Juliet Gikonyo Nyaga is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Karen Hospital. She was appointed to the role on August 20, 2020 but had served as CEO-designate for a period of one year.
She took over from Dr. Betty M. Gikonyo who moved on to become the Chairman of The Karen Hospital Board.
She was installed during a ceremony held at the Hospital’s Helipad and was by graced by Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju, who gave the key note address.
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The official installation involved a hand over of the hospital’s instruments of authority which included the Relevant Laws that Authorized Hospital Operations.
The inauguration ceremony was presided over by The Karen Hospital Founders: Dr. Dan Gikonyo, Chief Cardiologist and Dr. Betty Gikonyo, Board Chair, Board Directors.
Background & Family
Juliet is a daughter to The Karen Hospital founders Drs. Mr & Mrs Gikonyo.
She is the only girl. She has an elder brother by the name Dr. Anthony Gikonyo, who is an interventional cardiologist and a younger brother who is a poet.
Juliet credits her parents with the lives she and her siblings lead today, noting that they were always supportive of their ambitions and pushed them to succeed.
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“My parents were very clear between needs and wants. Do you need or want that shoe you are asking for? It helped me because when I went to college abroad, I didn’t struggle with my budget. The need and want conversation has brought me and my brothers contentment.
“But they spoiled us with love and support. They’re our cheerleaders. They were very clear about morals and values,” Juliet told Business Daily during an interview.
She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (BSc) Biology and a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.
Juliet also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health – Epidemiology (MPH) from Tulane University, School of Public Health &Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Juliet joined The Karen Hospital after college and rose to the rank of Chief Operations Officer in 2012.
According to Business Daily, she has served at the facility for 12 years under the mentorship of her mother and the hospital being groomed to take over.
Today she is ten months into her tenure as the hospital’s CEO and is the second CEO since her parents founded the hospital 15 years ago.
Juliet got married to Joe Nyaga in 2009 and together they have two children, both boys. The last born is six years old.
She revealed that having children for them proved to to be a challenge at the beginning of their marriage. They did everything correctly, only that babies did not come.
She went through four In vitro Fertilisation (IVF) trials and the last one was successful. So they had their firstborn child. They then realised she could not carry another child and so their second born was born of a surrogate, a process they did in India.
“For me, this whole phase of trying for a baby and not getting one was not easy. Back to my father, there was always a question of; how am I going to get over this?
“It takes a toll on you; the pressure, the guilt, you start wondering ‘oh my gosh what did I do wrong in my life?’ You start looking back at your partying days in college. ‘Did I overdo it?’ . Are these three cups of coffee a day I’m drinking now stopping me from conceiving? That was a very hard time,” Juliet conceded.
Succeeding her mother, Mrs. Gikonyo
Juliet concedes that she feels the pressure of succeding her mother at the helm of the hospital, having successfully run The Karen Hospital for more than a decade.
Mrs. Gikonyo was the first female paediatric cardiologist in Kenya, something Juliet says she knew when she was 20 years old.
“I found out my mom was the first female paediatric cardiologist during a women’s studies class in college. I must have been 20 years old. I remember thinking, who have I lived with all my life? How did I not realise who she was?” She said.
Juliet stated that she has always admired her mother, as she has been her mentor. She concedes that she never knew Mrs. Gikonyo would one day let her run The Karen Hospital.
“This was her dream and she allowed me to buy into her dream or create my own. I’m still in awe of her. Every time someone writes an article about my mother I read it like I don’t know who she is. I read every line like I’m looking for something new. And she’s always like you’ve read my book, you know everything. I’m just like no, maybe I don’t,” she narrates.
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