W4A: Who is Gina Din-Kariuki? Tell us a bit about your background.
GINA: Who is Gina Din-Kariuki?
Gina Din-Kariuki is a Kenyan. Mother of two. Passionate about Africa, an Entrepreneur and an authority in Public Relations and Communications
I worked in the corporate sector for 14 years and nearly 18 years ago I began my own business Gina Din Corporate Communications. My background is in Journalism, however I ventured by default into Public Relations and taking a path that I was totally unfamiliar with, discovered my passion. Starting my own business was definitely quite scary as I left a very comfortable secure environment with nothing more than an idea. I didn’t have a business plan or any capital and it was definitely a road that very few, particularly women would take at that time.
However inside me, I intuitively knew I wanted to do more….to grow. In retrospect I am quite glad I didn’t have a business plan as it probably wouldn’t have been a viable idea and I may not be where I am and there were times I felt lost but in the right direction… If that makes any sense.
My business grew beyond anything I could have imagined and my brand became easily recognised and strong. We have been fortunate enough to work with most of corporate Kenya and with a number across the region. It has been a fascinating journey for me as a person as I was in the very privileged position of learning about very many different businesses and becoming a mini expert in all sorts of interesting things.
More than that however I began to really take a very keen interest on the African story and how important it was for us as Africans to take charge of our narrative. For us to talk about our success stories of which there were many as opposed to the script that the international media seemed to have which was mainly on famine, conflict, AIDS and corruption.
So my business really became a platform by which I could help shape the African conversation. Africa is rising for sure…. And there are some very exciting facts to back that debate up such as the decrease in deaths as a result of malaria and the decline in HIV infections as well as the fact that Africa is the worlds fastest growing continent at the moment.
However it is really important that we manage that rise by building strong institutions, provide more investment in infrastructure and encourage the demand of a more democratic Africa.
W4A: Your senior management team comprises of all women, why is that?
GINA: My senior management team is largely women. Although we do have a number of young men on our staff. In my own experience I find that women are more detailed and comprehensive. They tend to be more empathetic which is important in an industry such as ours and can often balance the silent power struggle among men which we so often see in the corporate world.
W4A: You once mentioned that “your business is all about relationships”, please expand on this and the importance of maintaining relationships?
GINA: I bring a vast amount of experience to our clients. There are few situations I have not been through. I am a believer in nurturing relationships that I have built over many years. I hate it when I hear about building ones database. I tend to make friendships out of many of the business relationships I have made and I protect and nurture those relationships.
W4A: Success, as we know, does not happen overnight. What would you say has kept you consistent and seen you through the obstacles you may have encountered along the way?
GINA: Success for me has been a journey and even then I have had a number of failures. I am absolutely not afraid to fail in the same way as I am not afraid to succeed. There are times it has been a lonely journey as not everyone understood the decisions I have taken but at the end of the day it has been my journey and I am always intently focused on the outcome and not the obstacles. I am very proud to say I have created more leaders and I want to build strong brands, strong people and inspire young people, especially young women to reach for the stars. To young women out there I would say that the “impossible” only takes a little bit longer to achieve.
W4A: What do you love most about Africa?
GINA: Africa for me means love….the warmth of the people. Vibrant colours and a growing number of young talented people who are bursting with ideas and creativity who are committed to ensuring that the Africa Rising narrative doesn’t not remain a pipe dream. As a continent we have come from far but the journey is long and as Africans we must all do what we can to invest not just resources, but time and idea to ensure we can decide our own destiny. In the final analysis we must tell own story and beat our own drum.
W4A: Who inspires you and why?
GINA: I have many people in my life that inspire me…. Both my children who have helped me find my north star. My daughter Natalya Din-Kariuki is a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford currently doing her PHD. My son Naythan is a student at Southampton Solent studying Football business with a dream of building a centre for excellence in Africa to tap into the enormous wealth of talent we have on the continent… I love the focus both my kids have and the single mindedness they have to pursue their passion.