Nairobi Chapter of The Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) Marks 25th Anniversary

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The Nairobi Chapter of the Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) was founded in 1993 under the leadership of Moyez Alibhai who become the first chairman and is still an active member. Initially there were 11 founder members and the organisation has grown steadily over the years and the membership list now numbers 101. The Silver Jubilee will be marked this year by a series of events culminating in a grand, gala dinner.

With over 27,000 members in more than 130 countries around the world YPO is the global platform for Chief Executives to engage, learn and grow. Member managed companies employ 16 million people and generate six trillion dollars in annual revenues. Background information on the organisation and the qualification criteria for membership are listed in the website joinypo@ypo.org .

Moyez Alibhai was the driving force for the formation of the Nairobi Chapter. In 1986 he worked with a USIAD group in a project in East Africa and met with several YPO members. They invited him to a conference in Edinburgh during which he took the opportunity of joining YPO as a “member at large”.

He found the interchange between YPO members inspiring for his business, personal development and the well-being of his family. This drove him to set about gathering prospective members in Kenya with the objective of founding a local Chapter.

In 1993 the Vice President of the YPO South African region visited Kenya to help establish the Nairobi Chapter which became operational during that year. Moyez was duly elected Chairman and in due course became the area Vice President.  Later he was elected Chairman of the Africa region and became a member of the worldwide Board of Directors.

Reminiscing about his long membership of YPO Moyez said, “From the start of the Nairobi Chapter in 1993 it has been a pleasure working closely with other members, developing relationships, peer to peer networking and receiving and giving guidance to fellow members.”

“The highlight of my memories was an outing for 300 overseas visitors which took place in the Mara in 1996 when our Chapter was only three years old. We worked with YPO in South Africa to put together this ambitious event”.

“The participants occupied three Safari camps mixing game drives with meetings and developing relationships which have continued to this day. The Mara gathering was a fine example of the Nairobi Chapter of YPO making a mark on the international scene. Throughout our 25 year history we have been prominent internationally. For example Chapter member Dhruv Pandit is the current Chairman of the African Region”, added Moyez Alibhai.

Taking up the story Akshay Shah, the current Chairman of the Nairobi Chapter, said, “My enthusiasm for YPO stems from the organisation being a force for good which encourages us to improve our management capabilities and family life through learning from fellow members. We meet regularly for presentations by top academic and business personalities from around the world”.

“During 2018 speakers included Richard Mulholland, a renowned author who stressed that leaders can fail not because they have incorrect ideas, but  because they communicate their ideas incorrectly and Sam Mattock, a director of Halliday Finch a brand protection agency, who showed how to mitigate the damage caused by fakes.”

“Even more important for me is the satisfaction of attending a forum of fellow members each month. Members are chosen from different fields and are happy to link with each other participate in a forum. Discussions are confidential and frank enabling us to help each other cope with the challenges of work and our fast moving lives. I have benefited from advice and guidance which have improved my family relationships and the capacity for balancing running a business with rest and recreation.”

“Akshay Shah concluded, “Turning to the contribution made by our YPO Chapter to the Kenya economy by our members we are responsible for five percent of the country’s GDP. We strive to make our country more attractive for internal and external investment and we are a Platinum member of KEPSA.  We have helped KEPSA with involvement in discussions with the Government on key topics including import regulations and taxation.”

In 2016 Stephan Grabowski joined YPO after an enthusiastic recommendation by the CEO of an associate company who described YPO as “a life changing platform for personal learning through a strong network of business leaders”.

In addition Stephan was pleased that YPO runs a series of meetings and presentations with world renowned experts in many different fields. This was brought home to him when he attended an event which featured Mohammad Yunus who established the world’s first micro finance organization which has become an economic giant. Stephan commented, “Without being a YPO member I doubt if I would ever have had the privilege of learning directly from such a world renowned business leader”.

Summarizing his appreciation of the merit of membership Stephan said, “I now have access to an unrivaled list of local, regional and global business contacts. Most of all my personal development has been boosted by participation in a monthly forum consisting of a maximum of ten members. They are drawn from different business segments and professions which makes discussions completely open and dedicated to mutual mentoring and sharing experiences with other members about dealing with difficult issues and tricky situations. This has been truly life changing for me”.