Nuru Kenya Leadership Program: Living Out Servant Leadership

As Thomas mentioned in his previous post, my name is Brian Viani and I am thrilled to be working with Nuru as the new Program Facilitator for Foundation Team 9 (FT9). I am originally from New York City and have a Master’s degree in International Relations from NYU and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from SUNY Binghamton. Prior to joining Nuru, I worked on education and curriculum development reform projects in Taiwan, Thailand and Kenya. I’m very excited to be working with Nuru to help empower those living in extreme poverty.

It is hard to believe that I have already been here in Kuria West for more than a month. Even though the pizzas and bagels are not quite as good as they are back in New York, I definitely feel comfortable enough to call it home. It seems like so much has happened between now and when I first arrived in July. It is definitely a big difference from New York City, but thanks to the invaluable guidance of Jennifer Chizek (the previous leadership Program Facilitator), Thomas, and all of the Nuru staff, I feel completely at ease living here. I can’t overemphasize how supportive everyone has been during my transition into Kenya and FT9.

One of the main factors that attracted me to Nuru is the focus on providing sustainable solutions by empowering the Kenyan staff to become strong and dedicated leaders. In just over a month, I have seen this philosophy in action firsthand with the entire Nuru Kenya Leadership staff. All of the people working within the Leadership Program have a strong understanding of servant leadership. I am really impressed with the way the Leadership team demonstrates the pillars of servant leadership on a daily basis. As Jennifer mentioned in a previous blog, working with the District Manager, Jane Omanga, has been an absolute pleasure. In addition, she has a great rapport with the rest of the staff. Her passion for fighting extreme poverty is clearly evident and her warm personality creates an instant bond with all who interact with her. After observing some of the trainings, I have been really captivated with the quality of instruction our staff is providing to the rest of the Nuru Kenya team. One thing that struck me, and one aspect of their teaching method that epitomizes the servant leadership philosophy, is their ability to receive and give feedback. This is one of the core principles of servant leadership and something I am very proud to see in action with the Leadership staff. The fact that the team not only teaches the core principles of servant leadership but actually uses them in everyday situations, is something that is very encouraging for the continued success of the program. I am confident that they will continue to grow exponentially and continue to provide high quality leadership training to the rest of the Nuru Kenya staff.

I am very excited to be a part of this team and excited to see the great things the Leadership Program (as well as Nuru Kenya in general) will achieve within the next few months. I plan on getting into more specific details about all aspects of the leadership program during subsequent blog posts. So, stay tuned!

About Brian Viani

Leadership Program Strategic Advisor — Born and raised in New York City, Brian has a BA in Political Science and English Literature from the State University of New York at Binghamton and an MA in International Relations from New York University, where he received the 2011 Lauren Moilien Johnson Human Rights Award.

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