Aline Kabanda, Rwanda Country Director for the Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy, gives advice to young women who are entering or looking to take up leadership roles

Aline Kabanda is the Rwanda Country Director for the Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy. She provides leadership and strategic oversight and management of the Philanthropy’s interventions in East Africa with a focus on Rwanda, mainly the Jasiri Talent Investor and Accelerator, Prior to that, Aline worked for close to ten years at Akilah Institute and Davis College as Executive Director and College Founding President. Aline has a passion for human capital development and entrepreneurship as critical components for organizational and economic growth. 

 

Top management positions have been comprised predominantly of men. What challenges and opportunities have you experienced as a woman working in this position?

My leadership journey has been a rewarding, exciting, and challenging one. The challenges that I faced shaped me as a person and professional, constantly throwing me outside of my comfort zone and throughout this process allowing me to grow. I had to work on my confidence and believe in my capacity to lead others and manage programs and institutions. The greatest challenge for women is oftentimes linked to their inner belief, confidence, and self-doubt, especially when working in industries and organizations that are predominantly led by men. Women may not always realize their potential, yet when they occupy a leadership position, their capability and abilities are undeniable.  

 

What advice would you give to young women who are entering or looking to take up leadership roles?

My greatest advice to young women who are entering or looking to take up leadership roles is to work very hard, to give their very best in everything they do, to believe in themselves more, to silence their self-doubts, and to keep pushing for their dreams, even if the road ahead seems unclear. It is interesting how everything unfolds quite naturally when we are clear about our goals and dreams. 

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