“Don't Gain The World & Lose Your Soul, Wisdom Is Better Than Silver Or Gold.” ―
“Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.” ―
Listening to industry leaders is crucial because they offer a treasure trove of experiential knowledge and insights that can help steer others toward success. These individuals have navigated complex business landscapes, encountered myriad challenges, and developed strategies to survive and thrive.
Their advice is often a distillation of years of trial and error, innovation, and leadership experiences, providing a shortcut to best practices that emerging professionals and entrepreneurs might take years to discover independently.
Leaders like these have a unique vantage point; they can see the bigger picture and future trends that others might miss. They are often the first to encounter new market dynamics, regulatory changes, and shifts in consumer behavior, allowing them to provide guidance that is both current and forward-looking.
Moreover, these leaders embody the real-world application of theories that many learn in business courses or books. They provide living case studies on how to apply financial principles, manage risk, drive innovation, and lead teams effectively. By sharing their journeys, they offer not just strategies but also inspire resilience and adaptability.
This inspiration is invaluable, encouraging others to persevere through difficulties and see opportunities where others see obstacles. Furthermore, these narratives often include an emphasis on ethical decision-making, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability, which are increasingly important in today’s global business environment. Listening to them helps individuals align their career aspirations with broader social and economic goals, ensuring that their efforts contribute positively to society and the economy at large.
In the journey toward financial independence and business success, lessons from industry leaders can serve as powerful guides. Here are distilled insights from top CEOs on money, business, and career, each offering a unique perspective that can be leveraged for personal and professional growth.
Invest Wisely and for the Long Haul (Jeremy Awori, Ecobank Group):
Awori emphasizes the importance of investing in ventures or skills that generate income rather than incur costs. He suggests placing money in education and businesses that help other businesses, highlighting a strategy of earning potential over immediate gain.
Cultivate Curiosity as a Business Asset (John Gachora, NCBA Group):
Gachora exemplifies how curiosity can differentiate leaders. His educational choices reflect a breadth of interests, which can translate into innovative thinking and a well-rounded approach to business challenges.
Compounding Growth through Reinvestment (CEO Kariuki Ngari, Standard Chartered Kenya):
Kariuki advises watching investments grow over the long term and reinvesting earnings, especially at good rates. He underscores the power of compound interest and the importance of saving consistently, even when income increases.
Balance Liquidity with Growth (Elizabeth Irungu, Absa Asset Management):
Irungu suggests adjusting one’s portfolio to favor liquid assets that can be quickly mobilized, reducing reliance on non-earning assets. This balance is crucial for both immediate needs and future stability.
Ask Boldly in Your Career (Rose Muturi, Branch International):
“The world belongs to the askers,” says Muturi, implying that opportunities often go to those who are bold enough to request what they want or need.
Insurance as a Wealth Safeguard (Bente Krogmann, mTek Services):
Krogmann stresses insurance as a foundational element of wealth protection, ensuring that one’s financial assets are shielded from unforeseen circumstances.
Building Generational Wealth (Mumo Mutisya, CDS Kenya):
Mutisya encourages creating a legacy through responsible stewardship, where resources are accumulated and passed down to ensure exponential transformation from one generation to the next.
Passive Income through Financial Markets (Paul Mwai, AIB-AXYS Africa):
Mwai challenges the notion that side hustles are the only way to earn passive income, advocating for investments in financial markets as an alternative.
Passion-Driven Focus (Bharat Thakrar, former WPP Scangroup):
Thakrar’s mantra is simplicity and focus, with a belief that being concentrated on what drives one’s passion will naturally lead to success.
Live Within Your Means (The late Orie Rogo Manduli):
Manduli lived by the principle of spending within one’s income, a fundamental rule for financial stability.
Finance Acumen in Entrepreneurship (Kamal Budhabhatti, Little App Kenya):
Budhabhatti advises hiring someone skilled in finance to oversee financial decisions, stressing that every dollar spent should yield a return, balancing the CEO’s risk-taking with the CFO’s caution.
Liquidity and Long-term Investment Balance (Mary Wangari, Equity Group Holdings):
Wangari speaks to the importance of having readily available funds for immediate needs while maintaining long-term investments for growth and stability.
The Power of Passive Income (Barack Obatsa, Britam Asset Managers):
Obatsa highlights the significance of passive income as a path to financial independence, contrasting it with active income that demands constant effort.
The Importance of Due Diligence (Paul Njoki, Standard Chartered Kenya):
Njoki warns of the risks associated with high returns, advising individuals to understand and match their risk appetite to their investments.
Global Competence and Adaptability (Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom PLC):
Ndegwa shares insights on the importance of proving oneself in international environments, emphasizing openness and tolerance.
Building a Sustainable Business (Muthoni Drummer Queen, Blankets & Wine):
Muthoni focuses on creating a business that lasts beyond personal branding, a vision that ensures continuity and legacy.
James Mwangi. ‘Put the customer and his or her needs first
He is the most important person in the World. Treat people with dignity and respect”. This quote encapsulates his commitment to integrity, customer service, and respect for individuals, principles that have guided his leadership at Equity
Steve Biko Wafula
CEO of sokodirectory.com; One quote by Steve Biko Wafula, found on SokoDirectory.com, highlights the importance of setting priorities and boundaries: “The most successful people in life say ‘No’ to almost everything”. This quote underscores the power of focus and the ability to prioritize one’s goals over distractions or less important tasks, which is a crucial lesson in managing time and resources effectively.
He is the Group C.E.O of the African Guarantee Fund (AGF). Jules has over 15 years of experience in banking and financial services with leading financial institutions. Before his current role, he was the Group Deputy CEO of the African Guarantee Fund. Jules worked for over 8 years at Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays PLC, in various roles including rates strategist, rates trader, and treasury vice president.
Njeri Jomo, CEO of Jubilee Health Insurance
She values affordable health more than anything else in her life. “Healthcare access is a fundamental human right that goes beyond an individual’s income level. At Jubilee Health, we are doing all we can to ensure every individual has an opportunity to live a healthy and dignified life,” she said.
These leaders’ shared wisdom converges on a few core principles: invest in growth, protect your assets, balance risk with caution, and pursue passion with focus. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, a professional climbing the career ladder, or someone starting to navigate the complexities of personal finance, these insights are invaluable. They are not just lessons but principles that, when applied, can lead to a life of financial abundance and career fulfillment.