After establishing herself as one of the most bankable media personalities in Kenya, Terryanne Chebet is now carving a niche for herself in the influencer domain with a goal to empower women not just in Africa but globally.
The former Citizen TV news anchor spoke to Eve Woman about why her sack in 2016 was a blessing in disguise, why she left her TV job last year, co-parenting with her ex, and what dating in her 40s is like.
How can you best summarise Terryanne Chebet?
It is a difficult question but let me try, I am an entrepreneur passionate about women, young people, and development.
What motivated you to resign from your job as the GM at Metropol TV last year?
I found myself in a season where I could not shake this nagging feeling that I needed to do more with my life.
I have always wanted not just to live a good life but to live a life of legacy and impact. I began to realise just like companies have a five to ten-year strategic plan, I also needed one for my dreams and as soon as I began to work on mine, I realised I needed to change my path.
Also, I realised that I want my 40s to be my last actively productive years to build something special. I do not want to be toiling and hustling when I am in my 50s.
At that age, I want to be involved in projects that empower other women, and when not doing that, to be vacationing in the Maldives because I have built something for my future and my children’s future.
Of course, it was not an easy decision to leave, but I had such a strong conviction that it was not as scary as it probably should have been.
Tell us about your platform Africa’s Leading Ladies?
I resigned in June of 2020 and started it in July 2020. It is a Facebook platform for African women to gain knowledge and mentorship and access connections to enable them to grow professionally and reach their highest potential.
We not only provide a space to celebrate the accomplishments of women from all over the world, but we also provide free training opportunities by different organisations that we partner with.
So many Facebook groups are toxic and about gossiping, but I wanted to add something positive. It was also important for me to start a platform for mentorship of women because one of the things I often see women struggling to find is mentorship in their career paths. I now act as the bridge.
I help connect those who need mentorship with appropriate mentors. My hope is that the platform will grow from about 389,000 currently to over two million one day and also open a French-speaking chapter. My end game is that any partnership I get will also positively impact women in the group.
In 2016, you unexpectedly lost your TV anchor job, what did you learn from the experience?
The whole experience actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was the wake-up call that I needed because at the time as I was comfortable and not really living in purpose.
I was in a place where I was doing the same thing over and over again and not really growing or pushing myself. Further, I was good at it and really enjoyed it, but I was not growing.
Being fired was the best thing that happened to me then. Certainly, it was painful, but growth is often painful and uncomfortable, and I am better for it.
Being out of work helped me to evaluate myself and discover what my passion was, what I was good at; it also helped me realise I am the captain of my future, not my employer or job.
You are now in your 40s, how has it changed you or what impact has it had on your life?
I am actually 42 and not only loving the experience, but I am grateful that I have come this far. For me, turning 40 changed a lot of things for me.
You wake up with this clarity about who you are, what you want and what you will not tolerate as a woman.
Secondly, saying NO comes so naturally, you no longer feel this need to say ‘yes’ to make others happy. It is truly liberating.
Lastly, you learn that you need to put yourself first, and not in a selfish way, but you cannot take care of others without first taking care of yourself or you will crash and burn.
What is your secret to always looking good and well put together?
Thank you, but I do not know if it’s a secret. I just try to live a healthy and wholesome life. I like to be active but, I do not do gym at all. I prefer to walk; I try to do 30kms a week.
I also intentionally take good care of my skin. I had problematic skin as a teenager and young adult and so I use a lot of natural products.
I do a facial once a month and a scrub once a week. Also, I take Vitamin C daily and lemon ginger water.
Additionally, although I eat healthy, it’s not really intentional. I just do not have a sweet tooth. Yes, I do indulge once in a while when I make homemade pizza.
Your eldest daughter now is a teenager, how has parenting changed as opposed to when she was a toddler or pre-teen?
I have two children, Imani who is 14, and Talaa who is 3. The way I parent Imani has changed a little in that, although I was firmer with her when she was younger to put her on the right path, I now give her some freedom.
Also, I try to create an open and free space with no judgements so she can talk to me openly about what she is going through. I try to be as close as possible to her but not as a friend; I am her parent and not her friend.
Apart from media, you are also an entrepreneur, tell us about Keyara Oganics?
My skincare company was inspired by my daughter who, at about age 4, had eczema.
The only product that worked with her skin was shea butter and it was in sourcing for it that I noticed a gap in the market and, in 2014, started my business, an organic and natural skincare line.
The online store has grown to the point where we now stock 15 different products.
Separating what is private and what is public, especially when you are active on social media, is not always easy. How do you manage?
I actually do not struggle with this because, from the beginning, I set clear boundaries on what I wanted to keep to myself and what I wanted people to see.
This is a personal choice; one person’s boundaries may not be another’s. For example, I do not mind sharing pictures of my daughters, but I know some people would not because we are all different.
However, there are certain things I never share on social media as they are private. Also, I understand the value and influence that comes from putting yourself out there on social media.
In fact, my advice to women is do not shy away from it especially if you are a businesswoman it is not only good PR, but a platform to showcase your products.
Are you dating anyone now?
Now that is private and I prefer not to talk about it.
How is it dating in your 40s, most people seem to believe that a woman who is in her 40s has no prospects of having a healthy dating life, basically that at this age the prospects are pretty much over, what is your experience?
You know they say that life begins at 40 and I can attest that they are not wrong. According to me, after 35 is one of the best times to date as a woman because you have had your children, you are settled in your career, you love yourself more and your confidence is on another level.
If you find yourself in your 40s and single either because you are widowed, divorced, or still searching, please do not crawl into a hole and disappear from life.
Dress up, go out and be seen, and enjoy life. Attend social events and meet new people, and you never know, anything is possible; life is what you make of it.
Do you see marriage in the future?
Yes, why not?
A lot of people today are finding themselves co-parenting with an ex, you have been doing that for a while now, any tips for those who may be struggling with it?
To begin with, let me acknowledge that it is not easy, but it must be done and done in a wholesome manner for the sake of the child who is innocent.
The first thing that has to be there for it to work is to put the needs of the child first. They did not ask for this. They are innocent and their needs are first and not the parents’ personal feelings.
Secondly, all parties must respect each other. After a relationship ends, respect can go out of the window but you have to relearn to respect your ex and their new spouse or partner. This applies to all parties.
However, although it does not come easy or happen overnight, I must admit that, with intentional effort, it does get easier. Thirdly, if you find that you are still angry with your ex, you need to find a way to forgive them for the sake of the child.
Pray, go to therapy, do something. Healing is not just for the sake of the child, but also for personal healing.
Unforgiveness in the end only hurts you most.
What is your parting shot to women out there?
The year 2020 basically showed us that the world can change in an instant. We must all learn to be flexible and adaptable.
It was a tough year as many lost jobs, closed down businesses, and lost loved ones but, through God’s grace, we made it to a new year and we must do things differently.
I, for one, now ensure that I live in the now, and not in yesterday or tomorrow.
I live my life with purpose; I intentionally make sure that I make time for those I love and that they know that I love them.
To help remind me to live purposefully, I have put my vision board in my bathroom. Every day when I wake up to prepare for the day, I see it. When the day is over, and I am brushing my teeth before bed I see it.
Terryanne’s business tips
– Get a mentor in a similar line of business as you — one who is physically present. If it not possible, find a public personality who is successful in a similar type of business who you can read about or follow online.
– Do not treat your business like a hobby. Make sure you keep the books on all your transactions and have a separate business account so you can track progress or loss.
– Go back to school or constantly do certificate courses as often as possible in order to grow in knowledge about your business.
– Build your brand, be seen; and do not ignore the power of social media to grow a brand.