Jennifer Githinji’s love for entrepreneurship started at a young age when she would supply milk to South C apartments. A few years later she would use the sale skills in her new job as a sales agent at Coca Cola . Today, Jennifer is an SME development practioner specializing in sales management and Route to Market modelling. With over a decade of private sector she works with her teams to grow FMCG brands in Kenya. However, she shares with Legibra that has work life has not always been rosy.
“Perseverance is like a muscle, you have to exercise it to make it stronger”
Jennifer describes the challenges she faced at work as a youth and how she used personal leadership and perseverance to make the best of the situation. For example, even when pregnant she managed to get a promotion. She advises youth at the workplace to work regardless of their gender.
When asked how youth can develop their personal leadership skills, Jennifer gave the following tips;
- Believe in yourself.
- If you chase money you will be so frustrated.
- Be disciplined.
- Friends can make or destroy you.
In addition to the above tips, Jennifer also stressed on the importance of having personal goals or a vision. Instead of going to and from work daily just to earn a salary, you should ask yourself where do I want to go? In the next five years where do I want to be? For example, Jennifer’s goals for 2018 are to position herself as a mentor and SME advisor by reaching out to more youth and SMEs who are looking for guidance. She plans to use a blog as well as relevant events as channels to reach her target audience.
Entrepreneurship is About Endurance
Although Africa Instore has grown to become a reputable solution provider for SMEs in Kenya, Jennifer has also made her fair share of mistakes. For example, she used to sell water and alcohol which was a capital intensive business. However some clients were not paying and so with time she accrued debt. She eventually closed the business in millions of loses. But the most important thing for her were the lessons she learned from her mistakes;
- Family and business are not best of friends.
- If you are not good at it, do not do it.
- Always give yourself time to grow and learn the skills.
While not working with SMEs at Africa Instore, Jennifer serves at her local community. She currently serves as a Board member at Karura Community Center and serves as the Chair of Tumaini Scholarship and Mentorship program.
Watch the full discussion to get more tips on personal leadership from Jennifer Githinji.