COUTURE CONVERSES WITH SOME GREAT MEN
COUTURE Africa|The Gentleman's Issue 2019
As we rally behind the strength and success of a woman, we realise that we cannot do it by ourselves, and we do need the men in our society. ANNE KABICHO and the COUTURE Africa Team caught up with some of these great men - across various fields to talk about work, happiness, purpose and country.

JIMI KARIUKI

Managing Director, Sarova Hotels

If I was not in the hospitality industry, I would probably be a lawyer. My father’s business partner was a practising lawyer and I liked his style. I guess over time my career path changed and I studied Marketing, graduated and joined the hospitality industry in 1992. Nonetheless, I am happy in the hospitality industry so I imagine if I was in the Legal fraternity I would be just as happy. This is simply because I would make it work for me.

What are you most passionate about?

When it comes to work, standards are very important to me. Maintaining high standards in areas of maintenance, hygiene, personal grooming, Customer service and treating colleagues respectfully are vital. These are areas that are non-negotiable. Outside the office, my wife and I love entertaining. It is important to keep in touch with friends and meet new people. So we regularly host guests at home.

How would you describe your job to a child?

That is an interesting one. I would probably say that I work in an office, with many other people. We have hotels where we have visitors who come to swim, see animals, enjoy the beach and eat good food. My job is to make sure that those visitors are happy.

It is said that there is no better time to be a young African woman, do you agree?

I do not think I can agree or disagree. I prefer to address the youth rather than just one gender. Whereas there are more opportunities available for the youth today, especially around technology, I think there are still more challenges than there are opportunities. More and more younger people are being brought into senior corporate positions, but they are still not enough, and especially not enough women.

I think that the environment is not yet as enabling as it should be for young people. There are still traditions around women especially in Africa. Questions of whether they should go into the corporate world or stay at home, get married and have babies are still dominant. These are some of the challenges that exist, but having said that, today it is a very great time to be an African. I am a very proud African and Kenyan and I am sure you are as well.

The younger generation are a lot more fearless and take a lot more risks than we did when we were young. They. They do not seem to have a fear of failure, or a fear of trying something else if a certain venture fails or does not work out as they hoped.

What dream do you have for Kenya?

I love Kenya and I am a proud Kenyan just as millions of my brothers and sisters are. But I will be honest, sometimes I do feel sad when I travel overseas, especially to Southeast Asia and you see countries that had fewer resources than we had during their independence that are now so ahead of us in terms of infrastructure development. I dream of a Kenya where we as Kenyans can regain our pride respect ourselves, each other and our country. A Kenya where we recognise that some of the bad things we do now will not only affect us but will also affect the next generation.

What would you tell the 18-year-old you, today?

I would say have integrity, believe in yourself and there is no short cut to hard work. But also take the time to have fun. Life requires balance. Do not take life too seriously but also do not party all the time. I reiterate that you need to have integrity and to believe in yourself. Make sure that you stay focused and make sure you build a diverse network of friends. Having a diverse network of friends is important because friends support you.

STONE HE

Managing Director, Huawei Technologies Kenya

I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else other than what I am doing today. All my life I have wanted to be in technology, and I am especially happy to be working from Kenya. If I was not here today, doing what I do, I would simply be working harder to get here.

What are you most passionate about in life?

That is a simple one; work, work and more work. I am passionate about technology and the impact it can have on a community and a nation.

How would you describe your job to a child?

The way I describe it to my own children is that it is my responsibility to make sure that the equipment that you use for connectivity whether that be your smartphone, smartwatch, internet modem and the internet connection itself is fully functional at all times.

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