Mercy Wanza is a lawyer and partner with legal start-up firm, Wakili Mkononi. She is also a National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) certified trainer working with Wabcom Ventures Limited, a corporate training and business consultancy firm.
Biggest career milestone: It is now three months since I achieved my latest career milestone. I managed this together with my four colleagues at Wakili Mkononi during the Innovate Justice Challenge that was organized in Nairobi by the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law. We emerged second runner’s up, and joined contestants from around the globe who work as justice accelerators. Following this achievement, we are now receiving resources and grants for legal research, mentorship and legal partnerships.
How I succeed: Over time, I have developed a success recipe that takes three categories to see it through. The first category is made up of people who have gone before me and achieved success in their respective fields. This category of people is a great resource in mentorship and guidance. The second category includes people who are in the same level with me. These not only provide me with mutual support and accountability, but also inspire a competitive edge in me. The third category includes people who look up to me as their beacon of success. These keep me on my toes by constantly reminding me that I live and work towards a bigger vision than just myself.
The secret to making it: You must be dynamic and maintain an open mind if you want to experience success. Unfortunately, I have seen and observed far too many women struggle to fit in the narrative that other people, such as parents, teachers, and peers have drafted for them. The road to success is not a dance routine. You can break course and author your own pages with incredible success results.
Biggest money mistake: I have come to realize that my biggest money mistake was saving and not investing from the start. When I started earning, I would save rather than invest, until I learned that the wealthy use the money I save and other funds saved at the banks to transact and gain more profit. The interests that idle bank savings accumulate are mere tokens compared to earnings of other passive investments.
If I could go back in time: I would do follow the same path that I have walked. I started working at an early age. My age did not deter me nor overwhelm me with the fear of failure. Since then, I have chartered numerous unfamiliar waters, a risk that has ended up propelling me to bigger successes.
Employment versus entrepreneurship: I believe that both are at par when it comes to wealth creation and career success. I also believe that you should work under someone and learn the ropes before you can even dream of launching your own enterprise. This will effectively shorten your learning curve.
Biggest loss: Early this year, I partnered with the wrong people in a business endeavor. I came very close to losing a substantial amount of money. Fortunately, one of my mentors put me back on the right path before I incurred losses. This taught me the value of carrying out due diligence on potential and prospective business partners.
My saving method: I subdivide my income into three percentage parts. The first is a ten percent, which I tithe. The second is made up of 40 per cent which I save. I then use the remaining 50 per cent to meet my current utility needs.