This post is the second series featuring some of the first marine conservation leaders taking part in the African Marine Conservation Leadership Programme that Blue Ventures and Maliasili started in 2020. They share their leadership journeys as part of the programme, which aims to strengthen marine conservation in the Western Indian Ocean region by training leaders of outstanding conservation organisations. In this post, Patrick Kimani sheds light on his leadership journey.
Patrick Kimani, Director at the Coastal Oceans and Marine Resource Development (COMRED) in Kenya.
My leadership journey began in my formative years, but leadership was not a term that rang true in my mind. I suspect that I led unknowingly. As a scientist, I’ve had the chance to work with and facilitate the lead of community-led conservation projects in Kenya and the Western Indian Ocean.
Two years ago, I joined the African Marine Leadership Programme (AMCLP) as part of the first cohort of 17 leaders from local conservation organisations. My style has evolved, and I connect more deeply with my team and the community members. Throughout the training and interactions with fellow leaders, I became more self-aware, understanding myself and others close to me more intimately.
The success of conservation requires us to connect deeply with people if we are to solve issues. I can now tap into my team’s different traits as we implement projects at COMRED. After completing the leadership training, I have used my skills to interact more with communities and appreciate their abilities. The well-curated courses on leadership and problem solving have allowed me to discover and explore my strengths while also exposing areas I can improve to become a better leader.
I cannot stress enough how important it is that I now better understand my team, the community, and other stakeholders since I am a better leader. It is vital to impart skills at the organisational and community levels, which will, in turn, breed success and support a community-led and people approach to conservation.