I CHOOSE – Celebrating women’s month with Ethel Kandiwo
Ethel stands dauntless in a male-dominated industry as a searing icon of what is possible if a woman merges her dreams with indomitable passion and unsurpassed hard work. Today she is an indispensable part of the Giraffe family.
Read more on our very own visionary below:
Giraffe Creatives: Tell as your name and your profession
Ethel Kandiwo: My name is Ethel Kandiwo and I am a marketing and communications expert. My work involves a lot of marketing strategy and oversight, project and relationship management.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Ambitious, driven, and passionate.
Our women’s day theme is #IChoose. As a woman who is pioneering in your field, what does being able to choose your vocation and thrive in it mean to you?
I think it’s the freedom and ability to do what I really want to do that’s very personal to me and to do what I think I’m best at.
Why is celebrating Women’s day important to you?
I celebrate women’s day every day. Having that one day to celebrate women together is a good way of recognizing the progress that has been made towards women empowerment this is by recognizing women that have come before us, women that are here now but also, almost setting the stage for women in the future. Hopefully, they’ll have it much easier and be able to do what they want because of the things that we’ve done now.
What inspired you to choose your career?
What inspired me to join this industry was that the quality of ads in the past was really, really bad. Most of it was very low quality. It wasn’t exciting and the standards were very low compared to what we had in other markets (South Africa, US, UK) So firstly, I wanted to be a part of the change but also I wanted to learn about how that could happen.
What is most fulfilling about your career?
I think it’s the ability to really be part of the transformation, because a lot of times the work that we do impacts communities, it impacts the way people think, the way they buy. I think that’s fulfilling, seeing things come to life from nothing and being a part of that, I think that’s really big.
What challenges do you face as a woman in your industry and how do you overcome them?
I think a lot of people in key decision-making roles are still male and normally, there’s still a bit of sexism, I would say. So as a woman, a lot of times our voices are subdued in a way and that can be a challenge. I think we need to work 10 times harder than a man to be heard, or for your opinion to be valued, so that is still a challenge.
But I believe being very objective and being yourself can help you overcome this, that is the best that you can be, not trying to outshine anyone or be like a man. I think being yourself is what’s unique about you that will still shine through, especially if you are qualified and you know what you are doing.
How can women better enable and support each other?
Women can be very deliberate about helping, it needs to be a deliberate agenda to help other women. Networking for women and mentoring them is very important. The ability to influence starts from a young age so if a woman shares her skills with those around her, either young girls in her circle or even women in the workplace can have a great impact.
What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
Probably read more books than I’m doing right now. I think growth is constant and so definitely I would read more, learn more, explore more.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I watch a lot of cartoons, which is weird, but I do watch a lot of cartoons. I love cartoons.