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Trust me: Getting your hands dirty and dusty is rewarding

Thursday September 1 2016

Susan Waceke Muraya, a director at Suraya

Susan Waceke Muraya, a director at Suraya Property Group Ltd, a building and construction firm. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Tell us a little about yourself

I am Susan Waceke Muraya, a director at Suraya Property Group Ltd, a building and construction firm. I am married and I am a mother of three boys and a girl. I am a fashion designer trained in

New York, and I have thrice represented Kenya in South Africa at the Face of Africa. I later got immersed into the world of construction. I have previously created garments for people to wear, but

now I create concepts for people to live in.

What were you doing at 21?

I was in college in New York. I was very energetic, and took up a job to supplement my school fees. My days were therefore very structured, but being the very social and friendly person that I am, I still got the time to interact and get creative.


Which of your personal attributes do you owe your success to?

My zeal for hard work and the fact that I tend not to be afraid of pursuing new ideas. I am also a quick learner and very receptive to divergent opinions and see the value in others. I always push myself to outperform my clients’ expectations.

Talk to the young person reading this now

Do not be choosy in the career to pursue. Getting your hands dirty and dusty is rewarding. There is a misconception that a successful person needs to sit back and enjoy as employees toil. Look at

me, I wear jeans and boots which get dirty and muddy as I ensure that projects run smoothly.

Would you advise a young woman to get into male-dominated fields?

Absolutely. But do not try to be a man. Just project what you want and you will be listened to. Perish the thought that a man will always question you to put you down. It is not necessarily so every time. A man may just be wanting to reason. It is how well you respond to that and how you display your femininity in your field that will earn you respect as a woman.

What are some of the current trends in the property market in Kenya?

Real estate has developed pretty well, as more than ever before, Kenyans are investing in property. Suraya Property Group has contributed to this transformation; it brought in the elements of quality finishes and affordability since we designed house concepts for everyone, right from the just-employed. Young people should invest in a home early, since it can act as collateral to acquire credit for business capital, or later resold at a higher value.

Any hidden talents?

Dancing. I also love cooking, landscaping, and roles that give me the opportunity to use my hands to create.

Your mentors?

My late mother. She instilled in me self-discipline, hard work and confidence.

My husband: he is not afraid to work with me. If he was, we wouldn’t have achieved what we have. He allows me to be myself as we execute concepts. This has seen us deliver good professional work to our clients.

Your top five secrets to success?

Hard work

My strong belief in God

Pursuit for excellence 

I enjoy a working environment.

It inspires me when I impact on someone like the lady who started selling food at some of our construction sites. She later invested her proceeds into selling sand, then became a sand broker. One day she pulled me aside and showed me her lorry. She told me: “It is because of you that I today own this lorry.”

Books that inspire you?

The Bible. It has very powerful stories that I relate to today’s principles.

The 10 Smartest Decisions a Woman can Make before 40, by Tina B Tessina, PhD.