Today on Pearls And Heels we feature Juliet Awuor. Juliet Awuor is a Digital Marketer at an Education Technology company. She is also part of a team that organizes monthly meetups for Educational Technology professionals & enthusiasts. On the side, she runs an online platform where she tells women’s stories.
Juliet suffered a stroke at the age of 20 and had to train herself to use her left hand to do everything, including writing and speaking. Earlier in her career, Juliet was involved in advocacy work which involved speaking to local & international audiences about her experiences. She changed her career from HIV advocacy to a career in corporate communication. She still occasionally mentors young people, in high schools and universities drawing from her own experiences.
- Describe your typical day.
My day starts at 5:15 am with morning devotions. I then read a little before getting ready for work. I get to the office at about 9 am, or earlier.
A typical day involves reading a lot of educational technology stuff online and creating and scheduling content on online platforms. This also involves making sure that our website is up to date with fresh content and correct figures, researching for better strategies for engaging my target audiences and talking to students and parents of children who learn on our online platforms, either to assist them or interview users for testimonials.
Sometimes I come across as a workaholic. I stay late in the office either marketing our meetups or blogging.
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a nurse because I was told my mother was a nurse (My mom died when I was seven years old.) My dad used to have books all over the house, so I loved reading from a young age. The funny thing, even though I used to perform well in sciences, my grades in languages were always better. As I progressed in high school, it became evident that I was better at languages than sciences.
My English teacher used to call me the poetic girl. After my KCSE, when I went for my results, my Swahili teacher joked that I had to pay her for my A in Swahili. I also scored an A- in English. Four years later, when I went back to pick up my certificate, my English Literature teacher asked me what I was doing with my A in English. That’s when my eyes opened to the possibility of taking a career in communication.
- If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would be more focused on what I am good at rather than doing everything. I would reach out to more mentors because having mentors sort of gives you clarity about the direction you should take in your career. The other thing I would do differently is to make use of the opportunities that come my way. I feel that earlier in my career, I was more timid, and I wasted some of the networks I got exposed to.
I am now more intentional in my approach. The worst that can happen to you is you may get a no. It’s important to embrace rejection too. Out of all the rejections, you will get an occasional acceptance.
- What would you say are the top three skills needed to succeed at your job?
Three is very limiting… I am going to cheat here and group them.
- People skills- Even the most introverted person has to put themselves out there in order to set themselves up for success.
- Curiosity & Initiative- This is a fast-paced career, that needs continuous learning. Your curiosity and going the extra mile to gain new skills ensures your relevance.
- Goal setting & Time management- Everyone is given 24 hours, how you plan and what you do with your day will determine your success or failure.
5. As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
There are a lot of possibilities in online content creation and a lot of stories to be told. You just have to look in the right direction. For a blogger, one also has to curve their niche and be original. As for digital marketing, there are lots of opportunities that have not been exploited, and Nairobi is embracing it as an emerging career.
What could be done better? Brands need to appreciate the work of creatives. Writing is a job to be taken seriously. Enough said.
- What motivates you?
Good books, the bible is top of that list (though I am a painfully slow reader), people’s experiences, and great music.
- How do you define success?
Success is when you are part of something that changes someone else’s life positively.
- Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Lots of women have been able to bounce back from hard situations and help others through their stories. Examples are Pastor Terry Gobanga, Asumpta Wagura, Joyce Meyer, Jessica Cox and Maya Angelou.
- What is your favourite aspect of your job?
Each day provides a learning opportunity. I love new challenges and the autonomy that my job provides. In my line of work, you get fresh challenges almost daily.
- What would you say are the key elements to being successful?
- Being teachable- there’s always something new to learn from everyone you meet. Be humble and gain the knowledge that every opportunity presents.
- Being inquisitive- I like to use the analogy of children. They ask questions about anything and everything.
- Reading widely- the more you read, the more you grow your mind. We should only be careful of what we allow into our minds.
- Be vulnerable- ask for help where you are struggling. An example is reaching out to a mentor. Everyone should have someone who holds them accountable.
- What advice would you give somebody just starting out in your line of work?
Have an open mind. Be willing to volunteer to build your portfolio. I still volunteer to do things for free. Take advantage of your networks. Embrace your failures, learn from them and move on.
- What has been your most satisfying moment in terms of career?
I got an employee of the month reward on my first month at my current organization. That was huge for me. The growth that I have experienced ever since joining my current employment has been very satisfying.
- What makes you happy?
Children. I love children. They are the most sincere human beings. You can learn a lot from them.
- What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Singing… I love singing. There was a time I even wanted to join a live band. I am currently in the worship team in my church, so my free time is spent singing. I enjoy good books and attend book clubs. I also learnt to swim last year, so I go swimming once in a while.
- Where do you see yourself in around 10 years?
Owning several businesses, with a family, and having published books, including my memoir.
If you would like to interact with Juliet you can find her on Twitter at @juliejacqui1 and on Facebook. Also, check out her blog