By Emmanuel Ndongereye
“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do whatever I can for it.”
These are the words of Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw.
In every situation, we achieve more working together as a community rather than being selfish with our own personal interests. It is always beneficial to share our skills and knowledge with others. Helping others grow and implement new skills can make your community prosperous.
Someone who personifies this is Sylidio Masengesho, the Lead Employment Editor at the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Global Education Movement. Sylidio has a management degree and a concentration in logistics operations from SNHU. He is currently pursuing a master's in education, concentrating on teaching, curriculum and supervision at Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA). It was a pleasure to speak with Sylidio and learn about his career journey. My conversation with him underscored why it is problematic to live and work within a community and leave without contributing to its development or success. He is making a difference in his community by helping refugee students find gainful employment, while at the same time providing them with inspiration and hope.
When he was a student at Kepler, a non-profit university program that partners with Southern New Hampshire University to provide students in East Africa with access to the US accredited Bachelor’s degrees, he served as a teaching assistant. After he graduated, he took on the role of teaching and learning fellow at Kepler. He then became the Lead Employment Editor. His work focuses on designing systems and structures to help GEM students produce better application packets, conducting workshops/training with them regarding resume and cover letter writing, offering mock interview services. These services have helped 60% of students secure job opportunities.
Sylidio has faced challenges working as the Lead Employment Editor when interacting with students from various countries like South Africa, Malawi, Rwanda and others. Students from different countries have different time zones and different cultural backgrounds.
In his career, Sylidio has led several great achievements. Most noteworthy is advising students to complete their College for America (CFA) projects, a program that enables students to connect their studies to real-life situations. He focused on supporting students during their CfA project challenges and was amazed by the number of students he supported who graduated in 2021.
"We are always looking to introduce different strategies and improve, so we can support students in securing more internships or jobs,” said Sylidio.
An example relates to the students who benefitted from his communication and professional competencies teaching. These new students did not know formal writing and professional behavior, but Sylidio supported them in various ways. Now all of these students have improved and are ready for professional opportunities.
Sylidio is extremely passionate about education, always encouraging those he interacts with to leverage technology and to explore innovative ways to deliver content that generates impact.
“In education, we have to make sure learning goes both ways,” he said. “I believe that there is a high need to prepare teachers and students to adapt to changes the world throws at us. For instance, when the COVID-19 pandemic came, not every education institution was about to press on with its operations. So the question is, how can we explore our wide understanding of the reality and other available resources to make sure that we provide meaningful learning experiences.”
It was certainly enjoyable and insightful conversing with Sylidio. I was able to see how he has been successful by reflecting, setting goals and utilizing resources effectively. This is helpful to individuals in all age groups.
Therefore, below is some terrific advice from him that young people who are looking to be successful in their career journeys should consider:
Reflect on what you did in the past. Sylidio shared with me that while building our career as well as best preparing ourselves for a better future, we must ask ourselves questions. These include:
What did you do yesterday? By looking at what you did best and considering what you want to improve, you can be more successful in the future.
What did you learn from the people you met? Think about new skills and knowledge from other people.
How can you improve? Try to implement helpful and productive ideas from successful people.
Taking time to reflect on what we are in pursuit of in our careers will help us to better understand our aspirations and goals.
Set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. We need to ensure that our objectives are SMART. Oftentimes, we are so focused on the goal that we fail to consider what it takes to achieve it.
Leverage available support systems and resources. Taking advantage of the opportunities placed in front of you is essential to being successful, yet not everyone has the same support systems and resources available to them. For example, GEM students have a support system called Student Portal, where opportunities are posted and individuals can apply to them. The careers team at Kepler is providing support such as preparing and strengthening cover letters, resumes, and mock interviews. Unfortunately, many students are not taking advantage of this opportunity.
I have always dreamt and been passionate about helping my community through education, especially with Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement. I have begun taking modules and workshops to strengthen my resume and cover letter to improve my chances of a job or internship, but I haven’t stopped there. Currently, I am reviewing and editing others’ resumes and cover letters, so that they will also have a better job application.
I am passionate about Sylidio’s career because he takes pride in helping others and strengthening the community. He is an inspiration to so many and loves what he does. We should therefore carefully consider applying his inspiration and advice in our own lives.
Connect with Sylidio Masengesho on his LinkedIn profile for more information.
Emmanuel Ndongereye is pursuing his Bachelor of Art in Management with a concentration in Logistics and Operations at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with Emmanuel on LinkedIn.