JUDY WANJIRU WARUIRU
MD, DPO PAY
With over two decades of experience, I have skillfully navigated the realms of managing and identifying growth opportunities in diverse markets across Africa and the world. My expertise transcends various industries, including fintech, aviation, and media.
Throughout my career, I have consistently demonstrated a track record of successfully formulating and executing strategies across the African landscape. In this capacity, I have had the privilege of mentoring, motivating, and positively impacting teams, fostering a shared commitment to achieving our collective goals.
In my current role as Managing Director (MD) of DPO Pay, a prominent payment solutions provider in Africa, I hold responsibility for overseeing operations across 21 African countries. I lead a dedicated team of 240 professionals and serve as the Chair of the board for each registered entity in these markets.
My primary focus lies in driving financial inclusion for both small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) throughout Africa. I achieve this by empowering them to accept payments from anywhere in the world, in any currency, and through a wide range of payment options offered by our simple payment products.
Furthermore, I am entrusted with the task of spearheading the growth of DPO Pay’s overall business. This entails the development and execution of strategic initiatives aimed at expanding our market presence while safeguarding and enhancing the company’s profile and reputation with both internal and external stakeholders.
Before assuming my current position, I served as Chief Operating Officer at DPO Pay, where I held responsibility for operations across all markets. In this capacity, my mandate was to establish operational excellence by implementing efficient and effective processes. I also streamlined intricate business procedures by embracing technology, ultimately enhancing the customer experience to achieve a best-in-class standard.
Prior to transitioning into the fintech industry, I dedicated 17 years to the aviation sector, specialising in the development of digital strategies. My journey commenced at Kenya Airways (KQ), where I pioneered the automation of air ticket purchases through the company’s official website. This innovation effectively introduced a new revenue stream for the airline.
Subsequently, I ventured into the media industry, joining Nation Media Group (NMG). During my tenure, I played a pivotal role in establishing the firm’s digital division as a significant revenue generator. This division eventually evolved into a self-sustaining entity with its own profit and loss (P&L) structure.
My passion for leveraging technology channels to drive revenue and enhance customer self-service led me to embark on a journey to Doha, Qatar. There, I was tasked with establishing the digital division at Qatar Airways. This endeavour involved spearheading a colossal project centred around the development of Qatar Airways’ global internet commercial website, which also hosted various applications such as the booking engine, web check-in, flight status, and Qmiles.
Working alongside seven vendors spanning four continents and managing a team of 70 dedicated staff members, we successfully delivered 42 country-specific sites in 15 languages. This expansive project exposed me to diverse cultures and work methodologies, fostering agility and an open mindset. It pushed me to think on my feet, make swift decisions, and execute with precision.
As a firm believer in Africa’s potential as the next frontier, I proactively sought to lead the digitisation efforts in the region. This decision provided me with the opportunity to engage with 13 diverse markets, including Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, among others.
The overarching goal of this initiative was to eliminate barriers and streamline access to air travel. We achieved this by introducing localised payment options such as M-PESA, Verve, and more. This experience marked my initial foray into the dynamic world of payments in Africa.
Following a fulfilling three-year stint in spearheading digitisation efforts across Africa, I decided it was time to return home. At that time, Kenya boasted several burgeoning technology hubs nurturing talent and fostering a thriving startup ecosystem. I was eager to be a part of this revolutionary wave.
My journey led me to Jambojet, a low-cost airline with a clear mission of simplifying air travel and eliminating the complexities that often deterred potential flyers. In my capacity as the Head of Sales, Marketing, and Communications, I championed this message, breaking it down into simple terms: flying was not exclusive to the affluent; it was an affordable option for everyone. This message resonated so well that it resulted in 30 percent of our airline’s customers being first-time flyers.
At Jambojet, I initiated the airline’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, aligning it with two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs): Quality Education to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, as well as Life on Land. Through our educational program, underprivileged school children had the opportunity to engage with the airline’s operations, gaining practical experience before pursuing aviation careers in college or during their holidays. This initiative provided them with a pathway to fulfil their dreams in the aviation industry.
As a leader, I firmly adhere to the principle of stepping outside my comfort zone, remaining agile in the face of change, and welcoming diverse opinions and perspectives. I hold the strong belief that each individual should forge their unique path, have faith in the process, and remain open to how the world will embrace them.
My commitment extends to making a lasting impact on the world around me. Consequently, I am deeply dedicated to working with young individuals, serving as their mentor to guide them in their career journeys and life endeavours.
I hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Strategy, and a degree in Business Information Systems from the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A). I am also a certified Project Manager Professional (PMP) with the International Project Management Institute (PMI).
When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my 5 year old daughter, travelling and outdoor hiking.