Dinah Njuguna: Investment Manager for Africa, Kiva
Creating space for making mistakes, the importance of establishing your credibility, and being more mindful of time management during remote work
About our Guest
This episode’s conversation is with Dinah Njuguna from Nairobi, Kenya. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and enabling individuals, especially in emerging markets, to access the right networks, skillset, and capital to grow their company to the next level. Dinah is currently working as an Investment Manager across Africa with Kiva, who provides debt to high-growth social enterprises and Micro-Finance institutions across Africa, Asia, LATAM, and the USA. Previously, she worked with Endeavor, a company that supports high-growth companies through technical support and venture capital investments. As a result, Dinah has deep exposure and experience on how companies can scale with the power of a reliable and well-developed network, smart capital, and a sound business model. Dinah holds an MSc in Finance, Investment, and Risk from the University of Kent, UK, and a BSc in Actuarial Science from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya.
Everyday Leadership in Action
Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Dinah:
Good managers create space for their teams to learn from their mistakes firsthand: We’ve all experienced cases where a family member or manager has given us guidance about avoiding a certain decision or strategy, yet we go ahead anyway only to realize that the guidance would have helped avoid a challenge. In an early leadership role, Dinah did the same several times, ignoring advice from her CEO. Looking back, she appreciated that the CEO was flexible in allowing her to make certain relatively low-risk mistakes firsthand, since this makes it easier to walk away having learned important lessons.
Clearly communicate how your experience, skills and network are valuable: Whether you’re starting to manage, coach or mentor someone, it’s crucial to articulate what you are bringing to the table. This will earn you credibility and provide a reason why they should respect you and listen to what you have to say. When Dinah works with founders, she makes sure to acknowledge that she hasn’t started a company herself, but has worked with other founders and has valuable experience and networks on the capital side of things. This will help when someone makes a snap judgement of whether or how to follow someone’s advice.
Remote work has required more mindful time management and collaboration: Prior to remote work, Dinah often found herself effective at mobilizing team members around shared goals by rallying them around projects as needed, and she was often forgoing lunch breaks and the last to the leave the office. Now, as she’s adjusted to remote work, has learned to take breaks and plan more carefully to collaborate with colleagues in advance and asynchronously.
The Everyday Leader is a podcast featuring conversations with leaders from across Africa’s companies, organizations, and governments about their experience managing teams and projects throughout their careers.
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