Every Monday we have our Pearls and Heels segment where we focus on women and their careers. Our Pearls and Heels lady today is Njeri Ngige. Njeri Ngige is a content creator and digital media strategist. She is also a student of life. She says you may think it’s weird, but she loves to speak to people and figure out this life. She is a firm believer that no one should walk this journey of life alone. What does she do? She speaks about life on her YouTube channel and blog… Sitara is a YouTube show that is all about the self-awareness and personal development of women. It is a Swahili word that means a cleft of the rock a place of rest, restoration and rejuvenation. When she has time left she researches her pet topics and shares them.
1. Describe your typical day?
I wake up at 3AM and go for a run at 4:30 am within the estate (very few people are awake so no one sees me panting up and down the estate). I get back to the house by 5:15 and it is almost time for my husband to leave for work. Depending on the day of the week *Tuesday I have school so I leave with him or I go back to bed. I need the endorphins to realize they have been woken up. I wake up at 8 am. On a non-school day I try thinking for at least 30 minutes, this is the gold mine time. All the conversations I need to have on Sitara, I jot them down, and topics I need to read up on and do more research are written down…
Then I get into social media first WhatsApp, respond to messages and go to Instagram, then Facebook and when I remember to I log into Twitter. This is what takes the bulk of my time. On social media, there are a lot of hurt people who just want someone to listen, so I do that. I find it very fulfilling. I am an encourager. And as Tim Njiru says a “Joy Billionare”, I lose nothing by lighting as many candles as I can. If I have a meeting with someone for a sounding board moment, I go for it and or do it online.
I am a ghostwriter so I settle into this for a few hours and alas it is 4 pm and I need to think about dinner. By 8 pm I am exhausted and ready to sleep. I guess this is how my typical day goes.
2. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Lawyer, then a news anchor :-), and then I wanted to be a diplomat.
3. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
WOW!!! I would have studied Communications. This way I would have a different result maybe? But I do not regret going to USIU and studying International Relations, I made awesome friends, the few that I made.
4. What would you say are the top three skills needed to succeed at your job?
Listening skills, holding my opinion when not asked. Having a “soft/human heart” feeling with someone is just the height of it.
A curious and healthy appetite for knowledge.
Communication skills, the ability to articulate a foreign or difficult subject to a client or even on the show, make it as relatable and humane as possible.
5. As a professional how is it working in Nairobi?
Nairobi is honestly a magnificent place to work, albeit with the traffic. I think so many people are open to new forms of communication and self-development, therefore, making it a much easier place to flourish. However, we want it as fast and as easily as possible. Often that is not the best way to grow anything.
Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
Yes, Nairobi is a very open city for content creators and that is such a wonderful blessing, it is an honour really. Not many African countries are open to the creativity that we offer to an extent that bloggers can make money from their craft; for me, that is attaching emotion to a campaign in the form of content generation. Patience.
Nairobians need to be just a little more patient with each other and themselves; savour the moments, walk a bit slower, and give way in traffic, it is okay. We are NOT in competition; this is an attitude that is destroying our nation. We can have varied opinions and still work together. We can be doing the same thing but the sky is so vast there is space for all of us. Honestly, we can exist without kuchimbiana – without talking badly about other people or sabotaging them so that we can shine.
6. What motivates you?
My dreams. Knowing one day I will stand before God and honestly give an audit report for what I did with what he gave me. 🙂 Oh, knowing I have very limited time on earth to do my part in making the earth a sunnier place.
Feedback – Positive feedback makes you grow, and makes you a better person when put across in a way that builds and not hurts your heart. Someone may say they do not have time to be kind, they speak their mind and do not care how it feels to hear such words; to such people, I say if for every word you spoke you were to give an account would you have positives or negatives at the end of the day?
Well my heart is soft and that is fine, I don’t want thick skin it is not a must to have this to live a wonderful life.
7. How do you define success?
Waking up every day and doing my best for the day, knowing in my heart it is enough. I am enough.
8. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My big sister. She is a lesson in contentment and never giving up. Her name may never be written out in books but she has shaped the woman I am. I am so humbled and blessed she is in my life. She is my hero.
9. What is your favourite aspect of your job?
Meeting new people and they leave the meeting feeling heard. Not necessarily with a solution but heard and that it was helpful therefore having just a fresh lease or perspective on life.
My content being considered is so nice.
10. What would you say are the key elements to being successful?
A relationship with God, consistency and a support structure.
11. What advice would you give somebody just starting out in your line of work?
Patience. Keep your head up and pray. Pray all the time, exercise, keep a positive attitude, love yourself, and be kind to others and yourself.
12. What has been your most satisfying moment in terms of your career?
My mum finally accepted that I may never get an 8-5 white-collar job :-), my sisters watching Sitara and praying over me I would never trade that.
There is once I gave a talk and the whole room felt that it was a satisfactory conversation. This was a room of intelligent and accomplished young people all younger than me. It honestly gave me a sense of peace that I was doing something right.
13. What makes you happy?
Connecting with people, they are God’s best resource.
Flowers make me so happy, they are shameless and genuine. They are who they were created to be all the time.
14. What are your hobbies?
Running, photography (yes I am going back)
What do you do in your non-work time?
Watch movies and comedy things with my husband or reading a book alone.
15. Where do you see yourself in around 10 years?
Going around the world speaking and writing and maybe teaching.
If you would like to interact with Njeri you can find her mostly on Instagram at @TheNjeriNgige, and sometimes on Twitter at @theNjeriNgige.
Potentash Founder. A creative writer. The Managing Editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories and stories about the inclusion of minorities. Find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We're all stories, in the end.” ― Steven Moffat