Liz Muragu is the Marketing Operations Manager at SportPesa. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and Communication from the University of Nairobi and a Diploma in Business Management from the same university.
Muragu is also a proud born-again Christian who loves football and believes in the power of empowering others.
She shares her career journey with Sunday Nation.
1. Tell us about your childhood and family life
I’m the second born of among three girls; the middle child, so to speak, and definitely a daddy’s girl. I used to compete in 200m and 400m races during my days in primary school. Then I went to a secondary school that did not have a playing field. That halted my sporting ambitions… but my love for sports remains to date.
2. Share with us your career journey
I landed my first job which was selling fire extinguishers immediately after I got my Diploma in Business Management. Each time I see fire extinguishers in a building I see my journey to where I am today. I even check for the supplier sticker, just out of curiosity.
That is the job that taught me the value of honesty. Although I was earning very little, I used to handle a lot of money on a daily basis. But it never ever crossed my mind to compromise my integrity.
After my undergraduate studies, I worked at the Kenyan Premier League as the personal assistant to the CEO and later as an events/partnerships executive at the same organisation.
3. What do you remember most about your career journey?
When I finished my diploma course I wanted to attain a Bachelor of Commerce degree and seek employment in a bank, like my elder sister. However, my passion for football at the same time had started shifting from just the game to curiosity as to how it all comes together.
I took a break from school and managed to get a job – that is how I ended up selling fire extinguishers – as I discovered myself and looked for a path into football. There weren’t great sport management programmes locally, and anything outside of Kenya was very expensive.
My parents encouraged me to pursue Political Science and Communication, which they could afford. However, I knew my ultimate goal was to be in an industry that directly or indirectly had an impact in sports. Just before my graduation, I was invited to an interview for a position at KPL. The rest, as they say, is history.
4. Tell us your career progress over the years.
I joined SportPesa five and a half years ago as a Football Activations Executive. A year later, I was promoted to Assistant Marketing Manager in charge of Partnerships and Activations. Two years later, I transitioned to the Marketing Operations Manager position.
My current role entails running the functions of marketing that bring revenue to the company, through partnerships, advertising, activations and merchandising, while at the same time taking good care of all our stakeholders.
Nothing motivates me more than an employer who values potential and sees it even when you yourself don’t.
5. What has been the key driver of your career growth; lessons learnt and failures?
Over time, I have learnt to give everything I’m doing my all. If anything is worth doing, then it’s worth doing right. It is also important for me that my mum and my late dad’s efforts do not go in vain. They laid a great foundation for my sisters and I, and it is for them that I strive to succeed. I have also learnt that focusing on the goal, being genuine and avoiding life’s sideshows works.
6. Who would single out for shaping your career growth; how did they influence your trajectory?
My mum has always been a source of great inspiration for me. Her work ethic is second to none and I have seen how it bears fruit. My husband and sisters are my biggest cheerleaders. I must also mention my very first boss at FireTech Engineering Mr Peter Kabuta, former bosses at the KPL and SportPesa management. They have all given me great opportunites.
7. Any key decisions you might have taken along your career?
My decision to pursue a career in the sporting world sounded surreal to most people. Some, like my dad, thought the only way I would work in a football environment as a woman was as a referee. However, there is more to a sporting career than being the actual player in the field. Currently, I’m not directly involved in football but it did open great doors to where I am today.
8. What would you tell your younger self?
Be confident and follow your passion. That’s all.
9. What would you advise the youth in Kenya and Africa today?
Sometimes the path to your destiny is not always a direct path. Keep at it, do your best and pray. We might not always get there, but knowing you gave it your all, helps you sleep better.
10. Future plans?
My passion for football opened a door for me in marketing, something I must say I never thought I would do, but something I am thoroughly enjoying and learning a great deal from. I plan on giving it my best where I am right now and look forward to seeing which other doors open. But all in all, I know that God’s promises for me are Yes and Amen