With her heart for people, Jo Nganda is known for fund-raising for different causes. The Women4Africa finalist, who is the Director of Kitenge Festival UK, talks about what it means to her to act local and think global …
Name: Jo Nganda
Best Known For: Director at Kitenge Festival UK, Hope Alive Mission, Ladyboss Networking Events, Jozyz Boutique, Jozyz Blog, African Pearls Awards.
Describe yourself in three words: Enterprising, Hard-working, Humanitarian.
Describe your outlook & what makes your work, unique: I champion community cohesion by bringing together African talent and businesses with local and international communities to bridge cultural gaps. Kitenge Festival UK is a unique platform that showcases African fashion, culture, businesses & the arts in the UK and beyond.
Be present. Live in the moment.
Your greatest career highlights to date: Winning Best Publicist and Best Event Promoter at the International Achievers Awards last year.
Is international appeal important to you? Yes! I subscribe to ‘Act local. Think Global’.
Most important piece of equipment you use in your career: My mobile phone
A typical day for you is? As I am responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Kitenge Festival UK, I spend my day dealing with various issues such as advertising and marketing, sorting venue issues, managing bookings for performers, exhibitors, special guests and any other eventualities concerning the festival. I also keep in touch with clients, update them on our progress and make sure they are satisfied with the promotional materials.
What legacy would you like to leave? I want to leave a positive imprint on the world. I have been helped all my life and I strive to pay it forward. I started the Hope Alive Mission charity to help young entrepreneurs realise their potential, and through which I support victims of domestic violence.
What is the hardest professional decision you’ve ever had to make? Closing a boutique that was struggling to turn a profit, in 2016. It is based in Uganda and it’d been standing for almost 11 years. It helped a few family members and employees through college. Even on an emotional front, it was a tough decision to make as that was my first foray into business. But you have to know when to call it a day.
Your biggest career mistake: Letting others take control of my vision. It’s okay to get help if needed but relying so much on someone else that they virtually or are able to take over can be disastrous not only for your relationships with said people but also for your passion and calling. Essentially you are the visionary, so drive that thing forward and steer that ship.
Most common & avoidable mistake you see in younger people in your career: The lack of self-awareness. Who are you? What are your values? What are you good at? What is your contribution to whatever it is that you are dealing with? You’ve got to ask yourself these questions to navigate your career development.
Single piece of advice you give your mentees: Don’t be too hard on yourself because there are some failures you can’t predict, but if an opportunity looks too good to be true, it probably is. Sometimes you won’t live up to your potential, it’s okay. The important thing is that you learn the lesson and keep it moving.
You live in: London
Favourite food: Pilaf Rice with Beef.
Biggest spiritual/life lesson you’ve learned: Life is what you make out of it.
What do you do for leisure? I like to take long walks or I like experimental cooking.
One app or piece of technology you cannot do without: Smart phone, everything I want is on that thing.
Your most over-used word/phrase: “Fix it.”