It’s another Monday and time to meet one of the women who live, work and play in Nairobi. Today’s Pearls and Heels woman is Waithera Kibinda. Waithera Kibinda is a young upwardly mobile professional. She is currently, working with Vision Africa as the Operations and Sustainability Officer. Although she has only been there for a few weeks she is loving her job because it is about transforming lives and making an impact. Waithera says she is a lover of life, a loyal friend, mother to the awesome Crown Prince, wife to a phenomenal man and a woman of faith.
On most days I’m up at 4.30 AM. I get to have some me time as well as quiet time and plan for my day. At around 6 AM, I’m ready, catching up on any emails that need my attention and saying good morning to loved ones on Whatsapp. If I have no early morning engagements, I spend time with my son. Feeding him his breakfast and a bit of play before I drop him at school. If I have an early morning, then I make sure I’m home by 8 p.m for a bit of play and to put him to bed.
I’m truly not a morning person, (but the Crown Prince is slowly changing that. He wakes up singing!!!!!) That’s why I guard my me-time. Silence is golden. I, therefore, spend most of my mornings catching up on emails, or meetings and setting agendas for the day or the week. By mid-morning I’m now fully booted I can have some breakfast and talk. Most of my afternoons are spent meeting people: Potential partners, visiting program sites etc.
My evenings are ideally spent with friends or family. As a matter of principle, I don’t pick up calls past 8.30 p.m unless it’s an emergency. I’m highly nocturnal and will spend my nights either reading, sending emails, or watching a movie before I go to bed. Which can be anywhere between 10 pm and midnight.
2. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Three great professions I hold in high regard. I might not have been with any of them 100% but at least I have gotten the chance to have a feel of each.
A Military Officer
3. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I’m so content with how my career path has turned out. I started working at a pretty young age. Right after high school, each experience has been so unique, an adventure and quite memorable. I don’t think I would change anything. My career has been around people development and community development. A lot of capacity building, team building and management of projects and programs.
4. What would you say are the top three skills needed to succeed at your job?
5. As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
I love Nairobi. It’s an adventurous city. Nairobians are open to what we do, but the red tape in this city is out of this world. As much as you try to provide a tangible solution, there is someone saying just how you need another license or an approval signature. So you find people who want to do business with you will pull back and sadly sometimes for good.
6. What motivates you?
I’m so big on life transformation and leaving a legacy. I sleep well knowing that someone’s life has been changed if they get a little more income, a change of mindset or attitude etc and I know that trickles down to an entire generation.
The words ‘I am grateful that you impacted my life’ from people that I have interacted with give me the motivation to wake up every morning and make extra sacrifices. People ignite me. Generational transformation motivates me.
7. How do you define success?
I see most young people describing success as material things. Living the 1-6 dream. That is
3 Acre piece of Land
4 by 4 German automobile
5 Bedroomed house
6 Figure Salary
(Yap… I had to throw that in there)
But for me, Success is all about wealth. This wealth was built over time and found in a stable family, a functional career, loyal friends, a thriving economy in my country, seeing people in constant pursuit of passion and purpose and constantly living it. And definitely a few coins on the side to fund my vision and purpose. Then my 1-6 dream can fall into place.
8. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My life is a cocktail of awesome and great DNA’s flowing in my bloodstream. I have had mentors and coaches that have greatly impacted my life during different seasons. Notably (soon-to-be Dr.) Pastor Kyama Mugambi and his lovely wife Wambui are not only friends but also life mentors. My life coach and friend Pastor Angie Murenga pushed me toward my pursuit of purpose and generational transformation. One of my very awesome bosses Pastor BX, continually teaches me about resilience and service. All of them are Pastors… I must be on something really great
That said, my most notable inspiration character would be my father. Mr. Kibinda. I could write a book about this man. He is my hero. I know I say this like many girls in this city. Mr. Kibinda has a passion for people, a passion for development and a passion for Nairobi. All his life he has been a public servant and when I hear people appreciating simple things in this city, I smile and in my heart, I go like ‘yap… That’s my dad.’ He has taught me to value people despite their social status and to love and embrace the season I am in. During a very tough time in my life. He stood up for me and protected me yet still in love and wisdom, he showed me my mistake. Did I mention he is the world’s greatest grandfather? He has loved and continually teaches the Crown Prince some great life skills.
Mr. Kibinda is the kind of man, if you were to put in a desert, in a few months you would find a city. Yap, that’s my father.
9. What is your favourite aspect of your job?
First seeing the lives of young people changed. These young people had been marginalized, become parents at a tender age and had no hope. But due to projects we do at Vision Africa (www.vision-africa.org) then they have hope and can be self-reliant.
Secondly, the many people and brilliant minds I get to interact with. From the very intelligent staff team at Vision Africa to opinion leaders, community leaders and future beneficiaries. Everyone brings something unique to the table of life.
10. What would you say are the key elements to being successful?
Character and Attitude. These two attributes can take you anywhere you want. They have been key in transforming dreams into vision and finally living out purpose.
11. What advice would you give somebody just starting out in your line of work?
If you are in it for the money, you will fail miserably and become frustrated as you frustrate those that you work with and beneficiaries. This is mostly about a passion for life change. So just have a heart for people, and embrace the right attitude… You will be just fine.
12. What has been your most satisfying moment in terms of life?
Recently, my friend Faith Mwaura and I hosted a baby shower for just 20 women. The first ever in the country and probably in East Africa. We wanted to share professional information with first moms, the stuff that no one tells you at baby showers or is so controversial in those showers. It was such an uphill task getting 20 women because it was a new thing, never heard of before but finally 25 women came.
The women got to interact with a professional parenting coach Shiko Kanyottu, a midwife Lucy Muchiri, a Lactation Advisor Eva Kongoro and also Wagikuyu Miringu of Hello Doctor. It was a wonderful time. 2 months later, the women are still grateful for the platform.
For me seeing my purpose unfold when it came to helping first-time moms brought tears to my eyes. Project Baby Shower was a highlight for me this year and it ignited a fire in my life.
13. What makes you happy?
The Crown Prince makes me happy. It’s amazing how he has a rich vocabulary for his age.
I love fine dining with friends, and though most of the time they just want a nyama choma plot, the company and the laughter are so worth my while.
I love spending time with my new husband as well.
14. What are your hobbies?
Anything outdoors works for me. Mountain/Rock climbing, road trips, camping you name it. I also love learning local dialects. I will therefore try and learn at least a basic ‘hello’ and ‘please give me water’ word or statement. You never know when the thirst will strike. I also speak some basic Spanish.
15. What do you do in your non-work time?
I read, play with my son and play puzzles. I also read about interesting recipes ad then dream about them. Judgment is not allowed lol.
I also try and knit. Yap, I’m in a Crocheting Group (Crotchet Kenya) those women do wonders with needle and thread.
16. Where do you see yourself in around 10 years?
Wow… I would definitely be living my purpose out loud and having enough money to fund every inch of that dream.
If you would like to interact with Waithera you can find her on Twitter at .