What counsel on Being a Woman Leader would one gain from a professor of Molecular Population and Geneticism? This is the profession that Prof. Anne Muigai practices, as she lectures in the Department of Botany at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). Prof. Muigai is also an alumnus of the pioneer Women in Leadership Learning Series that ran in 2010. Her counsel culminated this year’s WILLS as she shared her experiences in balancing career and family – and being successful at both.
Prof. Anne Muigai recounted her experiences as a career and family woman. She gave the participants advice on how to balance work and family as they are both important spheres during in their lives the guest speaker session.
She acknowledged that women are often trying to balance their personal lives as well as their professional lives and urged them to begin by defining what they really want and what really matters to them.
I have found that as a woman in the professional field, men have already defined where you fit and your roles. Do not present yourself as a man because you are a woman. Be a woman first and view your femininity as strength and get to know more about your employees and their families, said Prof. Muigai.
She encouraged the women to set some time aside to reflect on the decisions they have made in their lives by stating that they should not wait until things go wrong to do so.
Family is very important, she said, make it the focus of your life. Analyse the amount of time you spend with them and find a way to touch base with them. For example I drop and pick my children from school because the one hour spent in traffic allows me to know what is happening in their lives. Support the passions and talents of each family member.
She urged the women to be pillars of support for those who are around them but also take care of themselves by taking personal time to rejuvenate, refresh and recharge. In life, you are always beginning again. Make an impact wherever you are. Be passionate about what you do. If you lack the passion, do not do it as you will. Know what success means to you and define it. Once you define it, work towards it, concluded Prof. Muigai.
About Prof. Anne Muigai
Prof. Anne Muigai is a molecular population geneticist with over 13 years experience in the field of Genetics and Biotechnology. She holds a doctorate in Population Genetics and Molecular Biology from JKUAT, Kenya. She is currently an Associate Professor of Genetics in the Department of Botany, and is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Agriculture Science and Technology. She is also the Coordinator of the postgraduate programmes in the Department of Botany.