Marketing Expert Shares Her Atypical Marketing Journey


By Sarah Wavinya

Carolyne Kendi, the Head of Brand and Marketing Communications at Safaricom, found a career she loved by luck. No child says “I want to be a marketer when I grow up, it’s always Doctor or Lawyer. An answer that doesn’t embarrass your parents”, Kendi shared. Motivation to get into the field of marketing came when she visited her cousin and caught a glimpse of her impressive bedroom; her cousin worked at Unilever. She applied for the Unilever Management Trainee Program and had no idea what marketing was when she started.   

Her journey began in Sales; she literally cruised the streets in a pick-up truck selling in the markets and she gained a deep understanding of how business works and who the customer is. Being physically out in the market opened her eyes to the end-user experience and their needs. She then moved to East Africa Breweries Limited (Diageo East Africa), then went back to Unilever, specifically, Unilever South Africa and she is currently at Safaricom PLC. 

Her experience spans across multiple markets in Africa – East Africa, West Africa & South & Southern Africa, driving business growth through creative and strategic thinking on brand management and communication strategy.  

Tips for Personal and Career Growth: 

Your Work has to Work for Your Life 

Marketing can be a stressful and overwhelming field so it’s important to strike a balance. A healthy work-life balance that won’t leave you strung out.

If You Want to be a Digital Native, Spend Time in the Digital Space

There are new trends and emerging technology every day. Don’t sit back and make excuses as to why you are out of the loop. Make the effort to learn the platforms and use them to stay in touch.

Be Curious, Be Interested, Stay Hungry, and Stay Learning ADVERTISEMENT. SCROLL TO CONTINUE READING.

We live in a digital world and have access to a lot of information. Take advantage and search for tools and resources to keep enhancing your knowledge. Don’t just look in your specific field, cast a wide net.

Success is A Journey, Not A Destination.  

The path to success is taken a step at a time with continuous and consistent steps. If you fall, get up. You can pick up the pace, or slow it down, but keep moving. When you become successful, you don’t just stop; you keep at it.

Don’t Burn Bridges 

Treat every person with respect and handle every situation with maturity, you’ll build a good reputation that won’t be refuted. 

Practice Gratitude Around Little Milestones.  

Don’t minimize the small wins, celebrate them, they count. Small wins are a step closer to bigger ones. Be grateful.

Be kind to yourself; how do you speak to yourself?   

If you wouldn’t let someone speak negatively about you, why do it to yourself? Practice kind and encouraging inner monologues. You’ll find it makes a difference in your confidence and self-esteem. 

Be Yourself and Do You.  

The best and only way to thrive is to be authentically you.  


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