There were few opportunities in my native Cameroon to get career coaching. As a child I wanted to become a doctor, as I felt it was the only profession that could save lives. However, I discovered I could contribute to society through finance, which offered so many opportunities. My goal was to reach the highest qualification level possible in finance.
After studying hard, I earned the ACCA Qualification. This deepened my perspectives as I navigated from accounting to finance, and I knew I was in the right place. Having qualified, I found there were very few roles available in practice, so I set my sights on the corporate sector, where I found my niche.
In 2015, the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Cameroon shared two of his principles for success with me as a new hire. These made a lasting impression on me. The first was ‘No one owes you a living’, and the second was ‘To make a living, you must be relevant and add value’. These two pieces of advice made me realise my life journey and career progression must be driven by learning and growing – so I could remain valuable to my employer, my community and myself. With this in mind, I gained my MBA in finance and sustainability in 2019.
I feel empowered to combine my passion for reaching the vulnerable with my profession in finance
The corporate world provided my career with excitement and flexibility. I worked across several industries, including banking, gas and pharmaceuticals, before moving to the humanitarian world. In 2020, I joined the World Food Programme (WFP), first in Cameroon and now in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The DRC is one of the most complex crisis environments in the world, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it is very fulfilling to be part of the WFP. I feel empowered to combine my passion for reaching the vulnerable with my profession in finance.
I’ve also learned resilience. In May 2021, Mount Nyiragongo, a volcano in DRC, erupted. That disaster tested my resolve, as it was a difficult mission, but the knowledge that WFP’s presence was making a real difference to people gave me the strength to continue.
COP26 showed we must keep to the ‘1.5 degrees C’ goal. If I had law-making powers, I would champion the mandatory phasing out of all inefficient coal and fossil fuel subsidies, and a transition to clean energy. All savings from this energy transition would be channelled into building resilient economies in those nations that have suffered from climate change.
Public and private sector investments would be obliged to embed climate-change initiatives, and be accompanied by mandatory disclosure and reporting against a set of key performance indicators.
What I enjoy about my job is being valued for my contributions. It is truly a privilege to be part of the WFP’s mission – saving lives in the communities in which we work. To take one example, I was privileged to support a WFP cash distribution to 12,000 extremely vulnerable people in Masereka, a small community in eastern DRC. It was enormously rewarding to know the money would make a huge difference in the lives of so many people.
I think my biggest achievement is that I force myself to take risks if I think the goal is worth it, even if there’s potential for failure. I allow myself to fail and grow in the process. I have applied this principle to every stage of my personal and professional development.
If I weren’t in finance, I would be in business development, as a sales professional. This would suit me because I have an eye for data and analysis, and I communicate efficiently.
When I’m not working, I jog and do high-intensity exercises to boost my health and energy. I enjoy online volunteering and coach a small group of students on professional development. I’m an avid reader of self-development books and business articles, and I’m also growing my LinkedIn network. My biggest challenge is finding the free time to fit everything in!