During the last week of October last year, I was privileged to attend a course at the prestigious Strathmore Business School in Nairobi Kenya on Women in Leadership. The WIL program as it is affectionately called by the faculty is an amazing course, made up of different facets, touching on leadership self awareness, learning about social and emotional intelligence, leadership habits and perhaps the most powerful section of all; career and life planning.
Let me first take you through what I experienced at the School through the eyes of a seasoned marketer. Strathmore Business School has an aura of excellence, with the atmosphere being one of serious but dignified approach.
The first thing that strikes you is the design of the School. It is so well thought out, with lecture rooms and break away rooms all organized close to each other, yet completely independent. Strong branding is present all over the building. As one enters the main reception area, there are brochures placed strategically, giving information to potential students. There is a beautiful mosaic depicting the logo of Strathmore Business School and more branding via roll up banners. Even the grounds have several tear drop banners with inspirational messages on excellence.
Students are provided with branded folders and all materials for the course are also branded. Branded writing materials like pens and writing pads are also available all of the highest quality and again, projecting an image of quality and excellence. During tea breaks, tea is also served in branded mugs, and the gift shop has several more branded souvenirs available, making it possible to have reminders of ones time at the School.
The teaching method incorporates various methods. Not the usual death by powerpoint for this School, but rather experiential learning methods including self assessments and creative learning with the use of art and plants making a brilliant combination for deeper understanding of the course material. The facilitators have clearly all gone through presentation skills training as the delivery of the material is extremely powerful and done with passion. Never is it a monologue as the audience is always engaged and there is much participation and laugher. There are breakout sessions, where there is an opportunity for discussion of relevant cases which were delivered to the participants even before the program began, all of which are relevant to topical issues affecting women in leadership. The wonderful opportunity to network and meet women from all aspects of life, makes one realize that one is not alone in life experiences and sharing makes it all so much more interesting and exciting to learn. There was also a panel discussion featuring successful eminent women in society who were able to share their experiences and how they dealt with challenges in work life balance.
Has Strathmore Business School applied the 4 Ps of marketing?
The courses that they offer, are their products. If the Women in Leadership program is anything to go by, there is no doubt about the quality of the products. This is one of those situations where as much as each program is independent, each is run under the auspices of Strathmore Business School and the wonderful corporate branding certainly enhances the brand.
This of course refers to the cost of the programs. However the value addition that cannot be priced includes the experience of attending the course at the prestigious institution, the opportunity to network with like minded colleagues from various industries and the exposure to successful leaders who can share experiences and learnings. In addition, Strathmore Business School also has programs where students travel to partner schools in different parts of the world to get exposure to international developments and standards.
Often times also called distribution, most programs are run at the Madaraka campus in Nairobi Kenya although there are a few programs run across different cities across East Africa. Information on the programs is available on the website
Once again, it is important to mention the corporate branding, and the building of the Strathmore brand across the region. In addition, for the executive programs, word of mouth is critical, personal endorsements or testimonials and even B2B interactions are important, to assist both multinational corporates and SMEs to grow and develop skills for key talent.
The Women in leadership program teaches one how to practically navigate the sometimes challenging waters of the work place. One learns about communication styles and how to communicate with the end goal in mind
The topic on negotiation gives one a look into how women generally do not negotiate for themselves but tend to negotiate for others unlike men, who focus on what is in it for them. There are skills to being a good negotiator and it is important not to restrict negotiation options but to look for alternatives where possible.
The importance of balancing being tough and nice as a leader explains why both styles are important and why the balance between the two is particularly important for women.
Gendered communication talks about how men and women have different approaches to communication and how communication can be misinterpreted, but when one is more aware, it is possible to reduce the misunderstandings
Habits of excellence include justice, temperance, fierce resolve and humility and in order to develop these habits, it is important to focus on them and practice them so that they become part of our lives.
Women in boards was also an interesting discussion, bringing out the point that women generally do not sit on boards or have limited opportunities even in senior leadership roles due to the demands on their time as they balance family life and other social obligations.
Another fascinating topic is how to manage your boss, with relevant tips on what to do depending on the temperament and style of your boss
Here are my top take homes from this program and I believe they are relevant to both men and women
The Women in Leadership Program has taught me so much and I feel blessed to have had a chance to attend it. To my fellow women marketers out there, should you get the opportunity to do so, please do not hesitate to sign up. To my male colleagues, Strathmore Business School has a lot to offer you as well. Seek the information you are looking for and make that first step to a transformation. I guarantee this institution will change your life.
For more information please visit the website www.sbs.ac.ke or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The author is the first woman in Kenya to be awarded the Fellowship status by Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Chartered Marketer and currently the Marketing Director at GlaxoSmithKline.
E mail: email@example.com
This article is dedicated to the phenomenal women who facilitated this program. Patricia, Irene, Carol and Waceke. May you continue to inspire women in Africa.