By GE, ADVERTORIAL
Diasporan coming home again to Kenyan sunshine
Anne Jason, the executive sourcing leader for Sub-Saharan Africa in GE Global Operations, spent 13 years living and working away from home before returning to Kenya. She worked in consulting in the United States and South Africa, with experience in Europe and Asia. Despite her global career, Anne began to feel the call of home.
“In 2013, I attended a ‘Celebrating Kenya at 50′ event in Washington DC, where GE had joined other companies in showcasing their contribution to Kenya’s growth. GE used this event to reach out to Kenyans living in the diaspora who were interested in coming back home under the ‘Back to Africa’ programme,” she said. Anne was able to interact with GE Africa leaders to talk about her contribution to Africa’s transformation. As a result, she joined GE in August 2014 in Kenya.
Since then, she has spent a fair amount of her time travelling across the sub-continent to meet key business leaders for her division.
“Africa – though one continent – is very diverse with different cultural, economic and social forces at play. One must therefore be an active listener to fully understand how all these factors together influence how our customers, suppliers and employees make their decisions,” she says.
She has learnt to prize flexibility and adaptability.
“There are so many issues in Africa that can sometimes seem hard or impossible to fix or deal with. These issues often call for us to look beyond our current processes and see what works best for the specific situation. With so many diverse challenges, we cannot be too linear in our thinking. We have to learn from our environment and adapt constantly so that we can win,” says Anne.
Customers determine GE’s success, she adds, including the success of her own division, Sourcing. “We have external customers who keep our operations running and who rely on Sourcing for prompt payment and delivery. We also have internal customers who depend on Sourcing to deliver to their customers. This belief challenges all of us to work as a team and to look at things from the customer’s side as a priority.”
After work, Anne relaxes with yoga, kickboxing and Zumba, and reads voraciously. “I have been using reading as a way of learning about the places I travel to. Every time I fly into an airport, I pick up a newspaper,” she says. “This allows me to learn a lot about what is going in the specific country.”
What does Anne enjoy most about working at GE Africa? “The people!” she says. “They are full of energy, optimistic, resilient, and accommodative. GE Africa employees will be the ones to pioneer Africa to great heights, (and) turning the hope we see into reality.”