3 Key Insights from the Networks Gathering

This year’s Gathering under the theme, “a Network of Networks for a Bold New Inclusive Africa”, will deep dive into the incredible work across our network communities and celebrate a decade of enabling high-potential African youth. Delegates include our ALA alumni, Mastercard Foundation Scholars, University Partners, Employer Partners, and stakeholders in various sectors, including industry leaders, policymakers, and entrepreneurs.

Bryan Muchesia Ayinka is a Scholar at the United States International University – Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. He is the Scholars Council Inclusion Representative at USIU-A and a Member of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Learning Partnerships Advisory Group (LPAG). Muchesia reflects on his participation and the key lessons he learned from the gathering.

What was the most important thing that you learned during the gathering? 

I had several takeaway lessons from the gathering that I deemed very important. One crucial insight I got is the importance of soft skills, particularly organizational and self-management skills, in securing and retaining jobs. Additionally, the gradual nature of change, the strategic planning of career transitions, and the critical topic of inclusion focusing on persons with disabilities, refugees, and displaced persons touched my heart. As much as I am a person with disabilities, I learned a lot, considering that disability is unique to all of us.  

How did the gathering help you in your career advancement? 

As the Scholars Council Inclusion Representative and Member of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Learning Partnerships Advisory Group (LPAG), the lessons around inclusion are essential in my work, and universal inclusion and the need to break down stereotypes is an area I take seriously in my advocacy and representation. Engaging with officials from organizations during the event provided networking opportunities that are likely to support my writing career since I am a published author. As a student, the emphasis on soft skills and strategic career planning gave me a deeper perspective on the future to get dignified employment or even build my own entrepreneurial venture.  

What are your perspectives on developing your network after the event? 

At the gathering, I saw what a network of people and organizations can do to make a difference in the world. At a personal level, I got the opportunity to engage with officials from African Leadership Academy, and other partners such as the Small Foundation and Mastercard Foundation and others. These interactions allowed me to share my works (especially my published book) and establish connections with key individuals, which I intend to leverage for the sake of mentorship and career development.  

So, my perspective about developing my network has been broadened, sometimes it is not about getting material things from your networks, it can be sharing ideas, but also building a support system in your journey. Networks are very important and in small but great ways networks can help us transform our communities.