Women in the Industry
Some people call me Lily, but I prefer Lilian. Lily was what I used to be as a young-girl, and Lilian is who I am as a professional. My twenties have been the most defining stage of my life; they started with the transition from a student to an intern, and now in the role as Lyawere Group Fleet Supervisor. I owe my success to God and the incredible team of mentors at Lyawere. Already on my first day as an intern, I was told to oversee delivery and return of transit trucks from Malawi, and I had no clue of where to begin. Of course, I couldn’t say this because I had just presented my flashing bachelor’s degree of Transport and Logistics studies from the National Institute of Transport in Dar es Salaam, but the truth is, school doesn’t give us this experience, it teaches us to be thinkers. Needless to say, my first week as an intern was long but it equipped me to handle what I now deal with in my career. Today, I am thankful to my supervisor for giving me hands-on experience and trusting me to dive right in, early on. That trust has been a building block to my career-growth.
One thing I quickly learned at my workplace was the concept of being a family – we call ourselves the Lyawere family. The company provides free lunch at the office, so we eat together and get to know our colleagues on a personal level. This creates a comfortable working environment because you feel appreciated and accepted, and a part of something bigger than yourself.
I’ve noticed that most graduates here in Tanzania are afraid of taking on internships as their starting point of their career because they are chasing that first “real” job. We all need to start somewhere. I encourage graduates to be flexible and create opportunities for themselves because if I had not jumped at the opportunity to be an intern at Lyawere, I would never be where I am today. Companies need to restructure and adapt to forward-thinking policies that will harness the large young pool of talent that we have underutilized. My role as part of Lyawere Company is to continue working with my team to improve our adaptation of these policies, and to mentor those around me. In 2019, as Lyawere, we decided to drop the “at least 3, 5 or 10 years” experience clause in our hiring process and today, the average age of employees at Lyawere is 34. The Lyawere family is now comprising of a mix of young and experienced members, which brings a great balance of skills, ideas, and learning.
A beautiful day is when a girl somewhere is empowered to follow her wildest dreams without fear; and I hope to be part of that inspiration and empowerment, as an individual and as part of Lyawere.
– Lilian, Lyawere Group Fleet Supervisor