MERCY ATEKA: GOING BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY

MERCY ATEKA
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Young graduate gets a golden opportunity to grow her career

We all know those women — the ones who stride with an air of grace into a room. They are not always the thinnest, prettiest or smartest. Moreover, they are not necessarily arrogant. There is a certain freshness, charm and aura about confident women who are outgoing. They carry themselves with an air of success, grace and determination. The energy changes when they enter a room. Such women are memorable. Mercy Ateka exemplifies such women.

Ateka is a graduate of urban and regional planning from the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology. She is eloquent and warm. In addition, she has certificates in Cisco networking level one and Kenya sign language level two. “I love mingling with people from different backgrounds and social classes,” says Ateka.

She decided to pursue a career in urban and regional planning because she is a trendy person by nature. She is always up to date with the recent trends in the market and loves the technological solutions that are being developed each and every day. “The world is advancing to more complex technological solutions like block chains, artificial intelligence and big data,” she says.

The programme

Ateka learnt about the Women Information Technology programme through the social media. A close friend sent her an advert via WhatsApp and she went to Instagram to verify its authenticity. A few days later after dropping her application, she was called for an interview. “Surprisingly I was the first one on the queue because I was excited about it,” she recalls. About a month later, her name was shortlisted and she was requested to go for orientation.

Early this year in February, a group of ladies whose names had been shortlisted were taken in for a one-month training dubbed ‘Women Information Technology Programme’. Ateka was one of those fortunate ladies. Through the programme, she was able to mingle with various high profile speakers. The participants were taught about the values of self discipline and self management. “We were nurtured on how to venture into the business world and identify mentors who would support us to grow,” she says.

Initially, the main purpose of the programme was to give the participants a more intensive and diverse mental mindset of advancing in the information and technology (IT) field. Ateka, as an urban and regional planner is keen on gaining more skills and knowledge in the IT field.

Team leader

Due to her outgoing nature and unshakable confidence, Ateka was appointed the team leader of her group. She says: “I sensitize and mobilize my group to achieve the marketing targets that have been set for us.” She adds that all the group members always encourage each other whenever they encounter difficulties in pitching ideas and proposals to clients.

According to her, the reason why she was appointed to become the leader of her group is because of her social nature. She is an inclusive person who mingles with people freely. However, she is not a people pleaser. If something does not sit right with her, she always voices it. Leadership comes along with a lot of responsibilities. She has therefore learnt to be a good time manager and complete all the tasks allocated to her meticulously in order to meet the expectations of her employer. She describes herself as the glue that keeps her team together. “I try as much as possible to accommodate the views of all my team members and that way, we work together every step of the way,” she says.

In regard to pitching business proposals to clients, Ateka and her group mostly focus on the construction of roads and buildings. Recently, they secured business from a church located along Ng’ong Road whereby they shall be involved in developing a terrazzo floor. “We are a few months old in the company and we are currently running three projects,” she notes. One of the projects that they are working on is at Adams Arcade along Ng’ong Road. They are conducting a visibility study with one of the company’s technicians. The other project is just right next to Adrian’s compound; it’s a hospital where they are making follow ups with the client.

During their daily meetings, the team comes up with strategies on how to close deals with clients and bring more business to the company. Ateka says that she loves the working arrangement in the company. Tasks are divided in groups and there is division of labour which leads to specialization. After the team members are done and satisfied with their work, they forward it to the next group for quantifying. This is done by quantity surveyors who are able to make the right quotations depending on the costs of labour and building material in the market.

Lessons picked

For the short period that she has been part of the company, Ateka has acquired a few skills. For instance, she has learnt the importance of team work and the value of good leadership. She has also acquired public relations skills that she puts into practice when engaging clients. In addition, she has acquired new knowledge regarding artificial intelligence and robotics. “As a group, we are able to address a challenge and come up with solutions. We then sell these solutions on behalf of Adrian hence advancing ourselves in the technological market,” she says.

In the near future, Ateka is confident that she will be a big shot in the market. She stresses on the need to work hard in order to excel. “I believe in myself, I’m confident that I have something good to bring to the table,” she says.

Her advice to young ladies (especially those who are still in school) is that they should aspire to be leaders. She further encourages them to be confident in themselves, be self-driven and most importantly, be masters of their destinies. “They need to understand that they are the only ones who can cultivate the path that they want to follow professionally,” she observes. Moreover, they should be more outspoken and air their opinions on various matters that affect the society. “Ladies need to know that they matter, their opinions matter and that they are the change they crave for,” she says.

Adrian Group has given young ladies a platform to kick-start their careers in this tough and competitive market. Ateka is filled with nothing but praise and gratitude to the company. “A lot of our peers are still at home with no hope of ever securing employment and here we are with all these privileges,” she notes. “I do not take this for granted and therefore I am going to work towards the growth of this great company,” she adds.

Ateka at a glance

Ateka’s favourite dish is pilau and chicken. She claims that African dishes appeal to her since they are good for her taste buds. She enjoys preparing them whenever an opportunity presents itself. Additionally, she is an usher in her local church and a peer mobilizer. She belongs to the parish development committee where she mobilizes parishioners to come on board on several development projects in the parish.

Her hobbies include socializing, storytelling and travelling. One of her missions in life is to foster humanity through her career. She strives to make the universe a better place. On a typical day, she wakes up at 4:30 am and then proceeds to do her morning prayers, before getting ready for work. She gets to work at around 8.00 am.

In the evening after work, she sells books online ranging from novels to text books. She has connections with other international alphas that enable her to purchase international books at an affordable price. Ateka markets her books on WhatsApp mostly. When she gets home, she prepares dinner for her family and also does some cleaning. When she gets to bed, she reflects on how her day went and then plans for the next day.

Oprah Winfrey once said: “Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you were meant to be, and to begin to honour that in the best way possible for yourself.” Ateka has figured out what her calling is and is honouring that; you should too.

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