Tabitha Kimani – Trade Marketer

Tabby studied economics at the University of Nairobi. She is currently a trade marketer at Unilever. She is currently on secondment in Brazil.

Asked if she would stay in Brazil, she answers: “Objectively, Brazil has given me the opportunity to practice my work skills in a very different and big market, learn a new language (Brazilian Portuguese) and sharpen my soft skills, just to mention a few. I look forward to more global roles.”

If Tabby was an animal, she would be a dolphin. “I love the salty ocean and I am very curious by nature,” she says. It is no surprise that if she is not reading during her free time, she finds her way to the beach (unfortunately, I did not ask what she likes doing at the beach).

I asked Tabby a few questions about her journey:

What do you like about your profession?

Trade marketing demands a mix of long-term and short-term strategies. Long-term thinking is naturally my forte; while the tactical demands of the job give me an adrenaline buzz back to the realities of life.

What do you dislike about it?

Like many corporate jobs, the environment is political. I am not a toady (I checked the definition – “a person who behaves obsequiously to someone important”).

How/why did you choose your profession?

I was in a Management Trainee program, which exposed me to all aspects of an FMCG company. Trade marketing resonated the most to me due to the mix in demands of the job to be agile enough in connecting to the trade but also recognize insights that have long-term wins.

Who is your role model?

I have many role models. None specific to my career.

Why?

My role models cater to a range of ever-changing life needs.

What has been the highest point in your career?

As at this moment, I have 3 that are top of mind: First, launching of one of the biggest brands in the Oral Care market four months before I was officially graduated; secondly, pioneering a brand marketing creative campaign in the Laundry category, which is now in its 3rd year running; and thirdly, working in Brazil for 1 year.

What has been the lowest point in your career?

The feeling that I was not in control of my career.

What mistakes have you made in your career?

In my eyes, none… so far. Just a lot of learning and growth opportunities.

How did you get over them?

I am very internally driven, I do not pay much attention to others’ judgments of my actions. I believe a solution for every problem already lies within me, I just must create the mental space to make things better, for me.

What motivates you?

Learning – the opportunity to work on something new every day.
Travel – the chance to see what I do not know but is out there.

What is your best quote?

“If knowledge is power, learning is our super power” Simon Sinek.

What does mentorship mean to you, and what do you do to mentors others?

Mentorship is the chance to hear of someone else’s opinion in a controlled environment for the positive development of both. I share my experiences (especially those that made me uncomfortable or gave me relief) with anyone ready to listen.

What advice would you give young professionals seeking to join your profession?

  1. Get a mentor early- network till you make a genuine connection (mentorship doesn’t have to be formal or with just one person);
  2. Invest in emotional intelligence – know thyself and what makes you tick; and
  3. Work to live, don’t live to work.
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