It is a common assumption that lawyers are too engrossed in their day to day work that they rarely get the chance to participate in community enriching activities. Whereas this is a commonplace albeit mistaken perception, nothing could be further from the truth. For the entire month of November this year, the team at Corporate Juror has embarked on a mission to seek out and shine a light on male lawyers who are making a difference in society by incorporating charitable works into their work and lifestyle.
Our first guest in this quest is none other than Anthony Musyoki, the head of the legal function at Isuzu Motors East Africa Limited. Isuzu Motors East Africa Limited was born out of a joint venture between the Kenyan Government and General Motors Kenya. When General Motors exited the Kenyan market, Isuzu Motors East Africa Limited was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Isuzu Motors Limited. Isuzu Motors East Africa is the first manufacturing and distribution organisation outside of Japan where Isuzu has a 100% ownership. It serves as an important base for Isuzu’s long term growth throughout Africa.
Anthony Musyoki Mwololo, is a 39 year old lawyer and father to two lovely daughters. He undertook his University education at The University of Nairobi, was called to the bar in 2009 and shortly thereafter joined Isuzu as legal assistant in 2010. Quickly rising through the ranks, he was later appointed as an attorney and in a record four years was promoted to manager. Aside from his work life, Anthony’s love for history keeps him reading in his free time.
Speaking to Anthony revealed a few gems that we will highlight later in this article. For starters, it became quite clear that aside from excelling in his work, he was driven not by monetary gain but rather by an aspiration to make a difference in the world. He attributed this sense of higher purpose to his Christian faith which shone through in his description of his way of life. Making reference to the famous quote, Anthony strives to be the change that he would like to see in the world. He emphasised accountability to God as opposed to being accountable to other people as the major driving force behind his work.
In an industry that is as gruelling as it is cutthroat, Anthony’s duties encompass contract negotiation, compliance, company secretarial work, debt collection, policy making, government relations among other legal duties. What is curious however is that he ties it all up by heading the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) function of the company. Aside from his work, he is also the Vice Chair of the Automotive Sector at the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and serves as the Secretary of the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers Association. A tough balancing act for a man who we later discovered was more than able to execute all these duties with a smile on his face. He mentioned that he likens his demeanour to one of his icons, Eliud Kipchoge, who is actually one of the company’s brand ambassadors.
Our focus for the interview was to highlight Anthony’s great work in the CSR unit of the company. He informed us that the company dedicates 1.5% of its pre tax profits to CSR. The CSR activities are based on three pillars:
- Road Safety – by encouraging behaviour change, some of the activities include the inception and participation in transport awards in the public transport industry and Emergency response in collaboration with the Nurse in Hand initiative. Road safety is key for Isuzu as it speaks directly to the company’s core business.
- Education – which he described as the key to the development of Africa with a keen focus on impacting high school education, STEM education and sports education. His company gives scholarships to gifted and talented students.
- Environment – in recognition of the impact of vehicle emissions to the environment, the company is on a mission to plant 10,000 trees this year in partnership with Kenya Forestry Service. Further, the goal is to embark on the production of low emission vehicles.
- Community – a strong community the foundation of a great society, the company focuses on various community strengthening activities.
When undertaking these CSR activities, the company focuses more on continuing projects as opposed to one off projects with the employees required to dedicate a minimum of 16 hours of their personal time per year to CSR activities.
Delving deeper into some of the CSR activities, Anthony identified and now champions a Mentorship programme dubbed ‘Mentenda’. Mentenda is geared towards impacting young men, between 14 to 25 years old in an attempt to make them better equipped to handle the struggles that men are going through in society. Through the programme, men working at Isuzu East Africa have been mentoring high school students previously at Muhuri Muchiri High School and currently at St Thomas Aquinas High School on weekends. This is particularly important given that traditionally, men are not known for discussing their problems openly.
We were curious to know his thoughts on what made him best positioned to handle the CSR function. He ascribed his adeptness to the critical thinking skills which he got in his legal training. Critical thinking, he said, enabled him to be a problem solver therefore positioning him favourably to come up with creative solutions to the CSR problems.
With so much on his plate, we were curious to find out just how he balances it all. He was thankful to his company for affording him a flexible work environment which he says enables him to take time off to spend with his family and to carry out the various CSR activities.
For young lawyers looking to get into the manufacturing space, Anthony emphasises a need for them to learn the unique compliance needs governing the sectors they would like to work in as well as Environment Health and Safety compliance and labour issues. In doing all this, he urges a focus on dealing with issues in both a legal and a practical way.
Anthony holds the vision that Kenya needs to move towards being a manufacturing base in order to compete with other markets. He believes that the path to our economic development lies in the attraction of investors into the country.
Anthony cuts the perfect image of a man out to make the world a better place. By highlighting his story, we hope to inspire more people lawyers /in house counsel to take up active roles in giving back to the community. In the words of the late great Maya Angelou, giving back afterall, nourishes the soul of the giver.