By Osato Evbuomwan

When we talk about balancing work and life, we are often guided by the unrealistic expectations of perfection that pervade society. Society expects us to strive to be several things: the ‘perfect employee or manager’ who has no competing obligations that could get in the way of work; the ‘perfect parent’ who always puts family first and ensures that all needs on the home-front are met; and the ‘perfectly healthy person’ who eats well, exercises regularly, has no mental health challenges and does not deteriorate with age. …


As a precursor to his Masterclass Series dubbed “Product is The Way”, Room member, battle-tested Product Scientist and Creative Entrepreneur Chidi Afulezi shares a candid diagnosis of the cause of his startup’s undoing, revealing a passion for the wicked problems that drive the most exciting businesses and products in the market today.

In 2020, months before the pandemic hit and right after my partner Zain Verjee and I made the decision to shutter our company aKoma, I took some time to reflect on why my third startup in a row had to shut down. …


As the dire consequences of climate change become increasingly apparent, the global insurance industry is stepping up to play its part in mitigating the crisis. Room member and Group CEO of APA Apollo, Ashok Shah, is well aware of the critical role insurance companies have to play in these times. He lets us in on how he’s shaping a more sustainable future in East Africa.

As a seasoned insurance professional, what do you love most about your career?

I love the promise that insurance brings. In my opinion, this work is about protecting lives and providing benefits, and I believe insurance has the ability to change lives for the better. I also feel…


Co-founder and Managing Partner of CrossBoundary, Matt Tilleard, is on a mission to unlock sustainable growth for developing and conflict-affected countries across the world. From the “valley of death” to the exciting opportunities of renewable energy in Africa, he shares his journey in scaling big solutions for underserved markets.

When outsiders come with a top-down, really detailed plan about how to turn Afghanistan into Denmark, they fail. They fail because their plan is too distant from reality; it doesn’t respond to the nuances of local context.

We’ve been watching with awe as CrossBoundary continues to grow into a global success. You’re now in 17 cities worldwide! Is this something you expected when you founded the company?

One of our core values or founding principles at CrossBoundary is to have a…


In honour of Africa Day, we caught up with Ralph Olayé, the Director of Pan-African industrial group Eranove’s business development and project management, who shared his thoughts on the need for simple homegrown solutions, the life-changing impact of running water, and what it means to be an African champion.

Africa should not be the theme of the year or the decade. Every day should be ‘Africa Day’, and we should be recognised as a force to be reckoned with.

You have dedicated the majority of your career to the development of infrastructure across Africa, including 10 years at the African Development Bank. What led you into this line of work?

It must have started from my childhood. I’m the son of two economists who were involved in the development of the…


By Daniella Sachs

So often, Africanness is defined by the arbitrary nature of skin tone, which diminishes the concept into a colonial tool of divisiveness.

What has always struck me as a traveller in foreign lands is how people respond to me when I say that I am African. First, there is a wash of confusion, then a quizzical look, often followed by that raised eyebrow of disbelief. “No,” they say without fail, “you cannot be. You are the wrong colour.” “Yes, I am. I was born in South Africa,” I respond. I can see them grasping for a solution…


How coauthors David Bradford and Carole Robin put into practice the relationship skills they taught for years at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

By David Bradford and Carole Robin

Coauthoring a book is similar to two friends in a start-up. They may agree on a vision and mission, but do they agree on how to carry it out? Decisions about what is essential vs ‘nice to have’ need to be made. External pressures from financial sources and marketplace demands exist. How do entrepreneurs respond when they need to cut out some of their plan’s favorite bells and whistles?

The two…


Tips for developing big-picture thinking on the squiggly path to success.

By Linda Midigo

I left my whole life and Economics degree behind in Nairobi and travelled thousands of kilometers to the tiny, but mighty holiday island of Mauritius to pursue a 5-year Engineering degree. At the end of that road, I realized I needed to put things into perspective to chart the path ahead of me.

Often, I like to visualize my life 10 years from where I am, envisioning the kind of career I want and even the networks that I want to have. Life is full of…


Are we doing enough to help women stay on track?

By Osato Evbuomwan

Gender equality in the labour market continues to be a hotly debated subject. Issues like pay gaps and the lack of women in senior and middle leadership positions have been the main focus of the feminist movement and as a result, we have recorded some progress in overturning a history of entrenched sexism in the workplace. …


Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. Oprah and Maya Angelou. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett. Our greatest heroes and trailblazers would not have become so without the advice and wisdom of mentors who enlightened their path. In The Room, we call them Pathfinders. Custodians of insight and experience, their work is shaped by a passion for guiding, advising, coaching, and connecting tomorrow’s leaders. Meet the Pathfinders of The Room.

The Room

A global community of trailblazers on a mission to change the world

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