Caroline Wambugu’s story on balancing family, career

Caroline Wambugu

Head of Finance Decision Support at Absa Bank Kenya Plc Caroline Wambugu.

Photo credit: Diana Ngila | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  •  My parents are retired lecturers, who raised us strictly and in a Christian home set up.
  • I got my first formal job when sitting for my final exams in campus, so I am one of the lucky ones that never got to tarmac.

Caroline Wambugu is the Head of Finance Decision Support at Absa Bank Kenya Plc. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (accounting option) from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA-K).

The 2017 Top 40, Under 40 finalist talks to Sunday Nation about her career path.

“I am a born again Christian, a wife and mum to two lovely daughters. I also serve in the Deacon Board of Christ Is The Answer Ministries (CITAM) doubling up as the church treasurer.

I am a second born in a family of four children. My parents are retired lecturers, who raised us strictly and in a Christian home set up. I could not even date or bring friends over from school as my Dad was pretty hawk-eyed on every move we made. I guess you could say no wonder I turned out this way.

My parents have been great pillars in my life through their immense support. Whenever they visit Nairobi for whatever reason, they must somehow connect with their children.

I am a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) and currently finalising my Master’s in Business Administration (strategic management). I am a 2017 Top 40, under 40 finalist and I enjoy mentoring young people as a contribution to shaping the younger generation.

I got my first formal job when sitting for my final exams in campus, so I am one of the lucky ones that never got to tarmac. I finished my final papers in April and had a reporting date in June. I started my career at NIC now NCBA Bank as a finance clerk earning weekly wages.

For the next 13 years, through a lot of hard work, engagements and learning, I progressively rose through the ranks to the Head of Business Performance.

 In 2016, I joined Absa Bank Kenya Plc where I serve to date. Each institution has planted beautiful seeds in my career life that I cherish.

The most memorable thing in my career is I had a great support system. I have had very good managers who held my hand and showed me the ropes. I attribute my current success to the great foundation that my predecessors laid for me.

There is nothing as great as believing in your team, and supporting them to deliver on their assignments. That was the greatest gift granted to me in my career’s formative years that built my resilience and confidence to keep going – even when the odds are against you.

I have had people who influenced my career journey. I had two senior leaders who not only gave me the platform to deliver my work but also fully entrusted me with critical assignments. This shaped my work ethic.

In the 17 years that I have been in service, we purposed with my husband to always keep the family together physically and the Lord has honored our prayer. For this reason, I have passed on two opportunities for long term-work engagements outside the country since they didn’t offer a solution that is aligned to our family values; the envisaged benefits didn’t outweigh the honour and privilege of sticking with my family.

There is no sweeter success other than shared success and I chose to share mine with my family. They are the only constant in my life and have been a firm support system for me.

To the youth, you need to have a sense of direction so that you focus on achieving your goals otherwise, ‘anything’ goes and ‘anything’ will be such a time waster in the long run.”

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