To tell Alice Namuli Blazevic’s story of how passion has led her to mentoring the many young people is one better told while sipping on a freshly brewed cup of coffee with the aroma silently sifting through your nostrils giving you a calmness that only comes with watching the sun set after a very busy day lighting up the universe. But again isn’t that the better way to talk about Coffee with Alice?
It all startedout of passion. She was yearning to add a brick to the society she envisaged. She however quickly learnt that the desired outcome could not come from afar, she too had work to do.
It is the delight of the young people to always have that one person to whom they turn to find answers to the difficult questions that they might be having. The idea is that you look around among the people around you to consult with them unfortunately, it is not a given that one will always find that person and that they will be as available as one might wish.
I was driven by curiosity to learn about the mentorship programme she runs only to find an interesting story waiting for me. Alice has mastered the art of delegation. Hers is a plateful but she has been very intentional to make sure that it does not spill over even when there is more demand on her side. Her model of mentorship is premised on a simple basis, “you too can do it”.
Coffee with Alice was born out of a need to mentor more young people. However she was alone and could not go about meeting every person. First, all she ever did was just a conversation, but it soon grew beyond that, she built bonds with those who trailed her.
One thing that cannot go without notice is the fact that Alice has offered herself for leadership in every sphere she has been to. As a young lawyer, she served at any opportunity that availed itself to her. She had a yearning to know how things were (rightfully) done. That way, she became actively involved with the Uganda Law Society and Rotary Uganda where she got exposed to servant and community leadership. Then a lawyer in the early mornings of her career, Alice’s main intrigue was to learn how to do things right.
The spotlight came with eye opening opportunities. She learnt that there was a lot she needed to do to get herself to where she wanted to be. It is a process that involved rolling up sleeves and getting involved. It was a process that would require time. Like a seed, the results would look dead before they germinated. She realised no one had whispered to her that this would be the way. Instead the system had lied. It had lied that as a lawyer, upon her enrolment into practice, the winds would leisurely blow her up the career ladder as painted by the TV legal dramas that she had watched along the way. From school everything looked straight, the path was clear. Years into the game, there were more lessons than the anticipated results. This information troubled her keeping it to herself. She thought she would go back to the schools to the younger professionals to un-lie the lie that the system tells. To tell them that each person has a role to play in their personal growth beyond attaining good grades. That their communities needed them. That servant leadership is not propelled by money. That growth only occurs when you are intentional about it.
That is how conversations began. First it was a one on one basis. Then the numbers grew and she could not do it herself alone. Thanks to her model of servant leadership, before long, her mentees took on the mantle to organise, set up and maintain platforms through which many other young people have been reached.
Beyond one on one coffee conversations, Coffee with Alice has grown to reach students in schools and at universities and young professionals. Beyond the mentorship, the programme has birthed out to deliberately impact communities through championing the cause of literacy. Through I Read, I Innovate, the teams are working with children in their communities through mobile reading clinics. They carry their story books and read with the children in the communities with an intent to interest them in loving to read. Through reading, they get exposed to new ideas. That way, they are challenged to think out of the box. That way, their little inquisitive minds become innovative.
Alice is convinced that through mentorship, leadership and giving back to communities lives can be transformed. This way collaborations are built. And this way lives are touched and bettered. The platform is open to all professional across the divide both male and female. Soon, an app will be available with an aim of helping mentees get in touch with mentors.
The excitement in her tone as she tells me this story is a confirmation that she enjoys mentoring young people a role which brightly lights up her world.