My secret to success is I focus on the ‘being’ than the ‘doing’


Who is Caroline Ndung’u?

I am a young woman (laughs) — I don’t know if that ‘young’ title quite qualifies since I am now in my 40s, but that is how I feel. I am a mother of three great kids; I am currently the Director of Marketing and Corporate Relations at Barclays Bank. Most importantly, I believe in God.

Describe a day in your life

I prefer to work out in the morning to get my energy levels up. Then I will be in the office getting through the day’s work. Lunch is typically at my desk; then at about 6pm, I head back home to hopefully supervise homework or do some reading or maybe catch E-news followed by some current affairs, and then some international news. By: 10 pm I am in bed.

If you were not a marketer, which career would you have pursued?

I don’t know because I started as an auditor and an accountant, I think I’d be a creative director or a media and events mogul.

What are the three things you cannot leave home without?

My lip balm, my mineralised Mac powder and Russian Red lip gloss.

Who is your role model and why?

Oprah Winfrey. She is just a woman who has been such a pro on so many levels. She has spent her life to make a difference in so many other people, through her Oprah shows, magazine and her network, where she actively empowers young girls’ lives. I want to be like that when I grow up.

Highlight some of your successes

My most recent success is climbing Mt Kenya a couple of months ago to raise funds for underprivileged students. It was one of the most challenging and exhilarating experiences of my life.

What is your next adventure?

My next big adventure is in February when I plan to scale Africa’s highest peak (Mt Kilimanjaro).

Tell us about your children.

My first born, Njeri, is turning 21 next year and is a student at Kings College in London studying International Business Management and Economics. My second born, Iggy, is at Hillcrest, she’s quite creative and an artist and something tells me we might find ourselves in Hollywood with that one. My last born is called Kagush – he is mummy’s boy.

How do you juggle between family and your demanding career?

That is a constant challenge – I just do it. What I try to do is to dedicate most of my evenings and weekends to family. During week days, I try as much as I can to go home, sit down and just engage with my children. Weekends are sacred for me — I try not to do anything work related so that I can spend time at home with them because I recognise that being around them makes a difference.

How do you spend your free time?

I gym a lot, I also like running, to me that is freedom. I like books. I read The Signature of All Things and I am struggling with other books like The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul.

Challenges you encounter?

That sense of balance between Caroline the mum and Caroline the worker and trying to make all these work.

What gives you the greatest fulfilment?

I am working to do more than just make money. For example, at Barclays, I know that as a result of what I do, dreams are coming to life and things are becoming possible. This job is real and affects people Fulfilment comes if you help people achieve their ambitions.

Parting shot?

Be the best that you can be. It’s not so much about ‘the doing’, but ‘the being’ which is the real essence. It could be as simple as being able to smile at people or play good music or work hard and make a difference.

What are your future plans?

I hope to start my own creative agency and to participate in theatre and performing arts to raise money for disadvantage children. I also see a career around events and music and maybe even an academy where girls can come and learn to dance.