When it comes to successful female entrepreneurs, PR guru Gina Din-Kariuki ranks high on the list.
For years, Gina led the way in corporate communications, often the only woman among the men in a suit, frequenting the elite of commercial, diplomatic and corporate space.
Her company has piloted major public relations events such as the launch of Safaricom or Barack Obama’s visit in 2018. Says Gina, “I am ambitious and have always been determined to make my mark in my career and my industry. .”
At one point his company was the “most awarded public relations group on the continent with over 150 accolades”. “I have experienced success and failure in equal measure,” says Gina. “Failure is part of success and I have always risen to the challenges that came my way.”
Gina, 61, attributes some of her resilience and drive to her parents. Her father came to Kenya when he was 14 after boarding a ship from India.
“He had no idea where he was going, he just knew he wanted a better life and his courage inspires me all the time,” says Gina, who calls herself “daddy’s girl.” Her death when she was just 19 years old devastated her.
Born and raised in Nanyuki, she grew up at the Sportsman’s Arms Hotel which her parents owned and operated. Like them, she will become a self-taught entrepreneur.
It was her father who encouraged her talent as a writer in her childhood and she long had the idea of paying homage to him in a book. But she didn’t expect to write her autobiography, africa girljust now.
“When Covid shut down the world, my daughter Natalya encouraged me to start my book,” she points out. Gina studied at the London School of Journalism and worked in the media before joining the communications and public relations sector. In 1997, she left a well-paying job in a bank to found Gin Din Corporate Communications.
Building a successful business has come with personal sacrifice. “I had very little downtime, very little sleep, and not enough time with my friends,” Gina says, adding that she thinks, feels, and breathes her business every day. In his view, the sacrifices were temporary saying, “if you want to achieve something – a business or a career – there has to be some kind of sacrifice.”
Nevertheless, she would like to see more women in leadership positions. “When women become leaders, they bring a unique constellation of attributes to the table and a soft power that the world so badly needs right now,” notes Gina.
If she could turn back time a few decades, Gina wishes she had the confidence to take more risks early on. “I learned that everything in life is temporary and that there is no linear path to success,” she sums up. “Reach beyond your comfort zone and don’t let fear keep you from asking for what you want.”
She has a lot of advice for young career women. “Go through all the doors open to you, use your voice, develop a strong network, become an expert in the field of your choice and sit at the table with confidence. Any table.
Hard work, resilience, excellence and a keen sense of humor are essential qualities. She advises, “Don’t get caught up in the glass ceiling story and approach the market not as a businesswoman, but as a businessman.
Just before the Covid pandemic, Gina sold her 23-year-old business. “I can’t claim that I found it easy to step into the evening of my life full of excitement and promise,” she says in her book.
Writing africa girl for 18 months brought her back to her first calling. Although the project required a great deal of discipline and research, she enjoyed the process of tracing and reflecting on her journey.
“It was really cathartic to write about my childhood and by remembering the details I was able to evoke some of the emotion,” says Gina.
Her memoirs are written in an engaging narrative style, whether describing childhood memories, recounting professional experiences across the continent, speaking candidly about being an ethnic minority or the challenges of a marriage. mixed.
“As Kenyans, we are not and never will be one thing. Being Kenyan is not a matter of skin color, or religion or where my grandparents were born,” says Gina. “I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa lives in me.”
Much like her pioneering career, the autobiography propelled Gina into a male-dominated preserve. “African women, on the whole, don’t tell their stories often enough and I truly believe that when more women do, the continent’s narrative will change.”