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10 Questions for 10 Years with Valentine Nasila, Head of Kuza

10 years! That’s how long Valentine Nasila, Head of Kuza, has been working at 4G Capital now. A BIG thank you, Val, for your dedication and effort. We’ve had a blast so far!


An interview with Val on her journey working at 4G Capital for 10 years.

 

Val, how did your journey at 4G Capital start back in 2013?


Val: I saw a recruitment advert for a Personal Assistant and thought let me apply. I had worked in a cyber cafe for 3 months immediately after university, and so data entry and working on a laptop was something I was very well familiar with. I would have definitely learnt how to make coffee after a few cups and that motivated me to apply .


It took a few days and I was called for a job interview. It went amazing but he thought that rather than making coffee all day, I should be serving clients. This was an amazing opportunity as I was then recommended for an Assistant Unit Manager position which by then was more about data entry and customer service.



Can you make a comparison between then and now? What was your role in the beginning, and where are you at right now?


Val: The ‘now’ is totally different. We have defined systems, policies and processes that make the work effective and efficient.


When I started in 2013 we would have physical application forms to fill to onboard a client. We also had no EVA. We would manually calculate affordability on a form. I bet you're guessing this is such a long process. Rightfully so, lots of calculations went into this.

EVA is 4G Capital’s in-house proprietory machine learning algorithm that helps calculate customer affordability.

We had several colour-coded files in the offices that would help us distinguish (green) ready to go application forms, (red) declined forms and (orange) ones that were pending.


For the forms in the green file this would then mean the Assistant Unit Manager entering the data in an excel sheet that was stored in a drop box. This would then be approved by the Branch Manager and disbursed through M-pesa. It was a very manual process that involved a maker-checker system as opposed to APIs that allow the disbursements to be seamless.


My current role is Head of Kuza. This is a digital product that involves partnering with distributors to offer embedded finance to their retailers. Quite an exciting time for me to unlearn, learn and relearn having been part of the UPIA team for 9 years and 6 months.


Val at the Kuza Call Center


What are the everyday challenges you face in your work, and what are the fundamental skills or personal qualities needed to deal with those challenges?


Val: We work in a fast paced environment that needs you to keep up with current trends but also ensure you are customer centric. To keep up with this, I ensure I:


  • Always ask for help, clarification or feedback from my managers and team members;

  • Do what is right even when no one is watching;

  • Roll up my sleeves and get the job done; all while

  • Having a positive attitude. It gets tough and I have had a good share of that in my 10 years. However, I always remind myself lighting never strikes twice. As long as I have done my job and delivered stormy days will pass.


What do you like the most about working at 4G Capital?


Val: As Wayne always says, take care of 4G Capital and 4G Capital will take care of you. I entered the company at an entry level and with time I now work in management. All of this is due to the experience, training and support from the company.


What is the most favourite part about your job? What excites you the most?


Val: Hitting targets. When I see green in the dashboards I can get some good night’s sleep. I’m sure by now you already guessed what gives me sleepless nights.


What do you see as the biggest professional accomplishments since your start in 2013? Could that be leading 4G Capital’s flagship product UPIA to the success it is today? Or perhaps lead conversion?


Val: Actually mine is surviving 2020. We had a period at the early start of 2020 where UPIA revenues were dropping right after coming from maternity. After drawing up a solid plan to get the revenues back, guess what, COVID struck. However we rose up after 2 months back to the numbers we previously had and even surpassed our targets. It was a team effort ensuring that we supported our #HeroesoftheHustle and our staff during this tough time.


How would you describe the work ethic at 4G Capital?


Val: Performance-based. Perform and definitely stick to Standard Operating Procedures.


What has been your biggest ‘lesson learnt’ this past 10 years? What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started working here?


Val: A huge learning for me has been teamwork makes the dream work. More importantly, each team member should pull their own weight.


Val and the Kuza team at a strategy meeting


Who is Val outside of the office, and what does she like to do for fun?


Val: I am a mother of two amazing children and wife to the love of my life. I am also a Sunday school teacher. If I am not checking my team’s performance, I love some good Netflix and chill.


What is your biggest hope for the next decade of 4G Capital? In what ways do you expect to grow?


Val: I would like 4G Capital to be recognized as The First Choice For Micro Enterprise Growth In Africa. Can't wait to see us taking the good work we are doing in Kenya and Uganda and expand it across the continent as we unlock human potential for good.


ENDS



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