We sat down with Change Management and People Transformation specialist, Gatonga Theuri, an attendee of our Who Am I? GBTQ leadership programme, to hear about his retreat experience and how he's used our teachings to drive change in his own life.
Who are you?
I am spirit experiencing life as a human being who is black, African, gay and professionally, a program manager in the field of Data Science, insights and analytics.
How did you find yourself doing what you're doing?
I was always drawn to computer science and the possibility of information technology which I believe to be limitless and right now in its early infancy; in addition, unrealized potential has always been an area of interest to me, and being part of the process of realizing said potential or evolution of individuals and humanity as a whole has always been what I thought is part of my calling.
What have you learnt throughout your journey?
That it’s okay not to be okay, that I am not alone, that there are people like me from different pockets of the World striving for the same clearest, best and most life possible.
Why did you get involved in the "Who Am I?" programme?
I am naturally introspective and believe that the quest for self-knowledge is literally why we are here – to discover our limitlessness and phenomenal potential, and through this experience, encourage all to discover and revel in their true magnificent selves.
Have you used anything from our retreat in your life?
Yes, mainly in how I approach my personal and professional life – I was an extremely ambitious, overworked and stressed out man – always trying to prove myself worthy…now, I am hopefully on a different tangent – one of self-discovery, self-love and self-care – where my motives are not subservient to others or society, but are all about experiencing the highest, most and best possible life for me.
What relationship do you have to the LGBTQ+ community?
It’s quite checkered to be honest – for the longest time, I was deeply in the closet, especially when I was living in Nairobi (Kenya), so I avoided the community at all costs, as I thought that association was social suicide; later, when I decided to live with my first partner, I was more open to the community albeit heavily discreet. Having moved to live initially in Budapest, and now in London, I feel deeply that I want to give back and take care of my siblings in the community; be to them that which I lacked for instance a model of a possible life; spread more love and try and overcome some of the darkest parts of the community. I want to play a part in the healing and self-acceptance; help our community members live better, more elevated and quality lives through self-love, self-knowledge, and self-care, which I think all begins with self-acceptance.
What's the biggest challenge you're currently facing?
Fear of ending up with no one to share my love and my life with – I am currently single, after 3 serious attempts ()…I know I am made for love, to love and be loved, so my fear is not finding that soon or ever.
Have you learnt anything new about yourself since the retreat?
Yes…I am a deeply loving and caring man that will see the best first in others, yet I am also an extremely harsh self-critic…I am trying to be more conscious and present in my self-talk, in a bid to be less self-critical. Turning it from negative self-talk, to positive, loving and uplifting self-talk.
How do you continue to "Create Space"?
Meditation, Gratitude exercise (writing down 3 things I’m grateful for daily), physical exercisen (sadly not consistent or as much as I’d like), changing my self-dialogue and taking time to enjoy myself without guilt.
Want to connect with Gatonga? Follow him on Linkedin.
Are you interested in joining one of our retreats?
Our 'Who Am I?' retreats take place throughout the year. We have tailored iterations of the programme to suit the needs of differing identity groups. Each person can attend the group that feels right for them. To stay updated about upcoming workshop and retreat dates, please subscribe to our mailing list here.