Nancy Chakabuda is a humble yet dynamic woman who is influencing change in perceptions and stereotypes around women in leadership in Africa. As a young African woman, she has been able to showcase the excellence that women bring to the table – contextual leadership, diversity in ideas and an ability to influence a culture of humanity and togetherness.
Given her background, Nancy is grateful for the story she can tell today. ‘Losing my father at the age of 15 left my mother single-handedly fighting and sacrificing all to educate my four sisters and me, which presented a tough narrative for me to overcome. A perception in the African culture is that the surviving family has a slim chance for success when a father passes away. However, my mother through her pain displayed her strength and resilience as an African woman to fight against such stereotypes, and stood firm to continue my father’s business legacy to provide us with opportunities to succeed,’ says Nancy,
Nancy’s proudest achievement and the highlight of her career has been being promoted and trusted to lead a critical function for the Africa Middle East region within a Fortune 200 multinational company. She chairs the Regional Controls Council, where her team’s data analytics provide a benchmark for driving process enhancements.
‘Whilst the role allows me to showcase my talent as a CA(SA), it similarly allows me to enhance the impact of my passion for coaching and mentoring others for success including my direct team. I consider my leadership as a privilege and means to further touch lives and build success in others. I am proud to have achieved this through involvement and facilitation of initiatives that uplift my team, women, young people in my organisation and the broader community, for which my contribution has been recognised,’ says Nancy.
Nancy incorporates and aligns multiple business stakeholders’ interests for goal congruence towards controls objectives. She has launched initiatives to support her strategy, for example regional controls reports and annual training schedules focused on policy alignment, controls awareness and implementing accounting standard changes: the strategy is a benchmark for controls practices globally. As the key liaison for external audits across AME, she successfully coordinates a structured audit monitoring process for more than 12 entities. Nancy’s responsibilities extend beyond leading a high-performing, multicultural team – she is a member of the region’s Finance Leadership Team and performs the chief of staff role for the CFO, supporting finance leadership initiatives.
‘I enjoy being able to interact with different people at different levels within the organisation daily, whether it’s professionals, senior management, or operational teams. These interactions allow me to understand the controls and process issues that people are facing throughout the organisation, bridge controls expectations between different groups, and lend my CA expertise of problem-solving and process improvement,’ says Nancy.
Outside her organisation, she demonstrates her commitment to uplifting others and is involved in various initiatives. Nancy is an alumni mentor of the Dream Girls Academy, an NPC supporting and empowering young females for personal development.
‘I am a God-fearing woman who has found her purpose in lifting as I rise and lending a helping hand in any capacity I can. I am grateful for my past struggles and challenges; whilst they have motivated me to succeed and inspired my strong ambition, they also keep me grounded and humble to continue helping others. Anyone who knows me would say that I have a high work ethic, that I strive to be the best version of myself, driven by the way I was raised and the strong values my parents instilled in me. My ideology of leadership is largely shaped by my strong Christian faith and the values of integrity, honesty and respect,’ says Nancy.
She is a member of the Professional Development sub-committee of African Women Chartered Accountants which executes exam preparation and career development workshops for prospective African female CAs(SA).
Nancy is also a non-executive board member of Indalo Inclusive South Africa NPC, an organisation focused on promoting, advancing and strengthening eco-inclusive entrepreneurship.