Interview with Beverly Mutindi Chogo

Beverly Mutindi Chogo a Young and Emerging Leader's Project (YELP) Class of 2018 fellow talks about life after the fellowship and lessons learnt from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Beverly Mutindi Chogo (L) with fellow YELP 2018 classmate Jackline Katongole at the first seminar in Kasenge, Uganda./LeoAfrica/Flickr

How are you holding up especially during this pandemic? Are there any lessons you have learnt from this period?

Beverly: I have been holding up quite well, life has been kind to me and my family. I am so grateful to God for that, just being cognizant of the effects that the pandemic has had on so many people on different levels.

One of the things that has been surprising on a personal level is that I haven’t caught the infamous “cabin fever” just yet. I have always thought I am extroverted but I guess this time of the pandemic has revealed otherwise.

That realisation took me down the path of being deliberate about looking inward and doing a lot of introspection. I think with how our lives were set up before COVID-19, we were too busy chasing life. But this has been an opportunity to really slow down, recalibrate if need be.

The realisation that now we have to come face to face with the things in our lives which we easily ran away from and just have an appreciation for the things that really matter in life; breath of life, good health and family.

What have you been up to since graduation from the fellowship?

Beverly: Since the YELP graduation in January 2019, I officially left my start-up company and decided to get into full time employment. The decision to leave the company was a hard one and yet a much needed one. I am still in the entrepreneurship space and currently working in the ecosystem as an enabler and supporting entrepreneurs who are in different stages of their journey.

I have worked with an accelerator program called Pangea, a Norwegian based accelerator program and an investment platform that matches African startups with investors.

I recently concluded a fellowship program at Innovations in Healthcare, a non-profit hosted by Duke University, where I was leading a project Making More Health Venture4Change-Kenya. This was an innovation program targeting university students in Kenya to develop innovative and scalable solutions on how to improve sanitation and hygiene for those living in low resource settings i.e. urban slums and rural areas in the country.

Finally, I also got selected to take part in the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI-EA) leadership program here in Kenya, which was a great program to say the least. Currently I am on the search for the next appointment.

YELP Fellows (L-R): Jackline Katongole, Fiona Kamikazi Rutagengwa and Beverly Mutindi Chogo smile for the camera at the first seminar in Kasenge, Uganda./LeoAfrica/Flickr

Did the YELP Fellowship shape your personal life or career in any way?

Beverly: It absolutely did! The program helped me have a new appreciation for Uganda and its people, beautiful land with beautiful people! Every time we came for the seminars, I was assured of having an incredible time. My circle of friends and professional network certainly got expanded and enriched.

The selected fellows were top notch, amazing young leaders who are on top of their game, shaping the African narrative. A group of people who till date I’m still challenged by, to be a better leader and citizen, to always work towards a better version of me. Far and beyond that, the fellowship awakened the Pan-African in me, believing in and working towards a better Africa for all its sons and daughters.

Any message you would love to share with other young and emerging African leaders?

Beverly: If there’s anything that COVID has taught us, it is the fragility of life. The things in life which we consider to be rock solid, aren’t really all that a firm ground to stand on.

Things like health, jobs, family, wealth and even in life itself, it could all go in a split of a second. And so, while we are here on earth and have the opportunities, let’s do the things that really matter. Be intentional about creating a lasting and meaningful impact in people’s lives.

As you go about in your everyday life as a leader, help people, especially those who you know they can’t pay you back. Lastly, know who you really are; have clarity on your values and principles. Simply put, know your true north.

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