A Young Leader from Kenya, Millicent is a passionate dreamer and an ambitious doer. Currently working at Proto Energy, she believes that young people have the power to make the world a better place — if they’re willing to step up to the challenge with integrity and tenacity. As a graduate of ALX, she credits the program with unlocking her potential and shifting her mindset to see problems as opportunities.
“As young leaders, we all have ambitions and problems we would like to solve. Our role is to take that step towards realising our dreams. We have to take ownership of our present and future by changing the narrative through courage and resilience — not shying away from being an outlier if it means shifting the status quo.”
What is your greatest passion in life?
I have always been ambitious, and making the world a better place is a dream I have had for as long as I can remember. We didn’t have much growing up, but there were other people who had less than us; this realisation gave me a sense of purpose as I resolved to work hard so that I could improve the lives of those around me. My deepest passion is to see young leaders such as myself take our rightful place in society. I aim to help young people make purposeful career choices that will drive change not only in Africa but throughout the world.
How did the experience of ALX impact your growth?
My educational journey wasn’t what I had hoped it would be, especially my college years. I felt like I had lost my fire and I had no confidence in my ability to do anything in the employment or entrepreneurship landscape. I didn’t think I was well equipped skillfully or even intellectually — but ALX changed all of this. It helped me unlock my true potential and start to believe in myself. Through the experience, I was able to grow my skill set and identify my definition of success. It helped me to remember who I am and what I stand for. As a result, my outlook on life changed and I became inspired to recognise the contribution I could make as a young person.
What does grit mean to you?
Greatness Requires Internal Toughness (GRIT). A true leader has to have a vision, and grow towards realising that. However, the path is not always smooth; there are moments when giving up may seem the easiest option, but you have to keep going regardless. Grit to me is having a tenacious and resilient mindset through which you can achieve your greatest purpose; there’s no point in starting something if you won’t see it through.
Has there been a time in your life when you’ve had to persevere through adversity?
I think most of my life has been pretty challenging! But I am grateful for the hardships I’ve lived through because the lessons I learned are invaluable. I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today if it had been any easier.
What do you love most about life in Kenya and what frustrates you most about it?
My country is just beautiful, with quite a diverse culture. I love how hard it is even for Hollywood actors to get an accent that identifies with Kenyans! We are rich in talent, which isn’t well exploited yet. I think we’re often too comfortable with the status quo and I get frustrated by this complacency. We have the power to make our lives better, but we’ve left it to political leaders to solve our problems and that is our greatest undoing.
What role do you think young leaders such as yourself can be playing to effect change on the continent?
As young leaders, we all have ambitions and problems we would like to solve. Our role is to take that step towards realising our dreams. We have to take ownership of our present and future by changing the narrative through courage and resilience — not shying away from being an outlier if it means shifting the status quo. The world needs leaders of integrity and I believe that’s the gap we should be filling.
As a dedicated reader, what books have made an impact in your life?
I am usually drawn to memoirs and books about inspirational journeys. Two of my favorites are The Defining Decade by Meg Jay and What I Wish I Knew When I was Twenty by Tina Seelig. They helped me realise the different choices that I can make in my twenties and impacted my approach to decisions in my personal and professional life.
What inspires you about being a member of The Room?
The Room has made it possible for me to learn from people that I look up to and those who have had great achievements in their lives. It’s making the world a smaller place for all of us — at every point in our career journey, and it’s definitely a game-changer in the mentorship sphere.