Bank’s Chief Executive Director Reflects on 1st Salary, Lawyer Shows Reality of Profession

Bank’s Chief Executive Director Reflects on 1st Salary, Lawyer Shows Reality of Profession

  • Mary Wangari Wamae, the chief executive director at Equity Bank, revealed that her first salary was just over R500
  • According to the corporate big wig, she used the money to pay her R243 rent and also take care of her two kids
  • The lawyer later started her law firm, and she saved her money, which later empowered her to buy a house, plot and car

Kenya's Equity Bank Chief Executive Director Mary Wangari Wamae has revealed that her first salary as a fresh graduate was just R609.

Mary Wangari Wamae. Equity Bank.
Mary Wangari Wamae is Equity Bank's chief executive director. Photo: Kamau Mbote.
Source: UGC

Wamae says she cared for kids with R609 salary

Given her position at the giant bank, it is hard to imagine that she once struggled to budget for R609, her salary at her first job in a law firm. Mary said:

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"I had two kids I was taking care of with that money," she said of the salary she had in 1991 at the 3rd Abojani Economic Empowerment Conference.

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During that time, the lady who once served as Equity's Director of Strategy, Legal Services and Company Secretary wore clothes from the famous Gikomba Market (second-hand clothing market). She was never shy about public transport where people were made to stand holding a metal rod.

Wamae starts law firm

Wamae persevered for some time, and in 1995, she took the bold step of quitting employment to start her firm.

"I practised at my law firm for eight years," said Wamae, a Master’s degree in Leading Innovation and Change holder from York St. John University, UK, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi.

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With an eye to her future, the indefatigable corporate bigwig joined the Law Society of Kenya Sacco, where she diligently saved her money.

Equity Bank's director buys first car, plot

The lawyer explained how she made very little go a long way:

"I started saving more as the money came in, and eventually, I bought my first car. I stepped up my contributions to the financial institution and eventually bought my first plot on Ngong Road," shared Wamae, who is also an alumna if the University of Nairobi.
"In 2003 I built my own house without taking a loan anywhere and it took me about three years".

Wamae did not stop there; she bought a house and then sold her first house to invest in other assets.

As she shared her story, Wamae was emphatic that if one gets their priorities wrong, they will not get their planning right.

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Wamae's single mum urges her to dream big

The accomplished lawyer shared that although she came from a humble single-mother home, she did not let it hold her back.

"It doesn't matter where you were born, my mum was a single mum with no assets, he urged me to work hard to get out of my situation," said the author of a book called The Village Girl.

When speaking to Briefly News, Wamae urged women not to shy away from debt and also to get income-generating projects. She also encouraged them to own assets, as they appreciate with time.

Wamae highlighted cases where people approached the bank with innovative ideas and got a boost worth millions.

She urged people who want to start businesses to get innovative ideas and approach financial institutions for help.

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Briefly News previously reported that a single mother turned entrepreneur has shared an inspiring video of resilience and success on TikTok.

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This touching video captures a proud moment of dropping her child off at school and serves as a testament to the triumph of her entrepreneurial spirit. After leaving her career in science, TikTok user @khumomwase0 took a leap of faith to start her own business.

The video beautifully encapsulates her newfound freedom and work-life balance, contrasting her previous life's demands. As she calmly drops her child off at school, the video highlights the precious moments she can now savour, thanks to her flourishing business.

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