Top 25 Most Impactful Women in Corporate Communications

In the modern business landscape, the role of the PA has evolved significantly from the traditional notion of a mere Secretary. Today, the modern PA serves as the primary interface of the company, representing its interests both locally and internationally.

#25

JANET MIRIGO

PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO THE GMD, SASINI PLC

I joined Sasini PLC in 2006 as a Front Office Attendant/Receptionist, with a reporting line extending to the stakeholder relations and legal functions. At the time, the company operated under the name Sasini Tea and Coffee. In addition to my primary responsibilities in reception, drawing from my previous experiences at esteemed law firms such as Mwaniki Gachoka & Co. Advocates, A. N. Ngunjiri & Co. Advocates, and Kimondo, Gachoka Co. Advocates in the early 2000s, I was tasked with providing support to the legal department.

Within the legal office, my responsibilities encompassed providing crucial support to the Group Legal Officer, overseeing all legal clerical tasks. Concurrently, I managed administrative duties related to insurance and shares registration, fulfilling essential functions for the stakeholder relations department.

During my 13-year tenure as a receptionist, I also functioned as a locum secretary for the Group Managing Director’s (GMD) office, now known as the modern-day Personal Assistant (PA). Over this period, I had the opportunity to collaborate with four different GMDs. This experience provided invaluable exposure to executive functions, significantly enhancing my skill set in this role.

The thrill of navigating through these diverse areas fueled my drive, as I eagerly anticipated fresh opportunities and the challenges they brought. I must say that I seized these chances without hesitation, while confronting obstacles with equanimity. I perceive myself as someone inclined towards continuous learning and judicious risk-taking. Staying informed and abreast of new knowledge is a personal preference, as it enhances my awareness of both work and life environments.

In 2019, an opportunity arose at the GMD’s office, and given my role as Acting PA at the time, I was appointed to the position by the incoming GMD. Despite its significant responsibilities, Martin Ochien’g, Sasini’s current GMD, with his distinctive style of inspirational leadership, facilitated a seamless transition for me. Under his guidance, I have been able to fulfill my duties diligently and navigate any challenges that come my way.

In the modern business landscape, the role of the PA has evolved significantly from the traditional notion of a mere Secretary. Today, the modern PA serves as the primary interface of the company, representing its interests both locally and internationally. The scope of responsibilities extends far beyond supporting the immediate boss to encompass serving the entire organisation. As an illustration, I find myself collaborating with all employees who report directly to the GMD, a role I wholeheartedly embrace as the first point of contact with the GMD’s office. This responsibility is ingrained as the default setting, and I diligently support them in all their needs. Additionally, I work closely with the Company Secretary and members of the Board of Directors, serving as a key connector in all matters corporate communication.

One of the responsibilities that came with my role was spearheading the company’s rebranding initiative. In 2019, the GMD and the leadership team made the decision to revitalise Sasini’s brand presence, both locally and globally. Prior to this, Sasini’s corporate brand was relatively obscure, often overshadowed by its presence on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) rather than its branded products.

Acknowledging the necessity for a rejuvenated image, the GMD spearheaded the rebranding initiative, appointing me as a pivotal member of the overseeing committee. In my capacity as Project Coordinator, I closely collaborated with consultant brand designers, ensuring the seamless execution of tasks – a role I deeply value. Our concerted efforts are directed towards augmenting Sasini’s visibility and market influence, thereby molding the brand’s narrative.

I studied at Jogoo Road Primary School and Musa Gitau Primary School in Nairobi, followed by Kiburia Girls Secondary School in Kirinyaga. After completing my ‘O’ level education, I pursued a two-year secretarial training program at PCEA Shalom Girls Training School, a boarding Christian college in Nairobi. Concurrently, while gaining work experience, I enrolled at Graffins College, where I obtained a Diploma in Public Relations (PR) and later pursued a Higher Diploma in Human Resources (HR).

Accolades adorn my career journey, having been honoured three times as the Employee of the Year at Sasini PLC. Additionally, I proudly received recognition as the 2nd Runner-up at Help Age Kenya for my contributions toward assisting the elderly, a cause close to my heart.

My life’s motivation stems from a deep-seated desire to aid others, particularly my colleagues, which not only brings me fulfillment but also propels me to surpass expectations in my duties.

Outside of work, I enjoy watching action and detective movies and playing badminton. Personally, I am a devoted single mother raising three boys, including twins aged 13.

AUTHOR: JANET MIRIGO

EDITOR: KAREN SONG’E

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Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Kenya’s Dr Hanningtone Gaya, holds a PhD in Commerce in Business Management from Nelson Mandela University (NMU), is viewed as an authority in country branding and is the founder chairman of the Brand Kenya Board.

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