Written by Miranda Ndowa
In a world where academic qualifications are often pursued solely for job security, deviating from the norm and following one’s true passion is often met with skepticism. However, some exceptional individuals defy convention, such as Mary Njoki – a woman of remarkable courage from Kenya. Embracing her inner drive, she fearlessly abandoned her field of study to pursue a new career path driven by unwavering passion.
Njoki obtained a diploma in software development at Griffins College. However, her heart longed for something different, leading her to enroll in a communications course in public relations at Daystar University, which she quit midway.
In 2010, she established her image consultancy firm, but success seemed elusive. It was a trying time, with meagre earnings of only 500 Kenyan shillings (USD3) from a service rendered to a gospel artist – the total of her earnings for that entire year. The tide turned against her in 2012 when she was abruptly fired from her marketing job. Despite working for a public relations company for four months, her heart yearned for more, driving her to make a life-altering decision.
With an unwavering zeal for public relations, Njoki took a leap of faith and founded Glasshouse PR in 2012, starting from scratch in her mother’s humble abode armed with only a laptop and 6,000 Kenyan shillings (USD40). The early days were fraught with challenges, as pro-bono work became the norm while she painstakingly built her reputation and carved a niche for her fledgling company. At times, the allure of returning to the job market tempted her, but her passion burned brighter than ever.
The competitive landscape of public relations and brand positioning in Africa proved an arduous battleground, but Njoki’s relentless pursuit finally bore fruit in 2014. Securing contracts with esteemed public figures and international behemoths like Facebook and Viber, her star steadily rose. That same year, Glasshouse PR earned a coveted invitation to a conference in New Orleans, USA, where Njoki had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with luminaries such as Chris Sacca – a momentous milestone in her dazzling journey.
Glasshouse PR Ltd is a formidable force today, vying for recognition alongside industry giants like Tell-em PR and Ogilvy Africa. At 23, Njoki shattered stereotypes, proving that entrepreneurship knows no bounds when fueled by determination. Her awe-inspiring story attests to the power of optimism and hard work, demonstrating that a grand vision can flourish even with limited resources.
Mary Njoki has emerged as one of the incredible women of the 21st century, rewriting the rules and transforming the world through the sheer force of passion.