Nduati Maina’s marriage character development

Senior Talent CEO Nduati Maina

Senior Talent CEO Nduati Maina during the interview on April 16, 2024.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Chances are, you are likely to get old. It’s an appendix, like the sun rising from the East, a truth as old as the hills. Not many people like to be called old unless it is attached to a suffix: old friend, old hand, old money. Nduati Maina’s alter ego is oldish. Today’s Nduati is 39, the founder of Senior Talent where he connects seasoned senior professionals with business founders to address their business challenges. Think of cupid, but for retired—or retiring—executives.

He sounds likeable and deep, the wizened guys brushing wisdom off him. I tell him that he sounds older than he looks. He tells me he is younger than he sounds. We do a lot of old people talk offline, how our identity as men is tied to work, and how women take that as time to take off. His [Nduati’s] career is taking off too, and I can see success showing up in the abdomen.

“Men need to be more physically active,” he says, and I wonder if he is advising me, or himself. Potato, potato. Which, coincidentally is his go-to meal, an old flame, and a deal-breaker of such magnitude that it had to be included in his wedding as “groom’s special.” Not that he loves his wife less, but he loves potatoes more.

How does working with “senior citizens” influence your personal life?

As long as you are consistent, everything will make sense. My dad says everything makes sense when you look back and connect the dots. That ability to be consistent and focused always builds up.

What’s the secret to eternal youth?

Being active, and I use that loosely. If I say working out, one would think of the gym. But being physically active will keep you younger. My dad is 80 years old and he is quite agile, able to climb trees I cannot. He has managed to avoid illnesses, and I can see that vitality when he is playing with his grandchildren. A good diet is key.

What is a good diet?

Without venturing into specifics, everything in moderation. I don’t restrict myself from the good things in life. I’ll have a burger and pizza once in a while. But I stick to healthy and clean eating 70 percent of the time.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Haha! Potatoes.

How shocking…

Yes! I know, haha! In all forms except boiled. When my wife and I were planning our wedding—please be kind when you write this, haha—one of the things that was a must was potatoes.

You grew up around potatoes?

No. I just love them [chuckles].

How did you meet your wife?

At a nightclub, in town. I had just broken up with my ex a few months prior. She was dancing with her friends and I tell you, never had I seen such a beautiful creature before. I approached her, told her, “I have never seen anyone like you” and can I have a dance? She said no [chuckles]. I approached her three more times, all in vain—but I still gave her my card where I had written my number.

The following day her friend got in touch—I thought it was her! Long story short, her friend told me she [my wife] likes me but my wife was in a relationship at that time. In other words, I toppled the existing government, haha! She has changed me.

Were you escaping your healing process?

I have always been the kind of person who fully commits to a relationship such that if it ends, I would look back and know I gave it my best with no regrets. Besides, she was too pretty to wait and sort out my issues first.

What do you see when you look at her?

Hmm. I see that our future is secure. She will keep me accountable and believes that I am meant for more, always pushing me to go further.

What do you struggle with as a husband?

She sees more in me than perhaps I see in myself. I am introverted and she keeps that fire in me burning, that I am capable of achieving more, she is my support system.

How are you running your marriage differently than how you saw your parents run theirs?

These are tough questions. [long pause]. Hmm. I have seen them work together to build themselves but our willingness to grow and explore different things together. My mom travelled a lot compared to my dad. But when my wife and I travel together, we experience new moments together that enrich our marriage. The dad I am today is 100 percent who my dad is. He is very intentional and present.

What is one place you two have gone that has stayed with you?

We travelled to Tafaria Castle and it was drama-filled. Along the route, we were cruising and had not seen any bump markings and we hit and flew. That trip inspired one of our children's names: Taji.

Is your wife your launchpad?

I believe we have been put together to enable each other to be the best version of ourselves. My dad took charge and supported my mom all through her travels—and that taught me that in any relationship, we are here to be intentional with each other and not be selfish. Determine the best working formula for your relationships. I recently read: “The voice of your marriage needs to be louder than the vice of society.” This is your relationship.

What has marriage given you—and taken from you?

Marriage is a big character developer. You will be forced to step out of your comfort zone and consider someone else’s needs before yours. Now I am more focused on even meeting my customers’ needs. Marriage has taken away my selfishness.

That’s a PC answer but okay. What did your last heartbreak teach you?

Don’t force issues. If she wants to go let her go.

And you have children?

I have twin daughters, seven years old.

As the only man in the house, what do you do just for yourself?

I have good friends, Eddy and Dan, who are my support systems. We will have a drink to just talk. But I am also big on working out, it revitalises me. I’d gym six days a week, weight training Monday to Friday and ride a stationary bike on Saturdays.

How do people show you love?

I like to give rather than receive and barely celebrate my birthdays. As a man, my life is for my family so I would rather do it for them than for me.

What is your family's weekend ritual?

Hmm. Sunday lunches somewhere. But we have to hug every morning. Even if we are mad at each other.

What’s the one thing you have carried from your childhood into adulthood?


What do you miss about your childhood?

Sleep [chuckles]. I remember closing for school holidays and my dad would always wake up early, even if not going to work. He would tell me, “Usingizi haitoshi.” (Sleep will never be enough.) Now here I am sleeping at 10 pm and up at 3 am.

What’s your favourite childlike activity to do?

I am big on animation. I love cartoons. Especially Rango. And Despicable Me.

Are you a better husband or a better father?

Depends on who you ask [chuckles]. I am a work in progress as a husband and I still have to shed a bit of selfishness. My selflessness to my children comes naturally.

You seem well put together; can one have it all?

[Long pause] Tricky question. Depends on your “all” but I believe everyone has the things they value, and if you can determine what they are and focus on them, then you can have it. My friend Eddy believes that you will suffer for the things you want.

What’s life’s simplest pleasure?

Hmm. A long, quiet drive.

What’s the soundtrack of your life?

Guts Over Fear by Eminem. The magic you are looking for is in the work you are avoiding. This reminds me of this other quote: “Procrastination is the arrogant assumption that God owes you a second chance to do what you had the chance to do today.” Your moment is today.

What have you come to terms with?

Hmm. Everything might not make sense now but with time it will.

What are you thanking yourself for?

Being consistent and my growth mindset.

Senior Talent CEO Nduati Maina

Senior Talent CEO Nduati Maina during the interview on April 16, 2024.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

What are you apologising to yourself for?

Knowing what I know now? Nothing.

What hack makes weekends better?

Haha! Accept the road trip. I permit myself to indulge on Saturdays because I dedicate myself to a strict routine from Monday to Friday. And instead of feeling guilty, it gives me motivation to stick to the routine.

Without mentioning potatoes, what food comes to mind when you think of the weekend?

I make a mean shawarma. That’s a guilty pleasure for my wife and I. Now it’s become a habit and an expectation, haha!

Who do you know that I should know?

Dan who owns Lesus Executive and has just recently launched a ride-hailing app for executive transfers and Eddie Thiong’o who is a corporate strategist—with a brilliant mind. These two challenge me.

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