On the 3rd of July 2014 AIESECers from United States International University (USIU), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and Kenyatta University (KU) assembled at the modest Yellow Green Hotel for their annual Regional Training and Motivational Seminar (RTMS). It was exclusive to these three universities because of the unbreakable bond they all share by being located on Thika Superhighway. As with every AIESEC conference, this one had a theme; “creating networks, inspiring actions.” This theme was supported by three fundamental pillars:
· LEARN – To provide information on AIESEC
· LINK – Forging channels of communication
· LEAD – Inspiring Greatness
Day 1 – LEARN – Information about AIESEC
Some of the attendees of RTMS were new to the AIESEC family, thus the organizing committee and those setting the agenda of the seminar had to provide enough information to equip the AIESEC babies to move forward. This entailed getting to know the history behind AIESEC; history which is specifically important because ‘you cannot know where you are going until you know where you have been.’ Additionally it helps the delegates understand that they are part of something much bigger than themselves, or their respective institutional chapters. For example, AIESEC has 90,000 members globally in 2,400 universities with over a million alumni. It can definitely make you feel small but at the same time get you so excited to make a contribution to something that will be around long after you are gone from this earth.
Some of the everlasting AIESEC values include:
- Enjoying participation – NOT participating simply as an obligation, but willingly participating and relishing in that participation.
- Activating leadership – Acknowledging that leaders come from us, nurturing that leadership and developing it to its full potential.
- Demonstrating integrity – Ensuring that all AIESECers operations in and out of AIESEC remain transparent and ethical.
- Striving for excellence – Certifying that all that is done in the name of AIESEC is done as perfectly as possible.
- Living diversity – Accpeting that everyone is different and appreciating these differences
All in all, during this first day, delegates were given the opportunity to get to know one another through interactive games and express what they expected from the facilitators and organizers of the seminar.
Day 2 – LINK – Team Building
The focal point of day 2, besides awesome role calls, was to hammer into the delegates that they are inextricably linked to one another by Thika Road. For this reason there must at all times be cordial and harmonious relationships between each of the chapters. This would not be possible if the members are not provided with the space to from these links and connections. What stood out to me was not only were the delegates forming connections, but they were also learning from each other about tackling the different problems they tackle throughout a normal day of AIESEC duties. The delegates were divided into four groups which were rotated to ensure everyone gets a piece of the pie:
- Personal Branding
- Team Management
- Goal Setting
These four groups according to the delegates provided the optimum ‘linking’ experience. One lesson that much be absorbed which is not so obvious is that all these different groups must apply the lessons collectively, not in isolation. An example would be that you must be able to bring your personal brand when working in a brand or when goal setting achieving synergy with all stakeholders is crucial.
Day 3 – LEAD – Professionalism and Corporate Speeches
In this world we currently live in where everything in digital and modern, and CEO’s are getting younger by the day the ‘professional’ lessons of our fathers are evidently being left behind. This is because a new world calls for a new professional someone who can transcend what you read in good management books and articles and combine it with technology to become literally the perfect professional. My abstract understanding of what it means to be a professional is being absolutely proficient in your chosen field, knowing when to make difficult decisions and how to implement those decisions.
· Unilever – Through their representative, their chosen topic was fittingly LEADERSHIP. The Unilever did not fail to deliver; they educated the delegates on the importance of decidingwhat kind of leader you want to be, the importance of setting non-negotiable standards that your subordinates must meet etc. As someone who has attended many leadership conferences in my day, I heard a lot of new things which was very enlightening.
· KASNEB – This is the go-to professional examination body in Kenya for anyone wanting to further their qualifications no matter their age. Through their representatives they let the delegates know exactly what products they offer and their benefits in this ever competitive market. Additionally their chosen topic was EXCELLENCE. This is a difficult subject to speak about as different people have different standards of excellence but this should not understate that everyone should have some sort of standards of excellence and this is what makes a good leader.