Pearls And Heels: Ngendo Machua


It’s another Monday and time for our Pearls and Heels Segment. Pearls and Heels celebrates women who are making Kenya a better place to live, work and play through their careers. Today’s Pearls And Heels Woman is Ngendo Machua. Ngendo Machua is a  curious copywriter and digital strategist. She is currently working as an Integrated Strategist at The DB Agency where her core mandate is overseeing social care for Airtel Kenya and DStv & GOtv. She has over 6 years experience working at Squad Digital and BluePrint Marketing (an affiliate of Ogivly East Africa) handling prestigious brands such as Standard Chartered Dubai, the Rockefeller Foundation, Safaricom and its subsidiary brands: Safaricom Kenya Live, Kenyans for Kenya and The Michael Joseph Center, to name a few.  She has also worked as a brand strategist and copywriter at Digital Branding. In 2011, she was selected  to be one of the Kenya Tourist Board Social Media Brand Ambassadors where she coined the phrase #TembeaKenya. She is also the founder and organizer of Nairobi Digital Street Fair.

Ngendo Machua

1. Describe your typical day?

I wake up at 7 am and get back home at around 6 pm or 7 pm. In between those hours I have called home to check up on my kids like 3 times, I have client meetings, write digital strategies, eat lunch while I watch Jane the Virgin, respond to emails, check up on my clients and squeeze in time to research on new trends in the digital world.

2. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A pilot but that dream died a quick death after my teacher confiscated my ‘pilot scrapbook’. It was one of the saddest days of my life.

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

I would start my own company. I mean it will be hard at the beginning…getting clients and all but after that, it should be smooth sailing.

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

Leadership – This involves motivating people and leading by good example.

Perseverance and motivation -Working life presents many challenges and I feel the need to show my colleagues that I’m the kind of person who will find a way through, even when the going gets tough…and stay cheerful-ish.

Confidence -In my workplace, I need to strike the balance of being confident in myself but not arrogant, but also have confidence in my colleagues and the company I work for.

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

Nairobi is the best place for me. It’s diverse and the competition is crazy which pushes me to be more innovative every day. It can be better if clients were open to crazy, ridiculous ideas.

6. What motivates you?

I think life in general…knowing work has to be done is a motivator in itself.

7. How do you define success?

The true meaning of success goes far beyond the common definitions of success, such as having a lot of money, being wealthy, having a lot of tangibles and earned degrees. Quite the opposite: true success in life cannot be measured with the above named factors, but instead with the amount of people that are able to life a better and more advanced life because of what you created. This is the meaning of success.

8. Who has been your greatest inspiration?

My husband. He is my number 1 fan, my best friend and he sees beyond my fears. He constantly reminds me that nothing is impossible. He prays for me a lot.

9. What is your favorite aspect of your job?

The chance to mentor! I love teaching people because it’s a great opportunity to learn. Not many folks see it like that but to me I love mentoring because of that.

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

Passion. Passion for what you seek to accomplish should be almost palpable to the extent that others can see and feel your drive. The key is to match your vision with something you can be truly passionate about.

Discipline. Many have vision and passion, but lack the self-discipline required to stay the course. The pain of living a life of discipline is less than the pain of regret for what could have been.

Action. The first step is to write it down along with related objectives and action steps. Now you’ve taken the initiative, which is the critical first step to achieving success?

Post your vision statement in your bedroom, bathroom, and office. Share it with others. And, be sure to follow your action steps.

Vision. Every successful person at some point in their lives had a vision for what “could be,” and set out in relentless pursuit of their dream. Those who are short-sighted and unmindful of future consequences of their efforts, both the good and the bad, are more likely to fail than those who are thoughtful and perceptive in their approach.

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

Get the experience and start your own thing. Being a digital marketer calls for being creative. If you are creative, go ahead and do it. Put fear aside and get going!

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

Seeing people I’ve mentored grow in terms of their lives and career.

13. What makes you happy?

My family; my husband, our kids and their nanny. They really make my life interesting.

14. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

Watch Jane the Virgin (no judging), retail therapy, play LEGO with my kids and I cook…A LOT!

15. Where you see yourself in around 10 years?

I’ll be raising a teenager…JEEZ! Hopefully, my business will be regional and I’ll have travelled to over 20 countries.

If you would like to interact with Ngendo you can find her on twitter at @ngendo87.

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Potentash Founder. A creative writer and editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]