I have worked my way to the top

Saturday January 16 2016

Miriam Ngolo is the Plant Manager of Bamburi Cement, Kenya.  PHOTO | COURTESY

Miriam Ngolo is the plant manager of Bamburi Cement, Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESY 

More by this Author

Q: Who is Miriam Ngolo?

A: I am very warm and young-at-heart person. I am a mother, a wife and career woman and a Muslim.

Tell us about the international award you received recently

I thank God for bringing me this far and thank Women and Girls Lead Global (Kenya Branch) for this recognition. I was a finalist among many other deserving women in the category of ‘No limits Breakthrough leadership.’ This award fetes women who have excelled in fields traditionally considered male-oriented fields.

I was also recognised for my efforts in mentoring girls and encouraging them into the field of science.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of the learning curve that I have gone through in the last 14 years; literally rising through the ranks while being moulded into transformational leadership and the fact that Bamburi Cement supports the development of female professionals.

How do you manage a position believed to be male oriented?

Dedication, passion, experience.

Challenges you encounter ?

Managing people and driving for results is one of the most challenging things to do but this job gives me the opportunity for personal growth. I become more self aware and stretch myself outside my comfort zone.

What does your job entail?

As plant manager, my first concern is health and safety of employees, contractors and customers. This entails rigourous implementation of all LafargeHolcim’s Health and Safety Standards and advisories, ensuring the plant is in full compliance to the Kenya Health and Safety regulations; and ensuring health and safety culture is upheld. I also ensure that annual targets for production and dispatch have been achieved.

What are your successes?

I take pride in my achievements as the Chief Chemist at the Mombasa Plant. The plant laboratory was rated the Best Laboratory amongst the LafargeHolcim Africa Plants in 2004! And off course, my move to Nairobi Grinding Plant as plant manager is my greatest achievement given that there are not many female plant managers in LafargeHolcim.

What gives you the greatest fulfillment and encouragement?

My spirituality, my family and all the people who surround me with unconditional love.

How has the career journey been?

Growing into management is the end result of your hard work and willingness to excel in every role that you perform. In my last 14 years at Bamburi, I have  risen through the ranks and during this journey I have been undergone a lot of management trainings.

As a manager, I believe my greatest strength is in working with people and listening. I have a very effective management team.

What motivates you to work hard?

Passion to excel and to ensure everyone around me excels too!

What food do you associate with your family?

I love trying out assorted recipes, but biriani, fish and sponge cakes

Do you have children?

I am a mother of one, Ahmed is 11 years old.

Who are your role models?

Michelle Obama — for her balance in career and family, for her focus on Girl Child empowerment and education as well as her style sense.  

The late Miriam Makeba — Her sensational music spoke and still speaks to many. I loved her courage and straight talk.

Dream holiday destination?

I love Kenyan holidays. They are simple and not costly. You are either at the beach, enjoying nature or at the farm.

Which car are you?

I am a Mercedes! A stylish performer that embodies sophistication, intelligence and safety.

What don’t most people know about you?

I am very conservative and lead a private life.

How do you unwind?

With family members playing indoor games or catching up with old friends over a drink. I love singing and I do Karaoke in my house! I share this hobby with most of my siblings so we have a good time when we are together.

What are you most passionate about?

I love gardening and interior decorating.

What plans for the future?

To break the glass ceiling and to continue being a remarkable woman in all aspects of my life.

Your parting shot?

On career: Choose a career you love. You are on a continuous learning journey whatever career you embark on. Embrace it with all your heart and be patient, taking time to prepare yourself for the next level.

On life: Enjoy life to the fullest, be happy and appreciate the people around you!