A dynamic profession
Sandra Tolle Mwangemi, is a relocation consultant with Karibuni Relocation Services, she talks to WAMBUI THIMBA about her career
What does your job involve?
I assist in settling corporate expatriates coming to Kenya, mainly in Nairobi. The job entails finding them suitable housing, getting their children into schools and orientating them with Nairobi ensuring they will need to have a comfortable and enjoyable stay here.
How did you get the job?
I interviewed for the job, met the criteria and was offered the position naturally (smiles). I have been working here for one and a half years.
What is your educational background?
Nothing to do with my current job. Bachelors of E-commerce from Monash University Melbourne, Australia.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Aside from the fact that I have the best colleagues one could ask for, my job is dynamic and I get to meet and interact with people of diverse ethnic, cultural, professional, social, educational and religious backgrounds. I love the fact that the job reminds me of what a lovely and fantastic country I live in each day.
I get to be a Kenyan ambassador by sharing with each client how great it is to live here. Expatriates relocating to Kenya have many questions and it is important to be honest as well as up to date with information ranging from the friendly and hardworking people, lovely weather, politics, cost of living, culture, shopping, recreation, schools, housing options, economy and so on. Every day, I realise it is not a sales pitch; this is Kenya. I am always discovering new and exciting things.
What are some of the challenges?
The traffic sometimes can be a nightmare and I’m on the road quite a lot. Another challenge is matching client’s expectations to the reality on the ground, especially when they come from westernised or developed countries and need to be gently eased into the realities. Organisations may sometimes not understand the nature of our service and sometimes this is a challenge.
What does your typical day at work look like?
I work from 9am to 5pm most days. If I have an appointment with a client, this usually means meeting them at the office or a hotel. Depending on the day’s programme, it may mean accompanying them to meet head teachers, view housing, or a general orientation of Nairobi in areas they are most likely to visit and interact. I could be in the south west of Nairobi in the Karen area in the morning and later in the day be in Runda and many other places in between. Other days I’m in the office catching up with paperwork and doing reports.
What other fields of work have you been involved in?
I have managed a Spa in Nairobi, tried my hand at entrepreneurship, worked as Visa integrity officer at an embassy and worked at one of the Bodyshop stores in Melbourne, Australia.
What are your long-term career goals?
To go back to school and pursue a Masters degree. I would like to continue to make a positive impact in the company through my expertise and ethics. I look forward to further develop myself in leadership areas through experience and training.
What do you like to do for fun?
Spend time with my son, hang out with friends and family, dancing, run marathons (newly acquired), cooking, reading, travelling and people-watching.
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