Our Pearls And Heels lady today is Tindi Mutinda. Tinda Mutinda is a social media and digital marketing consultant. She says “I am a super spoilt mummy. I have worked with Mums Village, Kenya Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Alliance, ADMI and the International School of Advertising among others; advising and creating strategies that take advantage of new technologies as well as drawing up content strategies for business. I also love spending time with my boys teaching them and learning from them everything there is about life. Maybe one day I might have the courage to write and share music with the world. Until then, I’m that digital and content chic. You can find my rants and reflections on Twitter handle: @Tindilicious let’s talk laugh, cry, argue… whatever suits your fancy (minus weird sexual innuendos!)”
Describe your typical day.
I am woken up by two handsome young men between a quarter to 6 and 6:30 every day. They talk me out on sleep-land then leave me be and I dive into my emails and tasks for the day. The cool thing about working from home is that the workflow is organic and most times this gives me space to be creative in my approach. I work and play as the day demands.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be many things; a doctor, an astronaut, a geologist… but life has this way of putting you where you need to be rather than where you think you want to be. Now I think I am too random to fit into any one of those careers.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I probably should have forced issues and taken work while still in campus. But I doubt it would have made me a better person so the way things panned out was actually okay.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to succeed at your job?
Creativity: Interesting ways to solve business challenges as they come up
Flexibility: The understanding that nothing is cast in stone and that the solutions crafted today may not work 2 weeks from today and you need a way to fix that solution and make it work
Patience: It takes people a long time to buy into the reality of digital approaches to marketing and business. You can have the same conversation 10 times and the 13th time is when someone might be ready to sign into my proposition. This is a skill I am still working on.
As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
Nairobi is savage and awesome in its savageness. In this city book learning takes you so far but actually hustling on the street, it’s a whole different game. Take the hawkers who one minute they are all selling pens and pencil cases. At the slightest drop of rain, suddenly umbrellas are on sale. Someone saw the rain coming and planned for the brollies availability, you will never see that person, and you will remain awestruck by the sheer speed at which brolleys were up for sale. That’s Nairobi for me, multiple realities both in the light and in the shadows. I’d like to meet the guy who planned for the brolleys…
Nairobi is as brutal as it is magical. Possibility is only limited by one’s attitude to life. As much as I look forward to a cosy farmhouse far from the city, this city forces you to be sharper, better, and smarter. Working in Nairobi is cutthroat and sometimes the intense competition can be quite funny. As in guys will take whatever real or perceived edge over each other and spin it so eloquently that at the end of the day, your character will be the win-or-lose factor rather than whether you can deliver. The competition can get very funny. What I do is in its infancy in Nairobi, very few understand it well, and most just know the basics. Again this creates some really funny scenarios! The opportunities in Nairobi are endless and only limited by one attitude, whether or not what you do is ‘accepted’ or ‘misunderstood’.
What motivates you?
My husband and children; they dare me to be different and cut new rules to fit me so that I can be my best for them.
How do you define success?
When you sleep, do you sleep well or toss and turn wondering if this was your last day? Sleeping well and content is success.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I don’t think I have one person or personality that inspires me. I look up to women who have gone against the odds and made something of themselves plus created space for others to succeed.
What is your favourite aspect of your job?
Naturally, I read a lot. I read a lot of everything. I like that my work allows me to delve deeply into so many economic sectors, including education, real estate, and agriculture. I have to read up on my client’s businesses and get to the table with the authority of one who understands that business deeply and I love it. There’s no space to get bored!
What would you say are the key elements to being successful?
Persistence: you’ve got to keep on keeping on even when the going is rough. People will walk with you until so far and then drop off, but it’s your dream, you’ve got to keep walking.
Take in criticism; it’s the best form of education. Buy your critics coffee or tea, they deserve it.
Humility: people connect with other people genuinely at a very basic, almost primal level. Never forget that you are no more human than the person next to you.
What advice would you give somebody just starting out in your line of work?
Read up as much as you can, you have to be current as per global best practices. Take every opportunity to network with people who understand the landscape of digital media, marketing, business, and the whole gamut. No one will teach you, and there are no classes but the information is freely available so take it.
What has been your most satisfying moment in terms of career?
Seeing the vision play out and watching your strategies work in the face of so much change. It’s better than anything on Netflix!
What makes you happy?
Watching my work, working out or learning from my work and how it interacts with daily realities. Yes, I am a little bit of a workaholic when I enjoy what I’m doing.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I play with the kids or hang out with my husband and close friends. When I can, I throw myself into music however the opportunity presents itself.
Where do you see yourself in around 10 years?
Handing over the day-to-day running of my digital media and marketing company and starting a new out-of-the-box business adventure. Most likely my dream project: a recording getaway somewhere at the edge of a wildlife sanctuary.
If you would like to interact with Tindi you can find her on Twitter at @Tindilicious.