Tell us about yourself and your professional background
My first job was at Standard Chartered Bank where I rose through the ranks to become a senior executive. I had the privilege of working in different departments of the bank and benefiting from international secondments. I also had a short stay as an expat for two years in Botswana. When I left the banking industry, I started looking for opportunities to serve as a non-executive director on the boards of organizations where I thought I could add value. Thanks to my expertise in the financial services sector, I was able to secure opportunities for companies. I currently have the privilege of serving as Chairman of the Board of Absa Bank Uganda.
What do you think of the involvement of women in the company?
Women are thriving as leaders in both entrepreneurship and the career space. With my great appetite for risk, I firmly believe in taking on challenges and realizing your full potential. We have many examples of successful women leaders in our community and therefore I believe that women should be more involved in business.
Do you think women are better managers?
From my personal experience, I had the privilege of working under female managers who contributed significantly to my professional and personal growth. I believe that women have great management potential because of the different roles they play in society. However, grooming and coaching are also necessary to harness its natural abilities to become a more effective and balanced leader. Self-awareness is also essential and I encourage all women to be more self-aware to identify their strengths and weaknesses for the benefit of personal development.
How can women better realize their potential in business management?
We should not be afraid to take new risks and challenges, explore creative solutions or business offerings that help us stand out. We must also realize that employing the right people with the right skills and playing an active role in the growth and development of a team are very critical to our success. I owe a lot of my success as a leader to the amazing people I’ve worked with.
There is strength in working together and bringing together the unique abilities of diverse people to achieve a common goal.
How can women find a balance between career and business?
There is the common myth that we all have to run businesses alongside our careers. However, not all of us are entrepreneurs and that’s normal.
Many members of our community pursue activities alongside their careers to seek additional income opportunities.
However, there are other options for earning passive income such as considering investing in government securities such as treasury bills and bonds, stocks, to name a few. For those who have a passion for pursuing business alongside their career, my advice would be to employ the right professionals and the right people to help you run your business.
We often can’t do it all, however, with the right people who can implement your vision, you can run a successful business.
What are some of the challenges that hinder women’s participation in business?
The disproportionate burden of household responsibilities and care. This has been made even more evident by the pandemic, especially with the concept of working from home.
Data analysis reveals that school closures during the pandemic have been one of the main reasons why women have reduced their working hours and work participation, as childcare responsibilities make them more difficult. are still primarily incumbent. Women juggled household and caregiving responsibilities with work or professional responsibilities, which was quite overwhelming for many.
How can they best be treated?
Women in Uganda are very entrepreneurial and this is reflected in the fact that 40% of business owners are women, mostly informal sector micro-enterprises (UBOS 2020). To address these challenges, we must support the sustainable growth of women-owned businesses and reduce the rate of business failure.
This can be achieved by reducing the knowledge gap by equipping women with the skills to manage and grow their businesses.
I am proud of the progress made through various initiatives whose main objective is capacity building, training and professional support to new and existing SMEs in Uganda.
We also need to address the burden of household responsibilities through initiatives such as employer-provided childcare, for example the provision of breastfeeding rooms to enable motherhood while women remain productive at work. This is initial progress and I expect a lot more.
How can women break down the prejudice that limits their participation in business?
Ongoing efforts to learn skills that will expand your knowledge base. The learning never stops and we must continue to expand our knowledge to develop a competitive advantage. This can be done by looking for mentoring opportunities so you can learn from those who have succeeded.
We need to be financially self-sufficient so that we can learn to manage money better. Women can empower themselves to manage their money effectively and build wealth by focusing on financial literacy, paying off debt, and creating an emergency fund.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Be resilient, a team player and never stop learning. This was given to me by Christopher Marimanya, who was then Head of Administration and Human Resources at Standard Chartered Bank Uganda.
What are your career growth tips?
Young people, especially those who aspire to grow up, need to be more curious.
They should be more aware of the opportunities in their work environment and never stop learning.
They need to arm themselves with the right skills at all times, either by pursuing training on their own initiative or by seeking additional training opportunities offered by the employer.
They should respect their supervisors, care for their colleagues and show compassion, especially if they aspire to leadership, integrity, humility and honesty.
On a lighter note, if you had to change careers, what would you do?
A career in banking was never something I envisioned for myself or even at the pinnacle of careers I wanted to pursue. However, the first female leadership team I worked with as an intern changed my perspective.
Their kindness and good advice led me to pursue a career in the banking sector, which I appreciated, as evidenced by the 21 years of working in the bank. Even years later, I was still pursuing a career in banking.
I exercise by walking and dancing, singing and going on family vacations.