If you can get along with others, you are more likely to be successful in whatever you do: it shows sensitivity and respect, and makes it possible for you to influence them
By Catherine Kuria
Women are gifted in holding a lot of information, seeing the bigger picture and details simultaneously as well as effectively empowering and motivating teams through inspiration and passion, rather than domination and control. Consequently, they are able to create thriving businesses that rake in generous profit. Effective leadership comes from being able to access our masculine and feminine qualities and using them authentically, when they are needed most. Nevertheless, there are certain challenges that women need to overcome in order to be successful in their business and lives.
Women are continuously overcoming many barriers in the world today as opposed to the yester years. Whether this is represented by their advocacy for childhood education, healthcare reform or access to more economic opportunities, women are showing each other (and the entire world) how they are capable of equipping themselves to face shifting mega trends and technological disruptions. Mrs. Ruth Dero, a down to earth lady who is very passionate about her profession; corporate communications and public relations exemplifies this. She is also very keen on building relationships that last. “I love to foster values that other people can emulate, “she observes.
Going down memory lane
Mrs. Dero started her career in corporate communications as a front office executive at Asili Sacco in 2004. While at Asili, she realized that she had an interest in interacting with people while serving members of the Sacco. She felt the urge to really understand the concept of humanity and how to relate with the public. This motivated her to further her education and she therefore enrolled for a diploma in public relations at the University of Nairobi in 2007.
In 2009, she registered for a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and public relations at Moi University. After graduating in 2012, she was elevated to a public relations officer at Asili Sacco. Immediately after graduating, she registered for a masters degree in the same institution. She is currently taking another masters degree in leadership at Pan African Christian University.
When she joined the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) in 2015 as a communications officer, in less than a year, she was elevated to a senior corporate communications Officer. Currently, she is the acting head of corporate communications in the organization.
The department she heads is charged with the responsibility of enhancing publicity for NITA. Corporate communications involves the interaction and general relationship with both internal and external stakeholders. Communication is a very vital aspect for any organization. “We package content in the right way before disseminating it to the public,” says Mrs. Dero.
The department also regulates all the social media platforms. “We ensure that we relate positively with our stakeholders bearing in mind that our audience mainly comprises the youth,” she emphasizes. In a nutshell, it is her department’s role to enhance publicity and relationships, besides championing corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. “We communicate positively about the authority’s mandate in our endeavour to become an outstanding brand,” Mrs. Dero avers.
She acknowledges that her career has been successful because of working closely with mentors. “Over the years, I have gathered a lot of knowledge from colleagues who are senior than me in the profession, “she says. Her current docket has opened for her numerous opportunities to travel widely. Last year for instance, she attended a women’s conference at the UN offices in New York called the Commission for Status of Women (CSW) courtesy of NITA under the Ministry of Labour. She is a firm believer in transformative leadership and building strong teams that a leader can bank on while executing his or her strategy.
Ruth is passionate about women’s socio-economic growth. “It’s important to have an opportunity to empower women and add value to their lives,” she avers. In that regard, she mentors young women at the Nairobi Faith Church. Back in her rural home at Ahero, she has started an initiative where she mentors standard eight pupils at Kore Primary School by giving them motivational talks, career guidance, advice against engaging in premarital sex as well as drugs abuse. “I am gratified by the fact that investing my time in community service has helped the youth to shape their destinies in a better way,” she avers.
According to Mrs. Dero, for one to be an effective communicator, he or she should be very passionate about the profession, besides being ready to acquire more knowledge in order to grow in the competitive field. “Effective communicators also channel their energy towards having a positive impact on people’s lives which enables them to gain relevance in their day to day undertakings,” she emphasizes.
In addition, she advises those who wish to excel in that field to join professional bodies where they can hone their skills and network with peers. “Professional networks come in handy when one wants to learn more about the trends in the profession which ultimately translates into growth,” she advises. Ruth further expounds :“For the young people who would want to venture into this profession, I advise them to identify their strengths and weaknesses – by so doing, they are able to find solutions on the challenges that may hindering their growth.”
Mrs. Dero at a glance
Mrs. Dero is a mother, a wife and a career woman who strives to maintain a perfect balance between work and personal life. Her day starts at 4:00 am. After praying, she dedicates an hour to reading the bible and inspirational books (currently, she is reading ‘Becoming a person of influence’ by John C Maxwell). She then takes breakfast and prepares her kids to go to school.
Her work involves a lot of travelling and field activities but when she is in town, by 7:30 am she is always in the office. She takes thirty minutes to tend to her personal issues. During the days when she doesn’t have meetings early in the morning, she attends the departmental prayer session at 8:15 am. In spite of her day starting very early, it also ends very late. She hilariously remarks: “I don’t go to the gym because I rarely take any meals during the day and my colleagues are always complaining about it.” Her hobbies are: travelling and spending time alone in quiet environments for personal reflection. Her favourite cuisine on the other hand is fish and ugali