Heldah Wakhungu

Heldah Wakhungu, Founder and CEO
Founder and CEO

Renown leader in consumer insights, foresights and research, with over 25 years of progressive experience working with leading local and international companies utilizing the best of the world class best practices specializing in market Research, insights generation and application with a brief stint in brand management.

Currently in consultancy offering services in research, strategic planning, monitoring & evaluation (M&E) and capability building. Prior to that, led the pack for East African Breweries Ltd (EABL), Diageo as head of Consumer planning and research responsible for managing consumer planning and research across the East African region ingraining the department’s objective of consumer driven business strategy, effectively influenced long term business strategy for EABL group, championed and led annual marketing business planning cycle, established, planned and managed M&E tools – design, implement, review and revise projects on monitoring and evaluation strategies and tools to generate high quality data on the impact of projects activities.

Established and grew the research section at Safaricom PLC, identified and implemented the key research programs required for the Safaricom brand, the various verticals, products & services providing a competitive edge that unlocked growth opportunities for the business, recruited and trained research team, coached various teams in the interpretation, use and application of customer insights in strategy formulation and implementation propelling the research section into a formidable research department key in influencing decision making process. Held senior leadership roles at Kenya Breweries ltd (KBL) in consumer planning & research and brand management. As a brand manager was responsible for reviewing Guinness brand plans to align to global brand strategy for seamless rollout across different markets. Was responsible for the planning and roll out of Michael power campaign in Kenya to reposition the brand in line with global positioning leading to a 2pp share growth over a period of two months, the campaign later became the face of Africa.

A thought leader at the forefront of driving business performance grounded in deeper consumer understanding and insights to provide solutions to business issues. To mention but a few; revival of Kisumu breweries was based on a deeper consumer insight and the size of prize the Western and Nyanza regions offered, Expansion of the Safaricom network and customer care service points to improve customer experience was informed by the customer delight study that pointed to network and customer care touch points as the weakest link to customer delight. systematic network and customer care centres/shops expansion resulted to sustainable growth for the business.

Great at rallying and facilitating consumer led cross functional workshops to get to clear implications and action plan to brand/business issues and subsequent M&E programs to ensure learnings from M&E are shared, applied to drive growth and to inform future activity selection for optimal gain. Authentic team leader and player dedicated to a collaborative approach and ready to make tough decisions when required. Excellent at incubate, nurture and grow; identifying, training and mentoring highly engaged teams whilst seeking opportunities for their growth and development as well as nurture and grow research sections into formidable departments that effectively influence business decision making process. Identified and managed research agency partners who added value. Experienced project leader with the ability to balance complex projects, multiple deadlines and tight budgets without compromising on quality of output. Well travelled, diplomatic with the ability to interact with people from multicultural environments (both internal and external stakeholders including agency partners ) to grow meaningful relationships. Poised and professional with ability to transcend personal differences in order to reach a common goal. Versatile and agile, able to maintain a sense of calmness under pressure.

Hold bachelors degree (Hon) in Economics and social studies from Egerton university, leadership training program (PMD) from Strathmore business school.