Dr. Onyango emphasizes the importance of taking initiative in one’s career. She advocates for not waiting until all conditions are perfect but rather taking that first step towards your goals. In her personal life, she never waited until she had all the money to buy a house; instead, she committed to the goal and took action. She encourages individuals to adopt the philosophy of “chaka chaka,” which means “just get started” in her mother tongue.
How networking has been instrumental in Dr Nancy’s professional growth
Networking has been instrumental in Dr. Onyango’s professional growth. While she acknowledges that networking might be easier for men due to social settings like bars and golf clubs, she highlights that women can also build robust networks. She achieved this by joining various professional organizations and forums, including those for accountants, auditors, and technology experts.
“For me, I joined various professional networks and bodies such as that for accountants, auditors tech and so forth. I had multiple forums that I would use to network. I joined the institute of internal auditors while I was in the USA, the DC Chapter. I also stay in touch with former colleagues that we have worked with for a long time and maintain strong connections as these people move to other companies to become CEOs, CFOs, Board members.” Says Dr Nancy.
Advice for a young person starting their career
Dr. Onyango offers advice to young professionals, emphasizing the importance of understanding professional boundaries.
“First of all, we are all in different generations so my advice may or may not apply to their generation. I tell young people that your boss is not your equal or friend. Young people really struggle with this. Many are involved in startups and treat the boss as a friend. It is tricky to mix those two because eventually this creates problems. I get them to respect authority and roles and try to understand their contribution to the organization as a whole.
Best Investment she ever made in herself
The most significant investment Dr. Onyango made in herself was pursuing a PhD.
“Unlike other qualifications on her CV, the PhD was a personal endeavor, focused on women and leadership.This is the only qualification in my CV that was not intended to provide me with additional opportunities. I did this for myself, chose the subject and where to school and then shaped it into a DBA qualification in women and leadership.” says Dr Nancy.