and quick decision-making. It reinforced the importance of staying agile, open-minded, and ready to pivot strategies to navigate uncertainties effectively.

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?

One book that profoundly impacted my leadership is "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek. This book emphasized the significance of servant leadership and creating a culture of trust within a team.

Sinek's insights into the biological and psychological aspects of leadership shed light on the importance of putting the well-being of the team first. This perspective shifted my approach, making me more attuned to the needs of those I lead. It reinforced the idea that true leadership involves creating an environment where individuals feel valued, safe, and empowered. This shift in mindset has since influenced my decisions and interactions, fostering a more collaborative and supportive leadership style.

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

To fellow young leaders, drawing from my own journey, I'd advise: "Forge authentic connections and embrace continuous learning. In the face of challenges, remember your roots and the resilience that got you here. Stay humble, value diverse perspectives, and view every challenge as an opportunity for growth. Leadership is not a solo venture; it's about empowering others and growing collectively. Your unique experiences, like mine, can be powerful tools for positive change. Believe in the impact you can make, not just for yourself but for those around you."

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

One meaningful story from my leadership journey revolves around a student who faced significant academic challenges. Recognizing the potential in this individual, I took a personalized approach, providing additional support and mentorship.

Over time, the student not only overcame academic obstacles but also blossomed into a confident and motivated learner. This experience highlighted the transformative power of individualized leadership and the profound impact it can have on someone's life. It reinforced my belief in the potential for positive change through empathetic and tailored leadership.

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