Leadership Getaway: The soul of a leader



In the heart of August, from the 14th to the 16th, a transformative journey unfolded in the serene embrace of Tigoni. I had the privilege of being part of the Leadership Gateway organized by Strathmore University’s Mentoring Office. What transpired over those three days left an indelible mark on my leadership journey. 

Nestled within Tigoni’s embrace, we were greeted by an atmosphere pulsating with the promise of growth and camaraderie. The schedule was tight yet purposeful, guiding us through a tapestry of activities that would shape our ethos as leaders. 

The odyssey commenced with an introspective dive into “The Soul of a Leader,” a narrative woven by Dr. George Njenga, the venerable first Dean of Strathmore School of Business. He vividly painted the essence of leadership. Dr. John Mutisya unveiled the OCEAN model of personality in a way that felt like discovering the contours of our souls. This newfound self-awareness lit a path toward unlocking our potential as leaders. 

Learning was however not confined to classrooms. Football matches and collaborative farm activities seamlessly blended with sessions of impassioned debates and spirited idea-sharing. Bonds formed in these moments transcended our roles, forging connections rooted in authenticity and shared experiences.

In the midst of this transformative journey, the sessions on psychological and emotional maturity were lanterns illuminating the path to self-discovery. The spiritual flame was further kindled by Father Jude, whose words breathed life into the very spirit of our founder. 

One particular session stood out – a discourse on relationships, imparted by the husband-and-wife duo, the Wakoris. Their wisdom added an exquisite layer to our experience, weaving threads of connection and empathy. 

As the sun dipped below the horizon on our final evening, a barbecue feast was a celebration of more than just food; it was a toast to the profound connections we had nurtured.

Reflecting upon those enchanting days in Tigoni, I’m reminded of the seamless fusion of learning and bonding, of self and community. The laughter shared, the meals savored, and the stories exchanged have etched a collage of memories that will forever adorn my heart. 

This journey has bestowed upon me a perspective that radiates with renewed commitment – to leadership that grows in unity, mentorship, and self-awareness. The Leadership Gateway at Tigoni stands as a testament to the incredible potential of leadership when nurtured in an environment of shared growth and profound connections.

By Bahati Bakulikira Melchior.


“Mafans wa ManU mko?”

If this was the wake-up call then I should have passed up this opportunity, not that I have anything against such a historically decorated team (Arsenal is still better though), just that the way in which Ferguson served as the bulwark for his modern Busby Boys who burgeoned into the great archetypes of Rooney, Vidic, and Van Nistelrooy seems way above my capabilities. Never at one time would I have thought that I would spare my semester break (only four more left) to attend a leadership gateway. That is why on arrival at the lush green spot christened Tigoni Study Centre, I feel in awe of the place because the serenity that greets you is just enormous. Converting a tea farm into a guest residence, catering school and sports pitch seems so extraordinary that I now understand why academia has to be clearly spelt on the signpost.

 “Hii baze imeiva.”

It is funny how there are no butlers ready to usher you in with a fresh glass of non Del Monte juice, better yet you find yourself ensconced in a doupioni-lacquered sofa, surrounded by what looks like inexpensively crafted African China that blends quite well with the living room that has been furnished with both a Roman and English touch to it. But I digress. The main attraction is the fiery Dr Njenga who showcases a deep appreciation of his vocation and how it initially did not relate to who he was, but has now become the marrow from which his students can benefit from. So that when he tells us that God’s gift presupposes who you are, we feel that he could not possibly be wrong. But to know who we are, we must clearly distinguish between character and temperament, something Dr John Mutisya lucidly brings out. And to practically test this out, lunch is presented to us. I am not just talking about any lunch. I am talking about something that looks like a slice of pizza and a poxy dessert. More formally, potato omelet and pineapple crumble. Let me tell you that eating exotic stuff for the first time allows you to savor all that is being offered, but at the same time could bring out the glut in you. Thank God for fork and knife. Despite such a filling lunch, we survive an afternoon session on “The Future Me”. And even after a heavier 4 o’clock tea, we survive a friendly football match when our stomachs are saying no, but our legs are gearing to go. And the evening air is as fresh as it can be to the extent that all that you have gobbled up in a span of a few hours does not come bubbling up after one of Bahati’s crazy shots finds your abdomen. Even after another heavier meal of your unconventional ‘rice beef’, we still survive an evening debate on “Absentee Parent Dilemma”. As I retire to bed, I cannot help but wonder whether we have been brought to a fattening camp or a leadership gateway. Maybe tomorrow will tell. 

For some of us, it would be our own fault to miss a kingly breakfast of Eggs Benedict. Before we get into that, a little light on the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven; a day of obligation for all Catholics to share in her influence on their lives, with Fr Jude’s meditation spurring us to emulate her as much as we may hold our larger-than-life mantras. The morning sets the stage for an involving day at Limuru Farm where we get to experience the usefulness of charcoal fridges, an ingenious method of bottling water, and a one-to-one relationship with Brenda, the mother cow. Before all this, we would never have known that we have cow whisperers, environmental conservationists, and agricultural entrepreneurs among us. It is therefore no surprise to have a full-house pitch, but it is more surprising to see the guys that were delivering deadly tackles tenderly caressing the juicy pieces at the grill. And if Chef Osso Bucco did not have a couple of hungry males to serve, he would have delivered one heck of a filet mignon. The camaraderie that has been built all day long almost seems shattered as guys conspire to snitch or set each other up in ‘Mafia’.

Johnny, round moja ingine tu.”

But by this time, our mentor leads the way for us to rest our hearty selves.

 “I already started missing this place yesterday.”


By Lancelot Kuria.

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