Passionate, candid and full of life are just a few words to describe Margaret Ireri. Meet the remarkable market researcher who made the bold transition into the world of sports. She is open and responsive to participating in anything that contributes to creating a positive impact; which is why she was more than willing to meet me on an early Saturday morning at the bustling Café Alexandre in Yaya Centre. Sit back and enjoy the interview with this remarkable woman.
Being the Managing Director of TransAfricaMedia East Africa Limited has been a refreshing and fascinating experience. Sports is among the greatest things that drive Kenyans. In fact, 60% of Kenyans are football enthusiasts and about 30% are athletics fans. Sports is universal. Plugging into this new world of sports has been exciting.
My role involves setting up the Kenyan unit and recruiting new clients. TransAfricaMedia specialises in promotion of sports events, teams and acquisition of broadcast rights. I take a sport, create a unique concept and package it into an event.
I grew up in Buruburu. My dad always told me that he wouldn’t get me a school; only my grades would. I went to an estate school, then moved on to Moi Girls. I later joined Kenyatta University where I studied a Bachelor of Education, Teaching French as a Foreign Language. When I graduated teachers were not been employed so I veered into research, and as they say, the rest is history.
Making the transition from market research into the world of sports has been refreshing. I started my career at Ipsos Synovate and my career in market research has spanned about thirteen years. In life few people have an opportunity to make a career change. I am fortunate enough to have had this opportunity.
I have a typical work day but not a typical week. My day begins at about 8.30am. I do a lot of client meetings, proposal pitching and negotiations. My weekends are spent doing sports events such as roadshows within and outside Nairobi.
My recent appointment as the Chairperson of the Marketing Society of Kenya is a great honour. MSK is the umbrella body for marketers in Kenya. Our vision is to be the force behind business in Kenya and beyond. I am thrilled to take up this role.
In my free time I like to exercise. Recently I have been doing a few outdoor treks. I really believe being in the outdoors helps you appreciate, think, engage and notice so much more. I am not married but I dedicate a lot of time to my friends and family.
I am currently pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration at the University of Edinburgh. This is building from my MBA which I completed in 2011 from the Jomo Kenyatta University (JKUAT).
I am currently writing a book. It is themed around business and management lessons. I share life and practical experiences, and fuse this with lessons learnt along the way.
Mentor to Leader is a mentorship initiative which I founded. It takes another leader to raise the next-generation leader. This initiative seeks to develop the next generation of leaders for Africa through mentorship and leadership forums. It was inspired by my own experience, where through the years I found myself in positions of responsibility but a shortage of mentors.
I have had to re-brand myself from my market research persona and demonstrate capacity in my new role. A famous quote by Steve Jobs reads “The difference between a leader and a follower lies in innovation”. I am constantly innovating and looking to be different.
When I look back through my life, I would definitely say it is important to surround yourself with the right team. Through strategic partnerships with people around you, you can accomplish a whole lot more.
When all is said and done, I would want what I have done to outlive me. When you have a dream, there’s a reason for it. Don’t listen to the external voices. Your dream defines your purpose.
This article is featured in True Love East Africa Magazine June 2015 issue.
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