Persis Ashers: Africa Regional Operations Director, IDinsight
Working with coaches during career transitions, leveraging company culture as a pillar for growth, and adapting to the future of work
About our Guest
This episode’s conversation is with Persis Ashers, a people and operations strategy leader passionate about enabling dignified workspaces where the 21st-century professional is engaged, challenged and thriving. Persis is based in Nairobi, Kenya. In her current role as the Africa Operations Director, Persis oversees IDinsight's Africa operations, ensuring that IDinsight Africa has best-in-class people, systems, processes and policies to maximize the impact of its projects. She develops and enables culture initiatives, supports the Regional Directors across two business hubs and ensures that IDinsight offices on the continent are compliant, fantastic and inclusive places to work. In this role, Persis leads a multi-country operations team across the Nairobi, Lusaka, Dakar and Rabat offices.
Prior to IDinsight, Persis led the People Operations team at ALX & The Room (part of the African Leadership Group), setting up strong foundations and structures for the organization’s growth and people and developed operational systems for their global corporate programs. She has served as a curriculum designer, facilitator and partnerships lead at the African Leadership University and had a range of operations management roles at Microsoft Kenya, Triggerise East Africa and Nielsen. She is a co-founder of the market research firm, afriQuest Research. Persis is a 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow, a 2016 Babson Launch & Grow Fellow, and a Georgia Tech GWEI Fellow. She has a BA in International Relations and is certified in Business Process Improvement, leaning on the Six Sigma Principles. She speaks English, Swahili and Luo.
Everyday Leadership in Action
Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Persis:
Transitions are opportunities for learning: Persis worked with a professional coach to help her prepare for a transition into a Director-level role at a new company. Her coach helped her realize the upcoming opportunities to learn and unlearn, and remain confident to bring her skills and experiences with her despite a new context. Persis has used coaches during other parts of her career and found them helpful for gaining clarity of perspective. Over the last couple of years some of those coaching conversations helped her realize that she prefers collaborating with multipliers - that she wants to be a leader who unlocks and enables the genius in her team. She recommends that all people managers that want to lead deliberately and enable genius read the book “Multipliers” by Liz Wiseman.
Company culture is a pillar for growth: IDinsight is just over 10 years old and is expecting to nearly double its headcount during 2022. One of Persis’ key long-term initiatives she owns is ensuring that IDinsight offices are great places to work, which is ultimately driven by the values and culture built over the years, but which must be continuously cultivated.
Companies must be deliberate about how they adapt to the future of work: Each leader needs to think carefully around talent planning that sets up their team building efforts for success. Decisions around recruitment, learning & development investments, digital tools, and compensation policies will impact retention and diversity & inclusion metrics, even more so than ever.
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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