‘People on the move’ is a How we made it in Africa interview series where we speak to talented corporate movers and shakers making waves in their respective companies and industries.
Austine Odhiambo, Retail Network Manager, Engen Kenya
Tell us about some of the projects you have recently undertaken
The biggest project I’m currently involved in is expanding the network of Engen retail outlets and improving customer service. In the last six months we have opened three new branches bringing the total network to 12. In coming months we will be opening two more branches. We want to be closer to our customers and to give them the best service possible.
And the favourite and least favourite parts of your job?
My job entails ensuring customers get efficient and good experience when they visit any of our retail outlets. So the least favourite part is when a customer is unhappy or disappointed with our service for one reason or another. The favourite part is when the customers’ needs are met and they leave satisfied. It is very fulfilling when they have smiles on their faces, satisfied they were handled with respect, warmth and with no inconvenience. I also feel really good when everything in the retail section runs smoothly and the supervisors are independent and make firm decisions.
What is your strongest trait?
I never give up no matter how big the challenge. I always keep a positive outlook and attitude even in the toughest of situations. I am also actively involved in helping young people recognise, nurture and exploit their talents to achieve their dreams. I hope to be a stepping stone to their success by mentoring them.
What is the professional achievement you are most proud of, and why?
I am proud to work as the Retail Network Manager. My job involves ensuring customers get good service across our 12 retail outlets. My team and I find great satisfaction ensuring they always leave with a smile on their faces.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years, and how do you plan to get there?
I will be the managing director of a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business. I plan to accomplish this by positioning myself through networking, work experience and delivering excellent results in my current position. I have also strategically improved my education over the last decade by getting a diploma in petroleum management, a degree in IT and I am currently finalising my thesis. In December I expect to be graduating with an MBA.
Who do you look up to in life?
I look up to God for strength and wisdom. Second is my late dad who worked smart and hard. He was very wise and loved people. Thirdly, I admire US business mogul Donald Trump for his resilience. He has faced many setbacks over the years, but has always bounced back with a fortune of billions of dollars and a business empire spanning various sectors.