- Renata Ndege, Chief Financial Officer at Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco), has a rich experience spanning more than 16 years in the area of finance and accounting in both private and public sectors.
Dar es Salaam. Renata Ndege, Chief Financial Officer at Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco), has a rich experience spanning more than 16 years in the area of finance and accounting in both private and public sectors.
She is a registered Certified Public Accountant in Public Practice (ACPA-PP) with National Board of Accountants and Auditors (NBAA). She talks to The Citizen Rising Woman about her career journey. Read on:
Tell us about your career journey
Soon after my graduation I joined Tanzania Breweries Limited as a very junior employee with a position of Accountant Trainee that is where my career journey started. I worked there holding the same position for about four years and then I was promoted to the accountant post. I later joined Contractors Registration Board as Chief Accountant and worked there for about seven years then went to Road Fund Board as the Director of Finance and that is where I stared to be in the top positions as I later joined Tanesco (power utility). It was not an easy journey, I had to work hard and I had a dream of becoming a leader in some top positions. When I stared working I never wanted to remain as a junior, so I ensured that I pursued different courses to upgrade my skills and education while working.
Is there a way that mentorship helped you reach where you are today?
Mentorship played a very big role in my career advancement. One cannot work alone and make it to the top positions. You need someone else to push you to reach your potential and achieve your goals.
One of the people I would like to mention who has a major contribution towards who I am today is my husband, who always pushed me to believe in myself, to work hard and he has always been there for me. For women to be in the top we need a lot of support from our partners. And all of the companies I worked for previously, my bosses encouraged me a lot and I am happy to say they made me who I am today.
The role of CFO is quite big and sensitive. What challenges do you face when executing your duties?
I have never encountered a very difficult situation in my career. The good thing is that men tend to trust women especially when she is given a top position. So, generally I don’t have something that I can say is the most challenging part of my work.
Are you creating enabling environment to ensure that women at Tanesco also rise?
You know this is the industry which is largely male dominated especially for engineering part. We have very few women engineers but at least in the supporting sectors it’s easy to find a lot of women in that area.
I always encourage them to trust themselves and be able to take the job even when one is given too much work they shouldn’t complain and question why them, it is good for them as the bosses have trust in them and it might turn to be the way to the top positions.
And when there is a chance to promote them I always consider that promotion without hesitation.
What is your leadership style? And how did you find out about it?
It’s the mixture of different types of leadership depending on the given situation. The dominant style I apply in my daily operations largely participatory. I normally give a chance to my staff to air out their opinions, we discuss and decide the best solution. My doors are always open and I encourage them to come out different views. This has improved my staff creativity, confidence and output.
The performance of the department has improved and in general Tanesco financial performance year by year is improving. The staff are motivated and own their duties and make decisions without fear. As for me most of the time I meet my objectives because of my committed staff.
What about formal training? For those with leadership ambitions, do you advise them to seek further training?
I encourage them to acquire formal leadership skills training to find new innovative ways of developing and managing people and develop new business opportunities
What do you think is causing the lack of diversity in top leadership? Why are women lagging behind?
It is a combination of factors. Most of the decision makers are men and they are the ones who choose the top management and this comes naturally for them to select men instead of a women.
Lack of visibility: women are shy and not much aggressive to be visible and ready to take position. Culture is another obstacle as women tend to only spend more time on family matters. School dropout is another challenge. Majority of girls drops out of schools at an early stages as men gets time to pursues their education and at the end of the day very few women made it to the selection of higher learning enrolment.
What can women do to take these matters into their hands and change this situation?
Visibility in the organisation is very important, women needs to be aggressive to take chance in the top position.
Protection laws needs to be there to allow women to rise up. There is a need of culture change towards women that will balance women responsibilities so as to provide opportunity for her to grow. Educate more women in all fields in those dominated by men.
Men should encourage women and support them to grow to the top position
Can you tell us more about self care, and how you accomplish it as a leader?
I believe as human being there is a need of work-life balance, and as a leader I find myself work occupy me to the extent balancing with my life is becoming challenge.
Trust and delegation of my responsibilities to my staff has somehow given me time to take care of life needs.
I have planned my duties in the office to the extent over the weekend I get time for my family and other social activities including going to church. I have design my mornings to the extent I get time for physical exercise.
7. Looking back, what three pieces of advice do you have for your younger self?
Concentrate on your studies is the key for your life.
Be a good girl and have good manners since are the key for future success. Always put God first.