Inspired by career growth, I decided to stay at UCU

By Asenath Were.

Having started at the lowest rank as a Human Resource (HR) assistant, Florence Nakiyinji, the director of HR and administration, said her progressive growth is one of the reasons she is still at Uganda Christian University (UCU).

Nakiyinji explained that the rank of HR assistant was very good because it gave her many skills and introduced her to generalist HR, so it was a good way to learn how to do several things in HR. Some of the skills one must have as an HR professional include training new employees, recruitment, and performance, among others.

The then-director of HR, Mrs. Masanga Irene, provided a very good mentor for Nakiyinji in terms of documentation and policies. She taught her the basics of filing and minute writing, among several other things. “I found a very good mentor who had worked here for over 15 years and knew the ins and outs of UCU.”

“Over time, after a few years, I was promoted and given more duties as a staff welfare officer. I liked that role very much because it made me more people-oriented; I did that, and it was challenging in so many ways because dealing with people is not always easy,” she revealed.

While she was still a staff welfare officer, the manager at the time was promoted to another role, leaving a vacancy. “UCU took a very risky chance on me and asked me to step in an acting role as manager HR because, at that point, they were not sure I could handle the stress that comes with being manager HR,” Nakiyinji pointed out.

She thanks UCU for giving her a platform to grow in her career as a woman. Nakiyinji explained that she acted as a manager for one year and was then promoted to directorship. “For me, it has been sort of a progressive growth; I guess that is one of the reasons I stayed with UCU,” Nakiyinji emphasized.

She added that she would have left if she had stagnated, but because of the growth, she always saw a bigger challenge to solve.

As a woman leader, she says the role is so busy and takes a toll on both your time and family time or the time to do other things; it engages you 24/7. “You are not going to leave the office at 5 p.m. and say that you are done; somebody is going to send an email; another one is going to say my child is in the hospital; it is therefore very engaging in terms of stress and your emotions.” She said

She said that, as a woman, she feels that some stakeholders are not used to having women leaders, and because of that, they can undermine your technical guidance.

Nakiyinji encouraged the women at UCU to embrace their education and mentorship. According to her, you cannot rise to your full potential if you do not have all the basics of your professional skills. They must be harnessed and updated. The degrees are important, but one requires professional skills to be able to do a lot of things.

She added that, as ladies, you should keep going, work hard because your work will always speak for you, and do not shy away from challenges because when you excel at them, they can propel you to great heights.