A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking person in charge of an entity’s or company’s overall governance/management. Historically, men predominated in this position. However, we are seeing an increasing number of women ascending to this position. In Uganda Allen Kagina, Sylvia Mulinge, Annet Nakawunde Mulindwa, Anne Juuko, Barbra Mulwana, and Dorothy Kisaaka are just a few examples. The key question is how they got to this position.
As you may be aware, high-level positions carry a great deal of responsibility. As a female CEO, you control the fate of the organization. You are the Accounting Officer as well as the wife, mother, and manager of your family. Despite numerous competing interests, such as social pressure to prove one’s abilities, sexual exploitation, unequal pay, discrimination, and unconscious bias, only exceptional women can reach the top positions. Some women remain in entry-level positions, while others abandon their careers. By showcasing these remarkable women’s experiences, I hope to inspire other women to follow in their footsteps. Dativa Nabimanya, the Managing Partner of Dativa & Associates, graciously agreed to an in-depth interview for my article. I’ll give you a quick rundown of where she started and what factors made it feasible for her to bring the firm to where it is now.
Dativa & Associates was founded in 2007. Its first offices, with only one desk, were located at Raja Chambers in Kampala. Given that the industry was predominately male, many questioned the firm’s long-term viability. However, the firm has grown and now occupies a larger office at the Ntinda Complex building in Ntinda. In addition, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants Uganda pronounced Dativa & Associates the ‘Accounting Firm of the year’ in Uganda in 2019. The firm has continued to grow and commits to delivering client satisfaction. Dativa Nabimanya had this to say about her quite incredible success.
“Choice! I think everything is achievable if a proper decision is made, supported by a great team dedicated to hard work, diligence, tenacity, humility, and trust in God. I believe the life we lead is a result of the choices we make. I always want to get the best out of anything I decide to do. In fact, I never want to commit to anything I am not sure I will be able to deliver. Maybe I fear failure! I had to put a lot of effort into building this firm and other ventures I am engaged in; overcoming gender preconceptions in society. Time management is my mantra. I ensure I organize my work and over time; I have developed systems that are functional, and able to deliver client results with minimal involvement on my side. Also, I am a person who is obsessed with quality in everything I do. I dislike mediocrity. Please read the novel ‘Woman of Substance’ by Barbara Taylor Bradford, you will understand.
These modest qualities are often underlooked. Developing self-propelled systems that are functional and recognizing the power of choices we make in life are key to entrepreneurial breakthroughs. Also, we should not despise humble beginnings.
Although challenges vary, I believe that the attributes emphasized here are shared by other political and administrative women leaders who advance to high positions. I would like to believe that women’s leadership has greatly benefited their families and the country. Therefore, to encourage and realize women’s full productivity potential, society and businesses must continue to foster a favorable work environment for them. This can be accomplished by providing women with entrepreneurial skills, holding mentorship programs to develop their capacity, reducing gender stereotypes, raising awareness of the dangers of discrimination, and incorporating good working environments for mothers, work shifts, and gender-sensitive infrastructure, among others.
By Naturiinda Jonnah