Developing Young Talent

One year ago, Newton Bwire was a day laborer and lived in Nairobi’s informal settlements. He found his way to Sanergy, where he began work on our installation team, pouring concrete, welding rebar, and constructing Fresh Life Toilets.  He was doing great work.

Out of the blue, Newton upped his game. He wrote an eloquent letter to Sanergy leadership, outlining his request to take on more responsibility. We quickly realized that Newton had far more skills than he was letting on and we needed to put to work. He began to supervise each Fresh Life Toilet that was built in the community was responsible for keeping the team on track. He has risen to become a foreman, leading 3 Installation teams all over the slums. Our Manufacturing Manager calls him his, “eyes and ears”, he mentors younger teammates, and he’s taken initiative to co-create a savings group for company employees.

Now, with the support of AMSCO, we are working with our junior staff to truly realize their leadership potential. We recently completed our first Leadership Development Program – a 10-week course for junior managers that had three components: classroom training, one-on-one coaching and a leadership network.

Classroom training focused on applying classic leadership theory and tying it to our actual work. For example, the tech team is now using the “FIVE WHY”s technique to get to the root cause of any issue that arises.

Coaching paired each participant with a seasoned mentor from within Sanergy to reinforce concepts from classroom training and, as participant Rahab Wainaina observed, “I came to appreciate my strengths while acknowledging what my development areas are.”

The leadership network brought together individuals in several divisions at Sanergy to collaborate in a structured forum and then, going forward, be able to collaborate on other projects with trust and confidence.

The capstone of the program was to undertake a business challenge currently facing Sanergy and propose solutions, using different analysis models to arrive at the solution. Working cross-functionally, the teams tackled such challenges as employee compliance to wearing health and safety gear and managing our capacity for waste processing as we grow. The solutions were presented to senior management, who grilled the participants on their analysis and encouraged them to take the solutions forward.

“It is a personal philosophy of mine that youth be given a chance to reach their potential. We designed LDP with that principal in mind.” – Caroline Gertsch, Creator and Trainer of LDP

The true measure of the Leadership Development Program’s success will be how the participants take what they have learned and apply it to strengthening Sanergy’s business. We’re optimistic about the next generation of leaders in the Sanergy Family. Newton (pictured, top right) was among the proud graduates in Sanergy’s Leadership Development Program.

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