Meet Rose Khavere who chose to challenge

Tell our readers about who you are and what you do. My name is Rose Khavere. I am an Administrative assistant at GA Insurance. I am responsible for the kitchenette and serving the internal and external customers. What does a typical day look like for you? I arrive at the office at 8.00 a.m. I […]

Meet Rose Khavere who chose to challenge

Tell our readers about who you are and what you do.

My name is Rose Khavere. I am an Administrative assistant at GA Insurance. I am responsible for the kitchenette and serving the internal and external customers.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I arrive at the office at 8.00 a.m. I then prepare the company breakfast and serve staff and attend to clients as they come in. Since it is a continuous job, I take a break at noon and resume at 2.00 p.m. until 5.00 p.m.

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in Western, Kenya. My parents were farmers, so we learnt about farming at a very early age, not to mention the hardworking and discipline elements. Every day after school, we would help harvest the farm produce after which they would take it to the market in the morning. My parents loved all their children and supported us equally. Education was also close to their heart because they wanted us to live a better life than the one they had, so they encouraged us to pursue education. However, I had to drop out of High School because of a lack of school fees. Farming being the only thing I knew at the time, I ended up joining my parents on our farm but then came to Nairobi in 1988 to look for housekeeping jobs which I did for 10 years then ended up at GA Insurance in 1998.

How was it being a woman in the 1970s? How was the culture then and has it evolved? We also know that the world is trying to be more inclusive, giving women equal opportunities as men. But as someone who has actually been here longer than many of us, do you think that it’s really happening as far as inclusivity?

I think that it is really happening. My parents loved, valued, and supported all of us equally but women were highly marginalized in the 1970s to around 1985. For example, parents preferred to educate boys instead of girls because the perception was educating the girls was not worth it since they would get married and go help the in-laws, instead of the family. Currently, I will have to say women are being empowered. There are so many opportunities available to them. For example, my siblings and nephews have gotten scholarships to study thereby not requiring any financial help from me. I think if I was born in this era, I would have applied for a scholarship and completed my high school education. The culture has also really evolved. Girls and boys are equally valued.

Tell our readers about your first job. Where did you start and how did that experience prepare you for your current role?

After helping my parents on the farm for a while, I came to Nairobi and got a housekeeping job with an Ethiopian who would pay me Sh 600 per month. At the time, that was good money because I was able to help pay for my siblings’ school fees. After a few years, she left the country but since she was pleased with my job, she connected me with some of her Asian friends who I also worked for as a housekeeping manager. Later, I worked as a nanny for a white lady, but she left the country after 3 years. Without a job, I washed clothes for people and other small jobs before ending up at GA Insurance. Doing those jobs in different households exposed me to different cultures, effectively running a household, time management, cleanliness, among other things.

What was the first step you took when you wanted to leave your parents and come to Nairobi?

I really wanted a change in my life so when my former schoolmate asked if I would come to Nairobi and stay with her as I looked for a job, I was elated. My parents were not agreeable to me coming to the city since they had never visited it themselves, but they finally let me go. After 2 weeks, my friend connected me to my first Ethiopian employer.

How did you end up at GA Insurance and how long have you been here?

I was referred to GA Insurance by a friend. When I came for the interview, I was asked to relieve someone who was going on leave in 1998 and it’s now been 23 years. I have worked under 2 managements, but I love working at the current GA because everybody is valued, appreciated and we are motivated to do our jobs. I also love my job because it is the job I was given and through it, I have educated my children and even built a house.

Tell us more about your children

I have 3 daughters and 6 grandchildren. I would like to highlight that I love being a grandmother. My firstborn was in class 5 when I joined GA, but she is now 35 years old working as an underwriter in an insurance company. My second born is a hairdresser and the last born is in 2nd year at a local university.

How is it balancing your career and being a mother? How did you make it work?

When my kids were younger, I would report by 6.30 a.m. and leave at 4 p.m. That helped me to be present when at GA and create time for my kids in the evening to help them do their homework. Now that my last born resides on campus, my schedule is a bit flexible.

What are you most proud of about yourself?

My children are my pride. We talk a lot and even do projects together. Usually, my second born who is very strict is the chairlady while the firstborn is the secretary, and mama (me) is the treasurer. We contribute money and do things together, for example, we have built a three-bedroom house in upcountry. They also offered me additional support to build my house in Nairobi. I am also proud of my job at GA which has brought so much development in my life.

Tell us about the experience of owning your home

The first step I did was to buy the piece of land. During that period, I was asked to vacate the house I was living in because of rent arrears so I built a mabati (iron sheet) structure on the land which took two weeks. I then moved in there and began to construct my home progressively and even if it is not yet complete, I am grateful to God for this far. I am also very grateful to GA because even if I managed to do it through loans and SACCOs, GA had to give the various approvals.

How do you continuously set yourself up for success as you continue to grow?

I plan ahead and I’m also a hard worker.

What are your biggest sources of motivation?

My children.

During this journey of growing into the phenomenal woman you are today, what would you say has been the most challenging aspect?

Being sick over a period of time which resulted to absence at work. I was afraid of losing my job, but everyone stood with me and I came out stronger.

Did you have any mentors that helped guide you along the way?

Hellen Omiti (Legal Department), Carol Shikhule (Non-Motor Claims Department), and Sheila (Medical Department) have really stood with me over the years. They encouraged me and always made me see that life could be better and I would make it.

How do you handle rejection and what’s your advice for young, upcoming women?

Mostly, I make adjustments and if it is malicious, I let it go and move on.

As a woman with many things going on, how do you measure your success and that of your organization?

Success is making other people better. This could be through offering advice and provision of resources.

Fill in the blank. I am Rose Khavere and you may not know that ____________ I am a worshipper.

Would you ever consider going back to farming?

Yes. I still do it on a small scale in upcountry, but I would like to do it on a large scale after retiring.

What is your favourite music?

Gospel Music

How do you ensure you take care of your mental health and avoid having a burnout so that you are productive in all aspects of life?

I eat healthy, work out and stay out of gossip. I like to mind my own business. I also take care of my spiritual well-being by going to church.

Looking back, is there anything you would do differently with regard to your life?

Nothing but I think my life would have been different if I completed school. I would also have loved to travel, that is why my best moments in GA are the team buildings we did in Coast.

Parting shot?

Believe in yourself and never look down on yourself. No matter what people think about you, never let your background pull you down. Have focus and dream of a brighter future. With hard work and determination, your dreams will come true. Always remember to put God first, I am a strong believer.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. The full information of the cover is contained in the policy document. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of GA Insurance concerning the legal status of any country, area or territory or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers.