The A to Z of Austin Bhebe a Non Profit Management Professional

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Austin Bhebe ( Requiescat In Pace )

A law degree was what I went to the University of Zambia for in 1989. However once at UNZA, I made new friends from all walks of life and their opinions changed my career path. In particular my peers from the Zambian Christian Fellowship advised me against pursuing law. The belief then was that the legal profession was full of insincere people and I would be corrupted if I pursued the profession.

Exchanging my law course late in the academic year for another meant I found myself with little choice in what to pursue as an undergraduate. By the time I was making up my mind, the only courses that were still open were Geography and History. So I majored in Geography and Education.

In 1999, I went to The Hague in The Netherlands for a Masters’ Degree in Development Studies. This program offered solid academic and professionally relevant training in theory and methods for development studies at the time. It was designed for those wishing to start or continue their professional careers in the area of development. By this time, I had made up my mind to serve in the development sector and nonprofit world.

Kenya 2014 doing a Masters’ in Business Studies in Healthcare Management and Leadership from the United States International University of Africa in Nairobi; I noticed that the healthcare industry is one of the most diverse and dynamic industries in the world but there is an attendant lack of a professional class of healthcare managers. I was motivated to change my career path.

My choice of courses and studies has curved out a unique career path for me. I have been able to move from being a teacher of geography and history, to becoming a senior manager in the nonprofit sectors and finally now running my own company in the healthcare sector. It was through my training as a healthcare professional that I came across Medical Tourism and decided to apply my skills to that sector.

Now I run KyrosCare, a Medical Tourism Facilitation Company that helps clients seeking medical treatment abroad mainly to India. The training I got has opened rare doors for me and led me into a unique business life. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Health Services with Walden University.

Portfolio wise in my career I have served as Country Representative with large organizations (Water Aid), Country Director with Oxfam Novib, Global Technical Director with Amref and as a Regional Technical Advisor for the East Africa Regional Office with The Catholic Relief Services.

Success has been my ability to be employable by various organizations in my professional line and being able to contribute to improving the livelihoods in African communities. Children and women accessing water and sanitation services where there was none is undoubtedly my most memorable experience.

I am not saying I have not failed, I have and I am not referring to small failures. I am talking about the kind of failures that rock your world, completely altering the landscape of your relationships, finances, and mental-wellbeing.

Using failure to refine one’s life is what makes you a better person. I am what I am today because of the lessons I gained through my failures. I can confidently say that failure is life’s great teacher; its nature’s chisel that chips away at all the excess, stripping down egos and revealing a wiser person capable of compassion, empathy, kindness, and great achievement.

Words that describe me are warm, caring, loving, trustworthy, dad, husband, friend, blogger, entrepreneur  (with a passion for Healthcare and WASH matters) confidant, helper and giver.

Young people seeking tips and “how to” ways will find valuable guidance in Robert Kiyosaki ‘s words,

When you are young; work to learn, not to earn.”

These words are reinforced by the principle of Sowing and Reaping otherwise known as Seed time and Harvest time. Just as life comes in those two phases, so is career development as well.

I would summarize the Kiyosaki  principle in the words of Anthony Ubani. The “learn phase” is the early and beginning phase of your career. It is the sowing seed and apprentice stage. At this stage one is investing in self and professional development and you are working for the success and fame of others and their businesses and in so doing, you pick up timeless skills. It is important that you do not focus attention on making money. Do not make acquiring wealth your priority but focus at this stage on establishing a solid reputation of competence and excellence and build sustainable social capital.

The “earn phase” as the name rightly implies, is the harvest and reaping phase, the manifestation stage. You have now earned the right to make a demand on your investments to produce a return for you. This is where money, success and fame come your way not because you demand or you go seeking for it, NO! You have earned it.

At this stage in the game, money, success and fame come seeking for you because you have proved yourself to be a quality product, a knowledgeable and experienced professional, a person of integrity, a bankable personality.

People want to be associated with you. People want to do business with you. People want to patronize your services and products. People want o endorse you, your company, government, products and services.

Zero focus and no foundation is a recipe for disaster. Most young people today fail because of mixed priorities. They are too much in a hurry to acquire wealth so they can drive big SUV’s, live in intimidating mansions and possibly have the most beautiful ladies flock around them.

The same haste for success has made most of our future leaders gloss over a critical foundational life requirement: learning to acquire knowledge, skills and competences.

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