We sometimes come across CIPS members in the same family. However, my encounter in Uganda back in February, when presenting new graduates with their certificates, was a first – I met three sisters who are all MCIPS. And the story of Lilian Byansi and her sisters Fredah Zawedde and Janet Nanteza is very special.
Lilian, the eldest, qualified first, gaining her MCIPS in 2002. Despite the enormous challenges she has faced in her life, she is now a procurement specialist in environmental management for the Ugandan government. She has also given moral and financial support to enable her sisters to qualify.
Lilian told me she had chosen a career in procurement because it offered not just an interesting career, but also a way to make a contribution to the development of her country. She also saw it as a growing profession in Uganda, and she could be part of the vanguard of young professionals driving it forward.
That really moved me about their story was the difference CIPS has made to their lives. Fredah, who now works in the cement industry, travelled more than 400km to attend the CIPS meeting in Kampala because of the important role the association has played in her career. Janet has just completed her qualification and hopes to follow her sisters into a senior role.
Lilian explained their success by saying “achievement is when luck meets opportunity”. But she is being modest. CIPS may help to create the opportunity through promoting the profession and our professional standard globally, but determination and personal commitment have to be there in equal measure.
Speaking with Kriss Akabusi at this year’s annual dinner, he was blown away by this story, the sisters’ dedication and our work building African capability. Lilian, Fredah and Janet, you are an inspiration and it is a privilege to have you as members.