Today as Pearls And Heels closes for the holidays we feature two amazing women on Pearls And Heels. One of them is Lizbeth Nthanze Kariuki. Lizbeth Nthanze Kariuki is your next-door cat lady and lover of life. She is a journalist by profession, now working in public relations as Gina Din Group’s digital media manager. She talks about pretty things she likes on her fashion and entertainment blog www.thefabdiaries.com. Lizbeth has a new found interest in photography and in her free time she’s looking for new ways to take pictures of her family’s two cats.
Describe your typical day?
I am a morning person and very alert when I get up. I get to the office by 7am where the first thing I do is login to my client social media accounts to monitor the conversations that happened through the evening, and put together a report which I share. I use about an hour in the morning to go through emails I need to respond to and schedule my meetings for the day. When I don’t have meetings or events during the day, I am monitoring online conversations, and putting together content and graphics for my clients. My time in the evening is spent practicing yoga (or some form of it) and catching up on whatsapp messages.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up, I thought about pursuing a thousand different careers. I wanted to practice corporate law, be a teacher, actress, musician or study international relations. I was conflicted about the careers I wanted to pursue because I grew up knowing I could do just about anything if I put my mind to it. At the end of the day, I realized I wanted to do something that would keep me in the entertainment and creative arts industry.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I am happy with how far I have come in my career; it is really hard to find anything I would do differently. If anything, my job has taught me to cultivate a good reading habit and I continue being curious about new technology in the market.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to succeed at your job?
To succeed in PR, one needs to read a lot – there’s always something new to learn, and reading is the best way to remain innovative.
You need to be able to work well in teams, because a lot of what we do involves coordinating with several organizational departments and media and stakeholder relations.
Thirdly, working in PR means you need to be ready to get out of your comfort zone.
As a professional how is it working in the Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
Nairobi has a very fast-moving culture compared to most African capital cities – and I love it, especially when you’re used to how fast ideas and stories move in the PR industry, you need a culture that can move just as quick. As we move towards being a 24-hour economy, I think there’s a lot more potential to do a lot more during a day.
There are several opportunities in the social media/digital space – where my passion lies. I believe there are so many Kenyan stories that are yet to be told, and the social media is a great way to do it because we can control what we would like the world to know about our culture.
Still, few people in Kenya have access to social media, and rely on traditional media such as radio for news. This is challenging especially when you want to create digital campaigns that reach the masses – so it has to be a mix of both traditional and new media.
What motivates you?
I am very happy-go-lucky, so at times even I get surprised how much energy and motivation I have in a day. The best way I can describe it is that I am motivated by the fact that God blesses me with a new day. It is such a great gift that God has blessed us with, so I try and make the most of each day by finding the best way to live a fulfilling life. Also, lots of cat videos.
How do you define success?
I think success can be found when you find something that keeps you going each day, and you don’t mind spending most of your life doing whatever it is. Finding yourself and following your faith.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I am greatly inspired by cancer survivors. Having lost relatives to cancer, and seen the journey cancer patients go through, I respect their strength and find inspiration in their positive energy to live. They remind me that we really can’t take our lives for granted.
What would you say are the key elements to being successful?
I believe that to be in successful in life you need to have a strong will and a positive attitude. From having observed several leaders and successful entrepreneurs in Kenya, I noticed they all have a positive attitude about whatever it is they do. So even if they’re beaten or setback by something, they shrug it off, learn and move on. If we all adopted this attitude, imagine how far Kenya would be.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
Definitely seeing campaign ideas come to life brings me joy. At that point in time I almost forget the months of planning, because the execution is ultimately the most fun.
What advice would you give somebody just starting out in your line of work?
Patience really pays. As in many things in life, or any other job, there are frustrations that can come along and you have to keep your cool. Better decisions are always made when you are calm.
What has been your most satisfying moment in terms of career?
I have had several mini-victories (at least what I count as victories), and I was especially happy having contributed to the success of the social media strategy for the WTO Ministerial Conference, and the CBK@50 celebrations. I am also always grateful when clients take a second to appreciate good work done.
What makes you happy?
Travelling makes me happy; it really acts as an escape where you can take time to learn about different cultures – it’s really eye opening. I listen to a lot of music, which helps me concentrate and work well.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I use my free time to read novels. I just finished reading Chimamanda’s Purple Hibiscus (fantastic read). Even though I haven’t in a while, I try to update my blog regularly.
Where you see yourself in around 10 years?
In the next 10 years I’ll be 34 years, so I see myself doing a lot more travelling and photography.
If you would like to interact with Lizbeth you can find her on twitter at @NthanzeK.