Career Climb: 4 Interns who rose up the ranks to make it to top positions

Sometimes, the climb up the career ladder can be discouraging. With many obstacles to overcome, one must remain steadfast and positive; focused on their goal.

As an intern one may often think that it is near impossible to make it to the top, without knowing someone or giving a bribe or favor. However, there are a good number of Kenya’s movers and shakers who have made it up the ranks realizing their dreams. Here is a list of 5 interns who made it to top positions:

1.Somoina Kimojino

The road to success is a long journey.  American Statesman Collin Powell said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Somoina Kimojino began at Capital FM as an intern in the 90s and rose to become the Programs Controller and seats as the Managing Director. The only female to head a media house, Somoina Kimojino has proved that hard work does indeed pay off.

2. James Mworia

A relatively quick rise up the ranks, Mworia’s journey to the top is incredible. The young Centum Chief Executive Officer began as an intern at the government-owned Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation. Propelled by his smarts and work ethic, James Mworia worked his way to the top, being recognized as one of the young brilliant minds in Kenya today. According to an interview with Capital Business, there are a few elements that set the Centum CEO apart, contributing to his success. “Crucial to this meteoric rise is an insatiable desire to learn and a very clear picture of where he wanted to be in his career. His intentional and deliberate learning process included job-shadowing, volunteering, and role-playing which prepared him to lead one of East Africa’s foremost investment firm when he was in his early 30’s.”

3.Joshua Oigara

CEO of KCB Joshua Oigara has had a career of many firsts. Breaking barriers he is often hailed for setting the pace in finance. It is clear that the University of Nairobi alumni’s approach to life and career launched him forward. According to The Business Daily, “his appointment in November 2012 to replace the outgoing CEO Martin Oduor-Otieno made him the youngest CEO of a publicly traded bank at the NSE.” Taking the helm of one of Kenya’s largest banks, Oigara had big shoes to fill; but did so effortlessly. His life is a testament that self-belief and competence is a great contributor to success. 

4. Ursala Burns

Further afield, the encouraging story of an intern to CEO is quite common among the American elite. With many pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, some of the biggest names started out in a lowly position making a name for themselves through hard work and dedication. Among the most respected names in the tech industry is Ursala Burns. According to Forbes, “her rise to the top started at the bottom of the Xerox ladder, as an intern. But managers quickly noticed her talent. One such manager was senior executive Wayland Hicks, who offered her a job as an executive assistant. Although an assistant role wasn’t exactly what she had in mind, after now having earned her master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University, Burns remembered what her mother had taught her—where you are is not who you are—and accepted the job. ” That job became her foot in the door, leading her to greater positions in the multi-million company.

Did you graduate in the last 2 years with qualifications in ICT/Engineering, Research, Medicine, Law or Communication? 400 job openings are available. Apply here to be part of the  Presidential Digital Talent Programme.

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