May 19, 2020

Four things we can learn from Obama's visit to Kenya

Uhuru Kenyatta
mahlokoane percy ngwato
2 min
Four things we can learn from Obama's visit to Kenya

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President Obama’s two-day visit to Kenya is not just notable for the fact that he is the first sitting US President to do so but also for the clear message he delivered to the nation.  

1. Empower Women
Shortly before the President flew from Kenya to Ethiopia, he addressed a diplomatic gathering at the US Embassy in Nairobi, he said: “Any nation that fails to educate its girls or employ its women and allow them to maximise their potential is doomed to fall behind the global economy. Imagine if you have a team and you don’t let half of the team play, that’s stupid... That makes no sense.”
He added: “Evidence shows that societies that give daughters similar opportunities as their sons are more likely to progress faster... and when they become mothers are more likely to bring up educated children.”


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2. Invest in the youth
Addressing a packed sports arena in Nairobi, Obama highlighted that Kenya’s success was inextricably linked to the opportunities available to its youth. He drew on his own experience: “A young, ambitious Kenyan today should not have to do what my grandfather did, and serve a foreign master. You don’t need to do what my father did, and leave your home in order to get a good education and access to opportunity. Because of Kenya’s progress, because of your potential, you can build your future right here, right now.”

3. Recognise equality
The President also used his time in Kenya to put pressure on the administration to combat the discrimination against homosexuals, linking the cause with that of women’s empowerment, addressing Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta at a press conference, he said: “As somebody who has family in Kenya and knows the history of how the country so often is held back because women and girls are not treated fairly, I think those same values apply when it comes to different sexual orientations.”

4. Embrace Human Rights
President Obama, conscious of not offending his hosts, obliquely stated that “there also has to be space for citizens to exercise their rights.” This statement, while fairly non-committal, is also expected to have increased significance when the President makes his tour of Ethiopia over the next few days.

Sources: [NY Times, BBC, Yahoo News]

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Jun 14, 2021

5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly

Kate Birch
3 min
Heading up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy is winning awards and leading with diversity

Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.

Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills. 

What do you do, in a nutshell?

I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.

How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?

I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.

They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?

The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless. 

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.


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