Susan Wakhungu-Githuku is the founder and CEO of Human Performance Dynamics Africa, a boutique organizational development and human resources consulting company providing bespoke 21st century organizational and people solutions to corporations. She is also the founder and creative director at Footprints Press Ltd, a novel publishing house that seeks to tell a positive story of contemporary Africa. The widowed mother of two was born in Bungoma, Kenya. As a teenager, she was a talented athlete and was ranked the No. 1 tennis player in Kenya. Her life purpose is to catalyze potential and help individuals discover the power in themselves. Susan has authored nine books in less than seven years.
What is the importance of celebrating Kenyan contemporary art, life and experiences?
I believe that it is incumbent on all of us to recognize excellence and to pause a while within that space where great work is done so as to inspire even more.
As I noted in the introduction of my recent book “Visual Voices: The Works Of Over 50 Contemporary Artists In Kenya” there is so much that is going in the creative space in Kenya that it seems as if a sudden, joyous freedom has been unleashed. It is a very exciting time. Various forms of art are being seen and exhibited perhaps more widely than ever before. More artists are seemingly heeding their inside voices, and while some of the works emerging are commodities that may line shelves for a long time, several pieces that one comes across are clearly magnificent, inspired and may become branded treasures that transcend time.
In terms of celebrating life experiences, I am particularly keen on showcasing the contemporary African and telling “our story.” Within the current dispensation which has endured for centuries, the African has been denigrated and placed at the bottom rung of the ladder. I have often wondered why we Africans as a collective have sanctioned this unacceptable status quo when it does not represent the world order. My small efforts are intended to change this mindset. I see the great in “us.” I love to showcase it.
What are some lessons you have learnt as a Kenyan entrepreneur and business woman?
I have learned several lessons and will share five:
- Entrepreneurship is not for sissies. Successful entrepreneurs the world over demonstrate creativity and grit.
- Self–employment can be addictive. Once you have been bitten by the bug, you will wonder what took you so long to join the gloriously undulating fray.
- Never say never. Trust your instinct and glide to where the opportunities lie. I never thought that I could run more than one business, but here I am with two and considering adding other lines!
- Your business is only as good as the people that work with you, so select your team carefully and treat them as the human beings they are.
- Take your time to build brands that stand apart from other offerings in the market. It pays.