If you aspire to be a successful leader in the 21st century, you must embrace continuous learning, set clear expectations, listen more and act on stakeholders’ feedback in a timely way. This was the message that ran through a lecture by Jack Ryan, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, GE Capital at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Monday May 12.
Ryan also challenged leaders to foster a work environment where character, competence and contribution are rewarded instead of upward job mobility modelled on relation, friendship or ethnicity.
‘Invest in people and connect well across generations and borders,’ advised Ryan. ‘Put the team before self and ensure everybody is connected to the strategy and mission of the organization,’ he added.
The human resource guru was addressing JKUAT students and staff as part of a partnership between the University and General Electric (GE), a US multinational conglomerate with interests in energy, capital, technology and consumer products.
The agreement will see JKUAT students in thematic areas of study undertake internship training, mentorship sessions and leadership programmes at the global technology giant.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement, Tamla Oates-Forney, GE’s Senior Human Resources Executive for Africa, noted that JKUAT produces high quality students whose impact at the company continue to be felt.
‘Your students have represented you well. That is why we want to mould them right from campus, through internships even as we work to become their employer of choice, Tamla told Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga.
Prof. Imbuga welcomed the partnership saying that it will be instrumental in exposing the students to the workplace before graduating, making the globally competitive.
‘We prioritize academia-industry partnership because it helps us identify the needs and changing trends of the industry, which has continued to inform our academic programmes,’ said Prof. Imbuga.
Successful students with the GE internship will get an opportunity to undertake the company’s Early Career Development Programme at the Nairobi office.