Geraldine Sande Agandi is the General Manager East Africa and Portuguese South Africa at Signify East Africa Limited (Previously known as Philip’s Lighting).
Greatest milestone: When I look back, this has been getting accustomed to change in my career path. It has included developing the ability to adapt to different forms of corporate leadership, and working in different corporate environments with diverse strategies and needs. In turn, I have managed to work and climb the career ladder in various multinationals, all with diverse expectations and needs in the East African market.
My recipe for success: The secret is to dream big and put actions behind the dream to make it a reality. Working hard spiced with working smart can make any dream a reality. Unfortunately, many Kenyans are missing the working-hard part. It’s not a cliché that Rome was not built in a day. We need to acknowledge that there is hard work behind every milestone or accomplishment. Some successes may come easily, but the best and sweetest ones are those you toil and sweat for.
Biggest money mistake: Sometime back, I invested in a business whose operations and return on investment I had not researched adequately about. I lost a lot of money. It was a bitter lesson that taught me to always adhere to the business principle of 4 Ps – product, price, place, and promotion. Never put your money in a business simply because it looks good on paper. Dig beneath and evaluate what its potential for revenue generation and profitability growth is, what competition there is and what possible risks and challenges it will face before it can break even.
Biggest career loss: I once terminated a very good talent in an organization I was working for. I have since realized that I should have been more patient with this person. I should have taken time to grow their grasp and understanding of what the business was all about. They could have become an important part of the business.
My saving method: I used to save through a bank current account. This saving through a current account never worked. In most times, I would end up making withdrawals and spending all the money in the current account. This changed when I joined a Sacco. Since then, I have been able to lock up my savings, earn dividends from saving, and get up to four times the money I save when a capital-intensive need arises.
If I could back in time: I would tell my younger self to take constructive feedback positively. This is not something I always did when I set off on my career path. I would also endeavor to work on all aspects of my life instead of concentrating on career alone.
Entrepreneurship vs employment: I firmly believe that each of these two money-makers can be approached from strategic angles in order to generate wealth. What people ought to be keen on is the process involved in developing and mastering each of them. Learn before you commit. It is especially important to learn through employment, build capital along the way, before you can go into business. Employment has all the structural ingredients that a good business is made up of.
My parting shot: Always be true to yourself. Believe in your potential to succeed. Don’t always follow the routine. Instead, be courageous enough to choose and follow your own path in this journey of life. Above all, respect your money if you want to grow wealth.