Whoot Africa

Whoot Africa’s Best Advice Series – Part 10 Johann Jenson, Mark Essien & More

“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” – Tony Robbins

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman

This week on Whoot Africa’s best advice series, we share words of wisdom, a thought of hope, and inspiration in our own little way

Here are some CEO’s and inspirational personalities sharing with us this week…. Stay inspired, dream big and work towards winning.



      Johann Jenson, Founder & CEO SleepOut.com Kenya

What is your Best Advice?

That’s a great question because when you become a first-time CEO the learning curve is enormous and you are constantly trying to soak up knowledge from mentors and those that are seemingly wiser than you. You absorb online content and ask everyone you know for advice on everything from HR to accounting to legal and marketing.

The single most important advice that I came across was in a blog post from Kayak founder Paul English. He had this philosophy of hiring intelligent people and that has become our mantra. While we are a hospitality company, it is far more important that we find talented individuals that can problem solve in a quickly evolving online travel industry rather than import knowledge from previous experience as a travel agent or safari tour operator. We are always asking friends and acquaintances: “who is the most intelligent person you know?

In many ways, it has shaped the way the SleepOut.com team functions and the culture of our employees. When smart people become your key assets, job descriptions adapt and evolve. Far more exchange occurs between the various units of our company and it depresses some of the negative effects of hierarchy and turf wars. For example, guest support is more likely to have solutions to share with the engineers and our content team is then able to trouble shoot technical issues with the host support team.


 Erasmus Mweene, Regional President Kairos Society and WEF Global Shaper


Here is what I consider as the best advice. I received this advice from a Swiss banker who I met at a summit I was attending in Europe. This advice is about the power of networking.


“Do not take for granted any opportunity you have to meet new people”. Whenever an opportunity to meet new people presents itself, grab it with both hands because you never know whom you meet. You never know who has that one solution to your problem. You never know who has that one idea you have been looking for. One connection can change the rest of your life. Appreciate the power of networking. Networking is about creating relationships. Relationships are about giving and receiving.”


Impact on my life:

The power of networking has played a very significant role in my life because it has connected me to many opportunities. I got my current job through networking. I work with different international organisations and all this has happened because of the power of networking. The current initiative I am implementing became a reality after I won an award in a projects competition recommended to me by someone I met.


               Mark Essien, CEO and Founder of Hotels.ng



The best I ever received comes from the bible:

“Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go.” – Ecclesiastes 9:10


I was told this quote by my uncle, and I take it personally. I believe that no matter the situation you find yourself in, or the work you find that you have to do, always to it to the best of your ability.

There is no “bad work” or “wrong situation”. In every situation, you should always do the very best you can, no matter if you like the work or not.





If you missed the previous parts of the best advice series, please click here .

Olushola Pacheco

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