Dr Marisella Ouma (2010)
Dr Marisella Ouma studied her PhD at CCLS and is one of the leading Intellectual Property Law experts in Africa. She is now the Head of Legal at the Central Bank of Kenya. Dr Ouma shares her profile on International Women’s Day.
What are you doing now in your profession?
I am currently the Head of Legal at the Central Bank of Kenya, in Nairobi Kenya. I have previously worked as the Deputy Solicitor General in charge of Legal Advisory and Research as well as the founding Executive Director of the Kenya Copyright Board.
How did studying at CCLS help you in your career?
The PhD programme was definitely a game changer in my career. I not only got the opportunity to get the PhD but also enhance my research skills which have been invaluable in terms of career growth and opportunities. As a doctoral candidate, I had very good supervisors, met and interacted with the top academics especially in the field of Copyright and related rights. This was through seminars and workshops at Queen Mary and other top universities in the United Kingdom.
I built wonderful networks from all over the world as well as strong and lasting friendships. Sharing of knowledge through teaching and publications is very important and I have managed to publish widely during and after my studies at CCLS as well as teach and supervise students at different levels of their tertiary education in Kenya and other countries.
It offered me the flexibility in terms of the work that I can do, including research and assignments for various bodies at the national regional and international level such as: the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the United Nations Development Program, the International Telecommunications Union, the Communications Authority of Kenya and the International Publishers Association, to name a few.
I can proudly say that when I competed my studies, I came back home to Kenya and established the Kenya Copyright Board and was the Executive Director and also one of the main Copyright Experts in Africa.
Do you have any fond memories of your time at CCLS?
Interaction with the professors, including my supervisors Professor Uma Suthersanen and Professor Graham Dutfield. My fondest memory is of the times we spent discussing various issues with the late Prof Adrian Sterling both on and off campus. I also treasure the times spent with other PhD candidates at the Barbican campus, including the lunches on the lawn, to name a few.
Do you have any recommendations for other women studying for a postgraduate degree?
Focus. One needs to be focused and willing to take up challenges. The opportunities are there and it is up to us as women to seize them and make the best out of them. Follow your heart and strive for excellence in whatever you do. Build strong networks during your studies.
Do you have message for women reading the article on International Women’s Day?
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we need to remember that life owes us no favours and need to seize the opportunities when they arise, if not, we should create them and learn to think without the box!