Top 40 Women Under 40 2015: How we picked them

Some of the Top 40 Under 40 Women 2015. From left, Judith Mwangi (Avril), Musician; Janet Mbugua-Ndichu, Senior TV Anchor, Citizen TV; and Linda Kamau, Senior software developer, Ushahidi and Akirachix. PHOTOS | FILE

What you need to know:

Highlights of key stories

  • Mentors are often the missing link between promising start-ups and great companies
  • Profiles of Kenya’s Top 40 Women Under 40 2015

  • Gender differences related to how brains are wired

BD can report that the search for this year’s Top 40 Under 40 Women, was one of the most thrilling.

The campaign was better energised, the technology supporting online nomination worked without the glitches that have characterised past editions and the response was overwhelming—culminating to nearly 400 candidates.

Even more fulfilling was the fact that less than five per cent of the nominations were past laureates looking for a second stab at the listing.

Looking at the professional and social backgrounds of the 367 candidates, one does get the idea that all facets of the Kenyan society are alive and productive.

The freshness of the candidates and their outstanding contributions to the segments of the economy that make Kenya does inspire confidence in the fact that the country is on the path of progress despite the many challenges.

This year’s judges were meticulous, diligent and overly inquisitive as they undertook the task of picking the Top 40 women.

It did not help that BD had presented them with a list of 367 candidates from which only 40 were needed. The selection process was also informed by the recent social media outrage at the discovery that a past nominee had been busted as having serious integrity issues.

But still the selection process kept the spirit and the faith of the survey — resisting the temptation of making it merely an annual parade of the best known, most prominent or most influential young women in Kenya today. Freshness of a candidate in their area of operation was a big score for each candidate. Ingenuity, performance and durability were big winners for those in contention.

We have as is the tradition verified each candidate’s age (and dropped some in the last minute who proved difficult with it), interrogated information offered on the nomination forms as to the size or scope of the nominee’s achievements as well as assessed the competitive landscape of the segment of the economy in which these companies or businesses sit.

Women occupying senior positions in companies with a multinational reach scored higher marks than those in charge of national/local agencies.

In this list are also professionals such as lawyers, architects, and partners in accounting firms and doctors, included purely on the basis of the work they have done.

The Top 40 Under 40 project has also awarded high marks to women who have excelled in emerging sectors such as social enterprise. Enjoy.

Ochieng’ Rapuro, Managing Editor

Here is the full list of women who made it to Business Daily's 2015 ranks of Top 40 Under 40, arranged in descending order of age:

  • Sapna Chandaria, 39, Commercial Director at Mondeas Ltd

  • Muthoni Kanyana, 38, Head of Marketing, Imperial Bank

  • Elizabeth Gathai, 38, Director Credit at Equity Bank

  • Caroline Mugo, 38, Head of Finance, Bunge East Africa

  • Jane Okoth, 38, founder, Rapunzel Hair Affair salon

  • Joyce Ng’ang’a, 37, Partner, Coulsom Harney

  • Katherine Mung’au, 36, director, Beglin Woods Architects

  • Amelia Omollo, 36, Project manager 777 and 767 aircraft, Kenya Airways

  • Evelyn Watta, 35, interim Sec-General, International Sports Press Association

  • Diana Situma, 35, Partner Walker Kontos Advocates

  • Priya Budhabhatti, 35, Co-Founder/Human Resource Director, Craft Silicon Ltd

  • Susan Kabue-Gitahi, 35, Owner of Image 360 Designs

  • Catherine Karita, 34, Head of NIC Securities

  • Rachel Muthoga, 34, Executive Director, Moving the Goalposts Kilifi

  • Dr Shikoh Gitau-Nyaga, 34, Techpreneur, African Development Bank

  • Monica Kambo, 34, Managing Director, MEC Africa

  • Waithera Ng'ang'a, 34, CEO of Marketing Society of Kenya

  • Dr Lillian Osamong, 34, Chairman, Kenya Medical Research Institute

  • Sapna Shah, 34, Investment director, Novastar Ventures

  • Dr Kizzie Shako, 33, Senior Forensic Medical Officer, Kenya Police & University of Nairobi

  • Nelly Gatonye, 33, founder, Pearl of Hope

  • Catherine Gitonga, 33, CEO at Scars to Scars Foundation

  • Rose Ntong'ondu, 33, CEO/Founder of Make-up by Rose

  • Rose Kinuthia, 33, Director Product Dev & Strategy (Africa Subs), TransUnion

  • Diana Okello, 32, founder, My Dress, My Choice

  • Charlene Jadeya, 32, Group Risk Manager, Centum

  • Cecilia Mwangi, 31, cofounder Ahadi Kenya Trust

  • Janet Mbugua-Ndichu, 31, Senior TV Anchor, Citizen TV

  • Rachna Patel, 31, Solar Kiosk

  • Sitawa Wafula, 30, Founding Executive Director of My Mind, My Funk

  • Judith Mwangi (Avril), 29, Musician

  • Linda Kamau, 29, Senior software developer, Ushahidi and Akirachix

  • Hilda Moraa, 26, Country Head, Enterprise Liquidity Solutions AFB

  • Helen Njoroge, 26, founder,

  • Elizabeth Marami, 26, Marine Pilot, Kenya Ports Authority

  • Peggy Mativo, 26, founder of PACE Kenya

  • Jacqueline Kamau, 24, Aerospace Project Engineer, Denis Ferranti Meters Ltd

  • Patricia Andago, 23, founder of

  • Wangechi Mwangi, 22, CEO of Valuraha Group

  • June Syowia, 20, social entrepreneur, Mustard Seed Organisation

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.