Right mentors will unlock your potential: Pendo

By Ramadhani Ismail

Dar es Salaam. Data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) shows that only 24 percent of women in Tanzania are enrolled in science subjects and almost 40 percent of them in higher education institutions. This calls on the government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to ensure that more girls like science.
Pendo Boshe, currently Senior Network Performance Analyst at Vodacom Tanzania, is exemplary. She has 19 years of experience in various roles across 2G, 3G and now 4G network generations.
Ms. Pendo graduated with a Masters in Engineering Management with a specialization in Project Management and a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Dar es Salaam University.
She is experienced in data analysis, project monitoring and evaluation, report generation and presentation, which are part of her daily life.
Despite her engineering degree and a well-paying job, Ms. Pendo has always been afraid to come out and show what she’s good at. Many qualified women face the same challenge unless they meet good mentors.
However, she found her way to the top after meeting a mentor who helped her showcase her skills.
“My mentor always told me I was a diamond hidden in the closet, so she exposed me by assigning me different roles that led me to achieve many things that made me that have what I am today,” Ms. Pendo said.
Nina, the head of the legal department, was Pendo’s best mentor and also a friend, all this because Pendo always felt that something was wrong, she got help from her.
Despite criticism that usually hampers her, she is always positive, especially when it comes to engineering, which is predominantly male-led.
“I always know what I want to do because I usually keep myself updated to keep up with rapidly changing technology,” Ms. Pendo said.
She says she has a great passion for electrical engineering because it challenges her in her work, as she always believes in using technology and big data analytics for sustainable operations.
She joined Vodacom in 2002 as a recent graduate as a Network Controller and was responsible for monitoring the entire network to ensure disruptions were minimal. She later became Vodacom’s only female engineer to be promoted to team leader representing women in engineering.
Usually everyone knows what they want to be, but it was a different story for the role of Pendo. She wanted to be a pilot but pulled back from her ambition to pursue an engineering degree because of her fear of heights.
“I always wanted to be a pilot but over time the fear of heights changed my direction but that didn’t change the passion because I’m still an engineer.”
Because she wanted to serve and find solutions, she began to fall in love with networking, which keeps her alive to this day, becoming one of Vodacom’s first female engineers.
According to Pendo, she faced countless challenges before she could take on the leadership role. These challenges began in college and continued into her workplace.
Her college class had fewer women than men, and from that point on, other students pointed the finger that they could not achieve their dreams in engineering. “Because I wasn’t the kind of person who can’t always tell what I’m going through, the background noise was very challenging for me, same here at the work office, the environment was a little bit challenging for me,” Ms. Pendo said.
But slowly she gained momentum and adjusted to the environment, despite her fear and how people talked behind her back at the time.
When it comes to memorable experiences, Ms. Pendo always goes back to 2016 when she was involved in the project to create an app called Net Performance.
“There is a project to create an app that will allow customers to know their spending and voice their complaint. I was in charge of this project,” she said. Apart from that, she explained that she was part of the team that created the website for the University of Dar es Salaam, which was meant to showcase the students’ results.
The website was later updated to hide students’ matriculation numbers, since students know each other’s numbers. There are many benefits of having a woman in a managerial position, but for Ms. Pendo, she always sees men as hardware and women as software because they need each other.
“For a system to work well we need to have both men and women, a touch of women is very important in every department because women can bring something to the team building,” he said.
She further explained, women always bring time for relaxation into the project of hard work, men don’t usually think about break time, so it will help improve thinking ability during teamwork.
Ms. Pendo always believes that a woman in leadership does not mean competing with men, but rather competing with what has been done to the man. “It’s a compliment for each other and not a competition,” Ms. Pendo said.
To tackle gender inequality in the country, she says support is needed as women today have the power to do something but fail due to a lack of support.
“Support is crucial to address gender inequality, our country has many strong women, these women only need support because they already believe in themselves,” she said.
Aside from the support, she said women need to believe in themselves because belief is success, women need to stay positive and seize the opportunities.
“On social media, there are many programs that women can adopt and eliminate the mindset that men should do more, so women shouldn’t be afraid because you can learn while you’re working,” Ms. Pendo said. “Before you become a wife and mother, women need to stay on track and have a good support system,” she added, explaining that a support system is about having the right people at home.
“A supportive system means you can do your job well without being distracted by family issues.”
According to her, she spoke to us about how women can develop leadership skills, which means women need passion and you need to seize opportunities.
“If you want something, you have to learn how it was made. It is very important to stay focused on what you are doing. What you need to do is get professional training to improve skills to take on more opportunities,” she said.
Women need to stay on top of everything they do for a living, they can learn skills anywhere, but that passion is all that matters.
In order to change the situation that prevents women from reaching the top, Ms Pendo said there is a need for a system that helps people who have failed, they should have special programs.
“We need special programs that help to help girls enter university and get them another position to acquire job opportunities.”
Pendo shared her three pieces of advice for younger women who want to get to the top and become leaders: First, believe in what you’re doing, have passion, and don’t be lazy.

Leave a Comment