I worked hard to find my work-life balance

Christine Kahema is a Tax Manager at Coca Cola Central East and West Africa

Christine Kahema is a Tax Manager at Coca Cola Central East and West Africa

Q: Who is Christine Kahema Muthui?

A: I am the tax manager at Coca- Cola Central East and West Africa. I am an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, a certified public accountant and a certified public secretary. A mother, wife and also an accredited trainer and epitome of positive energy.

What does your job as a tax manager entail?

Developing and implementing tax strategies for the company, driving tax compliance and optimising tax planning opportunities.

What are the job requirements?

You need to be conversant and understand tax laws in different countries. You need to develop negotiation and networking skills in order to engage with revenue authorities and other arms of government. You also need to have accounting and financial knowledge to understand the impact a tax decision has on the company’s financial statements. The fact that I am a trained lawyer and accountant makes it easy to understand these concepts better.

What’s your day like?

I wake up at 5.30am, to prepare snacks, prepare the kids for school and have breakfast with them. Then prepare for my morning walk and workout at the gym. I try to close business by 6pm. Once in a while I work late. When not working I prepare for my classes at Strathmore University, School of Accountancy where I teach part-time.

Challenges you face at your workplace?

One of the challenges I previously faced was work-life integration. With other facets of life growing, you realise that all are critical. Being a wife, a mother of young children and a career woman comes with increased responsibilities. Balancing these responsibilities is a challenge and requires reviewing of priorities and seeking creative ways of achieving a reasonable balance.

Have you received any recognition based on your work?

I received the award of Best Manager in the Company. This was an honour as I am a believer of teams. I previously worked as a tax manager at KPMG and I was also honoured with the award of the Most Valued Employee.

What do you do at your free time?

I’m not sure if I have free time. If I am not at work, I am assisting my children with homework. There are things I would like to do but time just does not permit. These include attending choir practice, teaching Sunday school and running a boot camp for children. Once in a while I take a day off work to have time for myself.

Tell us about your family?

I have been married for close to 10 years. We have three lovely girls.

Who are your mentors?

My boss. He is a brilliant mind. I like the way he juggles issues, has already thought about something ahead of time and he provides very good leadership and support to his team. I look up to the legal counsel at our office as she is very smart and the most organised person I have come across. I also receive peer mentorship from members of my chama.

Where would you love to go for holiday?

Cape Town with my husband and children to enjoy the scenery, the beaches and of course the rides at Rantaga Junction (theme park). I can just imagine the look on my kids’ faces after the riding experience.

What in your life has brought or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment?

I have had an impact on someone’s life. I live by the mantra as explained by Michael Josephson in his article What Will Matter to quote some of his words; Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end… so what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured? …. What will matter is every act of integrity, passion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others.

What keeps you going?

That I set an example for others to follow and that I have taken the opportunity to learn from others as well. My interaction with family, friends, and colleagues also keeps me going.

What did you do for fun while growing up?

We lived near Jomo Kenyatta University and there was a lot of activity at the institution. I was in the university church choir and hockey team.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I really wanted to be a doctor. I loved chemistry and I am passionate about making a difference. The dream did not come true due to the university choice selection process (we called it the weighted average method), even though I attained the cluster subject for the course, it was weighted down by the fact that I attained an A overall. It is just as well as I am not sure I would have been strong enough to survive a hospital ward.

What are your future plans?

Increasingly invest in family — raising the next generation. Creating employment and empowering the people who I interact with.



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