BGSU alumna and Kenyan native breaking barriers as global leader in technology
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Caroline Mukiira ‘01 became the first female general manager of IBM East Africa
Since graduating from Bowling Green State University in 2001, Caroline Mukiira has become a global leader in technology, recognized for developing innovative strategies, groundbreaking products and transformational programs across numerous industries.
Caroline continues to break barriers as a woman in technology, including becoming IBM’s first female general manager in East Africa, and is now considered among the top in her field.
She has amassed an impressive list of accolades during her 20-year career in the United States and her native Kenya, tracing her success to the foundational knowledge she learned in the nationally-ranked computer science program at BGSU.
The University's program was the first of its kind in Ohio when it was established in 1969 and has built a reputation during its 50-year history of producing highly qualified graduates prepared to solve technology's biggest problems.
“The impact Bowling Green State University had on me was such a transformational experience in terms of exposing me to and giving me the tools I needed to be able to work in any high-tech-rooted firm,” she said in a video taken during BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers' visit to Kenya in May.
Recently promoted to lead client acquisition and product-led growth for IBM Middle East and Africa, Caroline has been recognized by numerous organizations for her leadership and success in technology.
She has been named by various publications as one of the Top 25 Most Influential CEOs Impacting Business, Top 20 Digital Economy Leaders, Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Kenya Impacting the C-Suite, Top 25 Women in Digital and Top 30 Women in Technology. She is also a member of the prestigious, invitation-only Forbes Technology Council, reserved for leading technology executives.
Nurturing a cross-cultural partnership
The University has been a leading educator of Kenyan students since the 1950s, with student success increasing the global visibility and value of a BGSU degree and strengthening the partnership between the University and Kenya.
In further collaboration with the African country, BGSU and Kisii University signed a memorandum of understanding in 2015 to promote joint research projects and to support faculty and student exchanges.
In 2022, BGSU collaborated with researchers at Kisii University, the Technical University of Kenya and Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) to study harmful algal blooms in Lake Victoria, a project that could uncover ways to address water quality issues in Lake Erie.
During President Rogers’ weeklong visit to Kenya in May 2023, he met with BGSU alumni and explored opportunities for additional collaboration, demonstrating the University’s commitment to deepening its relationship with Kenya to create global public good.
From BGSU to IBM
After graduating from the University in 2001, Caroline worked as a senior software developer and architect team lead at Progressive Insurance in Cleveland. She was instrumental in shaping the implementation of several groundbreaking products.
Caroline also co-founded the local Cleveland chapter of StandUp for Kids, a national nonprofit committed to ending the cycle of youth homelessness.
She graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree in general management and economics in 2010.
The following year, Caroline became the global head of operations and program management of insurance practice at Accenture, a leading global professional services company. While there, she held several leadership roles and was integral in shaping the five-year strategy for Accenture’s insurance vertical to become a $2.5 billion industry.
Caroline began her remarkable career with IBM in 2014. She started in the financial services division and then became the consulting division leader, responsible for the day-to-day operations, strategy execution and overall profit and loss of IBM’s consulting practice throughout eight countries in East Africa.
Caroline led the expansion of the IBM TradeLens blockchain business, spearheading the digitization of trade across the Middle East and Africa. In 2020, she was named general manager of IBM East Africa, the first female to hold that role.
In May 2023, Caroline began leading IBM’s new client acquisitions to grow revenue across 70 countries in the Middle East and Africa.
“This could not have happened if it were not for my computer science degree that I obtained from Bowling Green State University in 2001,” she said. “It provided me with the tools, knowledge and building blocks for my career today."
Updated: 11/14/2023 11:08AM