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L’Oréal East Africa Boss On How She Went From File Clerk To Managing Director

L’Oréal East Africa Boss On How She Went From File Clerk To Managing Director

From How We Made It In Africa

Patricia Ithau, managing director, L’Oréal East Africa, talks about who influenced her, how she made it to the top and what she loves – and hates – about doing business in Kenya.

Patricia Ithau, managing director, L’Oréal East Africa

1. What was your first job?

I was a clerk at a leading law firm in Kenya after finishing high school. I spent more time on my hands and knees stacking, sorting and searching for files. I was earning 1,500 shillings (US$18), and that was a lot of money as far as I was concerned.

2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?

I have never thought about that. When I look at my career, there are women I admired for their tenacity. For example, when I first started working many years ago, I admired Rose Kimotho (media entrepreneur) for her tenacity and ambition. I tend to admire local people who have made a difference and try to get learnings from them.

3. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?

Performance. I think I have a pathological fear of failure. When I am not performing or things are not working, that keeps me awake at night.

4. What are the top reasons why you have been successful in business?

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I am a very determined and reliable person. I really believe in dependability and reliability. If you leave a task to me I will make sure it is done. When people are not reliable, I pull away from them. I also believe in humility and respect for all human beings.

Read the rest at How We Made It In Africa