Black History Month 2023: Leading With Integrity And A Focus On Opportunity For All – Lucy Wanjiku Mutinda
- Name: Lucy Wanjiku Mutinda
- Programme: Global Online MBA, ESMT Berlin (2021-2023)
- Country of Origin: Kenya
- Current Job role: Founder and Engineering Director for Ecocycle Ltd
Please could you give us a brief overview of your background and career so far, and what your role is now?
I hold a degree in Bachelor of Technology (Production Engineering) from Moi University Kenya, a Diploma in Sustainable business & Responsible Leadership from Swedish Institute, Sweden, as well as a Certificate in International Leadership and Management through GIZ GmbH in Germany. I am also a Fellow and Alumnus of Launch and Grow – Fellowship for Kenyan Women Entrepreneurs at Babson College, Boston; and the Tech-women Fellowship, a prestigious training programme in the US for women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths.
I have over 17 years of experience spanning Wastewater Treatment Equipment Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Autodesk Software technical Sales, and Project management, with the last 14 years focused on Engineered solutions for Onsite Wastewater treatment and recycling and reuse. I have overseen and executed over 300 Onsite Wastewater recycling and reuse systems installations in East Africa.
I am also multilingual, able to speak six languages including Swahili, Kamba, Kikuyu, English, German, and Basic French.
Currently I am the founder and Engineering Director of Ecocycle Ltd, founded in 2014, focusing on Onsite Sewage treatment technology.
How did your experience at business school help you with the next stages of your career?
The ESMT Global Online MBA has enhanced my strategic thinking, problem solving, and networking, sharpened my skills towards adapting to the digital world, and fine-tuned my entrepreneurial spirit. In addition, it has boosted my business knowledge and given me the skills to further grow the business and thrive in a competitive environment while being a transformational leader.
Can you tell us about your experience as a Black student at business school and subsequent career. What are the challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
From a personal experience, the challenge in pursuing education has been about limited financial resources among others. However, I have leveraged on sourcing and acquiring scholarships to enable my further education. As an example, the Allianz scholarship paid off my Global Online MBA expenses at ESMT.
“To create a more inclusive environment for black people in business, companies can recruit with diversity, have policies that recognise all races and acknowledge biases against black people and work to correct those.”Lucy Wanjiku Mutinda
The same situation applies in businesses with limited financial resources to kick off and grow a business and lack of government support for innovative entrepreneurial ideas. To overcome this, I have leveraged on executing projects with integrity and professionalism, in turn built a trusted track record as an expert, thus win trust from clients. This in turn enables advance payment for projects by clients to enable execution of the same.
What do you think needs to be done to create a more inclusive environment for Black people in business and management education?
To create a more inclusive environment for black people in business, companies can recruit with diversity, have policies that recognise all races and acknowledge biases against black people and work to correct those. All team members must enjoy equitable pay as well as sensitisation training on managing diversity. In education, there is need to ensure more supportive channels such as education scholarships, supported training, and acknowledging and celebrating successful black students so other black students can gain reassurance, confidence and be inspired to succeed.
What will be an indicator that we are achieving racial equality in business?
An indicator would be more black people in the C-suite taking on leadership roles, diverse work teams and having more black-founded companies.
Can you name an initiative or an individual who is helping to create a more inclusive environment for Black professionals?
Broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) is a policy and legislative framework which seeks to redress the historic economic inequalities created primarily as a result of the implementation of apartheid in South Africa.
The principal objectives of the B-BBEE Act are to promote economic transformation and enable meaningful participation of black people in the South African economy, through increased participation in ownership and management structures, increasing the involvement of communities and employees in economic activities and skills training.
What advice would you have for other Black business people and students at the start of their careers?
To believe and have confidence in their abilities while continuously enhancing knowledge, building networks and getting as much exposure as possible to garner skills, knowledge and expertise and be of positive impact within their community and countries.
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