Tessy Cherono: I’m inspired by potential and the reality of achieving it


She’s bubbly, humble and focused with her dreams. She’s professional and meticulous she presents her image. Tessy Cherono is the first African Diversity Officer at the University of Machester in England. She’s passionate about her country Kenya and plans to have a the coolest farm with cows and chicken when she comes back to settle from the UK. Having been elected as the DO-to serve more than 40,000 students-for the largest students’ union in the UK, she has to stay a year longer than expected at the school where she’s been studying law.

Youth empowerment exudes from her persona and she draws inspiration from the world’s top leaders who engage in transforming the society; from Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg to Arianna Huffington; that’s how reputable her muse list is.

I had a chat with her about her youth empowerment enterprise “The Arena” which has helped lots of youth gains workplace skills, life and entrepreneurship skills among other subjects. As you’ll learn, being chosen as a leader by thousands of students did not come easy-she stood out.

Me: Many people have seen you on TV, read you on newspaper but they know a little about you. Who is Tessy Maritim?

Tessy: It’s difficult to describe myself but in a sentence- I’m a simple person with a passion for my country Kenya.

Tessy: It’s difficult to describe myself but in a sentence- I’m a simple person with a passion for my country Kenya.

Me: You’ve are passionate about youth empowerment and with your enterprise, The Arena, you conduct training sessions on youth, giving them practical knowledge that they cannot possibly access easily at your place in Eldoret. You do the same in the capital city-what’s your biggest inspiration towards helping your fellow youth achieve their dreams?

Tessy: I’m inspired by potential and the reality of achieving it. I want to see my generation of young people striving to achieve and doing their best.

Me: Vying to be on the board of the biggest university student union in the United Kingdom must have been a major decision. Did you feel daunted by the whole idea?

Tessy: Yes, it was very daunting. But I knew that either way I would win. If I lost the election- I would gain invaluable experience from the campaign and if I won the election- of course, I would have the job.

Me: How was the whole campaigning experience?

Tessy: It was tough but an amazing experience. So many late nights and early mornings. I am thankful for having so much support from my friends and classmates.

Me: I do understand that you’ve been previously engaging in change-oriented activities. You also write an inspirational blog-which I read recently and got to be inspired personally. How has been the response so far from your audience? Which are some of the activities that you’ve engaged in?

Tessy: I’ve had my blog since 2011 and I’m glad to have seen it steadily grow to a readership of 8000. I enjoy writing, it’s an outlet for me.

Me: Talking of entrepreneurship, many youth do not have the expertise and resources to get started. There is unemployment and underemployment in the country and around the world. Statistics by World Bank show that in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020, most of the jobs will be coming from the agricultural industry. How would you advise them to go about this problem?
Tessy: I believe that you should start where you are and use what you have. Unemployment should never hinder anyone from achieving. As young people, the biggest resource we have is time and youth. Let’s capitalise on it.

Me: As a young lady who has been learning and practising law for quite some time, what do you feel should be done so that quality education is more affordable in the country?

Tessy: There should be an emphasis and focus on informal education. Education does not necessarily have to be delivered the way it has conventionally, we need innovative and creative new ways of teaching and learning.

Me: What’s your favourite Kenyan dish?
Tessy: Ugali and Mursik!

Me: What do you do for free time?

Tessy: I enjoy reading and spending time with my family.

Me: I was reading your campaign manifesto and was surprised that your long term plan is to be a farmer with the coolest farm in the country. That’s a humble one for real; guys want to work for big juggernauts in the corporate realm. Why that?

Tessy: I’m really fascinated by the intersection between farming and tourism and will build an enterprise that capitalises on that. Watch this space!

Me: Do you love movies and music? Which are your favourites?

Tessy: I’m not too big on movies, but I love music. I enjoy old school R&B, mostly.

Me: Which is the last book you read?

Tessy: I last read ‘The 48 Laws of Power’ by Robert Greene and currently reading ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell

Me: How would you describe your fashion sense?

Tessy: Personal.

Me: Who’s your biggest inspiration in life?
Tessy: My family.

Me: Many young people are inspired by you and would love to follow your path, succeed in their dreams and serve their societies. What would you love to tell them?

Tessy: Love you, be you and pray.

You can watch Tessy’s recent interview on NTV’s AM Live program where she got to be interviewed about her take on investment and “The Arena”


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