“You don’t want to overthink your career because you don’t know where the opportunities are going to come from. What you need to know is who you are, know the things you enjoy the most and what you excel at,” Tongai Maramba, CEO of Tigo Rwanda told students last night.
In a talk titled “The Journey of a Rookie CEO,” Maramba shared lessons he has picked up along the way in his three years as the head of Tigo Rwanda. The event was the first in the Distinguished Guest Speaker Series (DGSS) at ALU’s Mauritius Campus, African Leadership College (ALC).
Speaking about leadership, Maramba encouraged students to “take [their] own shoes to work” because being given new responsibilities may make you want to fill your predecessors shoes or even do better than them. He said “let people see you for who you are. Trust yourself and don’t try to be someone else.” He also advised our young leaders to overcome the temptation to do stuff quickly to demonstrate their competence. Rather, one needs to listen and keep it real by staying connected to the people who matter such as the friends who never get carried away by your “position” he said.
Maramba also spoke about finding and working with the right team as part of his success as a leader. “Make sure you have got the best possible people to do the job,” he said. In addition to having the best possible people, it is important to incentivise and motivate them by giving them a sense of purpose. Make them own part of the vision of the organisation. “Above all else, give love, give purpose,” he said.
DGSS brings leaders from top companies and great minds in various industries to ALC to speak about their experiences and share lessons learned. The main goal of the series is to enrich the student experience and education. It also provides an opportunity for students to interact with current leaders who are changing Africa for the greater good.
Maramba has worked for Tigo Rwanda since 2010, building Tigo Cash from concept to business in less than a year and managing the business to become market leader in Rwanda within two years of its launch. Tigo Cash in Rwanda is now recognised by the GSMA, the global telecoms industry group, among the top five fastest-growing mobile financial service businesses in the world. He was selected from across the Kinnevik Group of companies to be the 2011 Rookie of the Year. Prior to Tigo, he worked in the public sector as a strategy consultant for the Dubai Government and, before that, as a technology consultant for Ericsson and Atos Origin in various countries.
Future DGSS speakers include Ibrahima Guimba-Saidou, Senior Vice President of SES, a world-leading satellite operator, Delphine Maidou, CEO, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Africa, Joyce-Ann Wainaina, CEO, Citi East Africa, Sneha Shah, Managing Director, Thomson Reuters, Bashi Gaetsaloe, Managing Director, Botswana Development Corporation and more.
Check out live updates from last night’s conversation on Twitter.