Ann Peggy Ashira: From Petrol Station Attendant To The Only Female General Manager Leading A 5-star Hotel In Kenya

Ann Peggy Ashira: From Petrol Station Attendant  To The Only Female General Manager Leading A 5-star Hotel In Kenya
Ann Peggy Ashira Photocredit/Courtesy

By Prudence Minayo

Ann Peggy Ashira journey from a petrol station attendant to a general manager of a 5 star hotel cannot go untold. From a humble start in life, she never thought she could accomplish much. Her dire situation prevented her from dreaming. However, when luck smiled at her, she took the opportunity and with diligence, hard work and determination rose to the pinnacle of success. 

In 2019, she was named Kenya’s most influential woman in the hospitality industry by CEO Global Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government. 

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“Winning this award wasn’t an easy task, the hospitality industry, unlike other industries, historically has had a scarcity of influential women among its ranks. Fortunately, this is now changing, with many more women in the types of positions,” she said afterwards. 

Here is her story as told by WoK.

Early Life 

After completing high school, Peggy had no dreams of a better future. She stayed home for four years and at some point worked as a petrol station attendant. Even at that time, she believed in providing quality services to customers, a precursor for what lay ahead of her in the hospitality industry. 

One day, a client was impressed by her services and asked what she was doing at the petrol station. She explained how poor they were and the good samaritan helped her get to a technical school. 

She pursued a diploma in foods and beverage management then interned at Nyali Beach Hotel. Here, she saw young women in managerial positions and aspired to be like them. 

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Hospitality career 

In 2004, she joined Sarova Whitesands Hotel as a waitress and stayed there for six years. She believes that it is these years that really shaped her as a hotelier. While she joined the hotel as a waitress, she left as a foods and beverage manager in 2010. The general manager of the hotel was a very good mentor to her and when time came, she informed him of the decision to leave. She received his support and they even organized a farewell party for her. 

She joined Leisure Lodge Resort where she continued to grow her skills. This was a time when tourism was gaining momentum and the opportunity was good for her. 

Afterwards, she joined Leopard Beach Hotel as the operations manager, reporting to the MD. While working at the hotel, she attended a general manager program at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in the United States.

She also undertook a bridge certificate for her MBA at the Management College of South Africa (MANCOSA).

Later, she worked at Jacaranda Indian Ocean Beach Resort as an operations manager. 

In 2019, she was officially appointed the GM at Prideinn Paradise Beach Resort and Spa, becoming the first ever Kenyan woman to hold such a position in a five star hotel. 

The journey to the top was not an easy one. Before becoming the General Manager, she had to go through six interviews which tested her patience and commitment. Once at the top, she worked to improve the organization and ensure that both employees and customers were happy. 

It was not always easy as some people believe a woman can’t work her way to the top without giving out favours. At one point, a woman accused her of sleeping her way to the top, something that hurt and made her cry but she pushed on. 

Currently, the mother of two daughters, Tracy and Patience, works as a general manager at Maiyan. 

She believes that everyone is meant for greatness no matter where they are born. As a kid growing up in a grass thatched house, she would never have envisioned the success she has achieved. 

“Regardless of circumstances……nobody was brought into this world to have a life of failure. We are all called to a life of triumph. We are called to a life of victory. We can become anything that we aspire to become,” she said during an interview with Catherine on KTN..

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