Name: Phyllis Wakiaga
Occupation: KAM Chief Executive
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Describe to us your typical day at work
My day begins at 5 am. I always start with meditation and a few exercises to jump-start the day. At 5.30 am, I take up my most important role – being a mother. I help prepare my children for school and I am off to the office by 7 am.
I meet with my personal assistant and we go through my diary. I also touch base with my heads of departments on new and ongoing projects that the Association is undertaking. I also make sure that our Board of Directors are up to speed on the status of our advocacy agenda and any urgent matter that may arise that needs their attention.
My diary is quite eclectic. It features factory visits and meetings with members of the Association and government among other stakeholders. Through these engagements, we get to share solutions on the challenges facing industry and policy proposals to drive the growth of the sector.
Family is important to me and I strive to have a healthy work-life balance. As a mother of four, I enjoy witnessing the individual journey of my children. I always look forward to bonding with them at the end of the day as we converse on their education and personal interests, and explore their spiritual life.
What are you passionate about?
Motherhood. It is the greatest gift of all.Participation of women in the manufacturing sector. The manufacturing sector has, for a very long time, been male-dominated. However, we are seeing more women take up major roles in the sector whilst others establish and run manufacturing companies in the country. Through the KAM “Women In Manufacturing Programme”, we seek to bridge the gap between existing opportunities in manufacturing and the kind of skills required to increase the participation of women in manufacturing.
Youth empowerment. I am very passionate about empowering the youth. They are full of energy and creative ideas that help position Kenya among the leading innovative countries in the world.
I want to see more of the youth get into the manufacturing space. Through the KAM Skills Development Program, we are keen to ensure that technical graduates have the skills needed by industry. This guarantees them an opportunity to join the space whilst still in higher education institutions or once they graduate.
What do you see as the role of a woman in society?
The world of manufacturing is beginning to realize the value of women’s participation for its advancement, as it transforms through technology and rapid digitization. Globally, the more the sector changes, the more intense the need for women’s contribution towards reaching new heights of advancement and ingenuity.
Women do not just offer a quick fix for the continued skills decline, they are a smart addition in leveraging the changes and disruptions materializing in the industry. Indeed, there are discernible shifts in world trends that signify this appreciation.
There are regulatory and structural obstacles to the growth of women’s businesses and careers which can be solved through initiatives such as the women in manufacturing programme among many others
Tell us where you see yourself in 5 years:
I see myself increasing my current mandate in terms of advocacy and influencing important policies and decisions. This is my passion and I love my country – and so I see myself in this same space making a difference that will outlive my roles and have a lasting positive impact on the lives of all Kenyans.
Nurturing tomorrow’s leader is a higher calling for me. I want to see the next group of leaders not only
grow in their skills but also become people who will nurture other generations to be leaders who are passionate about making the world a better place