Top 5 Women Consultants in Corporate Communications

Kendi’s career started 21 years ago after graduating from the University of Nairobi (UoN). She was selected to participate in the graduate trainee program at Unilever, where she began as a Field Sales Representative and Assistant Brand Manager.

#4

CAROLYNE KENDI

FOUNDER & CEO, CK MARKETING COACHING

Carolyne Kendi is an astute brand building and marketing professional, boasting over two decades of expertise in brand management, marketing, and strategic communications. Her illustrious career spans various industries, including fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), beverages, telecommunications, and banking sectors, where she has made significant contributions to leading multinational corporations.

Currently, she is Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of her own brand and marketing advisory and training firm – CK Marketing Coaching. The organisation’s mission is to collaborate with individuals and businesses, igniting fresh thinking and creativity to solve business challenges. The approach involves imparting knowledge and practical application of brand and marketing strategies, harnessing digital technology for efficient and effective growth. This is achieved through a combination of capability building (training), coaching, and consultancy services.

Kendi’s career started 21 years ago after graduating from the University of Nairobi (UoN). She was selected to participate in the graduate trainee program at Unilever, where she began as a Field Sales Representative and Assistant Brand Manager. It was during this time that she grasped the fundamental importance of a robust and resilient brand in ensuring the success of any business.

Her passion for cultivating, expanding, and nurturing homegrown world-class brands was ignited five years later when she joined East African Breweries (EABL) as Brand Manager for Tusker. A standout achievement during her tenure was the successful scaling up of the Tusker Project Fame series, which evolved into the most beloved and watched branded TV reality show in East Africa after three seasons.

Driven by audacious goals, Kendi found this transitional moment particularly intriguing, given the intensity it brought forth. It involved immersing herself in the beverage category while reigniting relevance for an iconic Kenyan brand, especially among the younger generation. Her role expanded to encompass the wider Diageo portfolio as Head of Spirits, where she honed her skills in storytelling and brand experience, recognising them as critical drivers for brand building.

Kendi holds a deep passion for Africa and firmly believes that it is our time, as Africans, to shine and lead into the future. This conviction was reinforced when she returned to Unilever and immersed herself in several African markets in Southern Africa – Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi, as well as West Africa – Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. Here, she played a pivotal role in building one of the most iconic regional brands – Blue Band.

Throughout her experience, she discovered that the similarities across all the diverse countries and cultures were more pronounced than the differences. The optimistic, hardworking, and resilient values formed the core of every African, regardless of their country or culture. Kendi’s exposure to these varied markets also deepened her understanding of the power of technology to drive access and unlock opportunities that could enhance the earning potential of millions of Africans across the continent.

This journey led her to Safaricom five years later, where she assumed the role of Head of Brand and Marketing Communications. Here, Kendi had the privilege of spearheading several integrated marketing and communication campaigns. Notable among these were the brand repositioning from ‘Twaweza’ to ‘For You’, as well as other iconic thematic brand campaigns such as Nawe Kila Wakati, Twende Tukiuke, and Tuinuane. Her Midas touch extended to impactful product marketing campaigns across consumer, financial services, and enterprise businesses, serving as critical enablers for business success.

Owing to the significant impact her campaigns made in the market, Kendi was sought after and subsequently joined Absa as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In this role, she was part of a collaborative Pan-African team tasked with repositioning the brand from ‘Africanacity’ to ‘Your Story Matters’, a move pivotal to the business growth strategy. She firmly believes that the secret formula for delivering profitable and sustainable growth for any business lies in empathy for the customer and building brands around solutions for their needs.

Kendi is deeply passionate about contributing to wider marketing industry initiatives, particularly in fostering creativity in communication as a driver of business growth. For several years, she served on the board of the Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK) and acted as the Deputy Chief Judge at the MSK Gala Awards. Over the past two years, she has been selected as a Co-Jury President for the prestigious Loeries Awards, and this year, she was appointed as the Jury Chair for the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) Awards for the Creative Effectiveness Category for Middle East and Africa. Serving on these creative judging panels allows her to ensure that Kenyan and African brands receive the visibility and recognition they deserve on both regional and global platforms.

Kendi is also intentional about ‘staying curious’, which has ignited her passion for digital marketing. Consequently, she dedicates a considerable amount of time to exploring the digital and innovation arenas, continuously learning, unlearning, and relearning.

Her personal mission is to unite people, leveraging their strengths to achieve positive outcomes.

Three words that perfectly encapsulate Kendi’s essence are: Connector, Optimistic and Purposeful.

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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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Top 5 Women Consultants in Corporate Communications

Kendi’s career started 21 years ago after graduating from the University of Nairobi (UoN). She was selected to participate in the graduate trainee program at Unilever, where she began as a Field Sales Representative and Assistant Brand Manager.