Christine Khasinah-Odero is the Managing Director of Supamamas – a Marketing and Events company passionate about Inspiring, Informing and Connecting Mums. She is an MBA Graduate Liverpool University and has 14 years’ experience in Marketing. She is an Award Winning Entrepreneur including: Country Winner 2015, CEO Magazine Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business Awards, CFC Stanbic Rising Star Entrepreneur Finalist 2015, Business Daily Top 40 Women under 40 and CEO’s Magazine Finalist Most Influential Women in Business in Africa SME Category 2014 & 2013.
Christine: I am an ordinary person, I love to laugh, I love people, am 34 and eagerly waiting to grow older and wiser, a mum of one and a business owner.
Fi: Walk us through your childhood and some of the dreams you had while growing up?
Christine: I had an awesome childhood surrounded by loving parents and 5 siblings. I am a middle child. My initial dream growing up was to become an air hostess, perhaps something to do with the uniform and the promise of a jet setting life. My father would hear none of that and advised that I do a degree in business. I graduated from USIU, did my MBA in Marketing in the UK and aspired to join top advertising companies like Scanad. Most of my career I worked in various positions in tours and travel.
Fi: I have always perceived you to be sporty; did you do any sports back in school or now?
Christine: Back in high school I played Table Tennis, I was fascinated by it because I had never seen it in my childhood. I was pretty good at it and played for the school team to National level. Then played it as well at USIU and was the Inter-University Champion for 3 years, then switched to hockey at around 4th year. Now I keep fit through running and participate in marathons here there. I love the Gym, used to hate aerobics but have recently warmed up to it. I love kick-boxing as well, perfect way to de-stress.
Fi: What or who is your inspiration?
Christine: My ultimate inspiration is to be the best I can be both on the personal and professional front. I am inspired by strong women who have come before me and charted their own paths like Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, strong and pleasant women like Julie Gichuru, definitely Oprah and Michelle Obama, why? because despite who her life partner is she is her own person. I am inspired by women who step out and choose to be different.
FI: What is your motto?
Christine: Live, Learn and Grow.
Fi: Describe your typical day as you wake up?
Christine: Sometimes an early start 5.30 a.m or some seasons 6.30 a.m, work from home, read, have breakfast, head to office, meetings, gym or a run in the evening there after catch up with family then read. Then we start all over again tomorrow.
FI: You were the marketing manager for a tours company which later went down the drain after being affected by post-election violence, tell us about that and how finally you ended up coming up being the C.E.O of Supamamas?
Christine: My first business was a Tours and Travel Company, I called it Cosma Ventures. It didn’t last long; it failed in a record three months. Timing was bad, post-election had just happened and eventually I figured even though I had worked in the tours and travel industry. I had no real passion for running a tour company. I later briefly went back into employment and was more miserable in a job I was over qualified for. During this time I got my son and started wondering where mums were meeting up or where were they getting people to inspire them to continue being the best they can be – both as professionals and as mums. The idea of forming Supamamas came about during that time. I later left employment to nurture into a company.
Fi: What are some of the hard lessons you have learned?
Christine: Some of the lessons I have learnt in life and in business is that one, failure and success are definitely bedfellows, and you can’t have one without the other. I have learnt not be as hard on myself as I have very high expectations of myself and hold myself to quite high standards.
Two, motivation comes from within; you are your number one cheerleader. In business you need a lot of self-motivation to thrive, some days will be lower than low.
Finally that finding balance is one of trickiest things for working professionals. You want to thrive at work and also at home and time always seem like a constraint. The best I have learnt is making the moments count and finding ways to work smart. In business sometimes you have to put in a lot of hours.
FI: What advice would you give to a mother entrepreneur?
Christine: Continue to aspire be the best you can be, being a mum is great but should not make you less ambitious with what you want to achieve with the business. See how you can push yourself harder, ask for help with the kid(s), find time to have your alone time to gather energy and center.
Fi: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Christine: We plan to grow Supamamas and have more events in more counties across the country then spread out to Africa. Our online footprint has also grown and we would like to grow it beyond the 31,000 followers we currently have. We will definitely be one of the top platforms for brands and experts to connect with mums in Kenya and Africa.
Christine: My current goal is very simple. to keep growing the different facets of the business- Events and digital.
Fi: Challenges you faced along the way as an entrepreneur?
Christine: The usual minimal capital, trying to get people to understand what the business is about and getting clarity of what the business is about is quite a process. It takes a lot of making mistakes or being courageous to experiment to learn.
Fi: Which book would you recommend to someone?
Christine: For a start “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R Covey and “You Can If you think you can” by Norman Vincent Peale.
FI: Sometimes I ask myself, how does she generate revenue due to the fact that most events are free?
Christine: We have great partners and sponsors and even when events are for pay the women are still happy to come.
Fi: How would you describe the wider role you play in society as a female entrepreneur?
Christine: My role as a female entrepreneur is to encourage the youth that with a simple idea, you can thrive especially if you don’t give up. My role also entails opening the doors for my fellow women and sharing their stories and helping them grow. Most importantly my role as female entrepreneur is to mentor younger people who want to come into business especially girls, to step out in confidence and try out the ideas they have and help them possibly make less mistakes than we did as female entrepreneurs who have been there before them.
Fi: In 2013, you were nominated among Kenya’s Top 5 Women under 40 by Up Magazine and among the Finalist Most Influential Women in Business in Africa SME Category by South Africa CEO’s Magazine. You were also named as top 40 under 40 in 2014 and CFC Stanbic Rising Star Entrepreneur Finalist 2015 and Country Winner 2015 CEOs Magazine Africa’s Most Influential Women. How do you perceive these awards and accolades?
Christine: I appreciate the awards that have been bestowed unto me in the past few years and the recognition s go to show that hard work pays. Secondly, running a business should be more about impact than profit, Supamamas as a business model epitomizes that and some of the recognitions are because of the impact we have in empowering women. Most importantly, I believe that the Awards are not for me to gloat over, but rather it gives me the utmost responsibility to pay it forward, because I have also been built by others.
Fi:How does your son inspire you? I love his name, how did you settle on Miles Malowa.
Christine: My son inspires me to be the best I can be work hard and inculcate the same values in him, that he can be whatever he chooses to be. Miles in Latin Means “Soldier” . I know he will grow to be just as brave and Malowa is his great grandfather’s name who actually happened to be a soldier 🙂
Fi: If you were a baby product? What product would you be and why?
Christine: Baby Powder, love the smell!
Fi: What other people or things have elevated you and helped you develop professionally?
Christine:I had mentors that have helped a lot in speeding up my learning process. Secondly reading and continuously learning. I am always striving to grown in a particular area.
Fi: According to you what are the keys to success?
Christine:The keys to success vary for everybody. What I find works is commitment, hard work, persistence and consistency despite the ups and downs.
Fi: What are the three lessons you have learned in marriage and about motherhood?
Christine: Three lessons I have learned in marriage:
1. It should not define you or limit you- it should actually complement you and bring out the best you can be.
2. Give it your best, try to understand the other person.
3. It’s different for everybody.
1. It doesn’t come with a manual; you can only do the best that you can.
2. Kids grow so fast, slow down and enjoy the moments. Spend more quality time than quantity.
3. Nothing compares to a mother’s love. It’s hard to describe it.
Fi: Supasisters is a remarkable initiative that brings together women passionate about giving back to the society and mentoring the next generation of girls. What was the inspiration behind launching Supasisters?
Christine: It was basically to get other like-minded women to inspire the younger generation. I bring together people passionate about mentor-ship and community service.
Christine: That a woman can make the choice to be the best they can be especially beyond motherhood. That excellence in women is possible and should be what we strive for in our personal and professional lives.
Fi: Do you think Amira Africa is a helpful platform for young mothers in Africa? For you have a passion for young mothers?
Christine: Absolutely! And well done on the initiative. To be young, pregnant and with nowhere to go can leave young women with a sense of hopelessness that many find hard to come out of. Your platform, gives these women a voice, a chance to meet others who have risen up above the odds, had their child and found a way to trace back their steps and give them the chance to re-try and thrive.
The safe space that Amira provides for friendship is much needed. Keep it up!
Fi: Do you have any favorite quotes?
Christine: One of my favourite quotes of all time is Mahatma Gandhi’s “Be the Change you wish to see in the world”. Especially for women, it’s often said that women hardly support each other. I purpose to find ways to find ways to open doors for women I know, as well as do good to total strangers. I am a firm believer of seeing good in people.
Fi: Any parting shots?
Christine: To people thinking about getting into business, follow your heart, money will follow.
Photo credits: Jones Waihenya.
Styled by: Nyawira Mumenya
Fiona’s Jumpsuit: Vivo Active Wear
Christine’s Dress: Vivo Active Wear.
Our Shoes: Back Yard Shoes.
Makeup: Lilian Katule
Jewellery: Shaba_rings and Koitoto