This is the first of a series of upcoming posts that highlight the important stories and contributions of female leaders at Chipper.
Marietta has been part of the Chipper family for 2 years. Her role at Chipper is to build legal and compliance programs that comply with the regulations in financial services.
Marietta Gachegu’s curious personality sticks out in a room and demands your attention. Probably a necessary trait being the middle child in a house with two brothers. When she doesn’t understand anything, Marietta will be the first to ask and dive in to change or offer a solution. At Chipper, the perfect way to describe her work ethic may well be ‘all hands-on deck.’
Where it all started
Marietta was born in the cosmopolitan city of Nairobi, Kenya. Her upbringing was idyllic, and one filled with love. “I had wonderful loving parents and had good relationships with my brothers. I never had a sister, but I always wanted one.”
She attended Catholic schools throughout her earlier years and loved being around a religious setup. While the schools had nuns roaming around, she says none were strict like how most Catholic schools are perceived. “They were very relaxed. They were happy-go-lucky. We did a lot of singing. They [Nuns] enjoyed playing with the children and it was fun."
Charting a promising career
Marietta is a lawyer by profession and while most lawyers dream of working in law firms, she had different ideas. After graduating from Law School, and practising law for a few years in Kenya, she discovered that what she considered her skill set [at the time] was not available in traditional law practice. “I’ve never seen the law as something absolute, I’ve always seen it as a tool that allows you to arrive at a destination.”
With Nairobi considered the cradle of technological innovation, and the centre of Kenya’s thriving tech ecosystem, Marietta found herself fascinated by the budding fintech. She had a brief stint working at a digital payments and commerce company to which Chipper was a client. So, when her path aligned with Chipper, she felt at home. An opportunity she had been waiting for had finally arrived. “I wanted to participate in building something in the fintech space. It was the right place for somebody with my mindset, my outlook and skill set.”
Working at Chipper: Curiosity helps
At Chipper, Marietta has held several positions but what she is most proud of, is being part of the team that built out a legal and compliance program that complies with the regulations in financial services in multiple countries.
“It wasn’t easy, but teamwork made it possible. We are like an orchestra. It’s one piece of music and there’s the option of playing music as a solo- which is still beautiful. However, there’s something magical about having different giftings coming together, working together towards one goal."
One of the skills that aligned to the role she says is curiosity: “I think that when you work at a company like Chipper you have to be a certain type of person...so curious. I ask questions and am genuinely interested in understanding people, places, situations,”
On life, and what lies ahead
Her current outlook of life is a product of many things, but especially her parents' teachings. “My dad was instrumental, in shaping my outlook on life, religion and politics,” said Gachegu.
She adds that her mom laid the blueprint for her on what it meant to be a woman. “I learned what it meant to be an individual in my own right. I do think that women find themselves stepping back from their individuality when they attain certain titles.”
It is the love between her parents that she says to set an example of what a ‘happy home’ should be. “The two of them together were a dream team, best of friends and enjoyed a very warm and loving relationship. They were each other’s cheerleaders”
Sadly, her father passed on when she was just 18. She describes him as a thinker and everything anyone could wish for in a father. He was kind, gentle and had a wicked sense of humour. Any opportunity he had; he spent it with us.
Marietta describes herself as a working mom who prioritizes, making sure her family is well supported, being a good partner, daughter, and mother.
“I take my responsibility as a parent seriously and I must provide my child with guidance, support, love, and mentorship. My daughter is four [years old] and my role now goes beyond being a mum and becoming her number one source of strength, motivation, and inspiration.”Professionally, Marietta’s goal is to end up as an academic who offers the advantage of having real-world experience and brings a certain level of practicality in the instruction of the future generation.
FUN FACT: Marietta is also a voice actor