Mumbi Anstella: Country Growth Manager, Tala
Creating collective ownership by setting strategy through OKRs, leveraging internal expertise at larger organizations, and playing the roles of supervisor and mentor for team members
About our Guest
This episode’s conversation is with Mumbi Annstella based in Nairobi, Kenya. Mumbi is a mechatronics engineer with over 6 years experience working in technology startups and the development sector across Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa and Uganda. She is currently the Country Growth Manager at Tala, a fintech company that has disbursed over $2.3 billion in credit to more than 6 million customers across East Africa, the Philippines, Mexico and India. She also serves as an advisor and angel investor to early stage startups in Africa.
Everyday Leadership in Action
Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Mumbi:
Even with the same title, no two jobs are exactly the same: Mumbi has held a number of Growth roles, including at Tala and Moringa School. She has learned that elements such as sector, product type, customer type and company growth stage will dramatically change the type of day-to-day work. In her current role at Tala, she focuses on trying to understand the types of products that Tala should bring to market in order to expand beyond their existing customer base there.
Create collective ownership by setting strategy through OKRs: In order to achieve growth, organizations must not only develop strong strategies, but also implement them to their best ability. Mumbi has found that aligning around goals through the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) framework may seem time-consuming and tedious at times, but ultimately saves time and resources in the long-run. The OKR approach also ensures that there is a clear owner for each initiative, who is charged with keeping all of the relevant stakeholder accountable for coming together to cross the finish line. This is particularly important for a cross-departmental function such as Growth.
At larger organizations, leadership can mean knowing how to leverage internal expertise: At Tala, where there are over 500 employees, it’s critically important to seek out support from individuals and teams who have either had relevant experience or understand the institutional knowledge needed to craft a strategy or make an informed decision. To do this, Mumbi is able to take advantage of guilds, which are cross-departmental groups consisting of staff working on a similar function. In this way, Mumbi is able to regularly touch base with other growth-focused team members working in other markets or products.
Managers need to play both the role of supervisor and mentor: In her current role, Mumbi directly oversees 5 staff. She has intentionally sought to understand each of her team members’ career goals so she can serve as a champion for them. This requires co-creating a customized learning path for them and looking out for relevant opportunities, even outside of the immediate team.
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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