Top 25 Most Impactful Women in Corporate Communications

Serving as Director of Customer Experience, Brand and Marketing at Britam, a Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)-listed financial services firm with a footprint in seven African countries, Diane is not just about creating generic communication—she is a customer experience whisperer crafting brand narratives that resonate across diverse markets.

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DIANE KORIR

DIRECTOR – CX, BRAND & MARKETING BRITAM

“I have several favourite moments of hiking. The moment that your mind and soul connect with God and his wondrous creation; the moment that your body begins to give in then your mind takes over; the moment you summit; and the conqueror feeling when you get back to ground zero. My most favorite hikes are those that midway, I ask myself why the ‘torture’, yet I return repeatedly. On my bucket list this year is summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro,” says Diane, the soft-spoken customer experience whisperer.

Like scaling a tough mountain, Diane faces the complexities of the corporate world with resilience and strategic thinking.

Today’s multinational companies operate in a hyper-connected world, demanding a delicate balance between global reach and local understanding. For strategic storytellers such as Diane Korir, this is familiar territory.

Serving as Director of Customer Experience, Brand and Marketing at Britam, a Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)-listed financial services firm with a footprint in seven African countries, Diane is not just about creating generic communication—she is a customer experience whisperer crafting brand narratives that resonate across diverse markets.

Armed with customer intelligence and leveraging investments toward new communication channels, Britam has developed communication and marketing strategies that align with the organisation’s overall financial objectives and differentiate the brand in a largely undifferentiated insurance market. More than merely telling Britam’s story, Diane uses it as a tool to build brand awareness, foster trust with stakeholders, and drive market share growth. She hinges her communications approach on a deep understanding of customer experiences and journeys.

Her philosophy, which has made her a household name in customer-centric leadership circles, is simple yet powerful. Firstly, she considers herself called into service; secondly, she serves with excellence. To Diane, excellence starts with the way one carries themselves, writes, and speaks, and it extends to how one leads, formulates strategy, and executes.

At Britam, the key to success has been unifying customer experience, brand, communications, and marketing at the back of Britam’s EPIC2 five-year customer-centric strategy. “Customer experience, marketing, brand and corporate communications are so intertwined and more organisations would benefit from unifying these into one function,” Diane opines.

When asked about Britam’s current brand campaign titled ‘Friends for Life’, Diane explains that it was creatively developed after a brand persona exercise. “We asked what version of Britam’s authentic self would be most attractive and relatable to its target audiences.” To explore this, extensive research was commissioned, including workshops and focus groups with current and potential customers, colleagues across the Britam Group, financial advisors, and other stakeholders. “From this, we found that people desired a Britam that felt like a friend who offers unwavering support – one who understands them, is loyal and committed, acts as an advocate, a guide, a capable partner.”

Diane adds that this concept makes perfect sense, “A friend is someone who walks life’s journey with you every step of the way, and that idea transcends age, social status, wealth, gender, and other demographics. That is who Britam intends to be – a Friend for Life. This approach aligns seamlessly with Britam’s purpose of Safeguarding Dreams and Aspirations, as well as its brand promise to be With You Every Step of the Way.”

Diane is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP), a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (MCIPR) and looking forward to her Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) certification at the end of this year.

Her experiences across various disciplines and industries give her an understanding that many others might lack. Her expertise encompasses Client Experience, Brand & Communication, Process Re-Engineering, Project Management, and Marketing Strategies. She has worked globally across diverse industries, including Insurance, Banking, Technology, and Hospitality. With a Master’s degree in Information Systems Management from Keller Graduate School, USA, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Business Management with minors in Journalism and Economics from Coe College (USA), she combines strategic business insight with technological trends to develop impactful customer and communication strategies.

Diane acknowledges that the world of modern communication is a bustling marketplace now, filled with conversations and connections. In this dynamic and digital ecosystem, businesses need to be agile storytellers, not just messengers. Transparency is key with consumers being savvy and seeking genuine voices, not corporate jargon.

Today’s communication is omnichannel, reaching people on their turf. Social media, targeted ads, and interactive platforms are centerstage in this marketplace. It is about capturing attention, sparking emotions, and leaving a lasting impression. Diane explains that businesses need data-driven strategies to understand what resonates with their audience. They need to adapt and evolve, constantly checking what is working and what is not.

Throughout her various roles over the years, Diane has been consistently empowering employees as brand ambassadors, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose, while encouraging them to spread the word about the company’s values.

Even amidst her demanding schedule, Diane’s personal touch – handwriting thank-you notes and signing individual birthday cards for team members – demonstrates her commitment to valuing and appreciating each individual in her team through the simplest gestures. “I still remember how thrilled I felt when I received a handwritten note from the CEO at a previous job, just to thank me for how I had handled an issue. I still have the note,” she recalls.

Before joining Britam, Diane’s tenure at Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, where she headed Client Experience, earned her accolades and recognition across the banking industry. She also previously served as Chair of the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) Customer Service Working Group.

Her favourite little book, as she calls it, is ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ by Spencer Johnson. She often re-reads it, especially during times of transition, whether on a personal or professional level.

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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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