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Jamie Pujara: The 2021 EO Mark Lincoln Volunteer of the 12 months – THE BLOG


Jamie Pujara and Vivienne van EijkelenborgCongratulations to Jamie Pujara, the 2021 EO Mark Lincoln Volunteer of the Year Award! Jamie is an EO Kenya member and the MEPA Regional Chair. This notable honour is awarded yearly to at least one member who embodies the guts and soul of volunteerism.

(Photograph caption: Jamie Pujara and Vivienne van Eijkelenborg)

On the top of the pandemic, Jamie led and served greater than 1,000 MEPA members as regional chair, placing their wants above his personal. Throughout a time of nice private stress and loss in his personal enterprise, Jamie exemplified the true spirit of servant management to which all EO members aspire.

We requested Jamie about his expertise in the course of the previous 12 months as he led the EO MEPA area via the worst of the pandemic:

Inform us about your EO journey.

I joined EO in 2014. On the time, I used to be attempting to shut a sale, however the consumer solely wished to speak to me about this superb group he had joined, and the way it had impacted his life.

I used to be annoyed as a result of he didn’t permit me to speak about enterprise! Inside every week, I attended an EO Take a look at Drive occasion. I used to be blown away by the Discussion board-type expertise they created and realized that having a group of different entrepreneurs was lacking in my life and would profit me tremendously as I grew my enterprise.

As soon as I joined, it was full-steam forward. EO Kenya was a comparatively small chapter, so stepping up was inspired. Inside three months, I put my hand as much as be the GSEA Champion, adopted by Studying Chair (2016/17), then President (2017/18).

I had no plans to proceed my path of management past my chapter till I attended the Regional Management Academy (RLA) in Cape City. The learnings have been so impactful and resonated so deeply with me that I dedicated to being the perfect servant chief I could possibly be for EO. I joined the MEPA Regional Council as a Member Merchandise Director (2018/19) after which served because the Regional Chair for MEPA for the final two years (2019/20 and 2020/21).

On a private degree, EO has been unimaginable. I all the time inform people who I joined the group considering that the speedy influence could be in my enterprise. In actuality, the most important adjustments have been on me as a person, father, husband and buddy. I’ve made so many adjustments via the unimaginable learnings I’ve gotten from EO members each domestically and internationally.

Professionally, typically it’s onerous to see progress in your self. Once I hear Discussion board, chapter or workers members remark about my growth as a pacesetter, it takes me without warning after which permits me the house to mirror on how far I’ve come. 

Inform us about supporting the MEPA area in 2020. What was occurring within the entrepreneurial surroundings within the MEPA area early within the pandemic?

As the results of COVID began to have an effect on each chapter and the dialogue of EO renewals happened, I felt very strongly about ensuring we stored our promise of “no member left behind.”

In some nations throughout the MEPA area, occasions of disaster usually go away members much more remoted. There isn’t any authorities assist to assist enterprise homeowners or their staff. The choices entrepreneurs should make about downsizing or shutting down carry an incredible emotional pressure given the implications it may possibly have on their workers and households with out authorities welfare for workers.

I strongly believed that EO needed to be there for its members within the onerous occasions, much more so than within the good occasions. I knew how vital Discussion board could be to members who have been struggling and the way the facility of EO’s world community would assist with regard to industry-specific content material. So, I took it to coronary heart to ensure that if a member wished to be in EO, then the monetary implication shouldn’t be a barrier.

When the EO Collectively fund was first introduced, I wished MEPA to get forward of the curve. By 30 June 2020, the area had already submitted a consolidated request of the wants of each single member from all 21 chapters. This was a large enterprise, which took us almost two months to compile. We created an Excel spreadsheet template for every chapter that broke down the ask per member with a “justification” for the request. The renewals staff later adopted this similar template for all different world requests.

Upon receiving requests from chapters, Ambreen Riyaz, MEPA’s Regional Director, and I might evaluation each single member’s request. We double-checked {that a} cause was given for the subsidy request and that chapters aligned to the general directions (reminiscent of not placing forth a blanket request for all members). This train took as much as 10 days with two to 4 evaluations per chapter.

Ambreen and I spoke a number of occasions every day as we reviewed 21 spreadsheets a number of occasions over the course of a number of revisions. I might then communicate to the Council of Regional Chairs recurrently, passionately advocating for member assist. As a area, we went past the EO Collectively fund and even pledged a few of our personal funds to make sure we might assist all of the members that we might, and we closed the 12 months with a report renewal charge for the MEPA area.

You centered on serving to others within the MEPA area regardless of a extreme state of affairs with your individual enterprise, Tin Tin. What empowered you to take action?

It was onerous. I used to be struggling via a lot that it grew to become tough for me to even assume past my very own state of affairs. Trying again, within the early days, I used to be paralyzed with concern and making selections in my enterprise, my household, and EO have been all slower than what I ought to have completed.

Ultimately, two issues resonated with me:

  1. I wanted to step up. My accountability to the group was one thing I needed to fulfill. Seeing all the opposite Tier One leaders doing superb work gave me the energy to appreciate that I used to be additionally able the place I might influence members, and so it grew to become my mission to double down and do extra.
  2. Being in a enterprise the place 95 % of our income was worn out helped me to determine with the members I wished to assist. Members who liked EO, who had quite a bit to supply, who wished to proceed to study and develop however who have been sadly in a state of affairs the place the pandemic had introduced their companies to its knees. I might relate, and I wished to champion their wants.
What’s your response to being honoured with EO’s most notable award, the Mark Lincoln Volunteer of the 12 months Award?

I’m honoured and touched. All of the EO leaders give hours of their time to make this group higher and so many members will see the enhancements however not know the place the thought got here from or the staff that introduced it to life and so it’s nice to be acknowledged for the contribution final 12 months.

Nonetheless, I additionally do wish to give an enormous shout-out to my regional council and regional workers. I’m lucky to work with such unimaginable individuals. I do know with out them, there could be no award. So, whereas I’m honoured with it, I absolutely acknowledge the shoulders of these I stand on.

How will what you discovered in the course of the pandemic influence your entrepreneurial journey?

My greatest studying has been to stay with uncertainty and never let the concern devour me. The primary few months of the pandemic, I felt like a deer caught within the headlights and couldn’t assume my approach via. I used to be consumed by ideas of failure.

The state of affairs stays dire immediately and my restaurant and catering enterprise nonetheless hovers on the brink, however I’m dealing with the concern higher now. I can assume extra throughout the enterprise and past the enterprise with extra readability.

Reflecting in your complete expertise up to now 12 months, what stunned you most?

The largest shock was the reset and realignment of priorities that COVID offered. The time I received to spend with my household made these relationships stronger. The time to expertise my nation and fall in love with it once more resulting from elevated native journey. And the time to deal with myself to reassess my priorities and what’s vital to me.

What’s subsequent for you, and for your enterprise?

The restaurant and catering continues to be in a difficult state of affairs, and if I’m sincere I’m undecided if we are going to make it via. I’ve pushed ahead on my venture Aspire Heights the place we’re constructing 65 two- and three-bedroom flats in an up-and-coming space in Nairobi, concentrating on the center class.

I had prior expertise within the property market from my final firm (www.buyrentkenya.com) and had all the time had my eye to maneuver into the event aspect. We have now simply began building and will likely be completed in January 2023. We’re within the strategy of driving gross sales, which has been encouraging regardless of the uncertainty round COVID.


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