Kagure Wamunyu has always had a passion for transport. In 2015, she lead the growth of Uber in Kenya as Head of Operations for almost two years before moving up the ranks to become the Country Manager. And after a stint as director of strategy at Bridge International Academies in East Africa, Kagure returned to the world of transport technology to lead the expansion and growth of Kobo360 in the Africa Region.
On this week How I Work, Kagure Wamunyu shares her career journey, what her job entails on a daily basis and how she handles it all.
Current role: Africa Region, CEO at Kobo360
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Current computer: MacBook
Current mobile device: iPhone
Describe how you work in one word: Swift
Tell us briefly how you started out and how you got where you are today
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for transport. I started out my career in the transportation industry at Uber Kenya as country manager, where I oversaw the company’s growth. From there, I went on to serve as the senior director of strategy for Bridge International Academies in East Africa, where I focused on policy and public-private partnerships (PPPs).
Being a part of these companies further fuelled my interest in transportation, technology, and business growth, so joining Kobo360 was a natural fit for me as it involves these three elements.
Walk us through a typical workday
I’m a morning person. I wake up at 4:50 a.m. and work until 7 a.m.; this involves responding to emails, providing feedback, and undergoing strategy-related work. Between 7 and 10 a.m., I head to the office and focus on tasks related to the transporters and truck owners we work with.
From 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. I am in meetings with both external stakeholders and/or team members. From 12 – 2 p.m. I work on projects relating to Kobo360 teams – this includes problem-solving, and from 2 – 5 p.m. I begin the second leg of meetings.
After 5 p.m. I focus on other things relating to the boards I sit on or mentor other women. Most days end at 8 p.m. latest — that’s my cut-off point.
What apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you do without?
I can’t do without WhatsApp, it’s quick and efficient. Also, my phone and laptop because I can work on both devices either in the office or on the move.
What’s your favourite shortcut or hack?
I like to save time when doing my work, as there’s usually a lot to be done. For example, I have a standard template for my Kobo360 presentations, which I’m able to repurpose depending on who my audience is. As well as having templates, I save everything on Google Drive — you never know when you need to access a particular document.
What task(s) do you dislike but still do?
Putting together presentations. I also don’t like responding to emails — I get hundreds every day.
How do you keep track of what you have to do?
My calendar and my PA.
How do you recharge or take a break?
To recharge, I watch a good movie; I absolutely love spy movies. I also love reading, particularly African literature, as well as meeting friends and sleeping.
Besides work, what do you spend time doing? What do you enjoy?
I spend a lot of time with family and friends — hanging out and catching up. I also mentor a number of young girls and women. A strange hobby of mine is cooking; I enjoy it a lot. I also enjoy shopping, watching a good movie and sipping a good cup of coffee — here’s a fun fact: I co-own a coffee shop in Nairobi called Lava Latte.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to? What do you recommend?
Currently watching The Spy on Netflix and reading Guide to Organisation Design by Naomi Stanford. I tend to listen to music that brings back certain memories.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Do your best wherever you are now and you will get to be able to do what you love.”
“Be like a duck (gracefully swimming on the surface and kicking and working hard underwater).”
“Never get too comfortable, always try to improve yourself” – Dr Susan Mboya (my mentor).
What’s a problem you’re still trying to solve?
Scaling Kobo360 internally as we rapidly scale externally, hence the book I am currently reading – a good team is at the heart of a strong organisation and how people relate to each other is the difference between 10x growth and average growth. Additionally, I am yet to figure out how to connect my presentation to a projector; it never works each time.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Dr Charity Wayua – Senior Research Manager at IBM.
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From Built in Africa archives – MainOne: 10 years building West Africa’s internet infrastructure
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