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Jumping Ship at the wake of a vineyard – Strathmore

Cut out for a coat’s fitting in today’s workplace continues to demand constant re-shaping into different sizes and measure and in some instances, a shift into an entirely new attire! Today, the workplace revolutionary finds itself in the open shelves of liberated passion, signature personality and finely pressed enthusiasm. It is often found in the working spaces of coffee shops, kitchen counters, dimly-lit dusty store rooms, or if you are lucky enough to be Victoria Munywoki, it finds its self on a vine yard!

Victoria Mulu – Munywoki is the Director of Ethnovino, a wine services company with an ethos and passion to inspire the appreciation of wine. She is a wine expert with the perfect combination of global expertise and extensive local knowledge. Victoria is also an MBA Alumna.

Narrating her story, Victoria opens up about growing into the ever-stretching coat of market relevance; interplay of one’s preparedness to continuous learning and a young at heart spirit that loves adventure.

Here is Victoria in her words:

By Victoria Mulu – Munywoki

I am an adventurer, quite fortunate and privileged in exploring and assembling different career experiences from various countries. This spans across the diverse worlds of Advertising, Education, Investment Banking, Technology and FMCG.

I got my first job at the age of 17 waiting tables in Muthaiga. Thereafter, I interned severally at Barclays Bank, where my first role in a team of six was to arrange cheques from no 1 to 30000. Not very glamorous one would say but it was a well-paying internship at the time and one that reinforced the discipline of work. Before graduation, I worked in film production, exposing me to different perspectives and work ethos. However, my initiation into leadership was with AIESEC at my University chapter. AIESEC constantly challenged my worldview, as well as laid the foundation to collaborative and ethical leadership, which has cushioned my career in various organizations globally.

For many years I focused on the learning and development domain although I did move across industries. Nonetheless, the turning point was when I made the huge career change into the wine business. This marked the beginning of an enlightening journey over the last decade into what I view as a passion career! There were no shortcuts getting to this position. I stayed focused on the journey and spent many years acquiring proficiency in the wine business, networking, learning and deliberately broadening my experiences. Living and working abroad enriched my experience from a variety of vantage points. I have followed the arduous yet fulfilling path of changing careers, at the same time sharing as much knowledge as I can with my team, colleagues and clients, which is ultimately where my greatest satisfaction comes from.

We live in an increasingly competitive world and with this awareness; I keep abreast with the developments of the industry at both a local and global level. At a young age, I learnt to have high personal standards of performance and maintain high expectations of self. I consciously work hard to uphold integrity in my business dealings. I draw boundless satisfaction from this. Currently, the local industry is dynamic and a narrow set of skills is no longer enough! Therefore, to stay paces ahead, I am constantly sharpening my knowledge and recently completed the MBA for Executives at Strathmore Business School. Core to both my personality and career, I maintain meaningful and respectful professional relationships both locally as well as globally with industry players, which directly influences my success. I surround myself with good friends who know me well, espouse similar values and whose strengths compliment both parties. We are able to support and challenge each other genuinely. Women make good leaders and I am thrilled that there are more women at the helm of various industries, many of whom I admire immensely. These women continue to succeed and exceed expectations despite the challenge of balancing various demands by society. In leadership, the ability to work effectively with others is immeasurable.

Role models are invaluable be it the workplace or at the home front. As a nurse in a public hospital, my mother tirelessly worked long hours and set a superb example for my siblings and I. By successfully balancing our needs with that of her career, she encouraged us to give the best to every endeavor and initiated in us a determination to succeed, regardless of the challenges. This influence has stayed with me.

I believe that the core principles that make good leaders are compounded on integrity, competency, adaptability, active listening and engaging in critical self-reflection. These are the principles that have guided me through a successful and satisfying career that, even at the most challenging times, has continued to keep me passionate about what I do. If you are intrinsically motivated, your new journey will always be easily adaptable even amidst turbulent transitions. One must also be resilient and have the tenacity to face discomfort, rejection, fail severally and ultimately view success from your own lens.

The good news is that for older women who are looking at a career change, they have the advantage to leverage the ability to reflect and draw experiences from previous careers, thus making change an attractive proposition. However, I would not advocate just dropping everything at a whim and following your passion! Before taking the leap, take time to know yourself. You must know what is right for you, what you are good at, and what excites you. One must deliberately plan accordingly, yet remain open to new possibilities, as well have the courage to take risks.

Venturing on a new career path can be exciting and could bring the much-needed joy to one’s life. It did to mine! My advice is that, one must be courageous! However, it is imperative to excel at what you are doing. When you are an expert or proficient in the new career, you create alternatives for yourself and open doors to new and better opportunities.

The biggest challenge is that one does not have the luxury of time to experiment. Also, as you pursue a new career path, family cannot be ignored and they are another consideration to balance. Naturally, the biggest risk is that the returns may not be as attractive as envisaged; therefore, one must draw satisfaction from different aspects besides monetary gain.


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