Sarah Kamau: Finance whiz, multitasker, and budding entrepreneur
When you look up the term multitasking in the dictionary it says, ‘see Sarah Kamau’. Not only was she multitasking by being on her way to an appointment when she spoke to us, she also let us know that now that she has started her own finance business, she is juggling being the CEO, CFO, PA, and CTO.
Pulled over to the side of the road in a busy business district of Nairobi, Kenya, after a hectic day seeing clients, Sarah greeted us with a beaming smile. She just has that type of infectious energy that makes people want to be around her and as a top-notch businessperson who knows her stuff, entrust their financial affairs to her.
Time waits for no woman!
Based on her extremely busy schedule, made even busier now that she has just started her own finance business, we were very grateful that we got some time to speak to her and find out just what has been happening in her life since we conducted a video testimonial of her some months ago.
Back then Sarah worked for a leading insurance company, but as someone who always has eyes on the prize, and what will give her the biggest challenge and most lucrative remuneration for her efforts, she perhaps had an inkling back then that although she had been working in the insurance arena for other leading companies, it was time to do her own thing. Now she is the Principal Officer of Egemeo Consultancy and wearing many hats.
Of course, because she is supremely dedicated and talented, and a smart cookie to boot, there was never any doubt that Sarah was going to make a great success of her own business, but she is quick to acknowledge that she had some help. That came by way of her Nexford MBA, which she is specializing in global business.
Sarah says, “All that I learned and am continuing to learn through my Nexford MBA is being put to great use in my business. It’s a different story working for a company in a somewhat saturated market, than running a company in the same market. You need to know all the ins and outs of not only insurance, and the financial skills required, you also need to have the business acumen to make a success of it. Which is why doing a course in global business was the best place to start.”
High praise from a high-profile businesswoman
Of her studies at Nexford, Sarah praised the online university by saying that the real-life case studies that she learned about gave her so much business knowledge of just what it takes to run a successful company in the current and extremely competitive global business climate. Something that helped her understand the intricacies of business and entrepreneurship across many different countries outside of Kenya. It gave her the grounding to make her way in the world of venture capitalism, or work with any company that does.
She says, “Along the way with my Nexford MBA I have learned a lot. I’ve learned about finance, intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship, some accounting, and a host of other valuable financial business skills that I am applying in my business daily.”
If at first you don’t succeed!
Unfortunately for Sarah, Nexford was not her first port of call for her MBA as she applied to do her masters at a local traditional university in 2017. Sadly, it did not work out for various reasons but the most critical was time, or lack of it.
Sarah says, “I had a very, very, hectic job at the bank that I was working at when I enrolled at the university. I paid my tuition in full but was not able to attend even one class, as my busy schedule just did not allow it. In Kenya, people don’t respect your time so there is never anything like an 8 to 5 job. The odds were always stacked against me, and eventually, you know, that money just got lost. So, when I started getting this hunger for just going back to school, the first thing I looked for was an online university.”
Obviously traditional classroom lectures didn’t work, so Sarah started looking for universities beyond Kenya. However, for most of them, the tuition was way too expensive. Because she was searching for online universities, she was served with an advert for Nexford and it pricked her interest straight away. She enrolled and the rest is history.
It all seemed to be the perfect fit
Not only was the price of tuition at Nexford agreeable to Sarah, but so too were the learning hours. There were no hours. She could learn at her own pace and fit it in with her busy schedule.
Sarah likes routines, so when she was at the time working full-time for a company, she’d come in from work and dedicate at least an hour on specific days to do her studies. On the weekends she’d make sure that she was disciplined enough to do a minimum of two hours. That was quite easy, well as easy as it can be, but now that Sarah is working for herself, her hours are no longer structured.
So now she has decided that she will dedicate a full day to her studies. Guess that is one of the perks of being your own boss. Going back to the multitasking bit earlier, Sarah does also try to listen to her course recordings when she is on the road, so it’s a case of making the most of the free time she has.
Everyone has to start somewhere
Of course, Sarah was not born into the business world, and like everyone else, she has a growing up story to tell. As the first born of four, she grew up in a town called Nakuru which is 161 kilometers from Nairobi. Sarah came to Nairobi 15 years ago and has not looked back. She admits that as the first born she always had to take on a lot of responsibility, which is what she reckons makes her such a hard worker today.
She admits that work is important, but so too is family and she finds it a thrill to mentor her sister, the youngest sibling, who is currently learning on campus.
Sarah says, “There's quite a bit of an age gap between us, so, I like to mentor her a lot. My mother is still very present in her life, but I do still like to assume the mother figure. I just can’t help it. She’s my younger sister.”
Even in her school days Sarah was always an overachiever and when she was done there, she did an undergraduate degree in actuary science. She then went on to do a diploma in insurance and she absolutely nailed it. That gave her the confidence to start applying to do her Masters. And she chose Nexford for that.
The school of lifelong learning
As someone that is never happy with the status quo, Sarah tells us that now that Nexford is DEAC accredited she is fully confident that she can use her Nexford MBA to gain entry to do her doctorate at another global university.
But that is in the future. For now, Sarah wants to use all that she is learning at Nexford to great effect to expand her business. She says, “I have a great vision for it. In the foreseeable future I want to have several, no, multiple branches all over Kenya. Once I have conquered Kenya, I may even want to start branching out across the rest of Africa, starting with East Africa. I do have a great vision for me and my company, after all, it’s my retirement plan.”
She does say that in due course she may have to work her business around her own family life as in Kenya, once you get to a certain point in your life as a woman, everybody starts expecting you to find a husband, settle down, and start a family.
It’s on the cards, just not right now as life is too hectic!
Inspiration and perspiration
Talent, hard work, and determination can take you a long way in life, but for many, what makes a massive difference in their personal and business lives, is being able to draw inspiration from amazing people, and then transfer that inspiration into all that they do.
Sarah is no different. Of the people that she has been able to draw inspiration from, she says that the number one person must be her mother. “My mom is very hardworking, strong and family oriented,” Sarah says. “She's an inspiration to me every day and I hope that I can be half the woman that she is.”
But it’s not just her mom that inspires her. Sarah tells us that there is also a local Kenyan called Caroline Wambugu. Smiling she says, “She was my boss at the time, and is one of the people who kept me going when I wanted to quit. I put my notice in, and she refused to accept it. After about a six-hour conversation of her telling me that women quit too easily, I decided to stay.”
Sarah tells us that she also draws inspiration from a South African motivational speaker and intrapreneur called Vusi Thembekwayo. She loves his videos and how he talks about the way he has built businesses from the ground up. Something that she holds dear to her heart right now. Sarah says, “One of the many things he has taught me is that if you can’t step away from your business for three months and see it survive without you, you’re not an entrepreneur, your just self-employed.”
Wise words from both, and inspiration that hopefully all entrepreneurs will be able to draw from when it comes to setting up and growing their own businesses. We wish Sarah well in all that she sets her sights on both now, and the future.
Seeing is believing. So check out below.
Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.
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