Maurice Otieno: Executive Director, Baraza Media Lab
Building a dream team, applying sports lessons to the professional world, and the power of networking and community design
About our Guest
This episode’s conversation is with Maurice Otieno from Nairobi, Kenya. Maurice is an avid community and ecosystem builder, who is passionate about helping entrepreneurs, corporates and investors achieve their goals. He enjoys doing this by connecting them to relevant resources and people. Currently, he serves as the Executive Director of the Baraza Media Lab, an exciting space for networking, collaborating, and experimenting among Kenya’s media practitioners — journalists, bloggers, writers, artists, filmmakers, cartoonists, social media experts, technologists, and other cross-disciplinary collaborators.
Before joining the Baraza Media Lab team, Maurice was part of the founding team of Metta Nairobi and He also previously worked at Strathmore Business School as a program manager for their MBA Program, and also founded Kampnoo Camping, a camping and hiking company in Kenya due to his love for nature, physical fitness and building communities. His primary interests continue to be corporate innovation, storytelling, media, entrepreneurship, impact investing, venture capital, emerging and frontier markets, and community building.
Everyday Leadership in Action
Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Maurice:
Channel your experience in sports to your work teams: Maurice learned many leadership lessons early on when he served as a captain of his university rugby team. Despite being one of the smallest team members, he was able to communicate well with his larger and more experienced team members and play a crucial coordination role. He also found himself practicing the art of compromise, strategy, empathy, and managing a diverse set of abilities.
Networking is a powerful tool to make yourself useful as a young leader: Early in his career, Maurice found himself managing a business school program and a startup community, both during which he felt pressure to prove himself to team members and community members. He credits his proactive use of seeking out resources and individuals to demonstrate his value.
Even in a community-driven setting, a leader must recognize when an important top-down decision needs to be made: While at the Metta Nairobi community, Maurice pushed forward a decision to do away with a particular membership strategy that was proving to not be financially sustainable. The community understood and got behind the decision based on its merits.
Continually develop a dream team in your mind of the top talent you come across in your networking: This strategy has helped Maurice move faster in recruiting and hiring thought leaders for his various initiatives. In this way, he now has a “team of lions” that he is able to empower to push forward a set of ambitious visions.
The Everyday Leader is a podcast featuring conversations with leaders from across Africa’s companies, organizations, and governments about their experience managing teams and projects throughout their careers.
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