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A Red Pen, A Skinny Youth & The Pursuit Of Excellence

By June 1, 2018November 8th, 2019Business Insurance

Anna Mngolia brandished her red, ball point Uniball in preparation for battle.

Pen came down on paper in fluid strokes, lining, crossing and circling as it went. She crossed out words, lines and then entire paragraphs. With several flicks of the wrist, she circled unclear statements and identified syntax offenders. No error was spared. By the time Anna Mngolia was finished with that policy document, red on black on white was 14th century art worthy of The Renaissance.

It was a hasty introduction into the world of excellence and precision for Ken Kairu. It didn’t matter to Anna how many times those policy documents had to fly back and forth between client and company. They had to be perfect.

She still remembers the first day Ken walked into Ford Foundation with his father to pitch medical insurance. At first, all she saw was a skinny youth who ought to be put in shorts and sent back to Form One. It wasn’t long, however, before she saw the fire that was crackling within that lean frame, full of potential and eager to learn.

There are no whistles or bells to signal the entrance of a fateful person into our lives. We only recognize those moments in hindsight, ever grateful that they happened to us.

Within the walls of Ford Foundation, Ken learned the true measure of excellence. That being responsive, meticulous and innovative is non-negotiable. He looked up and realized that there was no ceiling to quality and value. You can always do better. Never take no for an answer. There is always a better way. In the same way that diamonds are brought to the surface by deep-source eruptions, the spirit of Dawit was cut and birthed under volcanic heat. Today, Dawit actually craves a customer that forces them to grow: What else can I offer? How can I serve my customer better?

Dawit is forever grateful to Anna Mngolia for being a client of the highest honour. Through hard work and continual self-education, she worked her way from Office Manager to the Grants Manager for Ford Foundation. Even in retirement, she is still a force to reckon with.

“Businesses are about people, not structures. Don’t forget the person. The relationship you build today will build the future.”

Thank you, Anna.


Our writer, Barbara Jebet, is a content strategist and a brand storyteller. Check out her blog: the slightly curious world of story pot.