A day in the life of alumna Ivy Wainaina

Staff Writer

May 12, 2020



You are a Salesforce Developer at Blue Consulting Kenya, the 1st certified Salesforce Consultant and Silver partner in Kenya and East Africa. What does your day-to-day at work look like? 

A typical day at the office begins with scrum sessions for the projects I’m involved in. Once that is done, I then go ahead and do the actual coding, business process design, pre-sales meeting to understand the customer needs, support or training depending on the stage of the project.

What skills or attributes do consulting firms require?

Working in consulting can be very demanding but also rewarding. One usually operates under a fast-paced work environment with tight deadlines. This requires you to have and develop a strong set of skills that will make you more valuable to your team and clients.  Data gathering and analytical skills are very important as they help to identify and understand the problems presented as well as knowing what the best options to implement are. 

Communication is very crucial in my role, as one needs strong client-facing, sales and delivery skills to manage client engagements. Which brings me to the point about making sure the solutions you provide are customer centric; easy, effective and convenient for the client to use. 

Consulting in its nature is varied which means that you will be working with clients from different industries. You need to be willing to learn quickly about how they operate and propose the best/creative solutions to the challenges they face. 

Finally, you need to be a leader especially when things are not going as expected, to

step up and take control of the situation until it is resolved, making sure that the client is kept in the loop as it keeps their confidence in you as well as your firm. 

You completed your first-year internship as a Salesforce Developer at CMU-Africa, did that influence your subsequent career decision? 

Yes, when I was exploring various options on what I would do once I came back home. I was looking at leveraging the various skills I had gained while at CMU-Africa and Salesforce happened to be one of the areas I was exploring.

Students pose for a picture

Source: CMU-Africa

Ivy Wainaina (center) is hoisted by her classmates, CMU-Africa class of 2015

Recently a post on LinkedIn by the CEO of Blue Consulting mentioned that of the company’s female staff, 75% are in tech positions and the remaining 25% are in senior management. How has your professional experience thus far and your time studying at CMU-Africa shaped your view of Women in Tech? 

When I was a child, I had a night shirt with this phrase “anything boys can do, girls can better”. My experience at Blue consulting and CMU-Africa is embodied in this phrase that opportunities are provided for us to thrive, and it is up to us to take them up and run with them.  The conversation has drastically shifted for me in this regard, that I’m not viewed as a woman in Tech but rather as a contributor. That is what I am bringing to the table in regard to solving problems in the technology space for business and community needs. I have been lucky to work in a company where gender doesn’t matter but rather, the skills you bring on board. It was the same way at CMU-Africa, the professors expected the best from us just like from our male counterparts.  

Are you involved in any activities outside work that promote women in Tech? 

I participate in various groups that promote women in tech like Women in Tech Africa as well as through the Kenyan chapter. I’m also a mentor at Lapid Africa (http://lapidleadersafrica.com ) it’s not necessary focused on Tech but I mentor young ladies in their various fields.

How do you stay in touch with other alumni? What aspects of the alumni community do you find the most interesting?

WhatsApp would be my main medium but emails as well, especially from CMU-Africa. Since I’m based in Kenya and we haven’t started our own local activities I’m not able to participate in most of the events that are held for the larger alumni community.  I do participate in my class’ activities like attending weddings when I can and contributing to fundraisers. The newsletter is also very informative as I can keep up with what is happening at CMU-Africa.

When you are not at work, what are you most likely doing? 

Reading books, volunteering at Lapid Africa and engaging in various activities with my family and friends.

Finally, what advice do you have for upcoming CMU-Africa graduates?

Do your best, be willing to unlearn, learn and relearn. You will discover that you don’t break and limitations are only a mindset. And above all remember to enjoy your current season as life is a journey and not the destination.

Graduates pose for picture

Source: CMU-Africa

Ivy Wainaina (far left) poses for a photo with CMU-Africa staff and classmate Lynn Kirabo (far right), after their graduation ceremony in 2015.