Farewell message from former Chief Executive Officer
Dear colleagues, members and esteemed readers,
My job at RRA as Chief Executive Officer has come to an end but I regard my association with RRA as on going because of the professional ties. I took over from former executive Mr John Thompson who has since retired. This was from May 2014 after having served as an Executive in the Railway Private Sector since 1996.
Like many organizations anywhere, the RRA reached a point where transformation became necessary. This was a response to the changing times in the industry with the objective that eventually the association will encompass the reality of the national demographics to achieve appropriate and inclusive representation of its membership. In any case, meaningful transformation is not about discarding all things old but about making fresh and positive changes to what already exists. It should not lead to a new form of marginalization or be mistaken for victimization or other negative manipulations in representation. With this in mind the RRA executive embarked on reforms and transformation with a view of seeking a fresh mandate and direction from its members. A Rail cluster summit intended for all members was planned to address this need and it is hoped that in the coming year this summit will take place where members will be able to advise, express concerns ,share ideas and solutions for the association to be in a better position to carry out its mandate. This will also determine who the association is best set to serve.
We can not assume that things have remained the same since the inception of the association. However, it is important to note that without the relevant support even good ideas, strategies or good results can fail or become problematic and unworthy of our time or sacrifices. The fact that there are new members joining and many old ones returning to rejoin, means that the association must continue to be relevant.
When all is said and done, it will be up to all RRA members and stakeholders to decide what becomes of the RRA going forward. Policies, Executives and Staff come and go but the ideals are meant to live on after them. How this continuity can be achieved must come from the members who make up the association or members who need and appreciate its goals and vision.
In some way I am leaving RRA on a sad note because there are things we could not do because of the lack of resources but this too became a cause to change the strategy . As of now the association is not too dependent on what it can not get in abundance. In response to this situation the first interns numbering three were recruited to be pioneers in the quest to create jobs, offer training ( administrative duties) and restructuring the association to be cost effective in its operations. The wages of the interns are subsidized by the dti, a service which can help companies in financial distress or those needing a boost in man power at little or relatively no cost. This offered the needed relief when the RRA needed it most. This generous initiative from government has also put the association on the path to become compliant to the directive to do with reforms and transformation. It is hoped that by mid 2016 all other senior vacancies will be filled by qualified and experienced personnel who will take charge of the association’s operations.
On the other hand my working career has the trade mark of building on new foundations . My own record shows that I am a team player who empowers team mates to do their own best. So it does not worry me when time to move on comes, as that is the objective of empowerment. The people I leave behind are always competent and experienced enough to carry on and reach the goals set even going beyond. I have seen the interns’ determination to work and learn. With continued support from the seniors the association’s future is in safe hands. If failure comes it is not because of lack of capacity but a matter of giving up on a cause.
New ideas on the table include student membership via links with universities and colleges and other youth organizations so that interested under graduates or new graduates as well as unemployed youth can venture into the industry to become career men and women or business entities in the fields relating to the Railway Industry. This will accelerate the rate of exposure and offer an organized career path for interested individuals and provide new companies more hope to participate and to attain professional and occupational excellence. If indeed need is the mother of invention then it must be true to say that initiative and effort are the parents of successful out comes. The secret is to keep initiating, implementing and evaluating ideas.
During my long career as a professional , I have learned a lot from management of people and systems. In train control systems when a yellow signal appears in sight , one must slow down and be ready to stop until a green signal comes up. Most important we do not worry about faults we can fix . We strive to prevent accidents from faulty equipment or carelessness by users.The safety and efficiency of a system lies in good practices like effective maintenance regimes and controls to resolve or keep away problems. In life its the same. This knowledge gained is something I treasure in my own personal life. So this time round the focus is on me rather than other people or systems I have worked on. As the driver of my own system I must apply the lesson learnt, and knowing how old I am, its about time I thought of parking myself on the side loop knowing that appropriate action will be taken for my own good. I hope to spend more quality time with my family particularly my grand children who in many ways remind me of how far I have come to be what I am today.
Many thanks to the following:
John Thompson, founder member and former CEO of RRA, Allen Jorgensen founding member and former Media and Research Officer. Enolla Thomas the all round administrator, the Board, Associate Export Councils , members both old and new, and a special thank you to Elvin Harris the current President of the RRA who has been exceptionally supportive through out my time in office.
See you sometime, some place in the venue we know as the network.
Best wishes for the festive season and wishing everyone a prosperous year ahead.
Gorman Gordon Zimba