Jaine Mwai of Standard Chartered becomes first woman to win CIO of the Year Award

Jaine Mwai, the CIO at Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, has become the first woman to be voted CIO of the Year at the annual CIO100 Symposium and Awards organised by CIO East Africa and held in Naivasha.

The CIO100 Symposium and Awards are aimed to acknowledge excellence in the adoption and use of IT within organisations – whether large or small, government or private – and appreciate the brilliant minds building products and solutions that responded to business needs and objectives.

(TOP: Jaine Mwai, winner of CIO of the Year Award 2020).

This year’s CIO100 Symposium and Awards, held from November 19 – 20, 2020, sought to recognise excellence in the adoption and use of ICT, awarding both the organisation and the Chief Information Officer (CIO), or an equivalent in the organisation.

The accolade is given from CIOs and representatives of organisations from East Africa region. In 2019, James Kizza, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of IT at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) was voted as the winner of the CIO of the Year Award for his crucial role in the trail-blazing digital development of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

This year’s winner, Jaine Mwai, is described on the Standard Chartered website as “a dedicated and committed professional with over 22 years of experience working in Technology.”

“She has worked in the Bank for 20 years in various roles with experience gained working in and with other countries across Africa. She has deep experience in project planning and execution, leading multi-functional and multi-cultural teams to exceed objectives Prior to this appointment she was the Country Technology Manager, Kenya & East Africa Head of Program and Change Management. Jaine holds a Graduate Diploma in Accounting from Mc Gill University and BA in Economics from University of Guelph. She is also a Graduate of the Female Future Leadership Development Program by Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE),” states her profile on the Bank’s website.

Mwai has made history as the first-ever woman to win this award in the 12-year history of the East African CIO 100 Symposium and Awards. She was announced as the winner by the CIO100 Awards Founder and CIO East Africa Chairman and Publisher Harry Hare.

Mwai bested her peers, accomplished applicants who were shortlisted from over 300 to the highly acclaimed 100, hence CIO100. Some of the very interesting projects handled complex situations such as telemedicine, use of chatbots and AI, as well as the digitisation of the customer service experience.

These are projects that fit in seamlessly with the universal customer experience during COVID-19 times by placing the customer at the centre of the solutions. Mwai not only pulled ahead with the judges, but she was also nominated by the CIOs themselves as the leader of the pack.

“Each year we see the spirit of positive competitiveness amongst senior IT professionals. This year is unique in that we have our first ever female CIO winning this award. We are very proud of Jaine Mwai and acknowledge her contribution to the technology industry and community,” said Andrew Karanja, Director, CIO East Africa.

The East Africa CIO of the Year Award shows appreciation to top CIOs, granting them much-deserved recognition. Standard Chartered Bank, Kenya, has made technological strides that have driven the business value upwards. Famously known as Stanchart, they have been awarded the Banking Sector Award for the 2nd year in a row.

Mwai heads the Bank’s technology department that has achieved prolific status in the tech industry and community through the use of innovative technology. CIOs are increasingly forming an elite group of IT professionals creating a competitive advantage in their organisations.

This, in turn, improves business processes that enable growth and improve relationships with customers who grow savvier with each passing moment. The winners are chosen by a team of external judges, a number of whom are CIOs themselves, on their use of cutting-edge technology that produces measurable results. The CIO of the Year Award has over the years become a most coveted award that signifies the mark of enterprise excellence.

Another big winner of the night was Faith Muricho, the Senior Technical Support Specialist, ABSA Bank, Kenya. Not only did she scoop the inaugural HerNovation Woman in Tech Leadership Award. ABSA Bank, under her care, also won the Special Recognition Award aka Business Transformation Award for successfully, and seamlessly, leading the change from Barclays Bank of Kenya (BBK) to Absa Bank, Kenya.

The Awards target the East African region with submissions and winners from Uganda (Ministry of Works, Uganda) and Tanzania (Azampay Ltd.). Kenya led with their submissions, nominations and wins. Notable companies include Bidco Refineries, KenGen, Absa and Kenya Tea Packers (KETEPA).

“This year, we have seen very interesting submissions making the selection process particularly stiff. 2020 will be known as the year technology was specifically applied in keeping with the needs of customers with quite a number of the top projects addressing a seamless and superior customer experience,” said Karanja.

The CIO100 Awards were preceded by a two-day virtual symposium that brought together hundreds of senior IT professionals. Over 30 C-Level speakers were lined up to speak at the annual Symposium where the use cases were shared. The engaging conversations revolved around IT Leadership, The Future of Work, Customer Experience, Lessons From The Pandemic, IoT, Data Protection Law, 5G, AI and RegTech.

Here is the list of the top winners:


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