Not Just a ‘Leader’ but a Virtuous Leader – Female Student Leaders Getaway


What defines a leader? What is the primary role of a leader? 

These questions took center stage at a recent ladies getaway seminar organized by the Strathmore mentoring office. The event sought to equip female student leaders with insightful and practical lessons on leadership. Held in Tigoni, a serene suburb in Kiambu County, from April 29th to May 1st, the getaway provided students with an opportunity to delve into the essence of leadership.

Our journey commenced as the bus departed from Strathmore University at 9:00 AM, with students eagerly anticipating the Tigoni experience. For many 4th-year leaders, this retreat symbolized a well-deserved reward after four years of service. As the bus rolled on, the atmosphere was a blend of excitement and anticipation. Some students focused on schoolwork, while others engaged in lively conversations with friends. There was a palpable sense of camaraderie as everyone looked forward to the days ahead.

Upon arrival in Tigoni, a collective gasp filled the air, signaling that this retreat would indeed be special. After swiftly unpacking, we gathered in the living room for our first session led by the insightful Lucy Muli, an avid reader and writer. She captured everyone’s attention with a captivating rendition of “Ayee Africa,” before delving into the essence of leadership. According to Lucy Muli, “Leadership is not about techniques or manipulation. It is about character. If you have character, people trust you. One who practices virtue is a leader.” Her words resonated deeply with the group, setting the tone for the rest of the retreat.

Following the session on virtuous leadership, we engaged with the former Dean of Students at Strathmore University, Fina De Souza. She emphasized the importance of etiquette, defining it simply as good manners. This encompassed everything from how we sit to the language we use when communicating with our peers, as well as table manners. It was particularly enjoyable for the girls to apply these lessons practically during lunchtime, especially considering the delicious and mouthwatering food in Tigoni.

After the satisfying meal, the girls participated in another engaging session conducted by Dr. Kentaro from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. She provided valuable insights on how to plan and set goals for the future – professional, personal, and social. This prompted the girls to reflect on their current status in various aspects of their lives and use that information to guide their future goals.

Given the rain, we postponed the planned sports activities and opted for a game in the afternoon, because let’s face it – no Kenyan social gathering is complete without Kenya@50. The night passed by swiftly as we delved into various activities and discussions aimed at honing the girls’ leadership skills. Through group exercises, role-playing, and interactive sessions, they explored different aspects of effective leadership.

The following morning, a day cherished by all, involved giving back to society. We visited Gatina Tea Farm and spent quality time with different families, bringing along some food items to share. It was a humbling and joyful experience, showcasing the richness found in the simplicity of life’s basic pleasures.

We then concluded our second day of the retreat with a session led by Fr. Martin Mundia, who provided spiritual nourishment. One girl raised a poignant question about whether we would spend eternity singing and praising God, and if that’s the case, wouldn’t we get bored? Fr. Martin eloquently responded, drawing parallels between our natural inclination to be captivated by beauty and our soul’s expression of praise when encountering the divine.

To add some fun, the girls were treated to a Zumba session to let loose, followed by a delightful barbecue.

On the third and final day, our very own Deputy Vice Chancellor, Dr. Gachenga, had a session with the girls to discuss women in leadership and the unique touch ladies bring to leadership positions. This was complemented by a session run by Sheila Kibicho on what it means to be a woman.

In summary, the retreat was filled with invaluable insights. It was quite clear that leadership transcends mere authority – it entails virtues, service, and embracing each moment as an opportunity for growth and connection. 

Article written by Briege Mwangi


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