Pearls And Heels: Serah Wangethi

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Serah Wangethi is a Human Resource Specialist with 15 years’ experience in Human Resource and Administration. She is currently working as a HR Manager and a HR Consultant. She has worked in different industries i.e. tourism, motor, construction, interior design, production audit firm and a solar company.

Serah Wangethi passport photo

1. Describe your typical day?

I wake up at 5:00 AM, prepare myself, have breakfast with my husband and we both leave the house at 6 am. We prefer sharing a car so he drops me in the morning and picks me at 4 pm thus we have more time between the two of us. I get to the office at 7 am and start by checking my official emails, thereafter a planning meeting with a team, we agree on who will carry out which task and where each one of us needs support from each other. After this my days are quite different depending on activities e.g. Some activities run from morning to evening eg Staff induction which takes about 1to 2 days continuous , Interviews, appraisals, health and safety audits, ISO audits etc. However, when I do not have a full day activity this is how my day is:-

I get to the office by 7 am, check my official emails, plan for the day with team, spend my morning working on the most important/urgent work, I do a round to the factory and warehouse and have time to interact with employees and check on health and safety compliance after every 2 hours. Between 12:00 to 1:00 my office is open for any employee issues, loan approvals and employee enquiries. I am a morning person. In the afternoon I work on less/not urgent work and generate reports. I leave the office at 4 PM to help kids (Lian and Tony) who are still in lower primary with homework, have dinner together with family and do devotion before kids go to bed at 9:00pm

2. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I used to admire doctors very much and wanted to become a doctor but  here I am as a HR Manager.

3. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Nothing. I enjoy HR as my career and I enjoy every bit of what I do.

4. What would you say are the top three skills needed to succeed at your job?

Problem solving
Communication
Negotiation

5. As a professional how is it working in the Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?

Working in Nairobi is not easy because of traffic all over. Having flexi hours in offices could solve the problem e.g. report at 7am and leave office at 4pm instead of 8 am to 5pm and we all meet at the streets and stuck in traffic. I wish I could work in a traffic free town.

6. What motivates you?
I am motivated when I achieve my targets. I fear failure since I was a young girl and I work had to hit my targets. I set targets at the beginning of every month and keep monitoring the progress on weekly basis.

7. How do you define success?

Accomplishment of goals set.

8. Who has been your greatest inspiration?

My late father, he made me the person I am today

9. What is your favorite aspect of your job?
My job is dynamic, it is not monotonous at all, I enjoy resolving issues, recruitment and setting up policies.

10. What would you say are the key elements to being successful?

Having clear goals
Focus
Action
Passion
Discipline
Determination

11. What advice would you give somebody just starting out in your line of work?

Rome was not built in a day we all have a starting point. I have always had mentors since I was a young girl and even with 15 years’ experience I still have a mentor. For HR Career you have to love learning and updating yourself on the latest in HR practices. You also have to have labour laws in your fingertips

12. What has been your most satisfying moment in terms of career?

Working in a beginner company, I had a chance to set up HR department from scratch including setting policies and procedures and implementing them. I have set up HR departments for 4 companies (a hotel, interior design firm, tour firm, pharmaceutical company and currently doing the same in a solar company).

13. What makes you happy?

When I achieve my goals and when I change lives of people. I mentor a group of young HR professionals and I feel happy whenever I see them succeed.

14. What are your hobbies?

Travelling and going on nature walks.

15. What do you do in your non-work time?
Walking, spending time with the kids and my husband and building relationships with friends.

16. Where you see yourself in around 10 years?

Owning the best HR BPO firm that give clients HR solutions

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