“Don’t procrastinate” Kahumbya Bashige CDir FIoD, Investor Relations Manager, Shelter Afrique

Kahumbya Bashige CDir FIoD is a Tanzanian born woman with 20 years’ experience in the finance industry, a board directorship with CRDB Bank Burundi and is the newest member of the IoD Council. Here she talks about the importance of self-belief and how you can draw on your personal values to achieve your career goals.

If you don’t challenge yourself, you will never realise what you can become. This has been my mindset throughout my career. I was born in Tanzania and raised in Kenya where I completed my undergraduate degree. I then took a masters in finance jointly with a UK university.

Over the next 18 years I worked for Citibank, Deloitte and the African Development Bank. In that time, I also met my husband and had two children. Today, I am the Investor Relations Manager at Shelter Afrique.

By nature, I am self-reflecting and wonder what I can do next to grow. When I saw an advertisement for a board position at CRDB Bank Burundi, I decided to apply. I was only forty at the time and some people thought I was too young, but my determination paid off and I got through the interview process and was appointed. It is demanding as I also chair the Audit Committee of the board, but as my children have got older, I have more time. I like to keep busy.

The chair of the board suggested IoD Chartered Director training and I was immediately interested as I thought it would add value to my position. I did my research, spoke to other directors and decided to sign up.

The journey to becoming a chartered director is made up of three components: the Certificate, Diploma and the Qualification. Drawing my strength from God, I approached it with passion and discipline, setting and sticking to achievable goals. I came to the UK to take the Accelerated Certificate programme and completed it within a year and then did the same for the Diploma.

The final qualification is tough, but my advice would be to not delay or procrastinate. You just have to keep going. I was awarded chartered director status after only three years and was offered an IoD Fellowship soon after. The qualification has made me a better director, equipping me with the right skills to contribute confidently, think differently and speak with authority in the boardroom. IoD membership also gives me access to a network of professionals from different industries and backgrounds whom I can turn to for professional advice.

Shortly after qualifying as a chartered director, I was invited to join the IoD Council. I am proud to say I am the first African female in this role. I hope my experiences and achievements will show other women that they can do whatever they put their mind to. It may seem daunting to apply for a new role or undertake a qualification, but the key is to just get started.  Set realistic goals you can stick to and don’t compare yourself to others. I hope my story will encourage others to take a leap of faith and start the next journey in their career; in your own way and with your own experience, you can do it!

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