We recognize and celebrate brave female leaders. The women we are honouring in our Brave Women Leaders feature demonstrate resiliency, bravery, and the ability to radiate their light brightly. They have gifts to share with the world and take tiny steps of bravery each day to make those visible. 

Today we honour Dorcas Ronoh. Dorcas is a Senior Accountant in Audit with KPMG Vancouver. She spent five years at KPMG in Nairobi, Kenya before moving to Vancouver. I met Dorcas through a mutual friend and within the first 15 minutes of meeting her, I was in awe of how she has not let her story of adversity define who she is and her future. She is one of the most positive, brave and resilient women I know.

What does bravery mean to you?

I grew up in a small town in Rift Valley, Kenya called Londiani, which is barely known by people in Kenya. Londiani is a small subsistence community with deep-rooted cultural influence.

My mum succumbed to cancer and passed away when I was only 12 years old. Being orphaned so young and her leaving behind 4 kids (me being the oldest) meant the extended family had to step in.

We lived in different households, sometimes not together due to circumstances. But, I dedicated all the facets of my mind, body, and soul to ensuring I honored my mother’s dying words… “Take care of your brothers and sister!” I lived for this and wanting more for all of us.

I had to be brave. Which meant wanting the best despite the odds.

Bravery has always meant overcoming obstacles, fears and approaching every task with a servant-leader mentality. Bravery does not mean that I do not fear adversity, but merely respect that adversity is meant to shape my character.

Throughout my life, I have had to make decisions that were risky. I had to step out of my comfort zone into unknown spaces that required me to adopt a “can do” attitude despite the deck being stacked against me. I learned to surround myself with other brave women and men that influenced my position today. In retrospect, bravery is a perception of balance and choice.

What is one of the bravest things you have ever done?

Daring to pursue higher education. I made a decision to work hard in school. It was the only way to guarantee to overcome poverty. As they say, poverty is man-made and can only be removed by action. I didn’t want to get married as soon as I left high school or become a teenage parent. I envisioned more for myself. Don’t get me wrong, marriage and kids were still in the picture. I just wanted to break the trend and set a new one for my younger brothers and sister. Being the first to go to university in my family meant fending for myself; leaving the hypothetical coop to pursue dreams that could only be substantiated by time and excellence. It was a road that featured a lot of if’s and maybe’s. If I graduate, maybe I will get a good job. If I get a good job, maybe I can support myself and my siblings and provide them with a better life. Do you know? Looking back, being brave then meant investing in myself fearlessly.

What benefits have come from leaning into bravery? 

I have a career. My siblings have also been able to focus on and embrace bravery and hard work. I am also now living and working in Canada, far from what I could have imagined. I have been able to travel, build my net worth and even more, I have shown my peers to embrace adversity through my own experience.