‘Dare to Dream’ was the theme for an afternoon talk for Gap Year students on 3rd June at the Akili Dada offices. Elizabeth Marami, Kenya’s first female marine pilot talked to the girls about her journey to career excellence.
As a young girl, she dreamt of being the first female something in Kenya and making it big in whichever career she took.
After primary school, she missed admission to the prestigious national schools in the country after scoring 380 points out of a possible 500. She was admitted to Mama Ngina High School and in her own words strived ‘to make Mama Ngina her Alliance’
After completing her high school education Elizabeth scored an impressive A- and was selected to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Law at the University of Nairobi. However, she was determined not to pursue an ordinary course and thus opted for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nautical Studies at the Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt.
Don’t just sit there, do something
As she awaited admission to the university she put her love and flair for fashion to good use and started a business of selling clothes as opposed to sitting at home. She also offered nanny services to career women. It is from these humble beginnings that she met some great women who became her mentors and have continued to positively impact her career. “Be kind to all people and never burn bridges, you never know when and where you will meet them, ” she said. She added that for success, it is important to attach yourself to a mentor who will guide you in the right direction.
While in Egypt, she was faced with the harsh realities of racism and apathy to women, there were very few female students and her male counterparts thought she was there ‘to wear the uniform’ but she was determined to be different. She worked hard and passed her exams. “While at the college, I learnt everything there was to learn about ships and the sea, I was soon teaching the boys and beating them in exams.”
Say No to Mediocrity
She urged the girls to keep focused on their goals and dreams and to say no to mediocre goals, mediocre friendships and mediocre relationships. You must remove all the stumbling blocks from your path.
In a male-dominated industry, she had to respect herself and love herself so as to earn respect from her peers. She has never let herself be derailed from her path and recognizing her self-worth helped with that.
Elizabeth urged the girls to remain spiritual, walking with God every step of the way. She said that forgiveness; prayer and reading of the word have been part of her Christian walk that has seen her achieve success at a relatively young age.
For her efforts, she has been honored to be nominated to the prestigious Business Daily Top 40 under 40 2015 and is currently the Brand Ambassador for Always.
Going forward, she aspires to be a full Captain in the next 5 years. She is also working to document the tribulations of women working in the sea as well as complete her MBA. She is also aiming to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
For us at Akili Dada, we wish Elizabeth all the best as she conquers the high seas. Go girl!!