Rita Kavashe is the managing director of Isuzu East Africa. As the managing director, she’s in charge of over 20 markets across Africa. It came as a shocker when she was appointed in such a position not only because of her gender but also due to the fact that she had studied education at the university.
“In my job I am surrounded by men, locally or internationally. People have learnt to say ‘Good morning gentlemen and Rita,” she once said.
So what made her stand out from the crowd? The CEO has effectively managed to build a personal brand that communicates consistency, hard work, reliability and passion.
Previously, she held a number of roles including domestic sales and distribution manager, sales and marketing director, commercial director, GM Sub Saharan African manager among others.
Despite being the big boss, she still maintains her authenticity. In fact, she prefers being called Rita and not any other fancy titles. Whenever she gets the chance, she loves traveling back to her rural home in Taita Taveta and also enjoys Bangkok as it is relaxing and has plenty of activities to be done.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in education from Moi University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Nairobi. She also attended the Harvard Business School for a leadership program in 2013 and is an executive coach certified by the Academy of Executive Coaches (AOEC), UK.
Soon after completing her University studies, she joined General Motors East Africa as a sales representative. She did an amazing job and continued to rise up the ranks.
In 2011, General Motors (GM) appointed her managing director of it’s East Africa operations, a role no other woman had held. She became the first female boss of GM East Africa and also one of the few women worldwide to be at the helm of an auto manufacturer.
Under her leadership, GM East Africa has expanded its market share, made record sales in some categories and significantly improved production efficiencies.
Apart from being the general manager, she sits on a number Of boards, like:
- National transport and safety Authority
- The automobile Association of Kenya
- Kenya Roads Board
- Kenya Private Sector Alliance
Rita is a mother to one daughter whom she loves and tries to spend as much time as possible with her. Of course, it has not been easy to raise a daughter and still have a very successful career and at times she has had to make sacrifices. For example, prior to becoming general manager, she was sent on a long term job in South Africa and was forced to leave her baby behind. At the time, the baby was about 9 months old.