Barrack remembers his time in Iowa during the Mandela Washington Fellowship fondly as it gave him an experience full of new cultures, skills, and perspective of others. He's since put all of this into use in creating a new plan for himself and his future success in business. 
 

What is your biggest takeaway from your time at the University of Iowa for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program? Why?

My biggest takeaway was meeting with the other fellows from fourteen other African Countries with diverse sets of skills, interesting culture and experience in business and entrepreneurship.  It was an exciting and memorable moment interacting with them on a daily basis, sharing our experiences, culture, visiting the various places together as a team and learning the art of business and leadership. All these, to wrap it up with the Venture School Program which gave me an insight of startups, easier way of managing business, setting up and sustaining it was an experience I could rewind and do all over again. The experienced and friendly staff at Venture School as well as the business mentors added much value to my skills.

Have the skills you learned been helpful in your ventures? Which ones, and how did you apply them?

The skills I learned at Venture School have been helpful in my career. Currently, I am providing training to various youth groups and doctors that have private practices. I train them on their business models, value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams and customer archetyping. This is having a huge impact on their businesses and they are reporting improved operations, team and customer satisfaction as well as increased revenues. I have also managed to help three individuals set up new ventures using the business model canvas. The leadership training has also helped me become a better leader through seeing opportunities where no one is seeing any and I have managed to lead my groups with a vision of a more organized institution that works to constantly create a change in the community by embracing volunteerism within our networks.

If you could give one tip or piece of advice to the new 2018 fellows, what would it be?

TAKE THE VENTURE SCHOOL SERIOUSLY!

INTOVERTS, FORCE YOURSELF TO EXTROVERSION!

What was the highlight of your time at The University of Iowa or your favorite moment during the fellowship?

The trip to Des Moines, meeting John Pappajohn, touring World Food Prize and networking with the fellows from Drake University was the highlight of the fellowship. It was colorful and exciting, then there was the African Festival in Des Moines. We all enjoyed West African foods and cuisines, danced to the rhythm of West African Music, it was so awesome. The dinner at Bob Walker’s was also a memorable one, keeps me smiling to date, so exciting.

How are your entrepreneurial ventures going? Have they grown? Have you explored or started new ones? 

I am in the process of starting an online resource center for doctors and healthcare professionals where they can have insights on not only healthcare systems but also winning healthcare business models and leadership. I am still raising capital for it and hopefully by early 2019, it will be up and running. On my part time basis however, I focus on teaching business and entrepreneurship to women small scale traders, youth groups planning to set up new ventures and doctors who are starting their private practice.

How do you personally feel you have grown or changed (in perspective, in knowledge, as a person etc.) because of the fellowship program?

I feel like I have changed so much in how I view the world and people, I have come to appreciate each person’s strength and background and believing in people and their skills. I have also increased my knowledge in various fields ranging from Information Technology, Volunteerism, Agribusiness and Healthcare which as a leader, has been useful during mentoring sessions with young entrepreneurs and leaders. All of these, thanks to the fellowship and the networks I have established over that period. I can actually know if a business model will work or not and can easily give advice on the best approach and practice.

Give a brief summary of your life since the fellowship program for instance: wedding, addition to the family (new birth), new job, promotion, new project, new company, new project line, etc. 

The first month of the fellowship, I resigned as a Programs Manager of Beacon Health Services because I felt there was a need to utilize that momentum from the fellowship for the good of the community and my personal development. For a month, I planned my next move, a new line of project and defined my goals using the Leadership Development Plan. I received an offer for a Professional Practicum in a local NGO here in Kenya for three months. It was focused on healthcare and livelihoods of women domestic workers and women small scale traders. I basically transferred the whole of the UI lessons to that project and it had a huge impact and success. After my practicum, I was retained and offered a job at the USAID East Africa/Kenya where I keep sharing the knowledge and skills from the fellowship. Now I am doing what I love most, healthcare and livelihoods!