What you need to know:
- While still at university, her ubuyu business helped keep her afloat.
- Her official career journey in the corporate world kicked off in early 2019 when she joined Ennovate as a Project Associate
A recent post written by Elizabeth Mwanguku on LinkedIn about ‘the power of imperfect beginnings’ was captivating because it resonates with Moureen Mollel’s story.
She is the Programs Coordinator at Westerwelle Foundation based in Arusha. Her career journey is evidence of how one can find life purpose through daring.
She pursued a Bachelors of General Science in Biology and Chemistry at the Open University of Tanzania. However, while still at university, she began her entrepreneurship journey by selling ubuyu, a local candy that is red dyed and flavoured babobab seeds.
This chapter influenced her to choose working with entrepreneurs after her graduation.
Her official career journey in the corporate world kicked off in early 2019 when she joined Ennovate as a Project Associate and a year later, she was promoted to the position of Head of programs.
“I was supporting the Tanzanian ecosystem in mapping and facilitating the implementation of the tech-entrepreneurs focus group sessions, which aimed at better understanding the needs as well as gaps the entrepreneurs faced and how to address them,” she details
Late 2019, she began working at CRDB Bank as a Business Transformation Coordinator. Her role entailed supporting strategy development, coordinating product research and development and on the other hand, she was supporting the spearheading of organisational transformation initiatives.
“I became an entrepreneur to support myself with the bills when I was a university student. That experience changed my perspective on how entrepreneurship holds the power to transform the lives of young people. This led me to dive into supporting Small and Medium Enterprises and start-ups that leverage technology and innovation to build sustainable businesses and scale their business’ growth,” she explains.
Like many women in the corporate world, Moureen’s career journey was, at a certain point, challenged to the extent that she contemplated giving up. However, it was through self-reminders as well as nods from the people she worked with that kept her firm as she sailed the waves of self-doubt and challenges.
“There were times where I was bullied at work, just because I was younger than the people I worked with. There were other times when I made different proposals that never got to fruition because I did not want to play ‘friends’ with some of the managers I worked with along the way. This drove me to the point of self-doubt because of the age gap between the people I worked with and myself. I almost believed that I was not worthy of the position I was serving,” she recalls.
She further remembers: “There was a time when the current Managing Director of CRDB Bank in Congo, Jessica Nyanchiro told me ‘You need to stop doubting your work, you are doing a great job’ and these are the words that I held close to my heart because I heard them at the right time.”
She also explains that among the things that got her to address career challenges head on was the support system she had from the friends and acquaintances she made along the way.
“My urge to constantly learn was another thing that helped me grow and adapt through the challenges I was faced with during work. I was able to master emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, leadership skills as I developed characteristics such as empathy, effective communication and agility,” she says.
Moureen has been able to ascend several heights over the years including raising close to $50,000 that was used for a program that focused on financial literacy for women entrepreneurs, climate adaptation and gender mainstreaming for startups to become more gender inclusive in terms of team composition as well as products and services offered.
She praises mentorship for the role it played in her career growth. Moureen explains that when she began her career, she connected with a coach named Luphurise Mawere whose sessions with her brought about a pivotal change in Moureen’s life.
“She helped me to realise my potential and all of the things I could become. Over the years, I have had a habit of connecting with several mentors for different aspects of my life such as finance, spirituality and my profession,” she details.
She also mentors women entrepreneurs and according to her, it has been life changing because it is through her mentees that she reflects on her own past.
“Through mentoring others, I allow myself to see how differently I would have made decisions in certain scenarios of my life. It also gives me a sense of fulfilment when I celebrate their success,” she says.
Moureen emphasises on investing in women because there have been several studies that show how investing in women doubles in return on investment (ROI) than in men.
“Women are nurturers in nature, they hold the power to double the income, I wouldn’t use the term ‘empowering’, I would use the term ‘inclusion’. They should be included in investments, they should be given seats in decisions making tables, and they should be included in acquiring knowledge,” she says.
She also advices women to dedicate their time to learn skills that would promise the growth of their businesses and organisations.
“Acquiring one new customer is better than wasting time chasing funds you know you cannot access at that period of time. Allow your growth to speak for you and attract financers to you. It’s a balance between knowledge acquisition and running your business,” she stresses.
She advises young girls who aspire to fly their wings in certain professions to believe in themselves and not let their background or environment limit the size of their dreams.
“They should surround themselves with the right company, be it friends or colleagues. They should also believe in God, that he created them for a certain purpose and that in due time, they will fulfil that particular purpose,” she explains.
Moureen further says: “They should also take a leap of faith in themselves and take risks while facing their fears. Take that job offer and learn while doing it. Accept that speaking opportunity, and prepare to ace it! Don’t sabotage your chances with the fear of not fitting in or not being enough, you are enough and you flawlessly fit in.”