Samuel Bakutana started out as a teacher before finding out what he wanted to do.
His is a story of a man who found his purpose for life in inspiring leadership among people.
“I have been in leadership right from the time was in school. I have held positions such as school council chairman and patrol scouts commander, among others,” Bakutana says.
At Kyambogo University where he attained a degree in Education, he once served as the academic board chairman, deputy speaker of the student’s association, guild representative counsellor for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, a minister for academic affairs, and a guild president.
“I started realising that this leadership thing (sic) is not something coincidental in my life. There must be something I was created to do,” he says.
After school, Bakutana taught at his former school - Kyamakanda Secondary School, in western Uganda.
However, his focus lay elsewhere where he sought to discover the seed of leadership within himself.
“After I realised I had potential, I started being intentional about leadership. I attended seminars, workshops, and spoke to fellow students. I also became intentional about my friendships, the things I learn and the books I read,” he says.
Attaining particular skills
However, he needed to attain particular skills if he was going to achieve his life’s dream. After teaching for sometime, Bakutana joined the Africa Population Institute to study Public Administration and Management.
“I did a course in leadership. I then went to the All Nations Congress in Nigeria for a course in leadership influence and building, and then to Makerere University for a short course in training trainers, among others. All these, were focused on developing leaders,” he says.
Before starting his own Inspired Leaders International facility, Bakutana worked as a national director at WSM International and as the programmes manager at Delta Communities Uganda.
Inspired Leaders International seeks to empower and inspire leaders through training and resource development.
“I know that leaders are made through rigorous and continuous growth and learning. So leadership is influencing others through your own example. Not a sign post leader. You go first and others follow. If you claim to be a leader, but no one is following you, you are merely taking a walk,” Bakutana notes.
The institute - Inspired Leaders - targets people in leadership – where one is in charge of a certain responsibility, functional leadership - where one has no position or title but functions as a leader and potential leadership – where one has no position, does not play any function but the things they are involved in show leadership potential.
“We offer the right mentorship and encouragement [for people] to develop their ability so that they can be a better version of who they were created to be. That can be done in many ways,” he says.
Bakutana has always dreamed of inspiring other people to do better than others or even himself. And the fact that he has grown to achieve that is enough for him to thank God.
He has shared a platform with prominent people including MPs from Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria, among others.
He is also a policy consultant for the Parliament of Uganda and owns a publishing and book selling house.
“Nothing gives me satisfaction than someone telling me, “honestly, you saved my career. If it was not for that talk, or that hour you gave me, or that book I read, this would not have happened”. People might call me this inspirational speaker, but they do not know how much they inspire me,” he says.
However, this has not been achieved without challenges as he has had to stay away from his young family because some of his work requires him to travel widely.
“Sometimes I have to stay away from my family for days or even weeks. It is hard, especially if you have a young family,” he says.
Apart from that, he has had to go through challenges to put together business proposals to sell to a market that does not or believes so little in developing leadership skills.
“You have to think more than you ever used to, plan life as never before, market your value and let people know you have what they need,” Bakutana says.
Additionally, he says, the competition, some of which is against people who have an unfair advantage makes business hard.