NAIROBI, September 11 – Eleven years ago, after working as a journalist for a number of years, she started a public relations firm.
Now Gina Din Corporate Communications is a well-grounded company that has won top awards including two early this year for its use of effective and innovative communication strategies to build its clients and thereby becoming the first African firm to scoop the marketing and public relations (MPR) target achievement award and silver awards.
And to add another star in her life, the Kenya Red Cross Society recently appointed Gina-Din Kariuki the first ever good will ambassador.
Q: Introduce us to Gina Din Kariuki
A: I was born in October 1961, I am married with two children, a girl of almost 18 years and a boy aged 12.
Every spare minute I have, I spend it with my kids and it’s a wonderful hobby to have.
Q: What is your Educational background?
A: I have a degree in journalism and I went to schools in Kenya and in the UK.
Q: How did you end up in Public Relations?
A: I think it was just a natural progression from journalism. I did not want to be a journalist, beating the midnight deadlines so I took the easy way out and I ventured into PR.I am not certain it’s been easy, but it has been exciting and I love it.
Q: What are some of the challenges that you have faced in the line of PR?
A: I joined Barclays Bank in 1986 as the Head of Corporate Communications before I moved to head Gina Din Corporate Communications. The greatest challenge, then, was people not understanding what PR is. To a lot people, PR was things like golf competitions and cocktails and holding a wine glass in your hand.
So, a lot of it has been re-educating people on the importance of PR, the strategic part of PR and we have been successful but that was a challenge initially.
Q: What are the secrets to your Success?
A: A lot of hard work and staying very focused on what I wanted to achieve. Also just having support from other people and not being afraid to delegate, realizing that I didn’t know everything. My success has been built on a team.
Q: How do you handle the competition?
A: We are very good at what we do and people will go to what is the best. I would say that we have been a market leader because we are focused and we provide our clients with a one-stop shop PR, and realising that our client is the most important person.
There is also room for other PR companies to start because you can only take one mobile company, one airline etc.
Q: Where do you think the PR industry in Kenya is headed?
A: I think it’s going to be very interesting in the next few years because there is more specialised PR coming up-there is financial PR, events management, so I think more and more people will go into specialising into a niche market which will make the PR industry more vibrant.
Q: What would you tell other aspiring women who would want to get into business?
A: I would say to them, keep your eyes on the ball, stay focused and your dreams will become true. Just don’t get discouraged because there is a lot to discourage us along the way but you will get there.
Q: You have been appointed the Kenya Red Cross goodwill ambassador. Exactly what will your role be?
A: It is a first in Africa and mainly I will be raising awareness and funds for the Kenya Red Cross.
I have been involved with the organisation for the last 15 years and so this is formalising the structures.