Thursday, 28 August 2014

Top 40 Woman under 40 - Mukami Njeru


 

Meet Mukami Njeru, the Group Actuary at CIC Insurance Group. She is smart, inspirational and very approachable. I had the privilege to sit with this phenomenal woman and listen to her story. Once I reached out to her to be a part of the Top 40 interviews I was running, she was more than happy to be a part of it. Her story is nothing short of phenomenal. She is an alumnus of Loreto Limuru, a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and qualified as a Certified Enterprise Risk actuary. Mukami graduated from the University of Nairobi with a BSc. in Actuarial Science, First Class Honours.

C: How does it feel like being among this year’s Top 40 Women under 40?
M: It is both humbling and such a privilege. Being a nominee in a list with such phenomenal women is surreal. It has opened so many opportunities and doors and given me a chance to interact with so many people.

C: Kenya only has a handful of certified actuaries, and you are one of the few women on the list. What has it taken to get there?
M: I qualified as an actuary in 2012. I began my professional papers in my third year of university and by the time I graduated I had completed eight papers. I joined PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) through their graduate program. I worked in the Corporate Finance and Advisory department. My boss who was from United Kingdom (UK) greatly supported me in my vision to follow the actuarial path. I was therefore able to transfer to PwC Australia on secondment to join the actuarial department. PwC has a global footprint and therefore the transfer was possible. This was a great opportunity which I gladly took. I attribute my days at PwC to giving me a broader view of the industry. I was in Australia for three years. While I was there I still continued pursuing my professional papers.

C: What was your experience in Australia like? Did it serve to give you international experience and global exposure?
M: My viewpoint and perspective changed. Australia serves the Asia- Pacific region and therefore I had diverse cultural interactions which enhanced my global exposure. The Australian actuarial approach is very practical and principle based. I therefore gained a wealth of knowledge.

C: What direction did your career take after the three years you spent in Australia?
M: I moved to London around 2011-2012 where I joined the actuarial department in Deloitte. There was a great demand for actuaries as Solvency 2 was coming onboard. I stayed and worked in London for two years. I later moved back to Kenya and started working for CIC Insurance Group as the group actuary. This was around the time when there was a new regulation requiring insurance companies to have actuaries.

C: What does your work as the Group Actuary entail?
M: My work entails developing and pricing insurance products and liaising with industry regulators. It also greatly involves financial risk, quantitative analysis and modelling. Moving back into the industry has been a great learning curve. It has involved a higher level of responsibility. It is a maturing experience.

C: What are your future plans in contributing to the actuarial industry in Kenya?
I have initiated several actuarial forums since I came back to Kenya. I look forward to contributing towards growing the actuarial industry in Kenya and I hope that there will be more female actuaries. I am looking forward to the growth of the profession in Kenya.

C: You are 29 years old and you have achieved great heights, what drives you to achieve all you have?
M: I believe opportunities and talents are God given. I have made the most of the opportunities that have come my way. My decision to do my actuarial papers was a big decision filled with uncertainty and the subsequent journey has been long and demanding. I greatly attribute my success to a good support system from those around me.

C: If you could describe yourself in one word, or using one animal or thing, what would that be?
M: An eagle. An eagle aims and soars high. I constantly set challenging and ambitious goals for myself which spurs me to aim high in all I do.

C: What are some of the challenges you have experienced?
M: The journey to qualifying as an actuary has been challenging. The professional papers are rigorous, demanding and require a great deal of sacrifice. In addition, relocating to different countries impacted my relationships. I was abroad for a number of years though I was fortunate enough to frequently visit Kenya.

C: What legacy would you want to leave?
M: Quality and diligence in my work. I would also like to make a tangible impact on people’s lives

C: What is your definition of success?
M: I believe success is “The people who know you the most respecting you the most”. To be successful is to have respect from the people who work closely with you and those that you have close relationships with.

C: Young people often seek instant gratification and haven’t adopted a culture of saving and investing. What is your advice to young people on saving and investing?
M: It is important to be prudent in your savings and investment. A culture of saving and investing is essential from early in life, developing financial discipline is a skill that is crucial to learn. I was able to attend a Financial Fitness four week course earlier in life. This instilled values of financial discipline, prudence and delayed gratification early in life.

C: The purpose of Calibrated blossom is to inspire young people to seek and chase inner perfection in all they do. It also aims to encourage a shift in mindset and spur people towards the direction of their dreams. What is your take on this?
M: It is true that sometimes the younger generation do not fully understand the purpose of going after their dreams. There is a mentality of complacency. However attaining your dreams is not only for your satisfaction, but also for those around you. It is important to fulfill God’s will and do what you can. Make the most of all the opportunities that come your way.


6 comments:

  1. this is simply amazing :) keep them coming big sis :)

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    1. Thank you small sis. Look out for more awesome interviews in 2015

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  2. Evans..

    Simply awesome!!!

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  3. I absolutely admire this lady for setting the bar high up for those of us pursuing qualification as well. Her humility is striking when you interact with her.

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