Jessica Mwenje Mayavi, 33


MMC Africa Law

Jessica ranks being one of the founders of a secondary school in her village in Kakamega County as one of her greatest achievements so far in life.

And she achieved that milestone just after completing her secondary education.

Barely a year after leaving Naivasha Girls’ High School, Jessica was approached by her local church leaders who wanted to start a secondary school. She accepted the challenge that they threw her way and for a while, she was the only teacher at the nascent school. At the time, it had only 12 students and she taught all the subjects.

“Chimoroni Secondary School in Malava Sub-County is now a full-fledged government school. We started the school in 2005 in a single classroom at the primary section,” she says.

"“I have a passion for young lawyers especially those from underprivileged backgrounds...""

Jessica is currently a partner and head of the real estate department at MMC Africa Law, a top-tier commercial law firm. She became a partner at 29, a big leap considering that she joined as an intern in 2010.

“I handle upstream real estate work, specifically structuring of mixed use developments. Currently, we are working on the structuring of Tatu City. We also do joint ventures, general conveyance work and commercial works,” she says.

She is driven by the impact of her work in the society. According to her, mixed-use development is relatively novel in the country and creating a niche and being the go-to-lawyer in that field is a big achievement.

Besides her work in real estate, the lawyer also wears many other hats. Apart from her day job, she heads a sponsorship programme for Kenya School of Law students, which is run by MMC Africa. She also mentors young lawyers.

“I have a passion for young lawyers especially those from underprivileged backgrounds,” she says.

Interestingly, Jessica did not perform well at Kitale Primary School, where she was a pupil. However, she ended up excelling in secondary school and later studying law at the University of Nairobi where she was in the Dean’s list, earning several academic awards.

“It does not matter what you’ve got but what you do with it,” she says, as a parting shot to the younger generation.

— Collins Omulo