Pocket money ‘episode’ that shaped top manager

March 19, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 19 – For Ezekiel Owuor it only took a prudent disciplinary measure by his father while in University to set him on the highway to success.

The 31-year-old CFC Life’s Head of Sales and Marketing now boasts of a career path that most who are older than him could only dream about.

His path to success began when his father refused to send him pocket money in his first year of University because he had ‘squandered’ his fathers hard earned cash way before the scheduled period.

So in his bid to survive this experience he embarked on a way of life that the youth of today would describe as ‘hassling’. This involved organising events of all kinds from beauty pageants to concerts that honed his current selling skills that are now most appreciated in his current assignment.

Give us a peek into your educational background?

I have a Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from The Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK), a Certificate of Proficiency in Insurance from the College of Insurance (K), A Master of Business Administration in Strategic Business Management Strathmore University Kenya and a Bachelor of Arts: Government and Public Administration, Marketing Minor.

When did you join CFC? – I joined CFC in November 2008, after I left my last station Old Mutual to seek a different challenge in a company with great potential for growth. This is after I had worked as a medical representative and worked my way through various insurance companies culminating to my current position.

Describe your special assignment as CFC Sales and Marketing Manager?

My Key responsibilities include; developing and implementing the company’s marketing strategy which includes developing product, price, place and promotion, developing and executing sales strategies, managing distribution channels and developing and executing corporate communication strategies.

What is your view of the Insurance industry in general (with a special focus on life)?

In its current state the industry is facing  slow growth characterised by many players who contribute very little to the GDP of the country by virtue of under insuring and consequently not reaching out to the greater public. This explains why as we speak insurance penetration in this country stands at a meagre1.82 percent for General Insurance and 0.83 percent for life insurance.

What are the industry’s challenges? – They include too many players, lack of innovation, poor underwriting standards, fraudulent claims and low capitalisation.

In your view what are the future opportunities for the industry? I think increased competition as various players enter the market to seek a portion of the pie creates better prospects for the industry’s growth as companies embrace product innovation and the latest technology.

What are your plans for CFC life in the next one year and how do you hope to achieve them? – Position the company as one offering reliable, informative and best financial services in the country. I want to ensure that when anyone decides they want to purchase insurance they think CFC Life.  

I also intend to develop new and revamp existing distribution channels which have been a major impediment in growing this industry. Traditionally insurance companies have used brokers and agents to sell their product but I want to change this through more exciting concepts like personal financial consultants and activations that directly target prospective client’s right where they are.

That is in supermarkets, shopping malls, and salons or rather anywhere that you are likely to find huge traffic.   Something else I hope to do is to provide product leadership in the industry through continuous consumer research and increased consumer awareness of the CFC brand.

Achievements? – As Head of Sales and Marketing at my previous station I was awarded runners-up Association of Kenya Insurers – Agent of the Year.

What is your style of management? – Participative and I prefer to include people in the decision making process.

What challenges have you experienced in your career growth? – It was tough in the beginning especially as I began my career as a medical representative where you face rejection from doctors and their secretaries and moving around becomes pretty difficult if you have no car.  At some point I also experienced negative corporate politics that threatened to trip my career midway.

Managing older people from diverse backgrounds in my first managerial job was also not easy.

Lessons learnt in your career growth? – Aim for the top, value people, be tough, cut the cord when necessary and always watch your back.

Another thing is to be careful about the offers people give you especially when they are trying to ‘lure” you to work for them, because not all that glitters is gold.

Your values?  – Honesty, ethics, integrity and fairness

What do you treasure in people? – Honesty.

What do you despise? – Hypocrisy

What are your future plans? – To excel in my career and have a balanced healthy life.

Who are your role models and why? I would say my mother especially for her courage, strength and determination, Jack Welch for building and creating an unmatched legacy at General Electric

What are your hobbies or rather how do you spend your leisure time? – Golfing, travelling, watching rugby and socialising.

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