Tell us about yourself
I am a Communicator, Salesperson, Marketer and Customer Service Person who believes that acquiring and sharing knowledge should be a primary focus of every member of society since this is a sure way of ensuring a progressively better world.
I work with Kenya Airways as the Country Manager Ghana, having previously served as the airline’s Marketing Manager for Anglophone West Africa.
I started my career in Customer Service, Marketing Operations and Public Relations over a ten (10) year period spanning 2001 to 2011 with Intercity STC Limited, then had a three (3) year (2011 to 2014) stint with the real estate industry, serving as the Director of Corporate Affairs, Sales and Marketing at Devtraco Limited before joining Kenya Airways in 2014.
I am a passionate Odadee!
Walk us through your early career journey (first 5 years)
I believe I had a very good foundation in my career for three reasons; (a) I worked in a suffocating environment where innovation and creativity were largely stifled by the system and this grew me into a resilient person, (b) I had the opportunity to work in various areas of my general field. I had long stints with Marketing Operations, Marketing Research, Public Relations and Customer Service as stand-alone functions and together. This helped to make me a rounded person from the onset, and (c) I had the best boss there has ever been. Mrs. Mabel Sagoe was deliberate about ensuring that I was a better professional and person every day.
What values/skills would you say you demonstrated in your early career journey that have contributed to your career success?
I go back to Mrs. Sagoe. One of the first valuable things she taught me was to ensure I had discussed issues with people in person before sending them an official mail on it. That was a foundation that built a habit of engagement with stakeholders on practically every aspect of my life.
Did you always know you wanted to do what you are doing now?
Yes, without a doubt. I have always been fascinated by things that involve investigation, analysis, creativity, innovation and communication. These are all key elements of marketing so somehow, I knew from my teenage years that I was going to end up where I am.
What were some of the mistakes you made on the career journey?
The key mistake would be how long it took me to decide to be curious about other aspects of business beyond my marketing walls. The moment I decided to be curious about Operations and Human Resource and Finance, I began to understand Marketing and Customer Service better. It is a mistake I have never gone back to. Learning new things makes you a better person in your immediate field and helps you understand others better.
If you had the opportunity to change one thing in your early career/work experience days what will it be?
Nothing! It hasn’t all been rosy but the downside and the upside have all contributed to building a much better version of me. I believe people should only regret mistakes they have not learnt from. If you can use your mistakes for progress, then you must not regret them.
Any advice to someone who is confused about their career planning?
Always give priority to what you are passionate about; what excites you; what you don’t struggle to do. And then be curious about other fields enough to read regularly about them. You will find yourself pretty soon.
If you had a minute to coach/advice a tertiary student about work readiness, what would it be?
A lot of the business world is about people skills. Many of us make the error of preparing for the work environment with general business principles and the principles of our direct academic field. You will soon find out when you get into the work environment that most of what you learnt at school might not even be relevant. Invest in people skills; every day try to be a better communicator, listener, evaluator, analyst etc. These are cross-field and cross-functional skills that are valuable in the work environment. Step into the work environment with a mindset of problem-solving.
Knowing what you know now as a high-profile professional, what would be your advice to a rising young professional you are mentoring?
Learn about everything you can every day! Read! Be curious! Try to understand people as much as you want to understand systems! Set out every day to solve problems! All success comes from this mindset.