Fem Bosses Meet; Monica Musonda, Founder of Java Foods Based in Zambia
Does it always have to be the battle of the sexes? Does it have to be the cliché story of a Fem Boss struggling against the odds in a male dominated world? Today Innov8tiv Magazine brings you an exception where the Fem Boss is actually nurtured and motivated by the male counterpart. Today’s articles shows that the aspiring Fem Boss can actually get mentor-ship and inspiration from their male counterparts, and need not necessarily bootstrap herself up the career ladder.
Monica Musonda serves as the best candidate for our today’s Fem Boss article. She was born in Zambia, professionally trained as a lawyer but she later quit her stable and promising career practicing corporate law, for the risky and uncertain world of entrepreneurship. All thanks to the mentor-ship and inspiration she got from Aliko Dangote.
Monica Musonda became a qualified lawyer back in 1996, and started practicing corporate law soon afterwards working in private practice and in-house for a time period of 15 years. During this time she could not picture herself outside her law career, as she was quoted saying; “If you asked me five years ago where I would see myself today, I would most probably have said something like: “I will be a partner in a pan-African law firm””. She long dreamed to join the pan-African law firm, given she took part in the establishing the Edward Nathan’s Africa Practice back in 2004.
But things didn’t work out as she planned, as she later found herself moving to Nigeria in 2008 where she got a milestone opportunity of working for Mr. Aliko Dangote as the Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs at the Dangote Group. During her tenure at this position, she spearheaded a project that established a cement plant back in her home country. It was during her career at the Dangote Group that Musonda appreciated the dynamics of the business world. It opened her eyes to the numerous opportunities that were unexploited back in her home country and Africa in general.
Another thing that inspired her, the most was the Nigerian entrepreneurial spirit, during her stay in Nigeria she observed very many young people taking risks and venturing out into entrepreneurship. They were not afraid of the risks involved in entrepreneurship, they just believed in themselves. Drawing back on her recollection of her home country Zambia, Musonda took note of how much the Zambian economy was still dominated by foreign investors even after the government opened up the market.
She then identified an opportunity for herself, and drawing from the rich experiences and lessons she learnt working with the “master himself” Aliko Dangote. She moved back to her home country, Zambia and established the Java Foods company: a company that manufactures eeZee brand of instant noodles. She identified how she could tap in on Zambia’s surplus of wheat flour, which she could process (value addition) and sell as pasta and instant noodles. So far she has been making boss moves with her company as she’s targeting to supply eeZee Instant Noodles to the wider Eastern and Southern Africa market. Her success as an entrepreneur booked her recognition of Forbes’ list of “20 Young Power Women in Africa 2013”.
To sum up what Monica Musonda learned from Aliko Dangote, she was quoted describing her experience working for Dangote as follows: Working with a visionary is always hard work. He never stopped working, which meant we never stopped working. On the flip side, he emphasized the importance of maintaining humility and focus, being driven and working hard and not being afraid to take calculated risks. His motto is “nothing is impossible. And he was right.