"When you wake up to go work , do the work set out before you , and finish... because that is why you woke up". ~ Wilson Ojwando
One of the famous quotes by Bata founder Tomas Bata is “Honor the work”. This has been ingrained in the work culture of all Bata companies in the world to this day. For 34 years Mr. Wilson Ojwando , fondly referred to by colleagues as “Mr. O.J” has lived these words. In fact , as if to summarize his long and fulfilling career with Bata, Wilson said that what has always driven him is the belief that “you should take your daily work as your own.” The last week of May was his last week in Bata but even though he has left, he is going to be running his own Bata shop, as a franchisee, in Awendo, Western Kenya.
Until May , Mr.OJ. was working as a Merchandiser , in charge of accessories ( socks , bags , belts , handbags , shoe polishes……..). Asked to comment about him , Merchandising Manager Mr. Paul Muraya says : “Wilson is a very organized person who showed a lot of commitment to his work. The accessories range has grown exponentially and now contributes substantially to the total business.”
The Bata Kenya Shoe Blog Team asked Wilson a few questions about his career and future plans.
When did you join Bata and what was your first job in Bata?
“I joined Bata in Feb, 1979 and was confirmed as a permanent employee on 15th May the, same year. My first job was in leather department , in moccasin stitching.”
What change(s) in the company would you say made a big difference in growing the business?
“In the late 90’s when second hand shoes and cheap imports started coming into the country, we were not doing so well. But then, in the year 2002 , the company’s new management came up with a ‘new arrivals every week’ strategy. This ensured a wider collection of merchandise and we also started opening new stores and expanding.”
Most young people these days are hopping from employer to employer within a short time. Given your experience what would you advise them?
“Rome was not built in one day…..be tolerant , and always keep learning. Ambition is good but do not be over ambitious”.
What have you liked / enjoyed most about working with Bata?
“I have worked with great colleagues most of whom have become my long time friends. I started and raised my family , while working with Bata so I have many memories. What I have liked most in Bata is that you keep learning new ideas and ways of doing things. Also , my entrepreneurial skills have polished…….I am now going to run my own business!”
Tell us about your future venture – The Bata Franchise shop
“The shop will open officially on June 21st 2013. I will now dedicate all my strength and time here.”
We have no doubt that Mr. O.J’s venture is going to be a success, having committed most of his adult life working (and so very diligently) in the shoe business. A festive going away party was held for Mr. O.J. on the evening of Friday 31st May 2013. It was attended by Bata Kenya Company Manager Mr. Alberto Errico, Human Resources Manager Mr. Peter Giathi and other Bata Kenya staff with each department represented.
We wish him all the best!