Named one of the Top 40 under 40 women achievers in 2011 by the Business Daily, 39 year-old Thrity Engineer is the marketing director for East Africa at GlaxoSmithKline, a global healthcare company. Thrity is the first female Chartered Marketer in Kenya and within the COMESA region to achieve this Fellowship status with the Chartered Institute of Marketing. In addition, she is the vice chairperson of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Kenya Chapter. The mother of two talks to EDNA GICOVI about discovering and nurturing her marketing passion and finding that elusive work-life balance.
Being an only child makes you grow up a lot faster, considering the amount of time you spend with adults. Through these frequent interactions and conversations you tend to absorb a lot of concepts from adults than other kids of your age. You become a little adult,” says Thrity Engineer in her sweet voice as we get started with this interview. We are seated in her homely, spacious office at GlaxoSmithKline’s headquarters in Nairobi’s Industrial Area. She comes across as a reserved individual initially but a short while into the interview her seemingly subdued warm and bubbly persona is slowly drawn out. She is aware that she at times comes across this way to others and admits that those who don’t know her very well sometimes find it hard to approach her but that they get to see a different side of her after getting to know her.
“I never realised that this was the way I came across to others until someone who knows me very well told me,” she says, adding that this may be attributed to the fact that she is an only child. Thrity, a Kenyan of Asian ancestry, was born and bred in Mombasa where her late father was an accountant while her mother was a paediatrician, though now retired. Looking back at her childhood years, she remembers herself being a serious and grown-up child.
“I was not the kind to climb trees,” she says adding, “Since I had no siblings, I had to find a way to occupy my time. I ended up reading a lot. I still love books.” Nonetheless, Thrity grew up in a happy home, feeling secure, content and being able to express herself. “That old saying that children are meant to be seen but not heard didn’t apply at our home,” she reckons. Like most little girls, she liked to play with dolls and would line up her dolls and prop a blackboard in front of them and then…
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