I met Jacky through another Social Venturers Interview. Danielle Anderson, who is based in Nairobi, Kenya, introduced us via Twitter and two weeks later, Jacky and I caught up for coffee at Dark Horse Espresso Bar in downtown Toronto.
Jacky is a journalist, media consultant, and social entrepreneur. She reports on social issues, community development, and humanitarian issues. Through her social enterprise New Lens Travel, she organizes storytelling themed trips in Kenya and Ghana. “It’s an opportunity for people to meet local creatives, storytellers, and activists. We spend time connecting with folks who are re-writing narratives of their communities and the continent at large and dig into what this work and life looks like.” The company’s profits are invested in the next generation of African storytellers, by providing media training to youth from marginalized communities.
I feel very privileged to be able to work overseas and connect with the people who trust me to tell their stories — that’s huge.
What drives you?
“One of the reasons I got into journalism was the potential for impact. For me, journalism is a tool to make a difference. What I haven’t quite figured out yet is how to measure that impact. It’s difficult to know who’s reading my stories or seeing my work and what difference it makes. Changing people’s perspectives and making an impact in society is often a long and slow process, and I have no way of knowing how exactly I contribute to that. While it’s difficult to pin down, the potential to make an impact through this work is definitely the biggest draw that brought me to this work.”
What does it take to get storytelling right given your perspective from within two continents?
“Living and working in several countries — these days, namely Canada and Kenya — has been such an amazing opportunity for me to understand different perspectives. When it comes to socio-political issues, I know people whose views really cover the spectrum. These conversations and relationships have helped me understand why people think the way they do, which ultimately helps me be a better storyteller.”
Being self-employed, how do you make sure you invest in your personal and professional development?
“I definitely take my personal and professional development seriously, and I read books, listen to podcasts, and take online courses that support my growth. I also have a mentor and I’ve worked with coaches before (Jacky and I share a history with the Coaching Fellowship!). And I feel like I am constantly learning from the people I meet and the stories they tell, which is such a neat perk of my work. My personal and professional life bleed into another and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing because I love what I do.”
Kenya & Canada
Storyteller and social entrepreneur.
Advocate for social justice. Goal squad leader, #hypewoman.