Waithera Macharia is the founder and CEO of Winners Home Collection, an interior decorating business. She is also a lecturer at the Catholic University of East Africa (CUEA) and an aspiring champion for women’s rights, specifically in the areas of economic empowerment and self-development.
Waithera shares her career path with the Sunday Nation.
Tell us about your childhood and family life
I was born and raised in what is currently, Kiambu County, Uplands. I come from a family of six, and I’m the firstborn.
I pursued a BA in Social Sciences at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Thereafter, I was awarded a scholarship to pursue my MA degree in Regional Integration and Development by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) at CUEA too. Being a DAAD scholar also presented me with an opportunity to travel to Germany for the last bit of my postgraduate studies for my research work at the Philipps University, Marburg. I currently lecture at CUEA, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The flexibility of my profession, allows me to also focus on my business, Winners Home Collection which I’m really passionate about.
Share with us your career journey. How and where did you start out?
Shortly after my undergraduate graduation, I was fortunate enough to secure a job as an administrative assistant at CUEA through the recommendation of my faculty Head of Department. While working in CUEA, I was awarded a scholarship through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
The terms of my scholarship dictated that I cannot be a full-time student and work at the same time and so I left my full-time job. I now had time to focus on my passion for interior design and home improvement and that is how Winners Home Collection was born.
As a strong believer in people having multiple streams of income, following completion of my MA program in 2019, I joined my alma mater, CUEA, as a member of the teaching where I’m currently based as well.
Your current role and scope?
I’m the founder of Winners Home Collection, a business that offers interior decor services and soft furnishings such as curtains, beddings, pillows, decor and home accessories, furniture pieces, electric fireplaces, paintwork, wallpapers, etc. I’m also a lecturer at The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
What is the most memorable event in your career journey?
The opportunity to tour various European countries which gave me great exposure in terms of making crucial partnerships, access to quality commodities and general knowledge on how to run a business from an international perspective.
What has been the key driver of your growth? Lessons learnt, highlights and failures?
What drives me is my passion and consistency for what I do, thirst for knowledge and personal development. My major failure has been trusting people too much. I once lost a lot of money to a conman. I’ve since learnt to be extremely vigilant while handling money and people.
Who would you credit with shaping your career growth? How did they influence your trajectory?
My family for always being my greatest support system. My lecturer, Dr. Ann Karanja, greatly instilled in me the acumen of personal development and pursuit of my dreams. My friends, Maggie Wangui and Steve Waweru for supporting me establish my business as well as enabling me to believe that I can achieve everything I set out to do. Together, we have big dreams for a very bright life.
Key decisions you might have taken along your career?
Resigning from my 8 am to 5 pm job. Applying for the DAAD scholarship changed the trajectory of my life forever and starting my business, Winners Home Collection.
What would you tell your younger self?
Not trusting people too much and patting myself on the back for a job well done.
What would you advise the youth in Kenya and Africa today?
To stop blaming government and external forces for their shortcomings. To look internally first for solutions to their problems. To be consistent in whatever they do.
To expand my business to the neighboring countries