I have been asked many times why I decided to start Versed Professional Services so young, fresh out of university (not so fresh) and without so much experience in the fields that the company was supposed to focus on. I have answered that question every time I has been asked but I think I should state the chronology of it all.
I did an undergraduate degree of Disaster Mitigation with a specialization in Sustainable Development. The first two years of campus I was hopeless, moving because I had to. You see, I had been selected for the course through the then JAB selection process and having attained rather good grades, I expected better from the system. I expected I would be given an opportunity to study a course of my choice. It wasn’t the case.
My fate was decided.
SO there I was, doing something that I was vaguely interested in, completely detached and dragging my feet. I was up the creek. I felt wasted. I was wasting my time. Those were the first two years of campus.
When I started third year, I felt that if I was on the dance floor, I might as well start dancing. I started getting more attached to what I was doing. In came Geographical Information Systems, Environmental Impact Assessment, Disaster Logistics and the like… I wanted to understand those concepts. That’s when I realized that although I didn’t like what I was studying, it was important. With an understanding of the concepts and their application, I could make a real difference.
I had two years of content to go through and get a grasp of. So I started from scratch understanding the basics of mitigation, sustainable development and everything else I had missed wallowing in self-pity. I was determined to make a lemonade although I preferred oranges.
Fast forward to two years later and I was out, with a mountain of knowledge on Disaster Mitigation and Sustainable Development tasked with the responsibility of making the world more resilient, increasing the coping capacity of my people and basically making the world a better place.
There were no jobs. At least not the ones relating to what I had majorly studied in University.
I don’t give up easily so as fate would have it, barely two months after clearing University, (even before graduating) I got a job as a GIS and DRM lead in an organization based in Westlands Nairobi. I was grateful. Many of my university mates were still out there with no hope in sight.
I did my best and with the gracefulness of my then boss, I got to understand GIS better, its application in various fields and above all I perfected my art of communicating with people key among them being colleagues, partners and clients.
A year and some months later, I felt that it was time to hang my coat and make something of myself. All along university life, I wanted to open a consultancy firm relating to what I had studied. This was mostly informed by the appreciation of the fact that not many people had the skills I was acquiring then, irrespective of the fact that they were working with international organizations majoring on issues tied to disaster management.
So I wanted to impart these skills either through working in these organizations fulltime or through short term engagements. I also wanted to share what I had learnt with other people through various forums and avenues of engagement.
I had the skills and with no employment opportunities in sight, I decided to start something greater than myself. An organization that could impart real change. I wanted to be part of the solution in my own small way. I wanted what I knew to count.
So my employment ended and I was out of an 8-5 job, a guaranteed end month salary with nothing but an incorporation certificate and a barely functional website. The end wasn’t as I had envisioned it but it came nonetheless. I had to prepare myself for a hard task of getting so much in order with so little. Bills had to be paid but the money to do that was unavailable.
I started with a few friends and with determination, sacrifice and goodwill, we wanted things to work out. It wasn’t easy at first being told to look for a job by everyone around me but I was determined to make the company work out first before I thought about anything else. I stopped looking for employment and started focusing everything on making the company kick off.
That’s how Versed Professional Services was born. It was born out of a desire to be part of the solution. It was born out of the desire to impart knowledge that was so much sought out within a shorter duration. It was born out of an in bred desire to bring about change through being part of it. Life is hard and I didn’t want to be part of the complaining populace. I wanted to create an avenue which could offer employment to my many jobless countrymen.
Versed Professional Services was bred out of the understanding that the world has too many questions that need answers. My motivation towards its registration was that very many people desire a better world and a more resilient society but very few have taken up the responsibility to make this a reality.
I haven’t yet cracked everything yet but I am headed there. With my partners, we are determined to make things work. We believe they will. We recognize that unless existing skill gaps are addressed, meeting of developmental goals and targets by everyone in the development sector, achievement of sustainable development goals will just be a vision on paper. This is primarily informed by the fact that its only through bringing about sustainable transformation (that goes beyond just performing tasks but changing mindsets and attitudes) in all developmental sectors that targets can be met.