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From selling vegetables to running a disco, here are the first jobs of Kenya's top CEOs

Anything is possible!

And it is no different to some of Kenya's top executive directors who did even the oddest of jobs and are now at the helm of some the country's top firms.

From selling vegetables to running a disco, here are some of the first jobs these top Kenyan CEOs managed to have as career starters:

Bob Collymore - CEO, Safaricom

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Mr Collymore first worked in a department store in the UK which he says taught him valuable lessons that he still applies today.

"I would report to work at 6 a.m. to open and would be the last to leave after sweeping and locking up the store."

Tabitha Karanja - Founder and CEO, Keroche Breweries

Mrs Karanja worked as a librarian with a government parastatal before venturing into hardware business later on.

Polycarp Igathe - Chief Commercial Officer, Equity Group

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The former Nairobi deputy governor was a budget officer doing SAP implementation for the Government of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia in 1996.

"I was earning Sh75,000 (US$750) a month."

James Mworia - CEO, Centum Investments

Mr Mworia began working way back during his days as a student in high school.

"My first job was filing in a law firm during school holidays when I was in high school. At the end of the holiday they paid me Ksh.800 (US$9.5), which I used to buy a jeans suit."

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Gina Din-Kariuki - Founder, Gina Din Group

At just 15 years old, Gina Din-Kariuki was already running a disco night.

"My parents owned a hotel in Nanyuki and I needed to make pocket money. So, I started a disco night in the hotel. I must have been about 15. I would have a disco night twice a week and I would charge an entry fee."

Peter Muraya - CEO, Suraya Property Group

Mr Muraya's first job was a clerk.

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"I earned US$10 a month. My job was to help people register for national identity cards (IDs)."

Joanne Mwangi - Founder and CEO, PMS Group

"My very first job was actually selling vegetables because my mother had a kiosk. She would take us to the kiosk to work after school. I must have been around seven. My father also had a little restaurant in town so during school holidays we went and served."

James Mwangi - CEO, Equity Group

"I was an accountant at Ernst & Young."

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Dr Betty Gikonyo - Co-founder and CEO, Karen Hospital

Like Mr Muraya, Dr Gikonyo first worked as a clerk at the Kenya Railways and Harbours.

"I was earning KSh. 700 (US$8) which was a lot of money coming from the KSh. 20 ($0.20)."

Vimal Shah - CEO, Bidco Group

"When at university I got a job selling life insurance. I was paid based on commission. The success rate was 3% or 4%, so out of 100 people you met, only three or four would buy. But on that job I learnt how to penetrate mindsets."

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Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

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