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Women in leadership advised to master areas of expertise

Women in leadership have been urged to acquire the education and experience required in their positions to enable them add value to the positions they hold.

The Principal Secretary for Broadcasting and Telecommunications Esther Koimett, said the laws supporting gender balance and equity have opened up many opportunities for women and encouraged them to make the effort to fit the profile by having the needed skills.

She said people who master their area of expertise are able to solve people’s problems making them recognized as leaders in their field thereby attracting people who need assistance.

“The fact that you are a woman should not be enough. Strive to be a woman of excellence,” stressed Koimett.

The PS at the same time advised women leaders to invest in themselves, to read widely, to listen and observe great leaders in order to pick lessons from them.

“Sometimes investing in yourself will require spending some money, spend it. Take that course, get that extra paper and you will get a return on your investment,” said Koimett.

The PS who made the remarks during the Women on Boards Network Meeting held at a Nairobi hotel that was organized by Women on Boards Network (WOBN) noted that many people, especially women, struggle to understand the concept of leadership, as some fear it, most ascribe wrong values to it while others reject it altogether.

Koimett described leadership as an influence that can be used to show people the way, to inspire, as well as using it to become a role model in steering people towards what one aims to achieve.

She said for one to become a good leader, he or she must learn to be a good learner, observing that people who have succeeded in leadership grow from experience, life learning’s and taking feedback positively and use it to improve.

“Leadership is a thing you grow into, it is your successes and failures that shape you and influence the person you become,” said the PS.

Koimett at the same time called upon the Women on Board Network leadership to continue strengthening the organization, noting that sustainability of the institution should be their key priority

She said the role of Board Members in any organization is to put in policies that help the organization accomplish its mandate, noting that inexperienced boards often make the mistake of micro-managing work and moving into management roles.

“Board members should be knowledgeable, and spend time preparing for the board sessions, talk to those who are more knowledgeable than you in different areas. This is the only way Boards will be able to make valuable contributions to board discussions,” she said.

Koimett called on those at the leadership of the institution to have clear frameworks for identifying talent and clear succession plans to ensure continuity, as well as invest in risk management.

She said when those in leadership contribute positively where they are and influence policy that builds strong institutions, all institutions and the country will be well governed.

“As women in leadership positions, we must make the choice to be inclusive especially in the area of gender and regional balance. The 2010 Constitution has ensured that this agenda is given proper attention and each leader must do her part to ensure that the agenda is met,” said Koimett.

She also called on WOBN to balance the interests of the organization with creating opportunities for those who need growth and exposure and to counteract biases.

“Let others stand on your shoulders. Look for opportunities that other women can benefit from and use your influence to get competent women appointed to various positions,” she added.

The meeting was also attended by the Chair of the Women on Boards Network, Catherine Musakali.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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