Top 60 Most Transformative CEOs Impacting The Economy

Ms Waweru’s professional footprint spans offices across Africa and the Middle East, from Nairobi (Kenya), to Lusaka (Zambia), to Cape Town (South Africa), and Dubai.

#50

GRACE WAWERU

MD, SCANAD

A connoisseur of communication and a master of brand resonance, Grace Waweru presently holds the mantle of Managing Director (MD) at SCANAD. This position, which she embraced with flair on July 1, 2023, is the culmination of her previous tour of duty as Managing Partner at Ogilvy Kenya & Zambia.

Notably, both SCANAD and Ogilvy are integral components of WPP-Scangroup, the largest  marketing and communication consortium operating within a multi-agency framework spanning a wide spectrum of disciplines across 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

With nearly two decades devoted to WPP-Scangroup, Grace has consistently showcased exemplary leadership through various roles, illustrating her adaptability and expertise.

During her tenure at Ogilvy, her visionary leadership steered numerous paramount projects. For instance, the impactful COVID-19 awareness campaign for Unilever. Guiding the Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC), the ‘Password’ campaign spanned 37 countries, impacting 1.2 billion people, catalysing behavioural changes and slowing the virus’s spread. This initiative led to the training of health workers, installations of washing facilities, and donation of hygiene products. Her efforts garnered recognition from esteemed sources such as The Washington Post, and accolades including the Global Good Award and the Save the Children Partnership Award.

Ms Waweru’s dedication and expertise earned numerous other awards throughout her tenure at Ogilvy. A recipient of the David Ogilvy Pipe Award in both 2018 and 2019, she further distinguished herself with the HundredX Global Leadership award in 2019. Moreover, Business Monthly EA bestowed on her the honour of being among the Top 25 Most Influential Women in Marketing in 2022, a testament to her enduring impact on the industry.

Ms Waweru’s professional footprint spans offices across Africa and the Middle East, from Nairobi (Kenya), to Lusaka (Zambia), to Cape Town (South Africa), and Dubai. Her dynamic career traverses a diverse portfolio of Pan-African clients encompassing sectors such as mining, automotive, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, aviation, finance, petroleum, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Beyond enhancing brand image and driving sales, Grace’s true fulfilment emanates from the transformative power of storytelling to shape narratives and influence behaviour. She draws inspiration from iconic brands like Nike and Under Armour, recognising their profound impact on culture, lifestyle, and the economy. Guided by these luminary brands, she stresses the cruciality of discovering one’s niche and harnessing the power of narrative to bridge the division between brands and their coveted audience.

Ms Waweru’s educational journey has been punctuated with illustrious achievements and scholarly pursuits. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Communication, with a specialisation in Advertising from Daystar University, she further enhanced her expertise by attaining a Global Executive Master of Business Administration (GEMBA) degree from the United States International University – Africa (USIU-A). This dual academic accolade embodies her commitment to the realms of communication strategies and comprehensive business acumen.

An esteemed member of professional networks, Grace assumes a significant role as Member of the Association of Practitioners In Advertising (APA), as well as the Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK).

In the nascent years of her career, Grace’s struggle to find female mentors and guides kindled a determination to make a difference. Her promise to mentor young women in the industry has become a cornerstone of her life. A leader herself, she underscores the significance of leading holistically, advocating for example-setting and mutual support. She supports nurturing a diverse personal board to challenge, support, and uphold one’s vision.

Rooted in her upbringing as the eldest among her sisters, Grace imbibed the wisdom of her grandmothers, mother, and aunties. This early grounding underscored the power of unity captured by the adage, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, walk with others.” Teamwork, shared principles, and a clear vision hold paramount importance in her leadership ethos. Grace champions the transformational potential of giving back and the ripple effect of mentorship.

In the tapestry of her life, Grace weaves the roles of a devoted wife and nurturing mother to her beautiful daughters.

In Ms Waweru, SCANAD has found a conductor of symphonies, a weaver of narratives, and a captain of change. As the story of her leadership continues to unfold, Grace’s footprints are destined to leave an indelible mark upon the annals of communication and marketing.

SCANAD, a distinguished public relations (PR) and business consultancy based in Kenya, specialises in offering a wide array of services, including proposition development, marketing strategies, category analysis, customer insights, cultural understanding, and brand insights.

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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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