The Rise of Rose Kimotho: Managing Director K24 TV and Kameme FM

SHE likes trying out new things and always encourages people to think out of the box and to work smart.

"You need to have self-confidence, plus a never-ending sense of urgency to develop your ideas," she says.

Meet Rose Kimotho, the managing director and founder of Regional Reach Limited, a media company that operates community television and showing free videos in the rural areas. The company also owns and operates a radio station Kameme 101.1FM and a TV station, K24, the first 24-hour news channel station.

She started her career as a journalist for the Weekly Review and the Nairobi Times after graduating from the School of Journalism in University of Nairobi.

Before setting up Regional Reach in 1994, Kimotho was the general manager and a member of the board of directors of MccCann - Erickson (K) Ltd, an advertising agency in Kenya. "I think that young people should stay in an organisation for as long as it takes for you to learn. That of course might take a number of years depending on the kind of work or the kind of organisation but you will get out knowing something," Kimotho says.

In 1980, she joined Ogilvy and Mather as a trainee copy writer where she rose through the ranks to become an account director in 1985.

"I rose to the position because I believe in doing the best and giving my all to everything that I am doing. I think that is how I have risen to where I am now," Kimotho says adding that as a junior employee learning about a job, one should always consult superiors and learn from them.

Many seniors, she says, are always eager to share their experiences, knowledge and advice.

In 1988, Kimotho joined McCain Erickson as a client service director and in 1990, she was appointed the general manager of the firm in charge of day-to-day operations of the company.

In 1991, she was appointed to the board of directors where her responsibilities included identifying and taking initiatives on key clients accounts to improve services and opportunities. She was also charged with overseeing the development and execution of marketing and advertising strategies.

"It was challenging but I like trying out new things and anything that was brought to me, I gave it my best shot because I believed that I could do it," Kimotho says. She did a management course at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, New York in 1989.

In May, 1994 she left Mc-Cann to start Regional Reach.

The company has installed television sets in more than 200 rural trading centres in ten districts in the country. The TVs offers entertainment to the rural folks and is used as a medium of advertisement targeting these groups.

The company expanded into radio broadcasting in December 1999 with the launch of Kameme 101.1 FM, a community radio station that broadcast in Kikuyu.

Last year, Kimotho launched the K24 first which covers 150-kilometre radius from Limuru.

"There was a need to promote local programmers and that is what made me venture into an industry that no one had touched," she says. "There was also a need to start a local station to promote local musicians and actors and that's why I ventured into it."

Venturing into business was not an easy ride for her. She says: "It was hard to start because a lot of people didn't want to lend me money. Banks were scared I may not be able to repay them but somehow I managed to convince them and they agreed after months and months of persuasion." Finances were not the only challenge that faced Kimotho as she set out in the business world.

"I have also had to make a lot of sacrifices such as having so little time for my family because sometimes I was forced to stay in the office for the whole night," she says.

"I can't say that I have faced any major obstacles in my career for being a woman, but I'll say that it can be quite a challenge balancing your work and family life."

Other positions that Kimotho holds include being a board member of Stanbic Bank and the Nairobi Hospital. She is also a trustee of Rhino Arc, an organisation that protects rhinos. She is also a former chairperson of the Marketing Society of Kenya and immediate former chairperson, Media Owners Association.

Rose Kimotho's Thoughts

  • THE most important aspect is sharing with your employees and target Audience. When we were starting K24 and Kameme we went to the market and researched, we listened and reacted to what we thought would be important When you focus on your customers and gain their trust, they will not only recommend you but they will also remain loyal to you. Remember, personal recommendation and word-of-mouth are the least costly yet most effective marketing strategy for your business.
  • It is important to dream and know that you can achieve anything. Always have clear and within-reach aspirations and pursue them persistently. Expect lots of negativity from people who always doubts how your ideas will work. But sitting still and wishing will not make anyone great, but having the thirst and inner drive will. Believe that nothing is too small to be done and made great.
  • If you ever want to succeed in life, you should work on excelling in all that you ever wanted in life and never look back and regret if things haven't worked out. I have learnt that every person and each situation you come across is meant to give you a message. There is a reason why things happen and if you look beyond the obvious, then there's lots you'll marvel in life!
  • Being genuine has made me a better person. As such I have learnt to ensure that every time I smile at someone, it is from the depth of my heart. Every time I take up a task, I do it to my best. Every time I learn something, I learn it perfectly well. And every time I get critical about myself, I remind myself about all the good things mentioned above which mean that I am making reasonable headway and most of all, that I am moving in the right direction.
  • Competition should not be looked at as a threat but as a way of helping you to reinvent yourself. The trick with competition is to make something better than what your competitors are doing. Like the case with K24, there are better companies and I don't have as much money as they have but I insist on better quality. Competition is healthy as it keeps you on toes so that you strive to be better. I prefer and welcome any competition coming my way.
  • Money is not everything. It is just a part of life and I think what is important is what you learn from everything that you are doing. You should never leave what and where your passion is for the sake of money.

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7 Responses to The Rise of Rose Kimotho: Managing Director K24 TV and Kameme FM

John said...

Thanks alot mum for having such a positive aspect towards life.Your story has really made my day on this very first day of 2010.You are my source of my inspiration.

Anonymous said...

wow!i have never met you in person but have been hearing much of are a wise woman and can match proverbs 31 is not everything,genuiness,giving the best,courage....God bless you.i will follow your are a role model to many young ladies.

Caleb said...

Thank you Rose for your inspiring message. Your experience, hard work and belief in yourself are key attributes that others need to achieve the best in life. Kenya would have been much better if we had more people like you. I wish you all the best.
Caleb Kiprono.

Anonymous said...

You are such an inspiration Rose. Don't loose hope soon. The world needs people like you.


Jossy said...

Thank you so much Rose for your encouraging words. If we can follow with that spirit we would achieve alot. All the best & continue to share so that people can learn.

Anonymous said...

this is is absolutely great & motivational:i humbly salute u wish there were a bit more pple of ur ably will

G.K. Muriuki - Meru said...

Visoners always excel in their lives. You are my role mode.

Keep it up


G.K. Muriuki