Meet Stacey, the techie going places

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Meet Stacey, the techie going places

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Stacey Ondimu, MD of Rupu Kenya. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA 

Meet Stacey, the techie going places

  • With a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, 3-dimensional animation and software development tucked under her wings, the journey is only starting for her.

At 27 years, Stacey Ondimu is already managing a team of 17 people at Rupu Kenya, an e-commerce startup.

The company, a deals and website company, is under the Swiss Company, Ringier Group and has a presence in Ghana and Nigeria.

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We met at her office on Kindaruma Road, a week after being featured in the Business Daily’s Top 40 Under 40 Women.

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With a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, 3-dimensional animation and software development tucked under her wings, the journey is only starting for her.

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How did you end up here at this age?

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I was very interested in technology my whole life because my dad was in IT. It was something I wanted to do. So I did Computer Science at the University of Nairobi. It was a very interesting campus to be in because we got to work with companies like Nokia.

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We did big projects with schools like Stanford University so it started to shape what I wanted to do later on. A lot of what we did was development which was interesting but it’s not where I wanted to be because I found development to be very limiting.

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So I remember trying to find a path in the IT world away from development and coding. I looked at project management, designing, 3D animation but it still wasn’t interesting enough. When I started working, I started doing those very things; development and design. About six to eight months of working I moved to Rupu. That’s when my journey started because it was IT but it was other things in IT.

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What would you most attribute your growth and development to?

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My dad has a lot to do with it and the reason I say that is because he really pushed us. So when I started working it was just “Push as hard as you can and always fight for more.” You came home with grades and he asked you, “You could have done better, you could have pushed a little harder” at the time it was really annoying because it felt like it wasn’t enough but then now, I can see it in myself and I can see it in my siblings. The way we work is very driven.

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You work with a lot of millennials, I suppose?

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Yes I do.

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What’s the most unique thing about these people?

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What’s very different about them is – which I’m starting to now appreciate — there’s a sense of entitlement which at first glance is very annoying because you work with someone who doesn’t have a lot to speak of but wants to have the titles and all that right off the bat. But the reason I appreciate it now is because it’s an attitude that says, “I’m here for only the best. I expect only the best and that’s what I’m going to get anyways.”

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Are there people who report to you that are older than you?

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There are. In fact, it’s been like that for the last two years.

How does that play out? How do you assert yourself without being that crazy bat boss?

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That’s not a fight I have to have. So I don’t try to assert myself. For me, the attitude I come to work with is that it’s not an age thing. People are not qualified simply because they’re older. For people older than me who have come with that age attitude I have refused to validate those attitudes.

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What do you think you will you be doing at 35?

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I’ll be running my own platform. One that I own.

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E-commerce?

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E-commerce and content. Those are two platforms I’m very interested in. I’ve not done much in publishing but that’s something I’d be very interested in getting into.

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You are married. How many years now?

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Two years at the end of this month.

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So you were married at 25. Clearly you’re doing everything faster. Do you think getting married at 25 will work for or against you?

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It works now. Of course some people tell me, “You got married really young. You’re doing a lot of things when you’re young”. I don’t know if they work for me, I’m just very impatient. I’m always like, “What’s the next step?” “Can I get there now?” I don’t think so much in terms of age, I just think in terms of, “I’ve gotten this step, what does the next step look like?” The marriage thing was meeting the right person at the right time. That was just someone I loved at the right time and then getting married young.

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So at 25 years do you imagine that you’d know this is the right person?

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(Laughs) That’s a very hard question. I’ll know that later, when I’m 35… 40. But for now, in the past two years, its worked for us because we were both very young.

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You’ve grown together?

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Yeah we’ve grown together and it was good because we knew each other when we were a lot younger. From the time we were 19 years old. So we grew together.

What’s the one thing you are struggling with as a professional, as a woman, as a human being?

For me it’s religion. Now is when I’m waking up and challenging a lot of my beliefs I’d had initially. So that’s been my biggest struggle this year. Not so much a struggle but when you wake up and you realise, “Maybe I should have questioned this more.”

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You look Catholic… are you?

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(Chuckles) No.

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What are you?

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Right now I don’t have a religion.

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What is it that you are questioning about religion?

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Everything I’ve ever been taught, everything about the Bible, the setup of Christianity. Those are the kind of questions I’m asking. Doing a lot more research just trying to find out, “This is what I was told, maybe there’s something else to this.”

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What do you think is waiting for you in your 30s?

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Definitely something more challenging professionally. For now this feels like the most challenging thing but what I haven’t done yet is working for a very large organisation and then also coming face to face with those kinds of challenges. Then also, the next big thing in e-commerce, to be a part of that solution. So that’s something I’m very excited about. I want to be telling my children, “You know when e-commerce came to this country, I was…” (Laughs).

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How do you unwind?

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Travelling. A lot of travelling and then trying to be very active in sports, and spending time with my puppy.

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You have a puppy!

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Yeah, so taking her for walks, playing with her…

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What breed is she?

So very intelligent.

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Very intelligent and very active. So when I go home I know that my day starts again.

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Why did you decide on a sheep dog, why not a cat?

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My husband is allergic to cats, that’s what I wanted in the beginning. I’ve never owned a dog before, we owned a dog when I was a kid very briefly then I was never into dogs.

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Are you a cat or a dog?

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Right now I’m a cat.

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You’re independent, you don’t seek approval, and you do whatever the hell you want to do?

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(Laughs) Sort of, yeah.

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Do you think you might change into a dog at some point?

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Maybe when I have children.

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What’s your weakness?

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I’m a perfectionist. I know that’s cliché but it is. I’m very heavy on control. I want to control the outcome and I want to control how we get the outcome and it works against me because it means there’s a lot of room to learn. I need to learn to delegate a lot more.

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What haven’t you been able to control so far in your life?

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(Long pause) That’s a hard question. (Longer pause) I don’t think I have a response for that. (Laughs).

As you move up the food chain, are you conscious of your gender? Does it play a big role or you just ignore it?

My workplace has not been hostile to it, it’s been welcoming. Yes, there’s sometimes when it comes up when you’re trying to see “Why is this not working?” Then you realise it might be a gender issue so yes I’m conscious of it. But right now people are very appreciative of women in power. So it’s a good time to be a woman in power because people are like, “Wow you’re the CEO.”

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It’s more positive than negative which is encouraging. So I’d be very excited to have a daughter right now because she’ll grow up with positive reinforcement.

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How do you remove your powerful CEO hat when you go back home to the husband and become a wife?

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It helps that we started together when we had no title, we were just human beings, very broke, students in university. Then my husband is also my check and balance he’ll tell me, “I’m not your employee.” He will remind me. He keeps me grounded.

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What didn’t I ask that you thought I’d ask?

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(Laughing) How many shoes I have in my closet.

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Oh Lord, shoes? I’m sorry, was I meant to ask that?

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No, I just assumed that’s a question that would come up. I thought one question that would come up is like, “How do you balance between work and home?” I feel that’s a question women get asked a lot. Yes, I thought there would be a lot more stereotypical questions.

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No, this isn’t that kind of party, Stacey.

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Clearly. (Laughing).

Source:http://www.businessdailyafrica.com

 

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Meet Stacey, the techie going places Reviewed by on October 14, 2016 .

Share thisFacebookTwitterPinterestEmailWhatsAppStacey Ondimu, MD of Rupu Kenya. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA  Meet Stacey, the techie going places With a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, 3-dimensional animation and software development tucked under her wings, the journey is only starting for her. At 27 years, Stacey Ondimu is already managing a team of 17 people at Rupu

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