“I don’t want to see you. Go pack your things and get out”. These were the words that marked the end of Angela Ndambuki’s first stint as CEO at the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) after just eight months.
“I didn’t know that it was challenging being a female leader until I came to KNCCI,” she says ruefully, “It wasn’t about what you wanted to achieve or your vision for the organisation …it was a very confusing time,” she adds.
Angela, who doesn’t look anything like her 40 years, found it difficult back then to shake the ‘young and inexperienced’ stereotype as she faced opposition and male chauvinism at work.
For those who remember the rumour mill surrounding the unceremonious sacking, you would guess that indeed things were not at all rosy. “It was a challenging, disturbing time for me and my family when I was fired. It was abrupt, it’s true. I was called into a meeting in the morning and presented with my KPIs after just eight months,” Angela, a married mother of two daughters says.
It was even more of a shocker because not only did she feel she had increased visibility for the organisation, she had also increased its income.
She decided to settle the matter in court and sued for damages and to be reinstated “They had no grounds to fire me. I am passionate about my work and I didn’t want all my hard work to go down the drain,” the former musician, of the girl-group Tatuu, says.