Catherine Tulina Kafumbe: Rising through the ranks to SafeBoda’s Country Director role
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, we are thrilled to introduce you to Catherine Tulina Kafumbe, the newly appointed Country Director at SafeBoda.
With over 15 years of experience in leadership, Catherine is a seasoned professional in the telecommunications and customer service industries. She has previously held senior positions at Airtel Uganda, IBM, and Smile Communications Uganda, where she mentored and led teams of up to 90 individuals, with a majority of women at the beginning of their careers.
During her three-year tenure at SafeBoda, Catherine has held four different positions, starting as Head of Customer Support and advancing to Vice President of Customer Success, then Deputy Country Director, and now Country Director. Additionally, Catherine serves as SafeBoda’s Data Protection Officer, ensuring compliance with data privacy and protection guidelines set by regulators.
Catherine is a transformational leader who inspires her team to achieve their full potential. She is a dedicated mother and wife, balancing her professional and personal life with grace and determination.
In this interview, she shares insights into her leadership journey and the importance of empowering women in the workplace. Join us as we celebrate Catherine’s accomplishments and explore her vision for SafeBoda’s future.
Can you tell us about your career journey in the technology and startup industry?
Catherine: I have been lucky to have worked with talented people throughout my career; who have helped me identify my potential and challenged me to always better myself.
Self-awareness has been a key factor for my success, as I regularly hold personal meetings with myself to evaluate my progress and challenge myself to do better.
Nurturing talent has also been critical for me, as I believe there is inherent potential in everybody. By growing and empowering people within the business, it creates room for me to grow as they take on more responsibilities.
As a woman in a leadership role in the technology industry, what challenges have you faced, and how did you overcome them?
Catherine: I have faced challenges with traditional cultural limitations, balancing my career and family, staying relevant in a digital era, and dealing with gender biases. To overcome these challenges, I had to be intentional about pushing past cultural limitations and finding a balance between work and family.
Staying informed and knowledgeable about industry trends helped me stay relevant, and I had to work hard to earn respect and credibility in a male-dominated industry.
Can you describe your approach to customer success and how it has contributed to your success in the industry?
Catherine: I believe in looking at all business plans, challenges, and opportunities through the lens of the customer to achieve ultimate success. It’s important to ensure that customers achieve their desired outcomes while using our products or services. By doing so, customer success helps to create long-term customer loyalty, reduce churn, and drive revenue growth.
As the Data Protection Officer at SafeBoda, how do you ensure compliance with data privacy and protection guidelines in the company?
Catherine: We follow a number of initiatives to ensure compliance with data privacy and protection guidelines;
We have developed comprehensive data protection policies and procedures and ensure that they are communicated to all employees and regularly reviewed for compliance.
We conduct regular privacy impact assessments to proactively identify and mitigate privacy risks, and we provide regular training and awareness programs to employees. We also run regular audits of data processing activities and work with third-party vendors to ensure they are compliant with data protection laws and regulations.
What role do you think women play in the technology and startup industry, and how can we encourage more women to pursue careers in this field?
Catherine: Women play a crucial role in driving innovation and progress in the technology and startup industry.
To encourage more women to pursue careers in this field, we need to promote positive female role models, provide mentorship and networking opportunities, address biases and stereotypes, provide education and training, and create supportive work environments.
How does SafeBoda foster a culture of diversity and inclusion, especially with regards to gender representation in leadership roles?
Catherine: At SafeBoda, we are committed to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion, which includes promoting gender representation in leadership roles.
We actively seek to recruit a diverse range of candidates for all positions, including leadership roles, and we ensure gender pay equity across the organization. We offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work and breastfeeding breaks, to create a supportive work environment.
For our driver community, we are proactively pushing the presence of female riders in the boda boda as well as the car space. Through our women on wheels initiative, we recruit potential female riders, train them and onboard them into the rider community.
We have a few female rider “leaders” who are proactively sharing their success stories as a means to inspire other female riders.