Mercy Wamae has built a company on finding the hidden potential in people that others often overlook. Jiji Ventures provides ushers, hostesses, models, and brand ambassadors for events and conferences. When Mercy founded Jiji Ventures, much of the industry only cared about looks, not character. Workers were regularly mistreated and objectified.
Rather than searching for the tallest and most glamorous, Mercy found young women who were pretty but also had heart. She wanted people who would value the work. They do a better job.
You can’t always tell who’s the right person for the job based on outward appearance. It’s a theme we see throughout the Bible. When the world would have chosen taller, more handsome men to be king, God anointed the young, short shepherd boy named David who was a man after God’s own heart. When Jesus chose His team, He found some scrappy fishermen and a tax collector to join Him. The lesson is to look at a person’s character and hidden potential.
That’s how Mercy hires. She doesn’t look at papers and resumes. She sits down with a person and simply talks. They chat. And the interviewee doesn’t even realize it’s an interview, but Mercy is watching. She is looking at the attitude. She is looking at the potential.
That’s how Issac was hired. He was a school dropout. And his attitude was HARD. Issac was defensive about everything, but Mercy gave him a chance and kept giving him a chance and kept giving him a chance. With time, he softened. Issac gave his life to Christ.
Then there is Robert, a drug abuser. He showed up at Jiji Ventures homeless with bruises all over his face after fighting with his parents and getting kicked out. He came asking for help, asking for a chance. It wasn’t an easy path but one of gradual redemption. Little by little, Jiji Ventures gave Robert opportunities to prove himself, and he rose to the occasion.
But the life transformation at Jiji Ventures is not just with employees. Most mornings, standing outside the office is Joseph. He will guard your car for a little bit of money. He needs the money, but his drinking problem often left him smelling of alcohol. Mercy set up a deal with a coffee shop in the building to provide him with daily meals on a punch card. After several weeks, Joseph showed up at Mercy’s office. They sat down and chatted. It turns out they’re from the same village. And as the conversation rolled on it turned into prayer with Joseph giving his life to Christ! Now Mercy is helping Joseph figure out how to take his life to the next level.
Recently Mercy’s son asked her, “Why do you work?” And she said, “It’s not because of money. It’s because of fulfillment.” Mercy sees a lot of transformation at Jiji Ventures. Almost 10 people have chosen to follow Christ there because of the culture Mercy has created.
What’s more, her business continues to grow and thrive. Jiji Ventures recently was recognized as SME of the Year and Best Ushering Solutions Provider at the 2019 Global MICE Africa Awards.
It is a reminder of what can happen if you are willing to take chances with people who others might overlook.
*Names have been changed for this story.