Interview: Rita Okuthe Talks About Her Journey To The Top And Safaricom’s Investment In Women’s Leadership

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This year’s theme for International Women’s Day – Balance for Better is not a one-off but an annual push to increase the percentage of women in all spheres. In last year’s Sustainability report, Safaricom indicated they’re looking to 2020 to have a 50% split of women in Senior Management. In terms of empowerment, Safaricom has done a lot to empower its female employees. Some of the ways they have done this include having creche facilities and breastfeeding station for working mothers as well as having a longer maternity leave for women, and flexi working hours for mothers with small children. Safaricom Gains Recognition For Its Mother-Friendly Working Conditions

Ms Rita Okuthe – The Chief Enterprise Business Officer, is one of the women in Executive leadership and hence can provide key insights in her own story and Safaricom’s plan to achieve the above target.

Tell us a little about yourself

When I was growing up, I was not a very confident girl. I grew up in a blended family which can be very tough. I learnt from a very early age that you have to stand up and fight for yourself.

I think that growing up in rather difficult circumstances builds resilience. This I think is extremely important for women who come into the corporate world because contrary to what everybody thinks, you will make mistakes and some mistakes will be epic.  You need to learn to get up and dust yourself off.

Despite my self-doubt, I was always perceived as the leader of the group and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I was quite aggressive. I found myself naturally always being appointed to positions of leadership that I didn’t feel qualified for or I didn’t feel like I deserved.

How did you end up doing what you do? Is this what you studied?

Based on where I come from, our parents had a firm belief that the only people who mattered were people who took professional courses like engineering, medicine or law. I was brought up to be a lawyer and it was not a subject for discussion. So, I knew I was going to do law all through school until A levels.

After A levels while waiting to join university, I managed to get an internship doing advertising and marketing at McCann Erickson.  I really enjoyed it.  Then I had to go to university to study law. I went for my first 2 lectures and realized law was not for me. I decided to do marketing even though I knew my father would not approve. I couldn’t get into marketing because there were no available spaces. But I was told if I was interested, I could do a B. A. in Economics and I registered for that. That was the first time in my life that I stood up for myself, to be honest and stepped out of the shadow of everybody’s expectations. Of course, I didn’t tell my father and for months he was out there thinking I’m doing law.

When I finally broke the news to him, of course, he didn’t speak to me for a while. My father was very very angry. He told me “I raised you to be a lawyer now your going to do a bachelor of anything and be a nothing.”

That motivated me. I told myself I wasn’t going to be a nothing. I did fairly well, and I even got a sponsorship to study at the London School of Economics. When I finished campus in 1993, I started to do marketing. Telco did not exist in the way it does today. Phones were very expensive at the time, only for the rich so the short answer is no I didn’t plan to be in telco.

I first started off in agencies. I worked for Group Africa which is now EXP as an account executive. I remember my brands were Dettol, JIK, Harpic, basically Reckitt Colman brands. I spent a lot of time on the road doing activations, dancing on top of the promotions truck and also going from shop to shop doing shop audits.

So, first of all, I think my message is start with what you have. Right now, a lot of young people want to be CEO and think it will happen in an instant. That’s where I started. One of my clients picked me from agency side and I went to Eveready as the brand manager for Energizer for East Africa.  In the process of going around East Africa, I ended up in Uganda, I met a gentleman called Eric who offered me a position in MTN. By that time, I had a phone. He offered me a job in MTN as a Communications Manager and that’s how I got into the telco industry. I worked for MTN for about ten years then I thought you know I should take a break and start my own business. I was a complete disaster, and I realized some of us work better as employees. Then I did a bit of a stint with Etisalat in Tanzania and then I came to Safaricom.

So, it’s been quite a journey. People might think you just blew up, but you didn’t.  You put in the time!

Yes, I have. I started in the trenches.  I remember going to markets like Kikuyu and Kapsoit. Sometimes we would be in the middle of nowhere and we would be hustling to get a crowd for the roadshow because you have to get a crowd. It was tough. I would have to get up on top of the truck and we would sleep at the back of the truck as we travelled. Well when I look back now, I think it was tough but then I was having a good time. At least I was away from home, from dad so I was quite happy.

You have to put in the hours. Even when I started in cellular, I didn’t start off as even a head of department, I started off as a communications manager. I was in lower tier middle management. When the opportunity to be a marketing manager came up, I took it. The role combined communications and marketing both products and services. Fortunately, Uganda was the first country where MTN had started a marketing unit outside of South Africa.

Every time they acquired a new license outside of the country, they’d send us off to get started. Because of that and the fact I spoke French, I travelled quite a little bit around Africa. I got to see the best and the worst in Africa.  I mean it’s not always luxurious in a hotel, sometimes I would get a room with a huge cockroach or a huge rat in the bathroom, but we had to continue.

I am curious did your father ever tell you he was proud of you?

Yes. He’s extremely proud of my achievements.  He can’t stop talking about how proud he is of me.

 

 

 

What does your current job entail?

I am the Chief Enterprise Business Officer. I look after Safaricom’s business customers who are basically corporate customers. Now we define corporate as customers who have employees of a thousand or more and who are engaged in fairly complex businesses. There are about 1719 of them in Kenya. Then I also engage with the Central Government, county governments, SMEs and I work with Masoko. Originally, we were selling them telecom services but two years ago we changed our vision. What we have said is we want to do is to digitize Kenya by making sure you can get services on a feature phone.

As a team, we try to enhance our customers’ businesses and make them more digital in a very Kenyan way, in a way that is relevant to them. I wake up thinking every day how I can transform businesses and how can I transform their customers so that I make their journeys simpler.

Can you please talk about some of the challenges you have gone through as a woman climbing up the ladder?

I think I’ll give you the challenges, but I also think I’ll give you the upside. The main challenge I think is an unconscious bias that women are not as good as men. I think that is what I have faced from the outside. People will assume that because I am a woman, I probably won’t know my stuff as well as I should. But then why I say it’s both a challenge and a great opportunity is because then I also find that if you are a woman who has done her background work, knows her stuff and speaks sense then you get a lot of respect.

You overcome challenges by coming to the room prepared. When I’m mentoring a young woman, who says she wants to be the C.E.O of an N.S.E listed company I say great.  Then I ask “do you know how to read a financial statement? Okay, what is EBITDA?” If you can’t explain to me what EBITDA is, I don’t care how well you speak or how good you look, you’ll never be a C.E.O because as a C.E.O you need to understand financial statements and you need to understand what makes the business tick.

You need to put in the extra effort. A lot of women ask, “why do we need to put in the extra effort?” You know it’s just what it is. So, you can either put in the extra effort or sit on the sidelines and complain forever. But if you put in the extra effort, you read, you understand, and when you are supposed to speak up, you speak up respectfully, then you will get ahead.

Because as a woman you bring a lot with feminine instinct. When you bring it into a business, you bring quite a bit because you know sometimes, men have a lot of ego. Sometimes, they need that softer side to say can we hold the decision for a day or two. Why? It’s okay to say I’m not sure but something just doesn’t seem right to me.

The second thing that we bring is immense attention to detail. You know men just spring over the facts. In a business like telco, the devil is always in the details. That’s is why you find that women do very well in telco businesses, in marketing and sales roles because their attention to detail is important. Also, in roles where there is a lot of processes required you find women do really well because we bring our natural selves.

The other thing that I say to women is don’t try and be a man. You’re a woman, embrace your femininity. Be proud of it. Bring what you have to the table but come prepared. Don’t come half prepared and hope that the world will hand you a silver platter, it won’t. I believe totally that women should be given equal opportunities as men and I stress equal because I don’t believe in tokenism. Because tokenism is giving a woman a job because she’s a woman. It’s a big mistake because if she’s not a qualified woman, you actually derail the total cause. There are people waiting for you to fail.

It’s up to us as women to show that we are as good if not better than the next guy. I think the quicker we women realize that the better for us. Right now, we have an opportunity with the gender rule. We have a lot of women in parliament and in the county assemblies. What are they doing with those positions? What example are they setting? Because you see if we use that opportunity well, we will have more women on board but if they squander that opportunity then what happen? Kenyans start saying we are not so sure about why we should have women in leadership. So it’s important that as a woman when you get a position, you remember that for every woman who has a position there, there are 10000 women who are relying on you to make good of that position so that they have an opportunity and so that women are well spoken of.

Doesn’t that feel like extra pressure because you don’t speak for all women? You put in the work. You were willing to go through the trenches and you have excelled. But someone else is going to look at you and think Rita made it so I should but they don’t want to do the work.

I think every woman has the right to choose the kind of life she wants to live. The C Suite is not for everyone. There are some women who are comfortable being housewives, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong in that. I think we should applaud them because it takes as much to be a housewife as it does to sit in this office. It’s a hard job. There are some women who are quite happy to stop at the entry level because their priorities are different. They want to look after their families. I think it’s important for us in the workplace to recognize that and allow women the time that they need to look after their children without negatively impacting their career.

Are there sacrifices to be made to get to the C suite? There are.  Is every woman prepared to make that sacrifice? I don’t think so. But we should encourage more of them to get to the C Suite. We should create an environment where if a woman comes to work with her baby, it’s not a big deal. You know an office where I can have my baby here with me or I can work from home. Because I don’t necessarily need to be in the office. The idea that we can only work while we are seated in an office room defeats the purpose of technology because technology means you can work anywhere, anytime. So work is a space, not a place.

But having said that, I think the onus is also on us as women who have reached the top to put the ladder back down for other women to climb up. We have improved in this area, but we don’t do this as well as the men. Men are very good at networking outside of work. As women, it’s not that we are not good at networking, but because we have a family to take care of, we want to go home to cook for the kids or check their homework. We don’t have the time to go and play golf for five hours. What other mechanisms can we set up so that we are able to network, support each other and create a support system? Because men have a very strong solid support system.

Is it also because women are not very aggressive? Women will attend networking events, but they won’t be pushy about following up necessarily. They are too polite.

I would say yes and no. A lot of it has to do with our upbringing and our social construct where women in a lot of cultures were taught to be quiet and to be submissive. There’s nothing wrong with that in the home context. But when it comes to work, the women’s number one issue that we face is not aggression, I think it is confidence. As a woman, you want to have everything 100% right before you move. We have a checklist of items to tick before taking up an opportunity. So, at work, when an opportunity arises, it’s like you have boxes to check. Do I have this? Do I have that?

That is why when an opportunity comes up when a man is 30% ready, he’ll put up his hand. For women, we need to ask ourselves a series of questions and that holds us back. You will find that when a man has 50% or even 70% of the competence that a woman has, he’ll put up his hand. A woman will put up her hand when we are 110% confident that this one, I’m going to ace it. But you see life is not like that. When opportunities come your way, there’s nobody whose 100% prepared. Even when you look at the people who run the world, non of them are 100% prepared.

So, there’s also an opportunity for us as women to gain more confidence in ourselves and in our abilities because you know as women, we are really good. Let me tell you if you give a job to a woman, they’ll dot all the Is and cross all the Ts. It will be better done than a man. Neatly done and they won’t leave a mess behind. We are quite focused in that way. But we need to build our confidence.

When I work with young women, what I really do is build their confidence. They come to me saying there is this interview coming up and I don’t know what to do.  I say what do you mean you don’t know what to do. It’s the same job you’ve been doing for years. What’s so difficult about it?  When you break it down like that, they realize that actually they already have the skills.

Speaking up is another thing woman don’t do often enough in a meeting. It has happened to me. You sit in a meeting and you have the solution when people are brainstorming but you keep quiet. Then a man gives out the solution and he is the hero. You’ll be thinking I should have said that. That’s why I tell women to speak up.

Women also wallow too much in their mistakes. You may have messed up, but you need to move on from it.  Learn from the mistakes you make.

The reason we don’t push is that we are not confident. We are always thinking about what we don’t know or what we don’t have. Start with what you have. How do guys get meetings? Networking. So yes, who do you know? I always tell women that’s it’s very important to be nice to everybody.

But what if because you are nice, you get treated as a doormat?

They may perceive you like that, but you can also stand up very quietly and very firmly. The issue is not about being nice but being courteous. Because you never know who you’ll need and at what time. Sometimes you only need that person once. If you treat them badly, they will remember it for the rest of their lives. I assure you people never forget. Now you may never know if one day this is the person you will out in front of an interview, or the person who has the decision between these are the last two candidates, what do you think?

As a woman going up the corporate ladder, I think you need to remember that you carry the name of the brand with you and you also carry to a certain extent the reputation of women with you. We have a responsibility as women to carry ourselves in a way that brings, dignity to womanhood and brings dignity to women leaders. We are not in any way saying don’t live your life and don’t do your stuff. Everybody has got stuff that they do behind doors. Do it behind doors. You don’t need to show it to the whole world.

I think there’s also that part of responsibility where we say when you are in public how do you behave? Because that has an impact not just on your brand, but because we are at this tipping point in our society, you don’t want people saying “ah it’s because she is a woman” because invariably, that is what will be said. A man can do the same thing, but nobody will say, it’s because he is a man. But when you do it, they say it’s because she’s a woman. Now because we are conscious of that, I’m not saying pretend, but I’m saying be aware that if you are a senior leader, you are in a privileged position and therefore, everybody is watching your every move. It doesn’t mean you will not make mistakes, we all do.

What is Safaricom doing to ensure that you meet your goal of having women as 50% of Senior management up from the current 32% for senior management and 25% for executive management by 2020? First of all, is this goal realist?

I think it’s realistic.  Let me break it down for you. We have the senior leadership team which is the executive team. There are 3 women out of 9, so that is 30%. We just need one more woman… Then you got the next band which is the F-band which is where we don’t do too well. The HOD band, the head of department band, is the pivot point because that is where the women are deciding, “am I ready to make the sacrifices to get to the top?” When you get further down in the bands you find there actually there are more women than men.

So, it’s about making sure that more women are prepared to rise. It is not that they are not capable, but are they prepared to rise? So, the question that we as senior leaders or women in the organization can ask ourselves is how can we make it easier for these women to rise? Sometimes it is to show them that being vulnerable is okay. Last year I was unwell, and in the process of my recovery, I came to the office not because I was feeling great but because I wanted people to see that you can be vulnerable, and you can survive. It doesn’t take anything away from you. A lot of women have come to me and said you know you really inspired me. Now I know that you can be vulnerable.

It is okay to show that you are vulnerable. Because you are human. I think a lot of young women look at us and they think I have to be a superwoman to be there. Actually, no you don’t. We need to show that more human side of ourselves, that we make mistakes, that we go through issues with our children and we have issues at home.

It’s more about how you overcome them and in line with the theme for this year’s women’s day “balance is better”.  So how do I create that balance at home? Because again as a woman I think we must never forget that as much as we want to say whatever we want to say, God created us in a way that we are relationship-centered. Men are work centred.

If your core relationships are not in order your world will in disarray. If your romantic or social relationships are not working, you become a wreck. For men it’s different. A man gets affected when he loses a sales deal. You will notice when a man doesn’t have a job his confidence is at all-time low. You have to understand that when you are a woman in leadership, your intimate close relationships are so fundamental to your wellbeing. Who do you let into your inner circle? Because that can literally make you or break you. I always tell women in leadership, your inner circle you need to sort that out because if you don’t, you’ll come to the office and be a moody boss, all that stuff that women talk about.

If you are settled in your core close relationships then you will have confidence and peace because you are not coming to the office to look for affirmation. Because you are settled you are not petty or vindictive. So that relationship space is very important. You need to examine your core inner circle. Your significant other and your female friends, who are they? Are you around people who are forcing you to level up and really level up or are you just around people who all you do is sit around and talk about people? If you are with those kinds of people you’re not going to grow.

What are the measures that Safaricom is putting in to ensure that this realistic goal happens?

I said number one is us as women leaders doing some executive coaching which Safaricom has paid for. You have to coach others not to direct and there is a difference. So, coaching the executive leadership is very important. Each of us has a target within our organization, to get a certain number of women. How do you coach those women to get those positions? Do you hire or do you promote? How do you go about it to really get those positions? That’s the first thing.

I think the second thing which I think we are very fortunate in that we’ve got a group of men in Safaricom who really believe in women. Starting with our CEO. I mean I always make a joke of it to Bob Collymore after he stands to announces the results. I say “but you know it’s the women who did it”. Because two of the business units, the revenue delivery units, are led by women. But you see it takes a man who has confidence in women to put women there in the first place. Because it would’ve been very easy for him to put a guy there but having put us as women there, we’ve also then proved our worth by continuously delivering results.   I think also the environment that is created by men in leadership and by the men around us is also very important. Now as we push for women, it’s very important that we don’t forget the men. Because men also bring quite a bit.

What is the balance?  I think that is where we are now. What is the balance that we need to strike at different levels? Definitely, we need more women in senior positions. What do we do to make life easier for women in senior positions? Can you work from home? Can you work from wherever you are? Can you work on some days and not come in on others?  We have created flexi hours so that women can be able to do all the things they need to do at work and at home. We’ve got a creche where you can come and put your baby while you work. But is it enough?

The third thing is just taking women through what they need to succeed. We’ve got classes, coaches and people who teach you on how you compose yourself, how to speak, how to dress so that you create that self-confidence from within. That is vitally important. If you have a room full of confident women, we can change the world. The difference between confidence and the lack of it is very little. You know for women, it’s the little things that we take as big things that make us not confident like our physical appearance. So how do you get over the fact that your physical appearance or lack thereof does not define who you are, it contributes but it doesn’t define who you are.

 

 

So how do we build confidence in women at the workplace?

I often give women in my team tasks that they think they cannot do. That’s a very important way of building confidence. Then I help them on that journey because guess what once they have done that their confidence levels become higher and they can do more complex tasks.

So, with the senior managers that is what we are doing. Giving them more complex tasks, because women do that very well. We know how to do things without a playbook. You know when there’s no chartered path we create one. That’s the beautiful thing about women. So, number one is working together, raising the confidence of women and also equipping women with the skills that they need to be senior leaders. Because there are certain skills that you need.

Tell us more about the Safaricom Annual Women in Leadership program.  Is that the one you were talking about?

Yes, it’s the one we were talking about. We also pick our women leaders and take them through training. What we do is every year, we sit down as an executive team and we map out our women talent. We put the talented women through an executive training process at Strathmore which is paid for by Safaricom. They’ve got a course for women in leadership and then internally we also accelerate them.

What does that mean? That means if opportunities arise that they are capable of we put them in those opportunities. Even though, remember we are talking about capable of, so it’s about capability not necessarily demonstrated efficiency. If they’re capable of doing it, we put them in those positions in terms of potential and then we help them. We walk them on that journey. That’s all the women in leadership programme is all about.

How long has the programme been running? what are the results you’ve seen since it started?

The programme is now in its 4th year. We have seen an increase of women at senior management level, Head of Departments and SOT. At the senior management level, we are actually at a tipping point, 51% women and 49% men which I think is very good. Now the transition into heads of departments, there we are not doing so well. About 30-40% female and the rest are males. But when we started out that number was much lower, it was about 20% so we are making progress, I don’t think it is a journey that’s overnight, but we will get there.

Remember there’s also the aspect of retention. The other thing that we try and do is to make sure that we don’t lose any senior female leaders. If you do it’s a big hit on your number. But sometimes you can’t help but lose them. You know like I lost one of my senior leaders, Agnes Gathaiya but I couldn’t stop her. She was going to become CEO of PesaLink which is a fantastic opportunity.

If somebody asked why Safaricom is spending all this money on these women, how do you justify it? Has it increased productivity and profitability? As in how do we measure it that more women becoming leaders has made Safaricom a better company.

I think our results speak for themselves, but also scientific studies also show it.  Forbes the other day did a study that shows that successful companies have more women in their ranks than men do. When you look at it from a business standpoint, do you perform better as a business? Yes, you do. Because you have all the quality and detail checks, you have the ability to sell and you have the ability to negotiate. Women are very good negotiators.

But why is it that women can be good negotiators, but they are not good at negotiating their salary, negotiating raises and promotions?

I come back with that issue of confidence. I tell women throughout the year, write what you have done and then tell your own story. The day before you go for your appraisal, also prepare. Because if you walk in prepared and say this is what I’ve done for the company, these are the revenues I have brought, and this is the money I have saved you and therefore on that basis, I need a raise, you will most likely get it, especially if your boss is a man. Because men work on facts. But we have to go in prepared with our confidence brought up.

I also tell women the moment you are promoted into a new role to be very careful that you don’t look overwhelmed. You know as women when we are promoted into a new role we are so busy trying to do the job and we can end look run down. I always say be very careful. In the season of promotion, you got to keep it together. Because if you don’t the guys will think maybe we are stressing her, maybe this thing is too much for her, so they give you less and less because you look stressed.

So, we also keep out an eye for women who have just been promoted. We help them and say this is now the time to really spruce up your game. Go to the spa, get yourself organized and look the part. But you were asking me what the impact was, we digressed. So of course, there’s the impact on the results, there’s the impact on a better working environment.

Explain that?

You see women by nature diffuse tension. We don’t like it when people are not talking. We create a conducive working environment where we create more partnerships and more understanding as opposed to men who can be very aggressive and abrasive.  So that’s the other benefit.

The fourth benefit that women bring which is so important is an eye for social corporate investments. Because women are always thinking about what can I do to help society. When you have more women, you find that your CSI initiatives are actually more in tune with the people and make a fundamental difference. You know as women we can do things that men can’t. I can walk into a maternity ward and you know maternal health is one of the big issues we face in this country. Men will not be as comfortable.

WE ARE THE SOUL OF THE COMPANY. I think that is why Safaricom may come off as a bit aggressive, but you know everybody knows that Safaricom has a heart for Kenya and that it would go down with Kenya. The last man standing, that would be Safaricom. The reason why is because we have more women.

Women are long term thinkers. This is one of the reasons you find now that the government is putting more and more women on parastatal boards. A woman will not make a decision just for today. She will think about the impact on future generations and her children.  We have a stakeholder cohort that is quite important to us and we are not going to mess it up with one decision. In fact, sometimes you will delay the decision or make the decision in a different way just to make sure you will not hurt people.

Accommodation. The moment we have more women you are likely to have a company that lasts for the long term. Because we are not thinking about today’s revenue, we are thinking about how this company will survive 50 years from now. What more can we do to appeal to the soul of Kenyans? The man will go after the hard numbers, the woman will say okay, so what’s the soul? What touches Kenyans? Water, health, education, these little things that will transform Kenyans lives.

 

 

What motivates you? You’ve talked about negative self-talk already so how do you deal with it?

I am a very spiritual person and that helps me stay grounded. It helps you to refine issues that are complex. Spiritually helps you to have a moral compass that determines for you what is wrong and what is right. And above all else, it helps you to be at peace with certain things because things will happen to you in life things that you cannot explain. I think what motivates me is that spiritual centre.

I would never work for a company if I didn’t believe in their vision. Safaricom’s vision of transforming lives really appeals to me. So that motivates me. I’m one of those people who I think is very fortunate to be doing a job that even if I wasn’t paid for, I would be happy to do it.

Because when I wake up in the morning, I am not thinking about how much airtime am I going to sell. No. you would be surprised we hardly discuss that. We’re always talking about how we use technology to transform: the lives of the farmer, healthcare, and education. That’s what really keeps me motivated. When we go to Makueni for Digifarm for instance, where we are buying sunflower from farmers. Farmers who eight months ago had no income, now their sunflowers are being bought by BIDCO and they are getting money on M-PESA. That is why I wake up. That keeps me motivated. I always tell women don’t work for a company that is misaligned with your purpose. Because you know women, we are deep. We are quite deep so if you are misaligned with your purpose you will just be whatever.  You’d rather you leave it and go and do whatever you want to do.

From my own experience, I encourage people to allow their children to chart their own course. We shouldn’t be prescriptive to our children. I think that’s important because if you do what you love nobody needs to pay you for it.

What are your success habits? And if you had to do it all again what would you do differently?

My greatest success habit is my mantra that “if you fail, try again”. You may be knocked down but don’t stay down. Each time I’ve been knocked down I’ve gotten up and done it again, I’ve done a better job of it and I have learnt from my mistakes. The most important thing is to learn from your mistakes.

Don’t just fall down and get up and do the same mistakes. Reflect and think. Why did it happen the way it’s happened? Two words that have been integral to my success are “let’s reflect!” Don’t be too busy to reflect. I think if there’s one thing I would say, reflection and learning from your mistakes.

If you could talk to your 18-year-old self, what would you tell her to do differently? 

I would tell her to take more risks and not hold herself back. There were opportunities I missed out on like going to work in other places because I was petrified. I had too many what ifs. I would just put up my hand and figure it out. Be more of a risk taker. Even now I take risks, but I take calculated risks. My daughter tells me just take the risk then you will calculate later. And then don’t fear failure.

A lot of women are trying to rise to the top. Some of them are scared, for some of them it’s their culture that does not accept women as leaders, what would you tell any woman who wants to rise to be a CEO apart from understanding finances, what do they need?

They need to step out, raise their hands up and know that we are there to support them. You are not the first to be in that position. Spend time with those who have done it and understand how they’ve done it and learn from their mistakes. Read, read, read and I don’t mean True Love.

One book you would recommend

Michelle Obama’s book Becoming. Also, there is a small book by Jack Jeffrey – How to Become A CEO. It is a fantastic book. I have read it and reread it. Get it to learn more about leadership.

5 Ways Companies Can Create A Thriving Environment For Working Mothers: A Case study Of Safaricom

Photos courtesy of Safaricom.

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