Congratulations to Jamie Pujara, the 2021 EO Mark Lincoln Volunteer of the Year Award! Jamie is an EO Kenya member and the MEPA Regional Chair. This notable honour is awarded annually to one member who embodies the heart and soul of volunteerism.
(Photo caption: Jamie Pujara and Vivienne van Eijkelenborg)
At the height of the pandemic, Jamie led and served more than 1,000 MEPA members as regional chair, putting their needs above his own. During a time of great personal stress and loss in his own business, Jamie exemplified the true spirit of servant leadership to which all EO members aspire.
We asked Jamie about his experience during the past year as he led the EO MEPA region through the worst of the pandemic:
Tell us about your EO journey.
I joined EO in 2014. At the time, I was trying to close a sale, but the client only wanted to talk to me about this amazing organization he had joined, and how it had impacted his life.
I was frustrated because he didn’t allow me to talk about business! Within a week, I attended an EO Test Drive event. I was blown away by the Forum-type experience they created and realized that having a community of other entrepreneurs was missing in my life and would benefit me greatly as I grew my business.
Once I joined, it was full-steam ahead. EO Kenya was a relatively small chapter, so stepping up was encouraged. Within three months, I put my hand up to be the GSEA Champion, followed by Learning Chair (2016/17), then President (2017/18).
I had no plans to continue my path of leadership beyond my chapter until I attended the Regional Leadership Academy (RLA) in Cape Town. The learnings were so impactful and resonated so deeply with me that I committed to being the best servant leader I could be for EO. I joined the MEPA Regional Council as a Member Products Director (2018/19) and then served as the Regional Chair for MEPA for the last two years (2019/20 and 2020/21).
On a personal level, EO has been incredible. I always tell people that I joined the organization thinking that the immediate impact would be in my business. In reality, the biggest changes have been on me as an individual, father, husband and friend. I’ve made so many changes through the incredible learnings I’ve gotten from EO members both locally and internationally.
Professionally, sometimes it’s hard to see growth in yourself. When I hear Forum, chapter or staff members comment about my development as a leader, it takes me by surprise and then allows me the space to reflect on how far I’ve come.