With International Women’s Day fast approaching a lot of conversations around the office, after spin class and in my living room have centered on the topic of women’s advancement and gender parity. These conversations have been insightful, heated and at the very least, entertaining. And they have encouraged me to reflect on my own experience in Zambia and ask myself how has my gender impacted my experience and what has my experience with other women been like? Women in Zambia, just like women in Canada, are the backbone of the family and the bedrock of the nation. Anyone who has worked with a woman, lived with a woman or is a woman understands this statement in full.
In fact, I have had the privilege of experiencing the incredible leadership of a female powerhouse on a day to day basis at Rent to Own. Our Operations Manager, Betty Kawambwa, runs a team of over 20 field members, reporting directly to our CEO. As the former general manager for Plinth Consultancy Services Ltd., the head of retail banking for United Bank of Africa and the senior business portfolio manager for the Intermarket Banking Corporation, Betty knows a thing or two about leading people and getting things done. On any given day she receives countless emails and phone calls requesting assistance or expertise and handles each with a logic and grace I hope to one day be able to emulate. She understands how to motivate individuals, how to bring a team together and how to be bold in the face of change, even when her ideas are being challenged and questioned. Many of the recent successes at Rent to Own are a direct result of her leadership. A true role model to not only the 16 female staff members at Rent to Own, but to the entire team, it has been an absolute joy getting to know Betty both personally and professionally over these last few months.