Kevin Achieng, 35

Business Development Director, Middle East and Africa

Kimberly-Clark Corporation
My Story

As a fresh graduate, Kevin showed up at the Unilever Future Leaders Programme’s interview, dressed in a pair of jeans, and without being shortlisted.

He says he knew such opportunities do not come easy. Six hours later, he was allowed to do the interview and convince the panelists why he was the best fit and not the shortlisted.

The then managing director appointed him as the territory management distributor, telling him that he had demonstrated a key skill — people skills.

“It took me time to reconcile the fact that I, Kevin, a finance guy, a future investment banker, was going to sell homeware. We agreed I do sales for the first six months then if I don’t like it, I work in finance,” he says.

"As a leader you must accept that your ideas will not always be accepted; people have different thoughts on how to tackle issues but you must bring them to the table."

Now he is Kimberly-Clark’s business development director, developing Middle East and Africa. Kimberly-Clark is an American multinational that manufactures personal care products.

Kevin says coming from a family of seven children, and being the last born, taught him some leadership skills.

“As a leader, you must accept that your ideas will not always be accepted; people have different thoughts on how to tackle issues but you must bring them to the table and make them feel part of the conversation,” he says.

He studied a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance at the University of Nairobi.

He attributes his career growth from the sales position to a manager at Unilever to his current position in Dubai to mentorship.

Being a beneficiary, now he hosts an online roundtable mentorship programme with university students in Kenya.

“It is my way of directing and re-directing young people as they seek to boost their careers,” he says.

Wangu Kanuri