Vanessa Kingori: Kenyan Woman Who Broke 103-Year-Long History By Becoming First Female Vogue Publisher

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Vanessa Kingori: Kenyan Woman Who Broke 103-Year-Long British Vogue History
File image of Vanessa Kingori. |Photo| Courtesy|

Vanessa Kingori is the Chief Business Officer, Conde Nast Britain and Vogue European Advisor. She made it to the history books by becoming the first female publisher in British Vogue magazine’s 103 year-long history.

Her journey to the top of one of the world’s most renowned publications is an inspiration to the many women and girls looking to climb the corporate ladder across the world.

Here is her story as told by WoK.

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Background & Education

Kingori was born in Kenya to a Kenyan father. She immigrated with her family to the Caribbean Island of St Kitts at an early age.

Vanessa Kingori: Kenyan Woman Who Broke 103-Year-Long British Vogue History
File image of Vanessa Kingori. |Photo| Courtesy|

During an interview with the Grace Tales Podcast, she revealed that her family felt a little different in Kenya and when they moved to St’ Kitts, Kingori and her sister had a Kenyan accent and people referred to them as the “African Girls”.

She began her education in the Caribbean Island before moving later moving to London from where she finished her education.

“We were kind of exotic there and then by the time I moved to London at seven, our accents were completely screwed up. You couldn’t place them anywhere. We were quite used to being different and, on reflection, I do think that it has prepared me quite a lot for my life now and entering into new spaces as a woman, as a person of colour and not feeling uncomfortable with being different.

“I also just remember being incredibly happy growing up, particularly in St. Kitts where I spent my formative years and I could run, walk free and wild,” Kingori told Grace Tales Podcast.

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According to her LinkedIn profile, she attended the Royal Holloway College of the University of London and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management and Sociology.

Career

She began her career with Evening Standard Magazine where she was the acting group head between 2002 and 2006. She later moved on to become the Fashion Manager at Esquire Magazine, a role she held between 200 and 2009.

Between May 2009 and June 2015, Kingori served as the

She was also a Judge on t

Between June 2017 and 2021, Kingori served as the Non Exec Board of Govenors at

Vanessa Kingori: Kenyan Woman Who Broke 103-Year-Long British Vogue History
File image of Vanessa Kingori. |Photo| Courtesy|

Kingori was appointed as the British Vogue Publishing Director in January 2018, succeeding Stephen Quinn, who retired in December 2017 after a 26-year tenure. She has served as the Chief Business Officer/ European Vogue Advisor, 

As Chief Business Officer, Vanessa continues to lead British Vogue along with overseeing the business health and digital transformation of Conde Nast Britain’s 10 media brands.
As European Vogue Advisor she supports the Vogue Business Leads across the region in business transformation, change management and revenue growth.

Kingori is also a member of the investment committee at Peanut – a

Recognitions & Awards

Kingori was named one of Britain’s overall Most Influential Black Britons for the past five years by Powerlist magazine. She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2016 for services to the media industry.

She was also appointed to Sadiq Khan’s Brexit Expert Advisory Panel.

Inspiration

The British Vogue Chief Business Officer told the Grace Tales Podcast that she draws inspiration from her mother. Growing up, Kingori’s Mom always told her not to expect thing s to be fair in life.

“It’s quite a controversial thing in some ways for a mother to say to me, but it’s been one of the best armours for me. The world isn’t fair at the moment and we’re in a moment, where isolation and social distancing and so on has given us space to really think about, how can we level playing fields and make things better? Because the truth is, they aren’t level. It’s a human desire to want things to be fair,” she said.

Family

Kingori always wanted to be a mother, however, her journey to parenthood was with a few challenges. She suffered a series of miscarriages, at a time where her career was taking off, and she suffered in silence.

Despite the setbacks and pain of losing a child, Kingori is a mother to a two year old boy named Charles.

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