Building brands is the passion for a young marketer who is equally good in soft skills
By George Gichuki
Quite often (and maybe inadvertently), parents take for granted the influence that their personal and professional lives ultimately have on their children. Caring, loving and supportive parents have been known to bring up responsible and successful children. In contrast, delinquent children are usually the products of broken and unstable homes.
Possibly, the late Mr. Nelson G. Kirika, a successful professional in the insurance industry, did not have the slightest idea that his eldest daughter, Connie Kirika, was keeping an eye on him closely while he was building his illustrious career in the same field.
Connie is among a new bud of young women professionals taking over the corporate field. She is now the Marketing and Communications Manager at Saham Assurance at the age of twenty seven year. That is no mean achievement. “My late father is my role model – he was very aggressive, hardworking and a shrewd insurance guru who stood out in his profession,” she says. “I admire him, and I am determined to follow in his footsteps” she adds.
Having started her career at the age of 21, Connie now has six years professional experience in diverse sectors namely: marketing, communication and insurance. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Daystar University. In addition, she is an affiliate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Connie is also planning to resume undertaking an MBA in marketing at the University of Nairobi (currently on hold) within this year.
As a young woman professional, she acknowledges that succeeding in the corporate field is not a walk in the park. “It takes a lot of tenacity to rise in this competitive field, but the bottom line is that one has to be a performer,” she emphasizes. “At a personal level, I believe passion gives one the fuel to that drives one to success,” she adds. In the same breath, Connie observes that building relationships with fellow professionals, colleagues at the work place and mentors is very critical as one seeks to grow in the corporate world. “I thoroughly consult more seasoned and older professionals and family members to seek their opinions about certain key moves,” she says. “This has been integral part of my life and for that reason, I am grateful to God for his favour and for the people he has bestowed in my path,” she adds.
As a marketing and communications professional, she develops and makes follow up on marketing strategies and communication initiatives with an objective of enhancing the awareness of a brand. Connie is also an excellent public speaker, having had various opportunities to speak during official functions. She is looking forward to setting up a public speaking outreach programme to empower marginalized communities in the rural areas. However, her long term goal is being nominated as one of the ‘Top 40 Under 40’ young women achievers – an event that is organized annually by a local business newspaper.
She credits her grounded nature to her mother who has been a focal supporter of her journey. Her two siblings who are equally doing well often encourage her to forge ahead in her corporate career. “I believe I still have a lot to learn but I am grateful for the far I have come, and look forward to scaling even greater heights,” she ends.
Connie at a glance
. Wakes up at around 5.00 am and prepares for work;
. 6.10 am: leaves the house;
. 7.30 am: takes breakfast and starts off by preparing to undertake the most pressing tasks – otherwise known as the ‘frogs to eat’ list;
. On lighter days, she normally leaves office at around 5.30 pm but on the busy ones, she leaves at 8.00 pm. She prefers performing the heavy tasks between 5.30 pm to 8.00 pm as she is most productive during the evening hours when the office has more tranquility and peace which are ideal for critical thinking
Hobbies: She loves driving, public speaking, reading inspirational books and spending time with loved ones. During her free time she enjoys driving upcountry to unwind away from the hustle and bustle of the city.