…… To get the flow of this story, read Part I here.
TomEdge continued excelling in both Kenya and major parts of Africa. Any IT discussion, in whatever forum, would not miss TomEdge’s name mentioned. It was now clear that Mr. Tom was commanding the IT field and raking in millions if not billions of dollars in revenue year in year out. With wealth comes fame. He would be invited to give talks upon talks to all sorts of audiences. He never declined to share his story, whether to poor people or to world leaders. The only time he would not make it (of course with apology) was when these events would clash with family matters. He was organized to the core, and his calendar always fully booked. If you delayed by five minutes you would miss him the whole year and would need to reschedule the meeting for the subsequent year(s). Such a busy life.
Tom met his wife while still in college. A shy girl (then), she stuck with him partly because he was a genius and partly because they shared similar childhood backgrounds. While Tom tried his level best to woo other girls to his cycle, mostly by using his skills and expertise in Information Technology, they always left him. He didn’t have money to take them out, buy them drinks and other fancy stuff. They always mocked him: “brains yes, but get yourself some cash. How will you maintain my beauty?” And just like that, he would be heartbroken, not once or twice but many times. Until Angel came into the picture. She was truly angelic – and still is. She would support him in all what he did. She was constantly aloof. Who would associate with her? Someone who could not afford the latest fashion in town? And who still had the village accent? Though she was tough in academics, she had few friends and what solace did she get when Tom accepted to be her boyfriend?
They nurtured their friendship throughout the years in college. She was actually the force behind the establishment of TomEdge Consulting. She would put all the mundane ideas from Tom into a comprehensible format and let him work on them until a feasible product was realized. In her, he had found a life partner. They held a simple wedding shortly after graduating from college. They didn’t have money to pull out the wedding but their true friends came in, volunteered their time, energy, strategies and cash resources and ensured they had a decent (yet simple) wedding ceremony. The company had not yet got its first customer and the budgets were stretched to the wire. Most of those friends who helped the couple during this period of lack now occupy senior positions in TomEdge, some commanding offices in foreign countries. He never forgot those who held up his hand and kept him on the road to success those many years ago. The family was blessed with three adorable children; Kim, Teddy and Laura.
Their children started their schooling life through the public schools because at that time, they were still struggling with paying bills and trying to stay afloat. They were yet to secure serious clients and the ones they had approached with their proposal had turned them down. Even though the fortunes of the family became better with time, the children stayed put that they would continue schooling in whichever institutions they were in. They declined to get into the ‘private schools hype’ by the middle class folks. And they are doing very well as we speak. They are doing better than their friends in the academies – with emphasis being discipline, hard work and being responsible.
Tom has not forgotten where he came from. A great chunk of the first major income from TomEdge was dedicated to uplifting the welfare of his parents, siblings and neighbours. His major task was to provide decent housing to the family. His parents and his three brothers had their own mansions built and furnished at the company’s cost. He pays school fees for all his brothers’ children and has already put in place an endowment to see that none will be disadvantaged in the event that the company goes under. Their education is assured. Through an elaborate plan, he has put in place a state-of-the-art irrigation system and now grows rear herbs which he exports to the Asian market. The once dry and derelict land his parents settled in is now dotted with green houses. He sunk two boreholes in the farm and supplies piped water to the neighbours at no fee. The labour or the farm comes from the neighbours whose wages are cannot be matched with any other farm in the neighbouring countries. Asked why he pays the workers highly, he tells anyone who cares to listen that the better your staff is paid, the less likely they will steal from you, and the more effort they will put in the job. But above all, he pays them well so that they may uplift their families’ living standards. You cannot claim to be rich if your neighbours wallow in poverty.
Such a gentleman. In his company, there were no layoffs or staff looking for greener pastures. Because there was no match for such a wonderful environment to work in. He understood that it was far more rewarding to be a leader than a manager (policeman). His open-office way of managing the company always paid off. Any staff – no matter what rank was free to walk in and chat with him about anything; official or not. It was more of a family setup than a corporate affair. This was replicated in all the branch offices across the continent. You would not get staff being lethargic in their work or complaining about their bosses’ way of managing them. Everyone understood what they were expected to do. Generally there was self-motivation from every staff no wonder the company was making super normal profits. This is one of the main reasons he was being sort after to give motivational speeches more so to managers. He never failed to emphasize that leadership was a choice not a rank.