Today on Pearls And Heels we feature Sallinder Nyawira. Sallinder Nyawira is currently the Key Accounts Manager for SAFISHA a brand of Detergents and cleaning Equipment. Her entire career is based on pro-actively building and developing Key account relationships through implementation of Joint Business Plans with the aim of growing category sales. She is also the founder of rescuebnb a collaborative platform which connects those with the ability to host or rescue to those in need of assistance. They do this by providing temporary shelter (hosting) and relief (rescuing and referral) after traumatic experiences. Find out more about Rescuebnb here.
Describe your typical day?
I wake up at 7:00 am Monday to Sunday. I feed my son and by 8:00 am I’m out of the house headed for work. I work mostly in the field in supermarket outlets and their HQ offices. My work day has no set time end as I close between 4 to midnight depending on the amount of work I have. I don’t really have an end time since I carry work home every day. I feed my son dinner between 7:00 to 8:00 and by 8:30 I put him to bed. I usually sleep at around the same time if I have no extra work to do.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a lawyer. I guess this is because I won every argument I ever took part in as I can talk more than I can breathe lol. But one unit in CPA Sec 1 changed my mind when CAT results for Law 1 were released and I had 30%. Sigh. I did great in Econ and FA and that’s how I ended up doing Econ and Stats in uni. After graduation, my first job was in a bank. That’s when I realized that economics was not for me. My brain was in it but not my heart. I applied for marketing related jobs and I got them. Since then I have never looked back.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would have probably studied marketing at university instead of economics and statistics. My personality comes off as a very strong marketer which has been amazing for my career, unfortunately, I don’t have the textbook experience to back that. But I have gained all the professional experience needed to excel in the marketing field. Now to do CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) and I’ll be all set.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to succeed at your job?
Persistence: This is needed when dealing with the leading supermarket chains. They have a huge portfolio of suppliers. If you do not push them for your orders you shall not make sales.
Attention to detail and a good memory: This is important because of the weekly and monthly reports that I do. Also because of the orders received from the supermarket chains. As a company, we have over 150 SKU’s. When receiving orders, each and every one must appear on the LPO. If one is not keen some items may go for months without orders and this will affect your sales.
Slow temper: Some of these chains are trouble to work with. There is a lot of bribery, sexual harassment and negligence. But even after all these, holding a grudge is never good for business as orders will not be placed. So, when faced with such vices, you deal with them professionally forgive and forget report harassment cases to the right authorities and focus on business.
As a professional how is it working in the Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
Working in Nairobi for a lady in the marketing field is tough. Because 90% of the job requires interaction between customers and sales. Most of the top-level management in these chains are male putting us at a disadvantage. I have seen ladies struggle to make sales simply because they couldn’t comply with that the client “wanted”. So yes, the environment could get better especially if there was a way to report such indecencies without the threat of losing your job or making you look like a liar who has made up stories of sexual harassment.
There are a lot of opportunities in what I do and with the advancement of the digital spectrum, these opportunities are growing and becoming even more exciting and challenging offering even way more learning and job opportunities. Most people think that marketing is all about sales. You sell and that is it. Wrong. It is generally about the route to market for any product about to be launched. The journey from the product development to the rolling out is where marketing is born.
What motivates you?
My son motivates me. I need to be the best version of myself for him and be a role model to whom he can look up to for guidance and also one that he can be proud of.
How do you define success?
To me, success is when I achieve the goals I set out for myself. At the end of the day, I’m racing against no one in this life. When I achieve these goals within the time frames I set out, to me that is success.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Honestly, I get inspiration from all over. Not from anyone in specific. Every day I read stories online and hear others from friends and relatives about people out there who are doing amazing things having come from nothing. That makes me know that I too can get there if I put my mind to it.
What is your favourite aspect of your job?
I’d have to say the networking bit. Since I began this job I have rubbed shoulders with CEO’s of multinationals and gotten to have very mind pricking conversations that have challenged me to do better.
What would you say are the key elements of being successful?
Self Drive: You need to depend on yourself to get to where you feel you need to be as you are the only one who knows how badly you want to get there.
Determination: You must not give up along the way no matter how hard the journey seems. When it gets tough, stop. Take a break then get back up on that horse.
Discipline: This is the most important. You cannot achieve anything if you are not disciplined in all aspects. Morally and culturally.
What advice would you give somebody just starting out in your line of work?
Have FUN. Marketing is one of the most exciting jobs in the market. There is a lot to learn. You just need to be ready to put in the hours. In the end, it shall be worth it.
What has been your most satisfying moment in terms of career?
I’d have to say when I did marketing and communication for one of the supermarket chains. It taught me a lot about marketing and opened me up to endless possibilities.
What makes you happy?
My son makes me happy. Listening to music and chatting with my bestie.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I cook, bake, travel, tweet and chat!
Where do you see yourself in around 10 years?
This question reminds me of one I answered, “retired and pregnant” in a job interview. I see myself talking to a crowd about Rescuebnb; how we started and how we got to where we are (at the 10-year mark) and sharing stories of hope and encouragement from all those we have helped along the way.