Making security my business – meet Patricia Gakii a holder of Bachelor in Marketing
In many fairytales, women are depicted as damsels in distress and men, heroic saviour.
And not just fairytales, this is a classic theme in most world literature, art, film and video games, most notably in the more action-packed situations.
This is replicated in real life where in an attack, women will scream for help and men will arm themselves to save the situation.
It is this issue that made Patricia Gakii, who holds a Bachelor in Marketing from Multimedia University, to venture into the security sector.
Gakii says she realised that there was a need to be trained on matters security following the Westgate and Dusit D2 terrorist attacks.
“Growing up in Nairobi, I never knew I would be interested in security matters.
While pursuing a degree in marketing at Multimedia University, never in my wildest dream would I have imagined that I would pursue it as a career.
But as I watched these terror attacks on media, I noted one thing: how, terrified and helpless people, especially women, looked as they were being rescued.
This was a wake-up call for me that made me decide to venture into the security sector,” says the 36-year-old.
She immediately started training on security matters, which include cyber security, counter-terrorism, preventive security and physical security.
“Today, if you attempt to fight me, you would be in for a rude shock. I know all preventive moves that I should apply to ensure that I protect myself, and this should apply to every woman,” says Gakii.
“One should be more security conscious; check around where you are always seated and observe the behaviour of people around you,” she says as a word of caution to the general public.
In many countries, the fact that women, especially those in the security sector, face challenges and barriers that range from lack of support to harassment and disapproval from families and the community, they never stopped Gakii from following her passion.
According to her, women are not empowered when it comes to matters of security despite security being an essential part in life.
“Just like me, I know there are many people who are interested to learn a few things about security, even if it is taking short courses and programmes.
I, therefore, saw the need to address this issue by opening a firm, which not only would offer consultancy services, but also would offer security training,” she reveals.
She is now the managing director and founder of Africa Nesia International.
The firm has branches in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. She says venturing into the security sector has been an interesting and learning experience.
Gakii has used her marketing skills to expand the company to offer services such as consultancy, coaching, training, event production, capacity building, conferencing and summits.
Some of the upcoming online trainings lined up include disaster management to ensure business continuity, life after Covid-19, crisis and business continuity management, disaster preparedness and risk management.
Others include, importance of financial disaster preparedness, physical security management, maritime security management, cyber terrorism response, Information Technology (IT) security management and IT forensic data management, among others.
“I have managed to expand my investment to other countries in the region through hard work and determination.
I developed a culture of being disciplined and always thinking ahead,” she says.
“Right attitude can open for you doors that you only imagined of. As a young entrepreneur, I have learnt to be patient and value every person.
It is also important to let go of people who don’t support your dreams. Most importantly, follow your dreams and bring them to fruition,” she adds.
Some of the organisations Gakii has worked with include Absa Bank, media companies and the United Nations Women.
However, the raging Covid-19 pandemic has slowed the progress of her work.
She boasts herself of being a team player, articulate and does not give up on what she sets out to do.
Her calm spirit and jovial attitude ensure she relates well with her clients and this has helped in creating long term connections with them.
“One of the many lessons I have learnt along the way is that the road will not always be smooth.
There will be mountains to climb, rivers to cross and deserts to endure. However, that should not stop us from moving.
Keep walking. When you fall, don’t look at the people laughing at you. Get up, dust yourself and soldier on like you never fell.
Only remember to pick the lesson you got and hold on to it. The glass is either half empty or half full, depending on your attitude.
You don’t lose after all—you either win or learn. Stay humble and hustle hard. Go where no one has gone before and try what others have failed to try.
After all, you would rather try and fail (of course you learn a lesson) or fail to try (and you lose the lesson and the opportunity too),” she shares.
A mother of two, Gakii has always tried to balance her work and her family. However, she says her husband has been supportive of her and her endeavours.
“My husband has been my support system. He encouraged and supported me, especially when I started the company. He further encourages me to work hard,” she reveals in conclusion.