#WiMMeets Esther Kiringa Muiruri - Group Marketing Director for Smart Applications International

27 November 2022

#WiMMeets Esther Kiringa Muiruri - Group Marketing Director for Smart Applications International

Welcome to #WiMMeets - a series of short interviews with marketing leaders from across Africa and around the world. The series will present a different side to senior professionals with the aim to share the things that matter to them and inspire others. 

In this interview we sat down with Esther Kiringa Muiruri, Group Marketing Director for Smart Applications International, a secure ICT services provider in Kenya with offices in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Somaliland, South Sudan, Rwanda, Malawi and Zambia.


Having worked with Smart Applications over the last 12 years, Esther has played different key roles from inception in establishing the revolutionary smart automated medical scheme management solution using biometric-controlled smart cards serving over 1.5 million customers in over 10 countries across Africa.

In her role, Esther has led the organization in expansion to new markets within Africa, from only being present in one country to now having presence in 11 countries in Africa, covering the Sub-Saharan Africa & greater east and southern African regions. She spearheaded the launch of the biometric smart solution to these countries, achieving commendable impact in the elimination of fraud, abuse and waste in healthcare administration; the first ever to introduce biometric technology in the healthcare space in Kenya and Africa. It is through her efforts, that we have seen the organization feted by in the US as the first ever ICT company from the entire EMEA as 'software company of the year' in 2016 and 2017 by Oracle. This has further led to multiple other awards including but not limited to first ever ICT company to be feted during the Think Business Insurance Awards 2022 as the winner under the category “Fraud Detection & Prevention Initiatives”, overall winner during the Connected Africa Summit 2022 under the category “Innovation Award Universal Healthcare” as organized by the ICT Authority of Kenya amongst many other awards to date.

Esther is performance-driven and a high achiever with over 12 years combined experience in Marketing. She is a strategy architect in the development of innovative Marketing initiatives which support corporate strategy and capitalize on organizational growth opportunities. A solution provider with an exceptional eye to detail for both business and people needs in alignment to the vision.

Esther holds a Master’s degree from the University of Nairobi (M.A. Communication), a B.A in Information Technology. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and has undertaken several leadership courses in Kenya (Senior Management Leadership Program) and Singapore. Is a member of the Strathmore Business School (SBS) and serves as a full member of the Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK).

Esther further serves as an advisory board member of Soma Nami Books, a woman-owned and run, and the only Pan-African independent book store in Kenya. The book store seeks to centre African stories and narratives by making books by Africans and its Diaspora available and accessible to readers. Esther is passionate about the community and empowerment and runs a mentorship program for girls aspiring to venture into Marketing as a career. Esther’s passion is in inclusive secure technologies and innovation and its impact in delivering reach across board, in turn spurring growth and sustainability. Esther loves to travel, a lover of music and dance and is an expert on everything fashion, style and interior design.


WiM Africa: What gives you energy and drives you forward when you are not feeling at the top of your game?

EKM: Success. It gives me the adrenaline I need to keep going knowing that it only comes to those who put themselves out there who succeed. I am a firm believer of falling forward and always letting success speak for itself.


WiM Africa: Which advertising campaign, from any brand, has been the most memorable for you and why?

EKM: The Coca-Cola Vs Pepsi war adverts. The one where the boy needs an energy drink and walks to a fridge only to find his preferred drink is at the top of the self and the other brands far more accessible at the bottom shelves. He proceed to take the pepsi soda cans and uses these as stepping stones to access his preferred energy drink.

This advert has a lot of learnings on how to maintain your number 1 brand position and stamp one’s authority as a market leader. As a market leader you should not be afraid to exert your authority regardless of how this may come off to competition. Consumers always want to be associated with a winning brand.


WiM Africa: What three pieces of advice would you give to a woman marketer aspiring to a senior position about getting to and staying at the top of their profession?


  1. Never Stop Discovering and Learning – I always liken the marketing field to ICT in terms of dynamism which is why I find myself oscillating between the two fields. Marketing, like ICT is extremely dynamic – trends change on a daily basis, consumer preferences change on a whim, technology evolves and with these changes happening every so often, it demands of an aspiring marketer a curious eye, adaptability, and an openness to learning new things every day.

  2. Know and master your craft - in order to be the best at what you do, you have to dedicate time and effort into learning and improving your skillset. Take classes, attend workshops, read books in your field and beyond, join groups of people in your craft so you can learn from them and share knowledge. Always and continually look to improving and expanding your knowledge.

  3. Have a mentor/Coach – Mentorship.


WiM Africa: Which one person, dead or alive, would you say inspires you the most and why?

EKM: Definitely Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is the epitome of resilience and success. If you’ve followed Oprah’s journey (which you should), you will know that she had a horrible childhood, living in extreme poverty and shuttling from one caregiver to the next, suffering abuse at their hands. In a past interview with David Letterman, Oprah says that all the obstacles she faced in life and the poverty she experienced makes the experience of creating success and building success that much more rewarding. She went on to become one of the most successful women in the world – a media mogul, owning a cable network and being the first African American billionaire. And yet she remains grounded and is extremely passionate about empowering others. Oprah has taught me a lot about developing resilience, thinking positively, learning empathy and taking advantage of opportunities.


WiM Africa: If you were stuck on a desert island what three things, excluding electronics, could you not do without?


  1. A Knife – As a survival kit because you have to eat, must build your shelter and protect yourself when you need to.

  2. A book – Because I am always learning, re-learning and unlearning.

  3. Red Lipstick – Because it changes your entire look in an instant.



Discover more #WiMMeets interviews here!

Sign up for updates