Phoebe Khagame is the Head of Operations at M-Shule, the first personalized, mobile learning platform in Africa to connect learners with tailored tutoring, training, assessments and data through SMS and texting. This feature on Phoebe Khagame was first published in the Saturday Magazine.
It is important to be your own cheer leader, to beat your own drums and blow your own horn. I used to fear advocating for myself. I got over this fear when I learnt that the worst that could happen when advocating for myself is getting a no! Too many things stopped being overwhelming and intimidating. Taking chances became more rewarding. I appreciated and acknowledged my worth and set personal and professional boundaries. Professionally, I distinctly remember the first time I asked an employer to sponsor me to attend an international conference. I felt that I would gain a lot from doing so, and the organization would grow from my experience. I made a pitch and my request was granted! The feeling was surreal, what I learnt at the conference and the networks I established, made a difference in my skillset. That experience is hitherto my point of reference whenever I want to go for something.
I love what I do and continuously reinvent the roles I am in to ensure they evolve in tandem. I confidently do this because I have been – and still am – very fortunate to have bosses and mentors willing to take chances on me and support my professional endeavors. I believe that most of us need that one person who will take a chance on us. I have moments of reflection that help to properly understand my present. I like to acknowledge to myself that I want more than what I have presently. Once I have identified what I want, I come up with a plan and structure on how I will get to where I want to be. Earlier on in my career, I dreaded having things go wrong. I was afraid of failing. I would end up overworking myself. This left me exhausted and badly affected my output. Today, I have learned to delegate tasks more often.
Taking the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) loan was a huge mistake. I should have looked for other options to fund my university education. The penalties and the interest accrued are very punitive. Although I finally managed to pay the loan and get a clearance certificate, the experience under HELB gave me a very intense fear of loans. Up until now, I still have a morbid fear of loans.
Giving people second chances does not always work. I once gave someone too many chances when they clearly were not keen on improving their performance and changing their attitude at work. This was not just frustrating for me but also for my team at work. I still believe that people need more than one chance, but I am also aware that second chances are limited. They should not be detrimental to the team. Learn to use the first chance optimally.
A standing order to my savings account has served me well over the past few years. Automating the saving process and letting my money run without interferences has brought in the discipline that is mandatory in saving money. In the long run, whatever system of saving you go for will only work if you are disciplined in seeing it through.
Everyone is replaceable. Always make sure that you are really good at what you do. Through your excellence, make it difficult for people to replace you. In addition, make a conscious choice to make the road easier to travel for those who will come after you. When it comes to money, save as much as you can and enjoy the fruits of your savings. Don’t deprive yourself too much.