What could be more rewarding in life than one discovering his purpose, pursuing it with an unrelenting devotion and through it affect the lives of other people?
As I think about this, the words of my high school teacher come to mind; “Never fail to brighten the corner where you are.”
Indeed, we all have the ability to brighten our corners, however wide or narrow. To be the source of light for the people around us.
Christine Khasinah-Odero is one phenomenal and relentless young woman who has not only taken charge of her corner but has also created a sure path for other women to follow.
She is the founder of Supamamas, an event and marketing company whose vision is to provide a high-class platform for Kenyan mums to connect, interact and get valuable information through a their website here and events.
Born and bred in Umoja estate, Nairobi, Kenya; Cristina is the third among six siblings. She started out at Umoja Primary School before proceeding to Butere Girls High School for her secondary education and then the United States International University (USIU), Nairobi and finally, the University of Liverpool for her MBA.
Christine’s entrepreneurial journey has been nothing short of challenging and deeply inspiring. Despite her record of several unsuccessful attempts at maintaining jobs and entrepreneurship; Christine remains undeterred; always full of hope and zeal.
“I am driven to find my best self. I am a self-starter and love to trying out different ways of doing things until I grow. I am ardent believer of investing in yourself to keep growing. And in addition in order to get the best out of people, the best has to start with me.” She says in an interview with parentsafrica
Her first job after school was at an ice cream making company in Nairobi. A job she struggled to keep for a year. “I was unhappy with the work ethics because I felt that my skills were not being utilised fully.”
After a year, she resigned her position at the ice cream company and moved into financial investment, working with an investment company. But that was not to be for long either because she soon discovered that working with figures was not one of her strong points and a year later, she was off again. This time, to the tours and travel industry.
She worked in three different tours and travel companies at the managerial level and gained tremendous experience. And just when she thought she had landed her convenient spot, she was struck by the unexpected. In 2007, with the post-election violence (PEV) in Kenya that hit the tourism industry, Christine became jobless and in addition she was pregnant with her first child.
With her wealth of experience in travel and tourism and an unfading zeal, Christine decided to set up a tour and travel agency. She rented an office space at Nairobi’s Agip House. But she was soon to discover that running a business was no small task. “Business was not forthcoming especially since the economy and industry had been adversely affected by the PEV. And so I closed down my business,” Christine explains.
At this point in her life, she figured it would be best to stop, do a thorough review and then plan her next course of action. After serious thought, she concluded that her only option was to continue in her search for employment.
Determined to secure a future for herself and her unborn child, Christine took a job as an admin assistant in a garage. A job she knew she was over qualified for. But in all, she did her best in humility and devotion.
Now as a new mum, Christine knew what heavy tasks lay ahead but then she lacked the requisite knowledge that she needed to fit confidently in her new role.
“I didn’t know how I was going to handle and care for my newborn son, from feeding, bathing him and even getting him to sleep. I realized such information was very vital for any new mother and perhaps, there were many new mothers who also needed it. And that’s when the idea of starting Supamamas struck me and I purposed to bring it to life,” she recounts.
And that was exactly what she did. In a few months, she set up her events management business.
“I was always good at events management and made every small family occasion at our home a grand event. I therefore set up shop to run a company, Supamamas, that would do events for mums-to-be and mums between 22 to 45 years of age, specifically with kids up to 12 years.”
At this point, Christine sensed that she had found her place, her new idea, felt totally right. But with her new idea came new challenges, such that could discourage any young entrepreneur, but not one as resilient as the supamama herself.
First, she encountered a major fall out with her partners, but instead of giving up, the purpose driven Christine turned the table to her own benefit. She acquired the business and registered it as a company.
Next was the challenge of financing and getting other women to believe in the vision.
“In the beginning, the reception of the idea by other mums was not good. I even remember one event I organized in December but people didn’t turn up. There were no organizations to partner with. But I soldiered on. I sought the company and advice of other seasoned entrepreneurs who offered me a rich menu of information that I needed to make it work. I also invested heavily in books and spent much of my time reading on how to become a successful entrepreneur.” she tells Sylvia Wakhisi of supamamas.co.ke
But since there was no such thing as “giving up” in the young mother’s vocabulary, she ignored the difficulties she faced and pressed towards her goal.
And in a few months, her resilience yielded an amazing harvest.
“Within three months I had over 1,500 members on the Supamamas Facebook page. The page provided a forum for mums to share information that they could relate with. Each day had a theme, which the mums would have a conversation about. The Facebook group went viral and many people were talking about it.” She tells parentsafrica.
Shortly after that, she came up with a better profit yielding idea; to have interested women register to be paying an annual registration fee to be members of the group Supamamas. Among the benefits open to the registered members were, paying subsidised entry fee at events, subsidised rates to exhibit at events and advertise on Supamamaswebsite: www.supamamas.co.ke and also enjoy social and career support from other mums.
Today, that little business idea has grown into a mighty venture and has attracted several awards and also offers mentorship and community service to young Kenyan women.
“Our vision is to get more inspiring women to come and inspire more generations. I have achieved greater satisfaction in connecting mothers and helping them grow from one level to the next and above all, become good mothers.”
Now with deep satisfaction the leading lady says, “I wanted to give an edge to my events and I am happy with the progress we have made with more than 15 events done in the past two and a half years and a following online of more than 14,000 mums. Many people believe that when you become a mum, it becomes boring. However, we seek to dispel this notion and add the glitz and glam to mothers out there through some specific event we do like the Mum Pampering Event. The other events vary in theme and focus on equipping mums with information or helping them improve their professional lives. It is super exciting to be a mum,” she says in her interview with supamamas.co.uk
And to young entrepreneurs she says,
“I would tell the young people out there to DREAM, DREAM BIG, TAKE ACTION and move beyond the thinking stage. The only way to see your dream coming to life is taking the bold step to working on it and being diligent and persistent.”
What have you purposed in your heart to achieve? What are your goals and dreams? Have you got fears or seemingly insurmountable challenges? Then you can learn a great deal from the power woman Christine Khasinah-Odero.
Never ever accept your fears, and never consider a “No” as an acceptable answer. Run with determination in the direction of your dreams.
© 2014 – 2017, Lovelyn Okafor. All rights reserved.