Grace Mathu is an Image Consultant who builds and maintains brands for businesses and personal career success.
The 37-year-old also serves as HR Advisor at AAR Insurance Kenya Limited, where she is tasked with Talent Management.
Mathu tells her career journey:
“My entry into Image and Etiquette coaching started with an observation. I remember growing up in Nyahururu, I really admired how my dad dressed and I always said to myself ‘when I start working, I will be smart like my dad’. My father wore sharp suits that captured people’s attention.
My passion for dressing grew tremendously and I was inspired by people who were immaculately dressed. Later, I held dearly John Fairchild the publisher and editor in chief of women’s wear Daily’s notion that, ‘style is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma’. I cultivated a personal style in my dressing which gave me daily confidence.
When I was about 16, people would compliment my dressing and many would reach out for me to assist them in shopping for their clothes especially when they had special occasions such as weddings and interviews.
I found fulfillment guiding my friends on how to present themselves professionally when attending meetings that they considered important. Many instances my friends would tell me, “I love your style….when are you shopping next? Next time buy an extra pair for me.”
It is at this point I realised that this was a talent and a gift. My parents also recognised my passion for image coaching and they encouraged me to pursue this talent.
But I didn’t get into the image profession until much later. First, just like any other young person, I was pushed by the desire to have a career that paid well. So after high school, I studied Information and Communication Technology (ICT) because I thought it had more job opportunities, completely ignoring my passion for helping people discover, build, and maintain their personal brand.
After graduation, I got a job as an IT Auditor but I didn’t enjoy it. After so much struggle to fit in, I quit and in 2010, started a new journey in Human Resource Management and Image and Etiquette training. I can confidently say that I felt like I was given a new lease of life. I have enjoyed every single minute of my job. With time, I realised that there is a direct correlation between discovering and pursuing your strengths, passions, and purpose and enjoying what you do, giving it your best and working hard to maintain a strong personal brand.
To ground my skills, and to appreciate the global world, I enrolled for a master’s degree in international Relations from USIU. With this, I have been in a better position to understand the role of globalisation and the importance of getting ahead of the evolving complexities that come with it.
Also, my knowledge on how society and people work has deepened my passion assist people and remind them that they can build and maintain their personal brands for career and business success. The world has become competitive and for one to grab the available opportunity, one must be competitive and that starts with how you dress and carry yourself.
Since 2010, I have found fulfillment in helping people maintain their personal brand and image to thrive a cut-throat world. Besides coaching individuals, I also deliver talks to groups and forums. Some of the institutions I have engaged include Strathmore University, IHRM, Atarah solutions, KPMG, AAR Insurance Kenya, Sky Plus Agencies LTD, Vera Beauty College, Miss Tourism Kenya-Nairobi chapter, Mrs. Kenya, and Jubilee Christian Church Parklands among others.
Referrals have been my biggest channel of reaching my target audience. I also communicate about what I do through my social media pages and this has increased my clientele base. On a daily basis, I believe that I am ‘billboard’ advertising my services to the world.
I’m currently running this vision alone and my family has been my pillar of strength.
I hope to mentor many more people, I also want to give special focus to primary school pupils in their formative stage to shape their personal brand early on.
I have learnt to celebrate every achievement. I am delighted to have been awarded as the first runner-up in the African P.A Awards 2017, best dressed female employee AAR insurance 2014 and 2015, and Lady of Grace, Glamour and etiquette 210 at KPMG Kenya.
I believe the future can only get better. I dream of getting into the international scene as the Kenyan Image Consultant who grew up as a village girl, discovered her passion and now impacts lives globally.”