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Los Angeles: Joan Coraggio (Saatchi & Saatchi) & Grace Kiraguri

Our next stop in LA was to visit Saatchi & Saatchi where we met up with Emerging Leader Grace Kiraguri from Kenya and her Mentor, Joan Coraggio. During their time together, these two have learned not only business strategies and cultural differences, but the Gangnam Style dance as well!

During our day together, we toured the ESPN SportsCenter set, and participated in the live taping of a Hispanic sports program.

Grace grew up in a rural village in Kenya with 8 brothers and sisters. Growing up, she never considered herself an “athlete,” but she always enjoyed playing sports and going to school. She credits her father for building her self- confidence because he supported her in both pursuits. “My father did the opposite of what African society thought was right. He educated us all. All seven girls. And because of him, I don’t see myself as a lesser human being.”

Grace completed her MBA at the University of Nairobi, with an emphasis in Marketing. After graduation, Grace was hired as a consultant to market a large sporting event in Kenya, something she never thought possible.

Through that experience, Grace realized the potential of sports marketing as a career and launched her very own Icon Sports Marketing Corporation – quite an incredible feat for anyone, but most certainly impressive for someone who has no other female mentors in the industry.

“I had no clue how to work in sports marketing, but I did a lot of searching on the Internet. I googled as many U.S. sports marketing companies as I could find and became convinced that someone can earn a living by marketing sports. Every day, I just wake up and create my own sports packages but to talk to people who have actually done it would be so helpful.”

Due to her business success, Grace’s influence extends beyond the sports world; she has very much become the face of women entrepreneurs in Kenya and is a perfect fit for Saatchi and Saatchi. At Saatchi, Grace has learned about sponsorships, contracts, and marketing from “people who have actually done it” and done it very well.