Catherine Njeri: Key Account Manager, Cellulant
Shaping your story to mobilize, finding ways to identify blindspots, and future-proofing your career by developing a mix of soft skills and industry expertise
About our Guest
This episode’s conversation is with Catherine Njeri from Kenya. At 27, Catherine manages a $10 million portfolio at Cellulant, the leading pan-African fintech company, as a Key Account Manager. Some notable accounts under her belt are Emirates, Bolt, Glovo and WorldRemit, collectively collecting payments across over 27 African countries, using over 100+ different payment methods to receive payments from customers across the continent.
Her rapid growth in the payment business was catalyzed by her technical background. As a recipient of the African Leadership University inaugural scholarship in 2015, Catherine studied and graduated with First Class Honors in Electrical Engineering from the Glasgow Caledonian University, spending 5 years in Mauritius.
Everyday Leadership in Action
Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Catherine:
Know who you’re selling to, and shape the story around their needs: Before enrolling in the African Leadership University, Catherine was living with her parents in Nairobi. She grew frustrated by the lack of local government support in cleaning up the streets near her neighborhood. When her mother challenged her to stop complaining and do something about it, she embarked on her first leadership journey. During her various attempts at building support for her initiative, she came to learn how to approach and mobilize each type of stakeholder based on their own incentives. For example, she used a different selling point to convince the local city council to allocate resources compared with mobilizing local community members for a clean-up day. Her efforts brought about lasting change.
Find ways to identify blindspots and self-correct early on: When Catherine held several internships with Cellulant during her university years, one specific learning was around the importance of email etiquette. While it seemed like a small, trivial detail to her given how easily she engaged with professors over email, Catherine was mentored on how best to introduce herself and ask questions over email to staff from other departments whom she’s didn’t yet know. Her ability to be open to this feedback and make changes enabled her to transition into a full time role after graduation.
Future-proof your career by developing a mix of soft skills and industry expertise: Catherine has spent the past year developing empathy for her key accounts’ clients and her coordination skills as she addresses the day-to-day challenges and opportunities in her role as they arise. She also puts deliberate focus on building her hands-on experience and knowledge of dozens of countries’ fintech landscapes across Africa, which will position herself as a thought leader in the fintech sector, one of the fastest growing areas of the economy.
The Everyday Leader is a podcast featuring conversations with leaders from across Africa’s companies, organizations, and governments about their experience managing teams and projects throughout their careers.
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