Fem Boss: Akaliza Keza Gara – A Multimedia Consultant & Founder Of Shaking Sun Ltd.
So far Innov8tiv Magazine has looked at several innovative projects that are currently changing lives for the better in Rwanda. Today we get up-close and personal with one Fem Boss making impressive strides with ICT while changing the lives of those around her for the better. The following is our exclusive interview with Akaliza Keza Gara, The Founder of the Shaking Sun Ltd.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Akaliza Keza Gara. I am a multimedia consultant and the Founder of Shaking Sun Ltd. My company offers multimedia services such as website development, graphic design and computer animation. I am a member of Girls In ICT Rwanda; a group of women volunteers from the ICT industry in Rwanda who visit schools and organize events specifically targeting students to encourage more girls to join the industry. I am also a mentor at kLab, an ICT innovation hub in Kigali. Recently, I was honored to be inducted into the Advisory Board for Microsoft 4Afrika, an initiative seeking to actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness.
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
I recently worked on two cartoon episodes that will be aired on the local Rwandan television station and online later this year. The episodes are part of The African Tales series which was created for the Know Zone Rwanda, an educational TV program running parallel to the local syllabus. It is the first time that I will see my name on the credits of a cartoon series – something that I have dreamed of for a long time.
What was the most difficult period in your career life, and how did you deal with it?
The most difficult period of my career happened less than two years ago when a big client backed out of a project which my company had invested heavily in. It was a very powerful client and I did not feel I could afford to take them on a legal battle even though I knew I had been ill treated. What was worse, was that this came directly after a number of other financial blows, and in the end, I sat down with my team and told them I could no longer keep them on full time. It was a devastating period in my life not only because it hurt my pride to see my company in that state but because I care so much for the people I work with. I now work with them on a project-by-project basis which I have found more affordable and sustainable. Each individual is talented and hardworking and it is still my dream to see them grow in their careers and to be a part of that in some way.
Who is your role model and why?
I have many role models for different areas of my life, but I’ll tell you about one who I discovered only this year: Rebecca Enonchong. I am greatly admiring the achievements she has made as an entrepreneur. I have really enjoyed reading about her story in different interviews and profiles and what struck me the most was her commitment to her faith. As she put, God is the chairman of the board at her company. It is quite rare for me to read about successful business people who give glory to God and I was deeply moved by this and encouraged in my own faith.
What’s your superpower, or what’s your spirit animal?
Hmm… well, I would say my superpower is that I can adapt to many different situations. I also very rarely lose my temper which can come in handy in this business! When I get angry, I keep quiet or walk away while I collect my thoughts. I will admit though, one of my favorite superheroes is the Incredible Hulk because of the way he loses his temper. I think in some ways I am jealous of Bruce Banner because I have never experienced that kind of emotional outburst!
What is your career advice to college students entering the Technology Industry?
I went to what I believe was a very good university and there was still a lot that they didn’t teach me that would have allowed me to be competitive in the market! Thankfully, one of my course mates advised me to take some free online courses that set me on the right path. I would give the same advice to other college students: do not only rely on your educational institutions but make an effort to continually learn on your own – do research, take online courses. In this field, there is always something new so you have to keep yourself up to date if you want to go far!