Top 25 Most Powerful Women in the C-Suite Impacting Business 2022

Working for over 15 years in insurance and banking, Gwen Kinisu has experience managing projects and diverse teams across her career journey.

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Gwen Kinisu

CEO, PRUDENTIAL

Gwen Kinisu is the Chief Executive Officer at Prudential. If asked to describe who she is, Gwen would describe herself as a student of life. She credits much of her journey to learning from those she has interacted with. According to Angela Githuthu on LinkedIn, ‘Gwen is open minded, curious and keen to learn new things. She demonstrates diligence in her work and is very good at developing individuals.’

Dr. Robert Ochola adds in the same business media and we quote verbatim, ‘Gwen is extremely strategic and focused individual with a drive for excellence and results. She is very passionate about what she does and brings a high level of professionalism and energy to any team she is part of. Gwen is a strong leader, who is very good at consulting widely. She is result oriented and definitely gets things done within the stipulated period. I believe Gwen is in a strong position to add value to any organisation in a key leadership role.’

Working for over 15 years in insurance and banking, Gwen has experience managing projects and diverse teams across her career journey. She is a marketer at heart, a business developer with a keen interest in technology and people. She is a strategic thinker, an expert negotiator, and a team leader.

Currently, Gwen is tasked with leading a Global brand, Prudential, here in Kenya. Her journey to become a CEO began in marketing, where fresh from university, started as an assistant brand manager for MILO at Nestle Foods.

Her foray into financial services began at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) as an intern, followed by Old Mutual and later at Sanlam. In the 8 years at Sanlam, Gwen was involved in various areas of the business from Operations, Product Development, Digital, Partnerships, and Business Development. She and her team at the time celebrated many milestones including becoming 1st runners-up in the Think Business awards for their telesales marketing initiative dubbed “6777”, successful projects in partnership with Airtel, ” Bima Mkononi” and Family Bank’s “Family Educare”.

Gwen was subsequently invited to speak at the 3rd Microinsurance Conference in Johannesburg hosted by the South African Insurance Industry.
In 2014, Gwen moved to National Bank of Kenya (NBK) as GM, Bancassurance, and Principal officer for the insurance business. Embarking on a service culture ensured customer-centricity from service delivery to process alignment. Creating and maintaining relationships with partners was key to ensuring better revenue. These initiatives and more ensured success in her team, which prepared Gwen for her next role at UAP Old Mutual.

As the GM for direct and digital business, Gwen was responsible for the digital business of the general insurance business for UAP Old Mutual. Because this was a new concept at the time, Gwen’s tasks included building the team from the bottom up. This included strategy formulation, the conceptualization of digital framework, vendor management and engaging the requisite stakeholders to ensure end-to-end product delivery.

In June 2021, Gwen was appointed the Chief Executive Officer at Prudential, the first female executive to hold the position at Prudential Kenya. Prior to her appointment as the CEO, Gwen was the chief commercial officer (CCO) in charge of the commercial division at Prudential.

As the chief commercial officer at Prudential, Gwen was responsible for growth in Bancassurance, Alternative and Digital partnerships, and Group Business. She was also in charge of corporate marketing, corporate social responsibility, brand development and the communication functions of the business. Now as the CEO, Gwen looks over the entire Kenyan business landscape and leads the team to achieve their purpose.

Despite being the CEO, Gwen’s passion for people, marketing, and customer-centricity remains. In fact, she is more than ever, keen to ensure she builds an engaged and agile workforce, fostering a culture that promotes excellent customer experience, and the use of technology to delivering on changing customer needs. She believes these are key to any business goals.

Gwen holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in International Business Administration (IBA) in Business (2000-2004) and a Global executive MBA focussed in International Business from the United States International University-Africa, (2014-2015) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) in the United Kingdom (UK).

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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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