3 tips on handling racial micro-aggressions!

Fam,

If you read this title and thought, “but why does it have to be about race again?

You have three option here:

  1. Have an open mind that you may have been living in a privileged bubble leaving you completely unaware of other people’s realities. This kind of attitude is highly welcomed on the blog.
  2. Read out of curiosity and should you have strong contradicting comments, take a seat and ask yourself “do I have context?” and if the answer to that is yes, ask yourself again “do I R.E.A.L.L.Y have context?
  3. You could stop reading this article from here. To be fair we can’t always agree with everything we read on the internet. There are all manner of people out here and they won’t always be on the same page as you.

They may come across as pretty harsh options, but here is the thing, some people are having it harsh out here because of their skin colour. It’s not even funny, so don’t expect the article to be fun.

If you read this title and thought “Oh look, something relatable, definitely reading this” – I am happy I published something worthwhile for you.

Pick your option, let’s get straight into this, okay?

Disclaimer: This article is based on conversations I’ve had with minorities working in Europe and America for various companies. Being Miss I, I decided to pen what I advise minorities that are struggling in the workplace, in case there is someone out there suffering and I don’t get a chance to talk to them face-to-face, they can read this and hopefully improve their quality of Life.

  1. If your employee rights are being compromised, don’t make the mistake of suffering in silence: I get it, you don’t want to come across as a complainer. But you’d better be one than allowing the cause of your suffering to affect your relationships, both at work and personal. YOU WERE NOT HIRED TO SUFFER, and it’s expected that you SPEAK UP when your employee rights are compromised. Did you sign a contract with the following statements “I accept to be treated as if I am less of a human?” I accept to allow others to mistreat me“I am not worthy of a fair work environment” If the answer to all those questions is NO, then S.P.E.A.K UP!

What you should do?

You need to speak up ASAP because it is easier handling some of these things early. People are often advised to record everything that happened, but no one tells them that it increasingly becomes hard to get justice. Unfortunately there are many loopholes in handling employee grievances, so your best choice is to get out of the situation as soon as you can. 

  • Quickly identify trusted colleagues. This is a hard one because how do you quickly identify those you should trust with a sensitive topic such as this one? This is why it helps to be part of the political grapevine, you know who might have gone through something similar and managed to get out of it. But if you hate politics, best get down to proper research to identify who you should trust. If you are in luck, the right people will reach out to you, and when they do, be open and trust them.
  1. Never expect people who constantly give feedback that it’s not a race issue to understand racial micro-aggressions . All they need to do is to care and be empathetic, you can’t really teach someone to care. The sooner you realize this, the less time and emotions will be wasted trying to get people on the same page as you. Just give up and pray that they understand one day. Of course it will be too late for them to support you, but at least the next set of minorities they deal with – won’t have to suffer as much.

What you should do?

  • Simple: Continue talking to the trusted colleagues.
  1. Don’t entirely accuse senior leadership or the company for what you are going through, blame that one person that is racist: Often I’ve had to stop people from quitting their jobs because they would be like “this company this, that company that” – EXCUSE ME, why should an entire company be blamed for the actions of one person? Did other colleagues do the same thing? Have you had great moments at work? Exactly – don’t be quick to blame an entire organization for the actions of one person.

What you should do?

  • Option 1: Quit: Honestly if you feel like you don’t have the mental capacity to take it anymore, quit. If you feel like you will get worse by staying, leave. Health first, Peace first, Happiness first. I believe those that understand your situation will support this decision should it be the one you want to make.
  • Option 2:Fight”: If you have the mental capacity to inspire change in your company, do it. If everyone quits, we will have a vicious cycle of minorities getting disappointed company after company because the ones that came before them did not “fight.” Of course health and well-being is paramount, so take care of yourself and empower those you trust to walk with you.

Should you be in a situation where you are suffering, I will pray for you this evening. I will ask God to give strength to all minorities dealing with racial micro-aggressions. Amen.

I don’t know when exactly you will break out from that draining situation, but what I know for sure is that the following three things will happen:

  • You will get out of the situation: The only constant thing in Life is change, so don’t worry, things will eventually change.
  • You will learn a lot, and become such a badass while at it: Something about suffering that helps with self-discovery and less fucks given.
  • You will realize that the situation always starts as the worst thing that can ever happen to someone, but then your badass self makes you realize that you are WAY stronger than your challenges.

Goodluck!

 

Esther Kinuthia “Miss I” undergraduate CV

Fam,

I know it’s been a while since I published an article. Well the last time I published one was 3 weeks ago and I was in US for work.  Guys – US was amazing. I will just do another blog post for my experience in Silicon Valley, so let me just get started on my undergraduate CV.

When I first published this article on my blog, it got 9,000+ views. And when I looked at my old stats, I realized it’s still my most read article. I also recently published my resume and it’s become the most read article since I relaunched the blog. I understand this is a big need for my audience, which is why I am here awake at 1:44a.m preparing this blog post for you.

I am currently in Lagos for 2 weeks and I realized that with all the travel, I need to sacrifice sleep on some days to write blog posts for you. Otherwise I will keep creating excuses that I literally can’t find suitable time to write articles more often. One of the feedback I received from the resume I published is that folks wanted to see my undergraduate one since the current one includes 4 years experience at Google.

One thing I want to insist is that you must work on extra curriculum activities while in university. If you want an amazing CV, you must make the content happen. You can never write the best CV if you don’t have anything to illustrate your knowledge and skills. Competition is also stiff, 1M students graduate annually in Kenya with only 10% of the Kenyan ecosystem offering job opportunities. If you think your degree will take you far, I am sorry but there is limited opportunities and you must prove why you deserve them.

Below is my undergraduate CV, which I think has a lot more activities going on compared to my current resume. Being a student introduces a lot of flexibility to get involved in so many things, there are no work politics, you just do what you want. I would highly encourage you to maximize on this time because the workplace offers an entirely difference space. If you have already graduated and didn’t anything, I would highly encourage you to volunteer or even do free jobs just to get some experience on paper.

Here is the undergrad CV  I used to apply for my Google internship. P.S They were only choosing one intern from the whole of Kenya, as you would imagine, competition was beyond stiff. I am not trying to say I am perfect or anything, I am just validating the fact that this CV is the one that secured me an interview with the Marketing team at Google Kenya. I hope it helps you.

If you need to see my Google resume, click here

ESTHER WANGU KINUTHIA

NAIROBI, KENYA

MOBILE: +254*********

EMAIL:  *******@gmail.com

PERSONAL SUMMARY

I am a Strathmore University Bachelor of Commerce  student majoring in Marketing and Business Administration. I aspire to be a premier marketer from Africa, as one of the top 100 marketers globally. I possess versatility, charisma and thrive well in fast-moving environments. I maintain the focus to meet and exceed set objectives and promote good governance in ethics and moral values. I am extremely passion-driven. I am also a blogger where I seek seek to Inform, Inspire and Ignite the youth ( missindependent.co.ke )

 

ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS

June 2011 –  April 2015              Strathmore University

                                                         Bachelor of Commerce- Marketing and Business Administration

January 2011 –  June 2011     Alliance Francaise

                                                         DELF B1 and DELF B2

January 2007- November 2010   Kianda School

                                                         Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (B+)

WORK EXPERIENCE

November 2012 – Present                           SuzieBeauty Brand Ambassador

I created the role “SuzieBeauty Brand Ambassador” three years ago by simply sending an email to the company saying that I would like to be their Brand Ambassador. This therefore gave me the opportunity to determine the roles, responsibilities and success metrics of a SuzieBeauty Brand Ambassador. The following are projects I came up with for the company:

 

  • Top 40 SuzieBeauty Online Campaign Project

 

My 2015 resolution as a SuzieBeauty Brand Ambassador is to have a measurable online campaign with two main objectives

  1. Boost sales both online and offline by introducing offers. Each of the Top 40 Woman’s Look will have an offer. For instance, get the “Esther Kinuthia Look” at 30% discount OR get “any of the products in the Esther Kinuthia Look” at 20% discount. The Sales Analyst will keep me updated on how the online campaign is affecting both the online and offline sales. We have also planned to collect data at the point of sale.
  2. Initiate a powerful brand association for SuzieBeauty through the Top 40 under 40 Women in Kenya 2014

Achievements

  • I sourced an award winning digital firm,Logic, which essentially creates exceptional online experiences that drive strategic business outcomes. As it stands,  SuzieBeauty online platforms currently do not offer maximum value. I plan to convince Suzie to outsource their services.
  • I currently get the opportunity to manage two SuzieBeauty employees yet I am not a full time employee for SuzieBeauty. I also got the opportunity to create their roles and responsibilities  which actually left me with no work but to plan the shoots. The 2 roles are: Social Media Manager and Sales Analyst
  • I came up with an idea that seeks to solve the low online purchases. I plan to introduce coupons on both the SuzieBeauty website and Facebook page through which consumers can download and get products delivered. To further boost the idea, we will have offers for online shoppers. This idea is yet to be tested.
  • I partnered with one of the best photography agencies in the country, Prokraft Africa, through which we have shot 4 months worth of work.The Top 40 ladies have been so inspired with my work so far.

Campus Brand Ambassador Project Manager 2013-2014

Objectives

  • Boost offline sales through campus brand ambassadors in 4 universities: Strathmore, Nairobi, Daystar and U.S. I.U
  • Create opportunities for universities students to get corporate experience
  • Get students excited about the SuzieBeauty Brand

Achievements

  • Much as it is a new concept, I managed to design a sustainable project structure
  • Despite the project failing to scale after recruiting 12 Brand Ambassadors due to overlap of other company projects , I managed to recruit 8 other Brand Ambassadors in 2014 who have now gone for training and are ready to kick start their activities this year
  • I influenced the C.E.O to get a full time employee to take over the project. I really fought for this project. I started it in 2013 and despite the tough challenges, I didn’t give up. I am happy to see that we got an employee dedicated to it, who checks with me once in a while for advice.

Other Achievements

  • Initiated a partnership between Strathmore Business School (Masters block) and the company in 2013
  • Marketed the brand very well in a targeted way through my blog, social media and word of mouth

JUNE 2012- DECEMBER 2013- Product Development Manager- AIESEC Strathmore

Duties

  • As the name suggests, I am responsible of developing the product-AIESEC and AIESEC experience under the Business Development portfolio.
  • Event management and overall event content design; designing the programs and securing main guests.

Achievements

  • As a team, Lions Den in conjunction with AIESEC Strathmore, we organised an event in November-Lions Den Event, where students competed in developing social business plans.
  • As an Airtel Brand Ambassador, I promoted the Airtel brand in Strathmore University. I have expounded on it below.
  • I secured a partnership with Jenga Kenya, a youth ran peace campaign .AIESEC Strathmore in conjunction with Jenga Kenya and Youth Agenda, we organised a peace event on March 1st which involved watching a play with regards to the Post Election Violence, invited Malik to educate the students on the importance of knowing the constitution and releasing balloons in the air as a sign of peace.
  • As an AIESECer, I contributed to AIESEC winning the ‘BEST CLUB OF THE YEAR’ award

NOVEMBER 2012- DECEMBER 2012- AIRTEL BRAND AMBASSADOR

Duties

  • Developing the AIRTEL brand via AIESEC Strathmore
  • Organising auditions for the students who wanted to perform during the Grand Finale
  • Wearing AIRTEL branded t-shirts for 2 whole weeks and encouraging students to visit the tents set up by AIRTEL
  • Encouraging most of the students to purchase AIRTEL lines and to join AIRTEL money
  • Following up with the students or staff who won prizes through raffles and purchasing items above a certain amount.
  • Planning and designing the program for the Grand Finale where Daddy Owen among other students performed
  • Regulating speeches by the AIRTEL directors

Achievements

  • AIRTEL increased their share market because of the brand ambassadors
  • The event was a success.

DECEMBER 2012-JANUARY 2013 –  CHAIR OF THE ELECTION COMMITTEE- Strathmore Student Council Elections.

Duties

  • Preparing the electoral register – Involves getting voting delegates from each class.
  • Moderating the Debates and speeches – Timekeeping for contestants, getting questions from the audience.
  • Ensuring that posters are up for the contestants especially for those doing the debates on a particular day.
  • Organizing the voting process – issue of ballot papers, checking the list for voters’ names and ensuring there are no irregularities. Tallying of votes.
  • Ensuring there are no unfair campaign malpractices.
  • Vetting of the applicants – seeing whether they qualify.
  • Ensuring NO campaign is done on the last day before the elections.

Achievements

  • For the first time, a 2nd Year student was the Chair of the Election Committee and conducted FREE and FAIR elections.
  • All the contestants accepted the results in peace unlike the previous years because I managed to ensure transparency, accountability and fairness.

NOVEMBER 2012-NOVEMBER 2013- FOUNDER&PRESIDENT OF FRENCH CLUB

Duties

  • Reviving the club which was inactive for a couple of years
  • Preparing the necessary documents needed for a club to be recognized as one in Strathmore University
  • Engaging French students in club activities such as watching French movies.

Achievements

  • Revived the club
  • Got approval from The Dean of Students
  • Managed to create a board of club heads with various activities
  • Managed to assemble most of the Franco phonies from Congo in the university to join the club and be club

 

FEBRUARY 2013-MARCH 2013- Digital Squad- Transparency International

Achievements

  • Managed to get the peace equation video to play in the student centre in Strathmore University
  • Managed to take pictures at Strathmore University, at the Mingle event and Kangemi which ensured pictures with a holistic view of a Kenyan society. The choice of venue reflected all classes of people in Kenya.
  • Influenced my friend from Jommo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology-Karen to take peace pictures for her university as well.

JUNE 2013- NOVEMBER 2013- DIGITAL ACCOUNTS MANAGER (BluePrint/Ogilvy)

Achievements (Paid 10,000Kshs)

  • I worked for BluePrint (An Ogilvy Africa Network Agency)directly under the Business Director- Digital, Priya Chana in terms of Social Media Marketing.
  • I managed a team of 7 Account Managers from 4 different universities who in turn managed their 10 Digital Media Activators.
  • We did social media marketing for the following companies- Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB Website Launch and KCB Kisumu Rally). We managed to trend on twitter on the days we were working.
  • Before being the the Digital Accounts Manager, I started off as intern for Transparency International through Priya, where I took pictures to instill peace before the March 4th 2012 elections. You can watch the video here (Kindly watch from 1:40))

November 2012-June 2013            L’Africaine Hair Designs Brand Ambassador

Marketed the brand very well in a targeted way through my blog and social media

COMMUNITY SERVICE

APRIL 2012-JUNE 2012- TRAINING OF TRAINEES

Duties/achievements

  • Trained women in Kikuyu simple business skills
  • I tested them on the Marketing topic and I was content with their answers as they had grasped the important aspect of it.

2008-2009 (During School holidays) Kenyatta National Hospital

Duties/achievements

Helped the staff in Kenyatta Hospital Private Wing-8th Floor in the following activities

  • Cooking food and serving it to the patients
  • Cleaning utensils
  • Feeding some of the patients who could not feed themselves
  • Distributing milk and serving tea and snacks to the patients
  • Spreading the patients’ beds and changing their sheets
  • Helped the nurse administer medicine to the patients

ACHIEVEMENTS

Shortlisted for Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

 

The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders brings 500 dynamic young African leaders, ages 25-35, from across the continent to the United States for 6 weeks of leadership training and mentoring at twenty U.S. universities and colleges in three areas: business and entrepreneurship, civic engagement and public administration.

Out of 1,000+ applications, only 150 were shortlisted for on-site interviews. I am humbled to be among the 150 that were invited for interviews at the American Embassy in February. We will be notified of our status in April.

Do you feel like your career is messed up?

Fam,

Today, and like other days, we are going to keep it real. Miss Independent Blog is dedicated to creating a platform where my audience can take a break from the corporate politics. No pretending. No putting up a strong face. Just facts, raw feelings and acknowledging how we truly see ourselves at this point of our careers.

Do you feel like your career is messed up? If YES, then you are in luck. Here is a bullshit free blog post for you. I know I don’t use curse words on my blog, but I feel the word “bullshit” was necessary to drive the point home. The corporate world is full of politics and constant analysis of colleagues you can or can’t trust. In order to break from what can end up being a toxic experience, I am going to be a blogger you can trust with your career.

First things first, I am not going to rush your healing or growth. If you feel your career is messed up, FEEL IT. My audience ranges from 18-30 year olds, which means there is another 30+ years to revamp your career. At 30 you can start all over again and MAKE IT HAPPEN. So I am not going to make you feel bad because you feel like your career is messed up, feelings are valid and we are going to acknowledge them on the blog today.

I have felt like my career was messed up. I cried and when I stopped crying, I developed anxiety. I would go home for Christmas expecting to magically be happy but there was something missing. Don’t get me wrong, being at home made a huge difference. I was comforted and extremely loved. Thing is, people can only give you so much joy, but they can’t give you what you need to give yourself – and that’s the piece I want to address on the blog today.

To compensate for my uninspiring feeling, I started investing in assets. I told myself that if I started building an empire, I would eventually start feeling more confident about my career. I bought very strategic shares and land, but sadly, the uninspiring feeling didn’t reduce. Even after knowing that I can sell my land double the amount I bought it at in less than 6 months, I still felt like my career was messed up. So what next?

My Brother encouraged me again to pursue My Masters. This is something he had always encouraged me to do but I didn’t follow through because my self-esteem was still pretty high. 2 years later things had changed and I needed to boost my self-esteem. I went online and searched for courses in Ireland and long-story short, I was accepted at Trinity Business School for a Masters in Digital Marketing Strategy. Just to put this into perspective, I paid $10,000 for my first year of fees hoping that I will eventually stop feeling like my career is messed up.

I hope that doesn’t come across like I am flossing, I just want to highlight how expensive self-esteem can cost.  This is why plastic surgery doctors are cashing out like politicians. And for those thinking “you felt like your career is messed up yet you could afford to pay $10,000 for your fees?” – I will just say this – it’s not about the money and if you knew the full story, you wouldn’t judge me like that. I’m not ready to share the story yet, so for now, let’s work with what I’ve learnt from it.

Truth be told, my self-esteem increased with each day I went to school. I mean obviously I just didn’t go to school to only boost my self-esteem, it was a strategic course to compliment my job and what I want to pursue in future. When I started applying my course at work, I felt better than I was, and that began reducing the uninspiring feeling. Personally I am motivated by growth and school has tremendously increased my knowledge base in a way that continues to make me much better for my current and future roles.

Okay so self-esteem was steadily rising, what next?

 

I pressed pause on investments. I was saving but I decided not to think about what I was going to do with the money. School made me realize that investing in my brain was a much better choice in terms of boosting self-esteem because this was something I was consuming internally. I was investing in my self, in my brain. So I decided I needed to invest in my heart and emotional well-being. Investing in land, real state etc was now a distraction and I needed space to just do me.

It’s been about 3 months without having to think how to multiply my money and I have a learnt the following as a result:

  • Screw it, enjoy Life: I learnt how to worry less about being financially secure. I am 25, I could literally start all over again and make even more money. I can do it, I am freaking Miss Independent, you know I can make money if I want to. When I went home about 2 weeks ago, I spent more than I have ever spent, yet this is the year I have made the least amount of money. I came to US with two suitcases, one with my clothes and the other one empty because I intend to splurge on new clothes, shoes and anything that tickles my fancy. I am not saying that I am now misusing my investment fund, no, I have already talked about how I save on my Youtube channel. Go watch it and you will understand why splurging doesn’t mean I won’t have money to invest. All I am saying is that I am not going to miss an opportunity to enjoy Life because I am investing. You are only in your 20s once, you better enjoy them!

 

  • Instead of feeling like my career is messed up, no one can tell me anything: Talk about self-esteem that is about to win an Emmy! We allow dream killers to make us feel like trash yet the only thing we should allow them to do is to heal.  Refuse to take their negative energy and pray for their healing. It’s important to first feel like no one can tell you anything! I consider it the first step of healing after a traumatic experience with dream killers. Dude, you are in control of your career 100% and unless you don’t believe in yourself, I don’t see why you should feel like your career is messed up.I also don’t think it’s possible to empower the right people if you can’t empower yourself first.The right people can’t help you if you can’t help yourself. Therefore, it’s time for you to start feeling like Kanye! Kanye-ing, issa plan!

 

  • Take a humble seat and acknowledge you need help: No man is an island and sometimes Life will present tough challenges. I seek comfort in knowing God can’t give you what you can’t handle. Plus anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But here is the thing, there is a time to be Kanye and there is a time to ask for help. Rely on good people, trust me, they enjoy adding value in other people’s lives. Reach out to people who know more than you, acknowledge you don’t know anything and you are open to learn. I actually didn’t ask for help, it came to me. She is literally the best person I have met in my entire career, some people are truly God-sent. She taught me to continuously be okay with asking for help and relying on people, which can be something hard to learn especially after an encounter with dream killers who teach you not to trust anyone. There are good people out there, find them, and most importantly, be one!

 

  • Emotional well-being and high self-esteem is important if you want to make money: I always thank low-self esteem Miss I for buying shares, land and taking us to school. Guess what, I just finished my first year of school and my course is ranked 13th best globally. Low-self esteem Miss I smashed it, she really tried given her circumstances. But high self esteem Miss I is back and  y’all better be ready to call me “Miss Landlady at 26.” And no,  I am not into real estate because I need to boost my self-esteem, but because I believe I am freaking badass and I can do awesome stuff! You need to believe in yourself first in order to make money, not the other way round. And if you have low-self esteem, go to school and once your self-esteem starts feeling better, try as much as possible to feel like Kanye until your believe in yourself.

While I am still in the same situation that made me feel like my career is messed up, I no longer feel like that. Funny enough God has been cracking me up. I am currently writing this blog post in a hotel room in California, Mountain View, United States of America. Wow, from writing blog posts in Kikuyu to writing blog posts in America’s most expensive city. When I was younger I thought I would be going to US when I am a powerful lady, but here I am completely unaware of what’s next for my career. It’s like God is telling me: “Those challenges are just a BTW. Stop thinking they are tough yet I have taken you to Nigeria, Kenya, US in the times you would describe as the toughest points of your career. Enjoy Life Esther, I got you, trust me.”

And as I trust God and in My Family’s encouraging words, I recognize that I should share my journey with my readers. It’s not easy being vulnerable like this publicly, so many concerns pop in my head when I think about the ill-intentioned people that will read this. Sometimes I worry that people won’t want to be associated with me because I share too much, and ironically I am doing it for the benefit of others but myself. But you have trust in God and He knows I am doing this with the best intentions. If being a good person presents challenges for me, I will just do me and get married to a person that will always understand this aspect about me.

I was reflecting with my Dad this morning and I want to end this blog post with a quote he shared with me! P.S My Dad is awesome, I just love him so much. He is literally my everything, like I don’t know how to explain. My Dad is the reason I am who I am. And then he married this awesome woman, My Mum, who I describe as My Life. My Mum is the reason why I cried when I encountered a dream killer, I felt sad that her daughter was being treated unfairly. I love myself more when I look at myself as My Mum’s daughter! Just writing this paragraph made me feel so much better.  Learn to count your blessings and you will soon realize there is nothing to worry about.

Below are the last words the Late Dr.Geoffrey W. Griffin told his boys before he succumbed to colon cancer!

Managing anxiety and 3 career tips!

Fam,

Today is one of those days when I feel FREE and in control of my emotions. I’ve been feeling a lot more like that lately, but not naturally, I had to work on it VERY HARD.

I was in Naivasha last week with my high school best friend and other really good people that I value so much. We arrived there on Thursday and guys I can’t explain the mad time we had. It was awesome and to be honest there is no point trying to narrate the experience because you just needed to be there to understand.

So by Friday evening I started getting some anxiety. If am brutally honest the only alcohol left was beer and since I prefer to go the Russian way with some hard liquor, I was quite sober. Being sober in this case meant being aware of how happy I was in that moment, but then my brain decided to get it twisted and started freaking out about what’s next for my career.

So obviously I start getting irritated because I am like “now why in the freaking Naivasha awesome vibes would anxiety decide to kick in now? All I want is to have a great time with my friends. I am leaving on Sunday and this is literally the only time I have with them until we are back in the same country. Arrrrrrgggghhhhh, A.N.X.I.E.T.Y why?

There is a story behind my anxiety. I’ve been through a lot guys and I guess you are probably thinking – well anyone can say that, what’s unique about your situation? I think the first thing I want to address is that we should never compare anyone’s pain, everyone with their journey.

I am honest about my challenges because I meet people who tell me things like – “I wish I had your Life” and I often wonder if they are aware of the tough battles I am fighting behind the scenes. In hindsight, I have learnt to count my blessings, and if they had My Life, they would thank God countless times. I am just not sure if they have the capacity to fight my battles, food for thought!

Here is the thing, we were never taught to anticipate tough challenges in the work place, which we all come to learn is a standard experience. You are indeed lucky when you don’t have challenges and ideally the dream is to work smart so that you are surrounded by amazing colleagues. That’s the dream, right? But the reality on the ground is that there are more than enough roadblocks, causing anxiety, depression and other mental/emotional issues amongst the African youth today.

I am definitely not an expert in managing anxiety, but I have most certainly gone through anxious moments which led to really bad panic attacks. I am a strong woman, at least that’s what people tell me, so before I am down on the floor having a panic attack, just know that there is something up and I am doing my best to deal with the situation. I feel like I am literally scaring you right now with what’s going in with my Life, but don’t be, it’s shaped me to be stronger and better.

I wasn’t going NOT to have fun in Naivasha because of anxiety. I was tired of anxiety controlling me randomly and I was determined to overcome it sooner than later. So what I did is that I chose to sleep for an hour, took a hot shower after and joined my friends in the dance and just being happy. That was the first time I managed to control my anxiety, and it started by not fighting it. I read online that you shouldn’t fight it because it causes more anxiety. Since I wasn’t about to tolerate my anxious self, I chose to sleep it off , shower and quite frankly it worked.

I am not saying this is something that will work for you. I am just sharing my journey, how I handled it an anxious moment and hopefully that will inspire you to find something that works for you. I believe some of these things is just about finding what works for you, which is all that matters at the end of the day. Now as for career tips, I believe as African youth, bulk of our anxiety issues are influenced by worries around careers.

These are the 3 career tips I would share with you today

  • You actually have 100% control of your career: Many a times we are caught up believing that other people are in control of our careers, be it your managers or colleagues. Which in essence is totally absurd because you are literally the one person that has 100% control. And here is the thing, I know sometimes you can be like “but my manager is the one that can promote me“. Look, if you don’t get promoted, that doesn’t mean that you can’t quit and look for another role that will help you shine and exude that awesome person you believe you are.

 

  • Believe in the spirit of abundance: So this is a follow up from the first career tip. I understand that it’s not easy to just quit your job and get the one that fits your preferences immediately. And this is made worse if you factor in that you have invested so much in a particular role/company – you are probably more likely to compromise on personal well being and happiness as you pray for that promotion or appraisal. I get it and I’ve been there. What’s interesting is that I was literally pushed to the edge of the cliff where I could not rely on anything but myself. I have been forced to take a step back and reflect on what I have that can help me get to that next stage. That process involved thinking big, not limiting myself to the bubble I was forced to burst out of. Don’t think that you can’t be successful without your company, YOU CAN!

 

  • Ask for help: Shit will hit the fan in some stages of your career and this is the time to ask for help. It’s important that you also help others help you. Be clear and concise about the issue and how exactly you think they can help you. Always remember to communicate that you are open to new solutions you hadn’t explored before. Be cautious who you seek help from, not everyone is there for you. The good news is that there are amazing people out there and they are more than happy to walk with you, even if that just means sharing their wisdom!

Battling Low Self-Confidence?

Fam,

After laughs, good food with my mentor he asked me “what happened to the girl I met 4 years ago?

Within the first few seconds I thought he was going to say someone else’s name and then it hit me – he meant Miss I!

Right there and then I started crying!

I always look at this picture and I wonder if I will ever go back to this lady.

When I stopped blogging I was hoping I could get my confidence back so that I can continue sharing inspirational stories with my audience. 1 year passed, 2 years and now it’s 2018 and I still feel worse than I did when I stopped blogging. I meet people that know me as Miss I and they give me the look of “this confident, go-getter lady” and I always wish I could see myself in their eyes.

My confidence has been affected by external factors which is a story for another day. It’s important I mention that because naturally we are confident people, we are just influenced by situations around us. It’s an on-going process. One person does something that hurts you and just when you think you will have a break another person disappoints you in ways worse than the previous person. And the vicious cycle continues, decreasing your self-confidence with time.

I tried to compensate for my low self-confidence through investments. After I bought land I really waited to hold the title deed. I was hoping that when I see it with my own eyes and hold it with my own hands – I will feel a little more confident. When I finally held my title deed, things didn’t go as planned.  Can’t necessarily say I felt worse, or better – I just remember learning that you can’t buy confidence.

Don’t get me wrong, I bought the land because I also want to accumulate assets. I was just hoping that the by-product would be more confidence. But I’ve soon come to realize no amount of money and assets can make you confident. It sure can grant you the right to care less, and by that a lot of things will stop bothering you unnecessarily. When less things bother you, your confidence is less jeopardized. I mean you can do whatever you want, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

However, my confidence did increase when I started my Masters at Trinity Business School. First of all I was paying for myself fees in a European University. Not once in my Life did I ever think that I would afford that at 25. I remember in high school my classmates would discuss all these amazing international universities they planned to enroll in. I didn’t even try to dream of a scholarship in these schools, it just wasn’t a dream I could afford to have. I was wrong, because guess who just finished her 1st year at Trinity Business School – ME!

It felt nice paying for my school fees because it meant believing in myself which I am struggling to feel a lot more often. I am actually eager to pay for my second year fees because it’s just a confidence boost to see that I have continuously believed in myself to finish my Masters degree. It’s not a sustainable confidence boost model, but at least it’s a start. If you are struggling with low self-esteem/self-confidence, take yourself to school. Confidence comes from within, and investing in your knowledge will 100% increase your confidence levels.

After I dropped my mentor home I thought to myself that may be I should share this rough patch with my readers. I bet I am not the only battling with low self-confidence. I’ve received a couple of great comments on my CV article. People are really impressed with what I have managed to achieve thus far. But I don’t see myself in the eyes of my readers, and that’s a big challenge that I need to overcome.

Lastly, please don’t see me as a victim. That is the last thing I need. Truth be told I have been a victim for the last 2 years. Those that know my story tell me I’m the strongest person they have ever met. What you need to understand is that continuous fighting gets really tiring and eventually self-confidence gets affected in the long-run.  But even then, I don’t need anyone’s pity. After all, I am only a victim in one sphere of my Life. I count my blessings, and the last time I checked, they outweigh the rough patch I am in.

Things happen for a reason. May be God wanted me to know what low self-confidence is so that I am in a better position to inspire my audience. When I was blogging I was in a constant high – awards after awards, interviews after interviews and everyone including myself could see that I am acing it in Life. You know what they say, success is not end, it’s standing up each time you fall.

I consider publishing this blog post exposing my vulnerability me standing up after the great falls I’ve had since 2017. I don’t know if I will go back to the Miss I we all knew in 2014. May be I am the same person, perhaps better. I really don’t know and I don’t want to rush the reflection, I will however share the journey with you. What I know for sure is that I should love myself the same, whether I have high or low self-confidence – workin on that!

I hope my vulnerability inspires you to stand up each time you fall.

 

Miss I’s Google CV

Hey Fam,

One of my most read articles has to be the CV related ones. Shortly after I stopped blogging a lot of readers would reach out to me requesting for the link to my CV article. It hurt saying that the blog is off and I made it a commitment to publish CV related articles as soon as I started blogging again.

What I will share today is slightly different to what I shared 4 years ago, and that’s because things change and I’ve learnt a thing or 2 at Google. There are a couple of articles I want to publish in relation to CVs. They are such an important document that I need to break it down to different blog posts so that my audience can really benefit from what I have to share.

I’m going to start it off by sharing my Google CV. It’s important to note that I have a CV that I use when applying for roles internally. I wouldn’t use the same CV to apply externally, although if I chose to be lazy, I could. The first thing I am going to emphasize is that you need to invest time in your CV. It took me a couple of days plus SERIOUS mentorship to write up the CV I am about to share with you today.

I am not going to get down to the best practices of writing a CV, that will be saved for another blog post. I discovered that my readers found it useful when I published my own CV as they could use it as a guide to write theirs. Disclaimer; I wrote this CV in the context of being a Googler, therefore, it may or may not work for your company. Also, I am yet to update my CV. There are a couple of projects I’ve been involved in this year, I just haven’t had the time to update it. It takes time to write a good CV so I didn’t want to rush and come up with something sub-standard. Without further ado, below is my Google CV.

 

Esther Kinuthia - Google Resume

ekinuthia@google.com


Fast Facts

Joined Google: 2014
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Core Role:  Associate Account Strategist – UK, Ireland, Nordics, Middle East and Africa

Other roles: Communication Lead Afro-Googler Network  EMEA, StartUp Success Manager Google Launchpad 

Passions: Marketing, Sales, Business Development,Growing People & Businesses


Summary

  •  Energetic, extremely passionate and performance driven professional with over 3 years experience in Marketing, Sales and Blogging.
  • I aspire to be one of the top 10 Marketers in Africa. Currently pursuing MSc Digital Marketing Strategy at Trinity Business School, ranked 1st in Ireland and 13th globally.
  • In 3 years at Google, I have progressed from a Marketing intern to an Associate Account Strategist, with a proven track record of meeting and exceeding objectives.

 


Google Honors and Awards

  • MEA SMT Spot Bonus Award – for improving team flexibility by developing efficient working methods     
  • Carbon Rally Winner in EMEA Award – for highest $ opportunity adopted                                                 
  • Spot Bonus – 7 received for top performance across EMEA and immediate team contribution                        
  • Peer bonus – 13 received for collaborative efforts within and outside immediate team                                         
  • Kudos – 9 received for going above and beyond to help my colleagues                                                                        
  • Top 40 Under 40 Women in Kenya                                                                                                                       
  • Airtel Future Leader (link)        

 


Education and Training        

Msc. Digital Marketing Strategy           Trinity Business School Ireland       2017 – 2019

C-Level Leadership Training (link)      Ivy House London                             2017

Bachelor of Commerce {Marketing}    Strathmore University Kenya           2011 – 2015

 

Google Timeline
Associate Account Strategist July 2015-Date

Core

  • Supported 5000+ businesses troubleshoot and optimize their Adwords, google my business, tag manager, shopping and analytics accounts
  • Consistently exceed targets QoQ on Service Revenue Program,  Customer satisfaction and Same Day Resolution
  • Proactively attained the 5 Green Belts in Brand, Performance, Mobile, Measurement and Programmatic required for a sales role and applied the knowledge in a services role
  • Business Awards:

2017

– Team Contribution Award for problem solving, execution and Googleyness

– Carbon Rally Winner in EMEA Awardfor highest $ opportunity adopted                                            

2016

-CSAT Hall of Fame:  November, August, July

Customer Growth Award: June 2016

Best Team Award: Q2 2016

2015

Team Contribution Award for closing the highest number of cases

Team Roles

  • As Workflow Lead,  increased team flexibility and Googler happiness by designing language chat templates that improved the workflow structure.
  • As Knowledge Lead, reduced basic chat rate by planning relevant product trainings and doing important knowledge team updates in every team meeting
  • As Quality Lead, reviewed hundreds of cases ensuring compliance with global legal, workflow, & answer accuracy guidelines
Marketing Intern Google Kenya     
Local Doodle Manager Africa
  • Collaborated with Country Marketing Managers in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana  in selecting the right Doodles for their markets, including opt-in Doodles
  • Biggest achievement: Kimani Maruge Doodle, was highlighted by Lorraine as the Doodle of the Week. Though we did not measure the widespread recognition, the Public Relations team collected 16 stories which has a circulation of 15, 092, 000. The Kimani Maruge Doodle topped that week’s Kenya search trends – a great win!
  • Second biggest achievement: Kenya Independence Doodle 2014
Digital Business Management
  • Worked with a local agency to film 4 case studies which were used during the consecutive DBM sessions
  • Coordinated planning of the events with the agency to ensure things run smoothly during the 3-day programs.
  • Trained on “Assessing SMB Digital Needs”
  • Received Kudos from Bunmi , Growth Engine & Brand Lead, Sub Saharan Africa, “Esther, a quick note to say thanks for your help in planning the recently concluded DBM program in Kenya; coordinating things with the agency and ensuring we had some great success stories filmed.
Bebapay
  • Trained at least 200 PSV staff which created a positive lasting relationship with Bebapay.
  • Inspired natural influencers amongst the trained staff who in turn rub off a good vibe amongst their peers.
  • Designed banners and posters to be used for this trainings.
  • Created “slogans” that would relate with the PSV staff

Miss I is back!

Hello there,

Thank you for making it to my first blog post . Well , not really. I started blogging in February 8th 2013.  It’s been a crazy journey. Crazy in a good way, with a touch of lemon. The lemon was really bitter, but here I am, making lemonade by re-launching Miss Independent Blog.

Here is the thing.

Even though I stopped blogging about two years ago, my audience never behaved like I stopped blogging. Maybe it’s because I continued to share inspirational posts on Social Media and that kept people going. For me it came across as reassuring –

Miss I, we are here with you. Whether you are blogging or publishing posts on Social Media, we are all refusing to be average!

You all know that the name Miss Independent came about after a bad break-up. I decided the guy was going to regret losing me when I became the best version of myself. I did become more successful. Top 40 under 40 women in Kenya at 21, being the first university student to be on the list. Wow! I really outdid myself there, didn’t I?

I always tell people that even though I made a decision that he was going to regret losing me, when I started working on myself it became less about him and more about me. I enjoyed discovering myself and the things I can do with my brain and creativity. So even when I became more successful, he was the last person on my mind. I was grateful to each and every person that contributed to my blogging journey.

Why did I stop blogging?

I think it’s important I mention that I did not stop blogging by choice. Quick fact for those that are reading my blog for the first time, I was born and raised in Kenya. I moved to Dublin, Ireland where I have been working and now studying for the last 3 years. The plan was to continue blogging, show the African youth what’s available this side of the  world and use that to inspire them from a global perspective.

But then God had a complete different plan.

I arrived in Dublin on a high note. My blog had really grown, strong & powerful brand and OMG, I was now a full-time Googler based in Google’s EMEA HQ in Dublin. What a move! I was really on that Miss Independent vibe.  I did shine here in Dublin for the most part of 2015, 2016 and then starting early 2017 God decided this was the year where I was going to have some lemons. Boy did they come in plenty. I would joke that I got a whole lemon tree, but all the same I learnt how to count my blessings so in the end I can’t say it was a bad year. I won’t dive deep into the lemon situation, story for another day, but basically my self-worth, self-confidence and self-belief were thrown in the recycle bin. I didn’t feel like Miss I and as such, I could not run missindependent.co.ke!

Best believe the relaunch does involve another bad breakup. But don’t think about this from a romantic perspective. There are many ways in which you can find yourself in a bad breakup that doesn’t involve a heterosexual relationship. You can have a bad friend, a bad family member and even a bad colleague. Let’s just say someone I once trusted and relied on 100% committed to ruining my future. Sometimes I wonder what I’m most angry about, the fact that they unnecessarily introduced massive roadblocks in my journey or how they betrayed my trust. There is nothing I ever did to warrant that kind of treatment from them, but here I am, collecting my self-worth, self-confidence and self-belief they helped me throw in the recycle bin.

I’m not trying  to create excuses as to why I stopped blogging. I am choosing to be vulnerable with you because much of what you’ve seen is me buying land, investing in shares, Trinity Business School and I guess taking flights to all these new places. Well that’s because I am Miss Independent. Yes even though I was fighting a tough battle I had to keep it going. Worst case scenario I was going to look back and be proud of myself for doing something that would help me land softly should I fall. Even in battle you wear protective armor to protect yourself, and for me investing in assets and in my education was my protective armor.

It’s true what they say. You can not give what you don’t have. So even though I am relaunching this blog after a bad breakup, it’s not my biggest motivator. I am just trying to recover from it, so it would certainly not be the thing that made me come back.

So if it wasn’t the bad break up, what really inspired me to relaunch the blog?

Google Launchpad Africa! – An acceleration program that matches the top African startups with the best of Google – its people, network, and advanced technologies – to help build great products.

When I got into this program as a Startup Success Manager (SSM), I really didn’t have an idea of what would happen or who I would become. I just knew that I am passionate about Africa, Startups and being involved in conversations that involve making entrepreneurial moves in our lovely continent. I ensured I packed everything I needed for the trip and it was during the  program that I realized I added self-doubt in my suitcase….and off I went to Lagos for the first phase of the program.

I have to say those were the best 2 weeks of my entire Google career. I hope I don’t sound like I am exaggerating, but I literally changed after interacting with everyone that was involved. There is so much I can say about the program, but what I will mention is that some of the startup founders encouraged me to relaunch my blog. And as I was packing my bags to come back to Dublin, guess what I dumped in the bin – self doubt. I instead packed a commitment, to relaunch Miss Independent blog within 30 days!

And so here we are  – Miss Independent Blog relaunched!

Special thanks to Taslim, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to launch my blog as planned! This guy, he is going to change the world. I know it!

Refuse To Be Average!