In 1987, back when I was 18, I had the opportunity to visit Kenya. The plan was that I would spend a year in the middle of nowhere and teach English at a local school. But somewhere in the middle of all the plans, my boyfriend at the time announced that if I went then we were done. So I cancelled. Two months later we split up anyway.

Cancelling has always been one of my biggest regrets. What a lost opportunity!

How often do we not do the things that in our hearts we know are right for us, because of the opinions of others or for fear of upsetting the status quo? We let doubts creep in and don’t take up challenges that could change our lives for the better.

We can do nothing about the past. The missed opportunities that haunt us have been and gone. But we all have
control over what happens from here on in. We are a long time dead and none of us knows how many days, weeks or years we might have left to make our mark.

This week, almost 30 years later, I have finally made it to Nairobi. Better late than never!

By coincidence 25 May 2016 was Africa Day and the theme for this year was “building a better Africa and a better world”.

I was here to speak at a training course run by ABMC and to keynote at the first ever PA of the Year Awards for East Africa.

These awards are a groundbreaking and visionary event for Africa. Whilst much of western media focuses on pictures of poverty, of no education and of women as second class citizens, every African Assistant that I have met in the last five years has been smart, educated, hardworking and every bit as committed to their profession as the rest of us. It is interesting to note that 12 of the fastest growing economies in the world right now are African.
The perception needs to change and I am proud to be in a position to facilitate it – for women, for the profession and for Africa.

Our winner last night was Kristine Wanjiru, a 29 year old Executive Assistant who works for ResponsAbility Investment AG in Kenya.

Each finalist had to make a 5 minute presentation during dinner and Kristine particularly impressed when she discarded her prepared presentation and just shared from her heart her hopes and dreams for the profession globally.

She also shared that she was not going to enter the awards but her sister persuaded her. She had not even told those at work that she was a finalist – so sure was she that she would not win.

Aren’t they in for a surprise on Monday morning?

Kristine’s life is about to change forever. For her, this is the opportunity of a lifetime that she nearly didn’t have. She is determined to grab it with both hands and use it for the good of the wider community as well as to progress her career.

Maybe the opportunities presented to you will be less dramatic, but only you can decide if this is your chance to break out of a self-defeating cycle and change your life for the better.

Will you take up the challenge?
Will you be the master of your fate?
Will you be the captain of your soul?


Lucy Brazier, OBE is one of the world’s leading authorities on the administrative profession. Author of ‘The Modern-Day Assistant: Build Your Influence and Boost Your Potential’, she is the CEO of Marcham Publishing, a global force synonymous with world- ... (Read More)

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