“From bank clerk to MD and CEO”

Name: Mizinga Melu
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer for Absa Bank Zambia PLC

Age: 52
Nationality: Zambian

Educational Background
• She has a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from of the University of Reading 1999 – 2002
• City Banking London 1989 – 1993
• Roma girls secondary school O levels 1981 – 1985

Background Story

She was born on March 17, 1968 in Mazabuka to Elijah Shansonga (late) and Mary Shansonga. She is the last born in a family of seven.

In 1985, she graduated from Roma Girls Secondary School. Upon graduating from high school her first training was in nursing yet her desire had always been to work in the bank. Growing up, as a child she always dreamt of becoming a banker because her dad had an account with standard charted bank and every time she escorted him to the bank, she would see these immaculately dressed ladies behind the counters.

Her dream of working in a bank became a reality when she got a job as a clerk at the Zambia National Commercial Bank, (Zanaco).

When she worked as a clerk, her family encouraged her to further her studies in banking so that she would not remain a clerk in the bank. With the encouragement and support of family she moved to the United Kingdom, where she obtained a banking degree and later on a Master’s in Business Administration.

As a student she worked part time at the fast food chain restaurant MacDonalds. Due to the nature of the job and the type of interaction she had with customers her love of working with people was nurtured. The skills she acquired at Macdonalds would come in handy throughout her banking career.

In 1993, she joined Standard Chartered Bank and over the years worked at the bank’s subsidiaries in different countries, including the following: Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Prior to becoming managing director and CEO at Standard Chartered Zambia, she served as Global Head of Development Organizations at the bank’s international headquarters in London, UK.

In January 2008, she was appointed as the Managing Director and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Zambia .

She is the first Zambian and the first woman to hold the position of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Standard Chartered Bank Zambia, and during her tenure, was the only female Chief Executive Officer in the thirteen African countries where Standard Chartered Bank maintains subsidiaries.

Between May 2013 – Sep 2014, she served as the
Managing Director of National Bank of Commerce Limited (NBC) owned by Barclays Bank in Tanzania

Between 2014 – 2017, she served as the Chief Executive Officer: Barclays Africa regional management in Johannesburg Area, South Africa

Between 2017 – 2020, she served as the Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director for Barclays

She is currently serving as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer for Absa Bank Zambia PLC

She says while being a female leader in the corporate world has its challenges, women must develop confidence in their God-given abilities.

“One of our biggest strengths as women is that we have a unique gift of multi-tasking,” she says.

“Women just have to believe in themselves and have leaders who believe in them…God cannot give us what we cannot handle.”

“I always believe that Africa is a growing economy and at the centre of this growing continent are women ready to make a difference,” she says. “It’s our time!”

What advice would you give young Africans trying to pursue their dreams despite the conditions around them?

• “Just be yourself and dream big”

• “Study hard to have the right qualifications, and not be afraid to take risks.”

• “I am an optimist and a firm believer in God and in working hard. It’s about believing in yourself even when no one believes in you. It’s about being a visionary, seeing things as they will be and not as they are. That’s how I have dealt with what others would term as failures.”

Compliled by Mind Your Own Business-MYOB

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