By Prudence Minayo
Nana Gecaga is the current CEO of Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), one of the tallest buildings in the country. She is an elegant woman who is well spoken and described as friendly by those who know her despite being wealthy.
Nana has worked hard to get to where she is and is not afraid to share bits of her story if it means she gets to inspire someone else. In the past interviews, she opened up about her struggles with alcohol. Talking to MC Jessy on Jessy Junction, she revealed that at the age of 21, while others were first starting to partake alcohol, she was checking out of rehab. She also said how alcoholism was a very selfish addiction since one does not think of how it may affect those who love them. Her fight with alcoholism took long but she had a strong support system who never gave up on her. She has now been sober for more than two decades.
She would love to form a center where girls can find guidance and mentorship and also open a rehabilitation for those hooked to drugs. Apart from this, the KICC CEO says that she loves interacting with people and getting to know some of their stories.
Here is her story as told by WoK.
Nana Wanjiku Gecaga was born in 1978.
She is the daughter of Jeni Wambui and Udi Gecaga. Nana’s mother is the daughter of the founding president of Kenya Jomo Kenyatta. Udi is the son of Jemimah Gecaga, Kenya’s first woman to serve in the legislature and the brains behind Maendeleo ya Wanawake, an advocacy group for women. The president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, is her uncle. Nana well known siblings are Jomo and Soiya Gecaga.
Growing up, she was a tomboy who loved running around, climbing trees and riding bicycles, and even had a box hair cut at the age of seven. The last thing on her mind was becoming a corporate woman one day. In fact she loved sports and played basketball, football and was a track athlete who broke records and even qualified for the Olympics. It was only as she grew up, that the transition took place and she dropped the tomboy image.
Nana attended school in Kenya before moving abroad where she completed her studies. She is dyslexic and was lucky enough to get teachers who understood that and were willing to help. Studying abroad introduced her to a new culture.
She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from American Intercontinental University in London, UK.
The KICC CEO is a mother of three children: Udi, Jomo and Kenya Uhuru.
She worked as the head of marketing at KICC and is also credited for being among the people responsible for Kenya’s successful bid to host the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards.
Kenyatta International Conference Center is one of the tallest buildings in the country and at some point was actually the tallest. It has been voted as one of the best places in Africa to host conferences, exhibitions and meetings. Visitors to Nairobi make a stop at the rooftop of the iconic building to get the magnificent view of the city.
While many may think she got the job on the merit of being the president’s niece, she revealed to KTN reporter Brenda Kerubo a while back that this was not the case.
“If the case would be that I am the president’s niece and I had it easier, then we (the KICC) would be dormant. The President does not come sit here and give me ideas, he does not come and make sure that everything is working fine. So, that is a perception, and it is about breaking that perception,” she said.
Besides, she added that there are people that come from good families but do nothing with their lives while others come from families that are not well-off but turn out to be leaders and visionaries in their own right, sentiments that she also repeated in an interview with Betty Kyallo on Upclose.
She previously headed the marketing team at Kenyatta International Convention Center before being appointed marketing and special programs advisor to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Tourism.