Kagure Wamunyu, ’13, returned to Meredith College to connect with students during a lunch held on December 12, 2023.
As an undergraduate, Wamunyu was a Presidential and Zawadi Scholar. She was a dual degree engineering student, earning a mathematics degree from Meredith and a civil engineering degree from N.C. State University.
After Meredith, Wamunyu received her Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. She then returned to her home country of Kenya where she has held several impressive job positions, including the head of operations at Uber Kenya and strategies director at Bridge International Academies. In 2018, she was named one of Kenya’s Top 40 Under 40 Women by Business Daily Africa. Wamunyu founded a startup in 2022, Jumba, which aims to simplify the supply chain for construction materials in Kenya.
At the lunch, Wamunyu shared the life lessons she has learned throughout her journey from her time at Meredith to her current entrepreneurial pursuits.
Her top tips for students were to learn how to communicate effectively and build meaningful relationships. “You never know where a connection will take you,” said Wamunyu about the importance of networking. “I was able to convince smart people to join my startup because of my relationships with them.” She encouraged students to take advantage of any opportunity to present or write in their college courses and to ask for feedback, as these skills are critical for success in the workplace.
One of the students in attendance, Wanjiru Mambo, ’24, first met Wamunyu when Mambo applied to the Zawadi scholarship and Wamunyu was her interviewer. “Kagure became a resource for me. As I prepared to begin my studies at Meredith, I shared with her that one of my biggest worries was the fear of not fitting in because I was from a different background. She told me to have a change of mindset and look at it as an opportunity to find my voice,” said Mambo. “For me, those were powerful words of wisdom. They encouraged me to have a positive outlook on the new chapter of my life. She is still part of my support network.”
Wamunyu is thankful to Meredith for molding her into a leader and forming lifelong friendships. During her time at the College, she was able to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and have new experiences, such as attending the symphony for the first time as an honors student. Despite living in different countries, Wamunyu still keeps in touch with a core group of friends from Meredith, as well as Cammey Cole Manning, professor of mathematics and Wamunyu’s faculty advisor.
“In college, you wonder what you will do in the future. My advice to students is to put your best foot forward in whatever you are doing right now. Use the resources on campus and be bold enough to look beyond what you think you want,” said Wamunyu. “The dots will connect in retrospect.”