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Top 40 under 40: Unveiling another breed of top leaders, managers 

By Ritah Monica Mukasa

Added 12th November 2019 01:16 PM

Sunday Vision’s Top 40 under 40 ranking is back. We are looking for outstanding managers/leaders who are star performers and advancing in their careers

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Sunday Vision’s Top 40 under 40 ranking is back. We are looking for outstanding managers/leaders who are star performers and advancing in their careers

Sunday Vision’s Top 40 under 40 ranking is back. We are looking for outstanding managers/leaders who are star performers and advancing in their careers. They should be a beacon to their peers and doing something extra that impacts their communities, all this while they are aged 40 and below.

If you are this person or know someone who is, email your nomination to Sunday@newvision.co.ug. All nominations will be considered by a committee, which decides who will be profiled.

From the profiled individuals, a panel of judges will select the final winners, who will be announced in January. This week, Ritah Mukasa and James Bakama profiled four nominees who are in the running to become Uganda’s Top 40 under 40 2019
 

Medicine

Dr Mamello Katashaya Muhanuuzi, 36, 
Clinical manager, outpatient services
 
She defines herself as a dynamic and result-oriented professional, with a passion for medicine and its ability to change lives for the better. 

Muhanuuzi has 11 years of experience in the health and hospital industry, having held various positions in reputable local and regional healthcare organisations.

She works with Nakasero Hospital in Kampala as the clinical manager for outpatient services. 

Her job entails providing clinical and administrative oversight to the highly skilled multidisciplinary teams in the outpatient department (OPD).

“My career is a personal journey of self-discovery and self-awareness. As such, I am constantly seeking to improve myself through exposure to various learning environments to broaden my skills, knowledge and my networks,” she explains.

On what makes her tick, Muhanuuzi reveals that she has developed an open and pragmatic approach to problem-solving and consensus-building. 

“I believe in people and the diversity each individual brings to the table, with respect to their actions and outcomes,” she says, adding: “I have learnt to embrace change and this has influenced the strategies I adopt to execute my duties.”

The married mother of one is quick to add that she has also taken time to understand the industry in which she practices and the multiple-tier relationships that exist around it and, in turn, has used that knowledge to guide her decision-making.

Muhanuuzi also says she enjoys coaching, mentoring and developing others.
“I am a mentor with the ‘Girls for Girls project’ and the Pan African Women in Health,” she says. 

Through these platforms, she shares her experiences and challenges and, hopefully, positively impacts the lives of girls and women.
 
An education journey of self-improvement  
Upon completion of a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, Muhanuuzi recalls that she remained greatly committed to continuous personal development. 

Shortly after, she pursued a master’s degree in public health; health policy, planning, and management at Makerere University, school of public health.

She also enrolled for the Women in Leadership Executive Education Programme at Strathmore University Business School, as well as attending workshops and seminars focusing on healthcare practices and management. 

While at the University of Nairobi, Muhanuuzi received an accolade from the chairperson and staff at the department of paediatrics and child health for outstanding academic performance. 
 
Inspiration
If granted 20 minutes with anyone in the world, Muhanuuzi would spend it with Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of UNAIDS.

“This woman trained as an aeronautical engineer. She has exhibited such versatility with poise and character. She has also reinvented herself in different sectors to head international organisations and now, one of the top health organisations in the world. I would ask her how she does it,” she explains.

Given a chance at reincarnation, Muhanuuzi would love to return as Angela Merkel.
“From early on, Merkel was intentional and deliberate about her career choices, positions, and networks,” Muhanuuzi notes, adding: “This has seen her rise to hold the highest office in her country, with her decisions shifting local, regional and global policy, while remaining bold yet unassuming.”
 
Future prospects
In the next 10 years, Muhanuuzi envisions herself being a 
well-established health systems professional and empowering other women. 
“I also see myself influencing and implementing health and social policies at corporate governance level for the benefit of everyone,” she says.
 

 

Education
Dr Anne Abaho, 34, 
Dean, Faculty of social sciences, Nkumba University
 
Any young working mother who decides to go back to school will testify that balancing career, family and books does not come easy. 

However, at 34, Anne Abaho has successfully balanced the many hats on her head as a lecturer, mother of five, wife, administrator and PhD student. 

She is, indeed, an iron lady, another Margaret Thatcher. 
Last month, Abaho was awarded a doctorate in public administration (security studies) at Nkumba University. She has been lecturing at this university for 10 years, having started when she was 24 years old.  

Abaho is also the dean of the faculty of social sciences.  
As an administrator, Abaho oversees the activities of the school through board meetings, general assemblies, handling students’ academic concerns, counselling them and ensuring proper documentation of students’ records.

Meanwhile, amidst the tight schedules, Abaho did not shy away from starting a family and being a hands-on-mother. She has five children, including a set of twins. 
She enrolled for her doctorate in 2016, when her twins were just a year old, yet she was also teaching and running university errands. 

“A year later, I conceived again. This time, the going got very tough, but I was determined to balance my responsibilities,” she says, adding: “By the way, five months ago, I had another baby and I am happy that I have walked the PhD road with my babies.”
 
What makes her tick
Abaho says: “I do not know if it’s a perfect tick, but anyway, I wake up at 5:00am when the term is on. I drop children to school by 7:30am and run to have my first class.” 

She says being an administrator, she has to make time to run office errands and also do some personal reading and interact with friends and colleagues. 

“I keep a record of what I have done to avoid repeating it. I also rely on the phone to keep in touch with those at home and my bodaboda cyclist to be able to multi-task,” Abaho says.  

But most importantly, she gives herself deadlines and applauds the supportive team she works with, including the head of department, administrative assistant and secretary.
 
Education
Abaho started her education at Kashenyi model primary school in Bushenyi district, from where she joined Buddo SS in Mpigi district for her O’level. She later enrolled at St. Peter’s SS Nsambya  for her A’level. 

The following year, she joined United States International University in Nairobi for a bachelor’s degree in international relations (major) and journalism (minor). Upon graduation, she won a scholarship to Syracuse University in New York for her masters. 
 
Career ladder
Upon completion of a master’s degree in Pan African studies from Syracuse University, New York,  Abaho was briefly retained as a teaching assistant in the department of African American Studies. There, she was exposed to the professoriate programme, during which she learnt how to plan lectures. 

“On my return home, I had, with a background in International relations, hoped to work in ministries, embassies or non-governmental organisations, but was unfortunate,” she explains. 

Left with no option, Abaho decided to apply her teaching knowledge in a university after she got the chance at Nkumba University in 2009.
 
Inspiration
If granted 20 minutes with anyone in the world, Abaho would give six and a half minutes to three people and these are presidents; Donald Trump of USA, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China.
 
“I would ask them whether they understand how their drive for global trade is causing a new scramble for Africa,” she says.

If she is to come back to life, Abaho appreciates resurrecting as herself.
“I feel I have productively used my time. I may not be perfect, but I have taken advantage of every opportunity that has come my way. I am happy with my struggles and proud of their results,” she says.
 
Future prospects
In the next 10 years, Abaho envisions scaling up the career ladder to at least become an associate professor, with meaningful publications in the areas of security and international relations. 

Socially, she dreams of seeing her first born out of high school and the last-one out of primary school.
 

Media management

Joshua Kamugabirwe, 34,
Regional manager, Havas Africa Uganda
 
Kamugabirwe has been a top performer throughout his school and career life. For example, he relieved his parents of the school fees burden after he won a bursary during his A’level at Mbarara High school and at Makerere university, he studied on government sponsorship.

Wherever he has worked, he has been an exceptional employee.
Today, the 34-year-old is the regional manager for Havas Africa Uganda, an award-winning global media network of advertising agencies operating in over 140 countries. 

He is in charge of the Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania markets.
Kamugabirwe heads a team of young, professional and enthusiastic people, who help their clients to build meaningful brands and keep them alive in this dynamic business environment. 

They offer specialised media planning and buying services to a wide range of clients, from telecoms, airlines, energy sector, tourism, among others.

In simple terms, the team formulates media buying strategies for their clients and advises them on how to spend their money on advertising that will help build their brand(s) through integrated communication platforms, ranging from electronic media to outdoor and online media. 
 
What makes him tick
Kamugabirwe affirms that he is never distant from his colleagues, which is why they criticise him openly when they are unhappy with him. Sometimes they even share his office. This makes everyone feel important at work, hence compelling them to work hard.

He also improves their skills by training them in work-related aspects, such as the basics of being good professionals, ranging from quality work to simple, but vital things like how to write well and respond to emails.

“I give my work my all. I invest a lot of energy in understanding the brands I work with, consult a lot, besides equipping myself with the market knowledge,” Kamugabirwe explains.

He also follows a simple principle — be professional, do the right thing, be disciplined, respect others and pay attention to detail.

The father of two also mentors people around him. When hiring team members, he looks for attitude, knowledge and skills.

“Once someone has a positive attitude, they learn fast and you get to see the best in them, which makes my work simple,” he reveals.
Kamugabirwe also stresses that he is results-oriented and he always puts himself in the clients’ and employer’s shoes.

“I imagine if the employer did not start or client did not give us this business, we would not be in a better place. So I always remind my team to work hard,” he notes.
 
Education background
For his primary education, Kamugabirwe went to Budo Junior School, before joining Mbarara High School for his O and A’levels from 1999-2004.

Thereafter, he enrolled at Makerere University for a bachelor’s degree in development economics. He is currently pursuing a master’s in economic policy management at Uganda Management Institute.
 
Scaling up the career ladder
Kamugabirwe started working in 2009 at an agency called Fireworks advertising as a media executive.

Within a year, he had been promoted to head of department.
However, his plan was to work for two years and join the biggest agency in the country, which at that time was Scanad — and he did.

“Here, I steadily progressed through the ranks. After a few months, I was seconded to work in Nairobi as I trained and worked on regional brands,” he recalls.
Upon returning home, Kamugabirwe left Scanad for a Dubai-based agency called Tonic, where he was put in charge of three East African markets — Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.

Unfortunately, the agency closed shop in Africa, but he was lucky to be recruited by QG Saatchi & Saatchi, where he had a short stint, before Havas came calling.
Havas had won a big telecom business in Africa and wanted an experienced leader to establish their operations in Uganda.

“It was a challenge I desired. Today, we are among the top five agencies within three years and with support from management, we have now grown our staff and clientele,” he says.
 
Inspiration
Given 20 minutes with anyone in the world, Kamugabirwe would spend it with Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United manager.

“I love winners. I also love football. It is a true reflection of life; sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, sometimes you may never win and sometimes you can be guaranteed of winning. That epitomises Ferguson,” he says. 

Kamugabirwe is quick to add that seeing how the club Ferguson led for over 26 years has declined ever since he left, tells you what kind of leader he is. He is also a wise person, who knows when to call it quits.

“I would like to discuss with him the ethos and strategies of building winning brands,” he says, adding: “Successful football managers are special people as they are managing huge egos and work under intense pressure. Imagine being watched by over a billion people in a day!”

On the other hand, given a chance to come back to life as someone else, Kamugabirwe would wish to live as Thomas Sankara, who became a president at 33 years.

He launched programmes for social, ecological and economic change and renamed the country from the French colonial Upper Volta to Burkina Faso; Land of Incorruptible people. 

“This shows his vision and love for his people. He hated injustice, hence his fight against corruption, and above all, he never treasured materialistic things. He was dubbed the poorest president as he owned nothing,” Kamugabirwe addds.

He says he has great respect for transformational leaders as they are blessed with an X-factor that is not common to others. It is even more humbling when they are not greedy and are not focused on too much wealth accumulation.
 
Future prospects
Ten years from now, Kamugabirwe sees himself as a corporate leader, giving direction and strategic leadership to a global brand at a regional and continental level.
 

Sports

Joshua Cheptegei, 23,
Athletics champion
With three world titles to his name, there can be no better contender for Uganda’s personality of the year accolade than Cheptegei.

Cheptegei started the year in style by becoming the first Ugandan to win the senior men’s World Cross-country title in Aarhus, Denmark in March.
He followed this up with the prestigious International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League 5,000m title in August.

The lean runner, who hails from Kapchorwa in the Elgon mountain ranges, then wound up his track season with yet more gold at the World Athletics Championships in Doha.

That all three titles were a historic first for Uganda, is a bold statement on Cheptegei’s place on the country’s list of top achievers.

But all this could be hard to believe when you turn back the clock to two years.
The superstar, who has put Uganda in international headlines, back then cut a forlorn figure as he staggered to 30th position at the 2017 world cross-country edition in Kololo, Kampala.

Cheptegei had apparently led the men’s race by a huge gap to thunderous applause from a partisan crowd, then he burnt out with 800 metres left.

What followed was a scenario Ugandans would rather forget. Cheptegei relinquished the lead as he struggled to keep upright. But in a rare show of fighting spirit, he staggered to the end.

Many would fall never to rise from such a disappointment. But not Cheptegei. He picked up the pieces and, like the proverbial phoenix, emerged even stronger.

“It was a discovery of the real me. I realised the real person I was after Kololo. It was then that I realised that I was a world class athlete, destined for bigger things.
“Kololo also taught me a lesson that life is not a straight line. There are ups and downs,” recounts Cheptegei.

Two years later, Cheptegei is, indeed, one of Africa’s best achievers and is on course of being named the world’s top athlete.

But success has not come by accident. 
“There were always signs that he was a great talent,” recounts Faustino Kiwa, one of the first people to spot Cheptegei.

Kiwa, also Uganda Athletics Federation’s organising secretary, notes that Cheptegei not only had the perfect running style, but also had a rare mix of speed and stamina.
In 2014, while running for Kiwa’s Bugema University, Cheptegei won gold at the World University Cross-country in Entebbe. Later that year, he again struck gold at the World Junior Championships in Oregon, USA.

He was never short of idols growing up in Kapchorwa. Fellow Sabiny, Moses Kipsiro, and Stephen Kiprotich, inspired him.

“When Kiprotich won Olympic gold in 2012, I knew nothing was impossible. I could also do it,” Cheptegei explains.

The soft-spoken athlete is full of praises for President Yoweri Museveni. 
He thanks him for his recent gift of a new Mitsubishi double cabin pickup for winning two gold medals at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“This is proof that our effort and sweat is being appreciated. We shall work even harder,” he says.

Cheptegei, an Inspector of Police, also thanks the Inspector General of Police, Okoth Ochola and his deputy Sabiiti Muzeeyi, for allowing him enough time in the force to pursue his talent.

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