I was recently a guest on the Gems and Nuggets podcast by Activate Women in Leadership Africa (Activate WILA). Actually this special edition was to commemorate world mental health day. It didn’t start out to be about mental health. It started off with MaryAnne Mwaura calling me one day to ask my opinion about why women don’t get into leadership roles, especially in Kenya. Then it evolved towards a topic around winning mindsets. So how did we end up with it finally being about mental health? I don’t actually know!
The team MaryAnne has built around her to curate the brand and reputation of Activate WILA is impressive. My previous experience with journalism in Kenya has been pathetic – the major media houses have NEVER relayed my actual message to their audience: the public. The print media editing has gotten progressively worse in the last 5 years and well-known interviewing personalities don’t bother doing any research. No wonder podcasts have suddenly become more popular than radio and YouTube has taken over the visual space. Quality content that is well researched and informative is what gets consumed, at the intellectual levels in any case I might emphasize.
On the day of the recording I walked into a studio to find a team who went out of their way to make me feel comfortable. No deadline. No rush. We even practised the conversation so that I understood how it would all work. Then we got into the momentum of the conversation and it was being recorded and I was rambling away with what in hindsight was probably all totally off topic. At various points MaryAnne asked questions that made me pause for noticeable periods of time – “where did they find out about that?!”. They had done so much research on me “to ensure I aligned with their vision”. I was taken aback by the thoroughness of their research and it’s not like I’m that well known or have a PR manager who maintains a portfolio of my media appearances!
They thanked me for my time and even gave me a gift. MaryAnne kept in touch and has always been so upbeat and continuously stated how powerful my episode was. Powerful and inspiring enough to be made into a special episode. To be honest I am still not sure why my episode was different to the other ones – some incredible women (and one other man to date) have shared their inspiring stories. I guess in that moment, what I said mattered to the team for their unity of purpose.
This podcast team put all other Kenyan media houses to shame. And after another conversation I had with MaryAnne about the value of time I have decided to not offer any other media house my time or opinions for free. They have to earn it or pay for it. Thank you MaryAnne and your team for raising the bar with this podcast – I am your biggest fan because you valued me and how much you value your audience.