UoN Women in the Top 40 Under 40
On the 28th February 2023, the Business Daily, a Nation Media publication complimented the “Top 40, Under Forty Women 2023.” Amongst them were various alumni of the University of Nairobi. These remarkable women who have shaped industries and careers, are fierce and talented. They have shattered glass ceilings with complete competence and absolute integrity.
Top 40 under 40 is an annual award and recognition by the Nation media group following a very competitive selection process. The top 40 project honours outstanding and transformative women in different spheres of the economy.
It published by saying, “Meet the fearless women who have broken the boundaries to rise above disability, poverty and male domination.” Here is a list of a few University of Nairobi Alumni who featured in this year’s top 40 under 40. The university takes the opportunity to congratulate and celebrate these winners.
We are confident that this recognition is a sign of better things to come.
KERUBO NYAMWARO, 33
She works as a Biotech Service Leader, Pall Corporation. She studied commerce at the University of Nairobi and is a holder of an Executive MBA from Harvard Business School and another from INSEAD. She has always thrown her hat in the ring of whatever she believed in. “I am a risk-taker. I always go after big goals even when I am uncertain of the outcomes. I do not let perfection get in the way of a good show because I believe there is room for continuous improvement in every engagement.”
AZIZA AJWANG, 36
Aziza works as a Senior Resident Magistrate and a High Court Deputy Registrar in Kericho. After joining the University of Nairobi for her law degree, her grandmother stated calling her ‘judge’. She believes that most cases that end up in court can easily be solved through mediation. Cases that have been resolved within 60 days of referral has greatly reduced case backlog in my station,” she says.
Aziza also participated in the International Association of Women Judges, Kenya Chapter, where she helped develop the Judicial Bench Book on Labour Trafficking. “through the same organization, I have also facilitated training in my region for Sexual and Gender- Based Violence victims.”
MERCY MUTEMI, 33
Mutemi works as a partner, Nzili Sumbi Advocates. When she graduated from Law school at the University of Nairobi, she wanted two things: to be a litigator and run her own laws practice. “I did not know how I would achieve either of those things or what area I would end up specialising in,” she says. Out of curiosity, she took a course in the law and economics of social media platforms and her interest was piqued.
She was named the Tech Lawyer of the Year 2022 by the Africa Legal Tech and Innovation Awards by Lawyers Hub which recognized top African innovators, lawyers, policymakers and institutions.
BITUTU NYAMBANE, 39
She is the Senior Research Scientist, Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI). She studied food science at the University of Nairobi and holds a Master’s degree in the same field from the same institution. Of the things Bitutu enjoys most about her career at the moment is working without having to follow any script. “I would still pick it if I had to choose again. I want to continue to thrive in my space,” she says referring to food science. Bitutu hopes to support more SMEs coming into the manufacturing space. “I would like to be involved in the development of policy to empower such businesses,” she says.
TRACEY SHIUNDU, 32
Tracey is the CEO, FunKe Science. “To make science more enjoyable in Kenyan schools, I helped find FunKe Science whose goal is to make science more fun for children,” she says. FunKe attracted children from Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Morocco. “It is eye-opening how technology can inspire across borders,” she says.
Tracey who holds a Master’s in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Nairobi says that the next frontier is inspiring the next generation of African scientists by making science accessible for children.
KATHERINE OYIEKE, 36
Katherine is a Paediatric Neurologist. She pursued Medicine at the University of Nairobi. “I chose Paediatrics Neurology because children are the foundation of humanity. If we get it right at the foundation, we score greatly at getting right in the latter days,” she says.
Her biggest career moment is when she was recognized as the best student in her fellowship training at the University of Cape Town. “It is a rare recognition. That was a rubber stamp and a sign of approval that I was meant to do this.”
PURITY GAKUO, 25
COO and Co-founder, Kuza Freezers. The company seeks to bridge the cold chain gap in the food and fish value chain by manufacturing low-cost solar powered coolers. “The kit comes with a cooler, battery and a solar panel. Some of them come with inbuilt battery and can be mounted on a three-wheel tri-cycle for transportation to the market,” she says.
Purity studied Business Management at the University of Nairobi. She says that the growth of her business has coincided with her growth. Her vision for Kuza is to reach 3,500 small scale fishers in sub-Saharan Africa.
ELIZABETH MWANGI, 30
She is the Founder and Director of Gwiji, a tech start-up that is set to be a disruptor in the cleaning business. “The assumption that people have is that ‘mamafua’ just does laundry. We have more categories including cleaning utensils, mopping and washing bedding. We wanted something fair, not expensive and not little so that they can get value for the service and get extra money for transport and commission,” she says.
The trained architect conceived the idea after volunteering with two associations that were empowering women in slums while undertaking her Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Nairobi.
SANDRA NJAGI, 37
Njagi is the Head of Corporate Planning and Strategy at Isuzu East Africa. Her day-to-day job entails leading the formulation of strategic solutions for the sustainability of the car maker. “I have a responsibility to ensure that the company attains its vision and goals innovatively and effectively while ensuring proper strategic risks are managed,” she says.
She got admissions to study at the University of Nairobi faculty of Business to study finance since she couldn’t afford to study Aeronautical Engineering abroad.
MONICA WERE, 38
Monica is a Trading Manager, Vivo Energy Kenya. Monica holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Nairobi. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Law from still the widely known, University of Nairobi.
An important life lesson that she has learnt is that those who constantly strive to learn more and keep moving forward even through times of stagnation succeed. You ought to constantly learn new things and work to become a better person. Being in a challenging situation doesn’t mean you should be resigned from your fate.
JEAN GITAU, 36
Jean is the Head of Biological Threat Reduction Programme (Ministry of Health). She holds a Bachelors of Medicine and Bachelor of surgery from the University of Nairobi.
“Global security touches on almost all arms of health; poor health, laboratory services, medical service delivery. So it’s the networks I have with people that enable me to stay current on information and advance myself,” she says.
SYLVIA MUSEIYA, 34
Sylvia works as a PS State department of Wildlife. She is the youngest PS in the Kenya Kwanza administration and says she prepared thoroughly for the role having beaten 9000 applicants. Coming from a hunter-gathering community, she is passionate about keeping indigenous languages alive. She holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Education from the University of Nairobi.
ANGEL WARIRA MBUTHIA, 27
Warira works at the National Youth Council Board. She likes to write the story of her life while holding the pen. She recommends that any girl out there should get educated first. Her next frontier is to focus on advocacy, governance and leadership. “It is time for Kenya to fight for a female president. That is something I will want to live to see and fight for,” she says.
The University of Nairobi is proud of the individuals and therefore seeks to congratulate them. “Congratulations to all the University of Nairobi Top 40 and Under Forty Women that were shortlisted in the Business Daily Newspaper. We are proud of you as you lift the flag of the University.”