Robyn McKoy, Senior Technical Account Manager at Microsoft
Robyn started mentoring Esther five years ago, just as Esther was reaching a critical point in her life – graduating high school and not having the skills to break out of the circle of poverty and find employment. In addition to mentoring, Robyn sponsored Esther’s college education while also sponsoring her to attend a special 6-month program (HER Lab) where she learned priceless digital skills. Microsoft’s employee GIVE Program and Robyn’s compassion and ‘never-give-up ethos’ made this educational journey possible. Today, Esther is a Clinical Officer at AmpathPlus, a USAID / PEPFAR HIV/AIDS partner in Kenya. And, she ‘just’ received a promotion to ‘Gender Violence Lead’ for West Pokot County, the county she comes from.
“Esther’s empathy has impacted my own. She gives of herself to help others who are in the situation that she was once in, before gaining an education. She is able to see herself in them and therefore she sees their potential. It has expanded my empathy just seeing her extend the same to others. It inspires me to extend that empathy in my personal life and in my work life. Having empathy with my co-workers and customers allows for more collaborative relationships. Having empathy in my community also allows for connections with new people, which allows me to learn about new and different perspectives.” – Robyn McKoy
“My greatest challenges in life were wondering how I was going to complete my education and wondering how I would forgive a father who abandoned us. My mentor, Robyn, helped me overcome both of these challenges through her wisdom, guidance, encouragement and college sponsorship. I am from a polygamous family. My mother had five children. I am the first in my family to graduate high school, so when I graduated college, my educational journey became even more remarkable, because I was a girl destined to partake in a forced early marriage, a fate from which I was fortunately rescued. Today, I am a Clinical Officer at AmpathPlus, one of USAID/PEPFAR’s HIV/AIDS partners in Kenya. This is my dream come true, and I want to be a role model in my community for girls to dream big and never give up. The digital skills that I acquired at HER Lab have equalized me with others. Being able to operate a computer and knowing how to leverage the Microsoft applications gave me an edge while in college and now in my professional life. My goal is to bring a clinic to my village someday–a safe place where everyone can get medical services, including girls who face the kinds of challenges I once faced. Robyn has played such a critical role in my life, by guiding me and boosting my self-esteem throughout. I will always remain grateful to her.” – Esther Cheboss, Clinical Officer, AmpathPlus Kenya