Dr. Achieng Ojwang is the executive director for Global Compact Network SA, a platform for corporate sustainabilty. This is the local arm in South Africa of the UN Global Compact .She has a bachelors degree in Arts from Kenyatta university,a masters degree in Sociology from the University of Witwatersrand and a doctorate in Development studies from Radboud University in The Netherlands.The 51 year old mother of one shares her story after college and reveals her life lessons.

Are you a fan of TV? What show are you currently binging on?

Well, ordinarily I get too busy for TV but I do have a Netflix subscription.I am currently on leave so I have managed to watch a bit of Greenleaf,the series.

Greenleaf TV show on OWN

Is this career path one that you always dreamed of?

Honestly,No.The younger me just wanted to travel the world and somehow make money out of it. Corporate sustainability gradually grew on me over the years. It started during my research at the onset of my MA degree back in 1998. I was trying to understand how the dreams of the young democracy were being actualized in business practices in South Africa as well as noting down all the changes that were taking place in the country. I also wanted to look at how government policies on transformation were being implemented sustainably in the business sector.

What was your favorite class in University and why?

My favorite class was Literature.I read and engaged with it even for leisure. Not just for the grades.This is the bit where Kenyatta University failed.Their class was a bit dull,honestly.Studying should be for the pursuit of knowledge and one should enjoy the process of seeking that knowledge. The Literature class I did in high school was much more exciting;it was linked to Kenya’s colonial and post-colonial history and I found that very meaningful.

What are some of the things you'll miss from your University days?

Writing while in Europe and doing research in SA. Straddling those two different worlds was quite the experience. However the best one yet was taking off for two weeks to North America whenever I could ,especially after hitting a brain block.

What was your very first job and how did you get it?

Scandalous that one! A friend of mine said he would introduce me to his friend- a manager at a financial services company in Nairobi. I was so excited. I was told I would be trained to be a financial advisor.Long story short, it turned out to be an  insurance sales job.Commissions only!

Is there anything that you regret not doing while in your early twenties?

Not rebelling enough and identifying enough with the feminist movement and literature.I regret not beginning to destroy patriarchy at an early age.

Could you share what a typical day in your life as an executive director look like?

I wake up around 5am and plan my day in bed. I get up at 6 because I need to do a school run at 7. I then work until 4 which is school pick up time.Back home, I  try to make dinner from scratch even on a busy day.I may have to still put in an hour or two of work afterwards but only when absolutely necessary.

Work has only started getting easier recently as now I have employees in the organization. Before ,when I was just setting up operations,I would do everything myself.I would have back to back international meetings as well as numerous planning sessions.I had a lot on my plate.

So when do you get time for yourself?

Before the lock down, I did yoga after the school drop off in the morning and then had walks during the weekend for 7 or so kms. My routine is in shambles at the moment.

I also try to take leave in September, because it is my birthday month and some time off  around Christmas when I come home to Kenya.

Could you tell us about one of your best career moments so far?

My biggest,by far has been building a visible brand within SA and making it to Assent’s global Top 100 CSR Influence Leaders list for 2020

Is there anything you wish you knew before you plunged into the job life?

Yes.Absolutely!I wished I knew before hand, that mastering my craft and building my career path would take consistent hardwork and that everything counts.

What advice from a friend or family has stuck with you throughout your career this far?

Keep good friends or company

Any relationship advice for the young ladies?

Boys are all made in China these days. All fake. 😂
Seriously though. Put yourself first. Don’t sacrifice your dreams for a boy