How Emily Kamunde-Osoro aims to build people’s capacity through her thriving firm

Emily Kamunde-Osoro, the founding director of Rise and Learn

A company cannot build a good team of working professionals without a good human resources function

As businesses move towards growth and diversification, they need to deal with ambiguity and complexity of the modern world. It is now easy to see why most businesses in the region are looking to strengthen their workforce with skills and mentality required to realize the prospects of a growing economy.

In this view, human resource consultancy firm Rise and Learn Limited was launched in Kenya with a major objective of tackling the high levels of unemployment. “We support professionals and entrepreneurs through training and development programmes” opens up Emily Kamunde-Osoro, the founding director of Rise and Learn during an interview with this magazine.

Emily also serves as a global director of the International Coach Federation.

She has a wealth of experience in HR strategy development, leadership, career and organizational development across Africa and Middle East.

Emily is passionate about leadership, people management and coaching.

First job

Emily graduated from Moi University in 2004with a degree in Tourism Management and joined Kenya Airways as a customer service agent. After two years at the airline, she moved to Syngenta East Africa as a business assistant to the managing director.

“My key achievements included setting up the HR organization at Syngenta East Africa with just under 40 employees. My responsibilities were later expanded to cut across our 4 business units in East Africa both commercial and production with over 3000 employees,” shares Emily.

She worked at Syngenta for six years and acknowledges the position was timely in developing her career as well as impacting that of others.

Later, she resolved to look for a challenging experience and expand her impact. So, when a new opportunity came knocking, she quickly embraced it.

“I joined Jubilee Insurance and the regional head of human resources in 2013 where I was responsible for the development and implementation of HR strategies across 5 countries with over 900 employees and 4000 sales representatives,” recalls the entrepreneur who holds an MBA in human resources.

During her stint at Jubilee Insurance, she developed a leadership and coaching program for managers which she notes was adapted by FSD Africa and Creative Métier as a case study for financial institutions in Africa in 2016. Her accomplishments saw her win KiritDave Manager of the Year Award. Jubilee Insurance won company of the year awards for two consecutive years in 2013 organized by Kenya Institute of Management.

In 2016, she attained a John Maxwell Coach, Speaker and Trainer certification.

She was never settled though.

Rise and Learn

“While I had amazing experiences and really loved my job while working with these firms, I felt I was more ambitious and wanted to do more impactful thing beyond the borders or limits of employment. The best bet was to set up a consultancy firm.”

That informed the birth of Rise and Learn Limited in 2017.

Starting out as an entrepreneur, Emily was greatly concerned by the unemployment levels in the country. She wanted to fix this.“I desired to harness the creativity and energy of the youth to create job opportunities and build their capacity to do so,” explains the executive.

She reveals that today’s youth lack the prerequisite skills such as emotional intelligence and problem solving to thrive in an increasingly challenging work environment. “Soft skills are now the biggest requirement by employers because they influence how one works or collaborates with other employees. Many graduates lack these vital skills.”

Her firm aspires to train employees and entrepreneurs to be hands on through its bespoke training solutions. “We offer a number of services in the broad domain of HR and leadership, with a specific focus on HR outsourcing and learning programmes for entrepreneurs, SMEs and corporates.”

Admittedly, all organizations need a human resource component. A company cannot build a good team of working professionals without a good human resources function, offers Emily.

Today’s business environment keeps changing. There is a lot of automation, skills change and new ways of doing things. So businesses need people who are agile and prepared for future uncertainties. Leaders also need to be well cut to lead their employees and organization to growth and sustainability.

Learn and Rise was created to help organizations thrive in such complexity and dynamism.

It’s leadership and management programs offer learners opportunities for personal growth as they move higher in the organization.

“So far, our work has been credited to improve capacity, productivity and accountability across businesses,” she notes adding that, “Our programmes are also very practical. We provide on demand learning solutions offering learners flexibility and opportunity to learn virtually while leveraging on technology to access a wide range of courses. We use best in class instructional design methodologies including videos and animation.”

Rise and Learn also works in partnership with other global leaders to help companies develop human capital capacity. In Januarythis year, the world’s largest human resources consulting firm, Mercer began a partnershipwith the organization to offer complimentary HR solutions.

Rise and Learn is also a local partner for Erickson Coaching International, one of the largest coaching schools globally.

Towards this end, Emily believes that coaching is a life-changing experience that dramatically improves one’s outlook on work and life while improving leadership skills.

Going forward, she hopes to build more capacity by unlocking people’s potential, their sources of creativity and productivity.


Lessons learned

  • You should channel your energy in to positive thinking.
  • There are natural challenges to every business and entrepreneur. Learn how to overcome them.
  • Lack of enough capital to steer your business to growth can be discouraging. You need to identify financiers who understand your plight and whom you can work with.
  • Many people have brilliant ideas but often lack enough confidence to actualize them. You need to face your fears.
  • Having the right talent is vital for the growth of any organization.
  • Creativity as a skill set is a big thing. You have to know how to get things done.