By Irene Owiti, Kenindia Assurance Deputy General Manager
I wake up at 5.30 am on weekdays. After a short prayer, I prepare breakfast and get ready for work. Sometimes I see a client or two on my way to the office. My position involves supervising and overseeing of branch marketing activities, coordinating the company’s marketing activities, coordinating public relations, promoting the company’s image and brand, developing, overseeing and implementing reward programs, among others.
Once in the office, I review my diary to confirm all my meetings of the day and check my email. I review the business production report for the branches, talk to them based on their performance, and establish support requirements. I do receive clients with or without scheduled appointments during the day. Insurance products being intangible in nature and not clearly understood, I also deal with various inquiries. I love what I do, the different experiences and challenges that come with each day, the financial and risk management aspect of it where I work with clients on their business journey from when they begin and watch them grow into giants. I also enjoy mentoring and training my subordinates. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was moving departments, from underwriting to claims to marketing. This has given me a better understanding of all the departments which are interrelated in the insurance industry.
My children, who are always eagerly waiting to hear about the activities of my day, keep me motivated to go to work each day. The smiles on a satisfied customer’s face and the drive for business growth also keep me going. The best career advice I’ve ever received is business is like hair – however much you take care of it when combed it will always shed and grow at the same time. The difference on how much of the hair sheds will depend on how much care you give it. So we should always work hard to increase our retention and growth with the same strength. The best advice I’d give is Identify one career path and build it. Everyone has a brand to build and protect. It pays to be professional.
I recently listened to a talk and one statement stayed with me: “One should start preparing for their retirement the first day they sign in for a Job.” What made it stands out for me is that a lot of times we lead our lives without purpose, but the moment you realise that everything you do now will be enjoyed later in life, it makes one embrace what they are doing; it inculcates a saving culture, promotes career growth, drives us to take better care of our health, invest in relationships, the list is endless. In short, it directs the path of your entire career life.
Tough times have changed integrity in the workplace. Kenya’s economy is growing fast and we now have more people in the middle-class bracket than before. The cost of living is fast increasing and we have more people who want quick wealth. Our society has embraced wealth in a different way – the more financial power one has, the more respect one earns. This has driven our youth and working-class alike into quick money-making initiatives that many times also compromise their integrity, where people don’t work as hard as they should and others cheat their way to top positions. There is nothing wrong with being wealthy, but the path taken must be one that can be used for positive mentorship, which I believe can and still is being achieved today.
I usually leave work between 6 pm and 7 pm. Sometimes I stretch it up to 9 pm depending on the deadlines I am working with. During the day there are lots of interruptions and answering of telephone calls and emails, attending to walk-in customers and visitors, so I can only concentrate after office hours, hence the stretch.
My favourite part of the day is evening when I am able to reflect on a successful day and plan for the next day. My evening routine is simple: have dinner, go for a short walk, take a bath, ensure that everything is in place for the next day, have family worship time, go to bed. If I am not too tired, I will read. I am currently reading Innovation to the Core: A Blueprint for Transforming the Way Your Company Innovates by Peter Skarzynski and Rowan Gibson.I’m a Seventh Day Adventist and I enjoy attending church on Saturday and participating in various church activities. I’m a very social person and like spending time with friends and family. I enjoy trying new recipes and visiting new places. I watch short movies when I have some time, and also love motivating and mentoring the youth.
I am a proud mother of two teenagers. We share at least one meal together every day as a family. Mealtimes create a good environment for interactions. We watch some educational TV programs together. One of them likes watching sports and the other likes investigative shows, so we usually watch both.