Edigold Monday is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Crane Bank, Rwanda, a post she took on June 30, 2014. Before that, she served as Managing Director of Bank of Africa (BOA) in Uganda, making her the first Ugandan woman to hold the position of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at BOA-Uganda.
She is also the first Ugandan woman to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of a commercial bank in the country’s history. She also started the merger of commercial banking and microfinance banking in Uganda and is the first to manage a commercial bank in Rwanda.
The mother of four shared with Women Today’s Sharon Kantengwa a few tips on climbing the ladder to career success.
As a CEO, do you think that the position should be based on qualifications alone?
Qualifications alone are not enough, because you might be qualified but there are no results to write about. The qualifications help to do the reasoning but if you don’t have the drive to work, they can’t work. Other qualities like management and leadership skills should be a must have to be able to compliment the qualifications.
Being the Managing Director of Crane Bank, would you say that the hindrances to success in women are self-imposed?
I would say yes and no. Yes, because sometimes we tend to regard ourselves as the weaker sex, whereby some women don’t want to take up challenges. Sometimes we hinder ourselves but again, I also blame society. Sometimes we spoil our opportunities. When I was appointed as Head of Internal Audit, a woman who was a colleague tried to discourage me, saying that it was a man’s job. We are in a male dominated society which sometimes weighs women down. I’m however happy that Rwanda recognises women more.
Why do women have limited access to loans compared to men and what can be done about it?
I still blame it on society. Those with assets have access to loans and also, little knowledge on what business one can start. Those without collateral have limited access to loans. I cannot blame banks. We have to manage our risks and they are owned. The major issue is collateral, then limited sensitisation, and the third one is restrictions within their home set up. We need continued awareness and I love the set up in Rwanda where cooperatives and Saccos are working; it has come at the right time where we see advocacy. With proper awareness, practical solutions and advocacy for women, things will go in the right direction.
Do you think there is a culture of dependence on men in this country? What can be done about it?
It all depends on a particular set up within the family. Women at the forefront need to hold the hands of our fellow women. My dream when I retire is to make a difference with women, especially at the grass root level. With different innovations and creativities that are on board that have come up to support women, there is need for awareness that women can come up and do businesses.
How can women balance work and family?
It is quite a challenging task but I believe that God created us to multitask. Personally it hasn’t been easy for me because my first born daughter has been sick all her life and hasn’t walked since 2013. We would be in hospital for months but I had never taken leave to nurse my daughter even when she was in a coma. I would have sleepless nights but still make it to work the following day and travel for work purposes. I have people who offer a helping hand but it comes from within, I don’t have self pity and I have been promoted all through with this sick girl. I love being challenged and starting from scratch gave me the challenge that I always yearned for. We can multitask but we only need to balance ourselves and plan our schedules. Men should also support their wives.
Men should learn that sometimes women are overwhelmed and they need to offer a helping hand. The maids at home should also be treated well because they support us so much.
What are some of the trends young girls should follow to prosper economically?
I would blame the curriculum first. We are trained to be job seekers yet jobs are not available. There is that dependence on white collar jobs but we sometimes need to get our hands dirty to reap big because being an employer, I know jobs are not there. People have to be smart and competitive and read more about how to improve their skills. Planning is also important because money and a job is not everlasting joy; have career dreams and have the habit of saving money.
Name: Edigold Monday
Profession: Managing Director Crane Bank, Rwanda
Message: I think the sky is the limit. You can do anything but you have to follow your passion. You have to do a course because of the passion for the outcome. Ladies need to find within themselves what they are interested in, look for role models and mentors.