“…It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.” It’s the only way to succeed.


Over 400 businesspeople from the micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector in Kenya benefitted from a two-hour virtual mentoring session on April 30, 2021 by Debra Mallowah, Vice President, East and Central Africa Franchise. Her key message focused on how to find one’s purpose and how to build a personal brand to succeed in a challenging and volatile marketplace that has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Debra shared her inspiring career journey including the challenges and lessons learnt along the way that have seen her get to where she is. She also imparted valuable marketing and branding tips and responded to numerous business-related questions during a one-hour Q&A session.

“To get ahead in life you will encounter a lot of challenges and failure. But you can’t let failure define who you are. You have to let failure teach you. Failure is not the opposite of success; it is part of success. It is how you rise that will make you successful,” she emphasized.

She pointed out  to the businesspeople that to survive and win is more than just profit as consumers want to do business with companies that want to create a better tomorrow for individuals, employees, for themselves and the world at large. “Companies survive when they make the world a better place in whatever form or manner – and that is what we call purpose.”

Her parting shot to the MSMEs was a quote to encourage them to show up every day if they are to succeed in their business enterprises: “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning, a lion wakes up, it knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.” Author unknown.

This session was part of the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program for MSMEs organized by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and the Mastercard Foundation that has been running since January this year. The virtual training and mentorship program targets women and youth-led MSMEs to support them towards resilience and recovery from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch highlights of the session here :