The Pioneering Strategist

Breaking Ceilings for Women

Victoria Chanda Mumba is a pioneering strategist and executive in the financial services space in Zambia. She is the first female Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Zambia Institute of Banking and Financial Services (ZIBFS). Her appointment marked the first time in the institute’s 26 year history that a woman was appointed to its helm. Victoria has a wealth of experience in the financial services space and has garnered awards and recognitions for her work. She holds an MBA in Finance from Zambia’s Copperbelt University (CBU) as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus on Banking and Finance and International Business. Drive Africa sat down with her for a wide ranging chat about her career and work.

Drive Africa: Who is Victoria Mumba?

Victoria Mumba: Born Victoria Chanda and married to a Mumba, I like to be called Victoria Chanda Mumba to identify the two key men in my life. Victoria Mumba is a business executive and strategist who was born in Ndola Zambia.  I did my primary school at Masala primary school in Ndola and went ahead to do my secondary school at Dominican Convent School in Ndola. I hold an MBA in finance from CBU prior to which I did my BA at CBU. My passion has always been in business and that’s why I had to build on to do a postgraduate degree in the same line and majored in finance.

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My passion also has been for the girl child. So Victoria speaks very strongly about girl child education, women empowerment and that’s the story that I carry. It is what has shaped Victoria to date.  So generally Victoria is married to a handsome man and best friend Emmanuel Mumba who I take pride in as my best friend. Victoria is a 5th born in a family of twelve and the first woman in that family of 4 girls and 8 men. Unfortunately 2 brothers are late. Generally that’s what Victoria is in a nutshell.  A fully Zambian girl.

Drive Africa: What has been your drive?

Victoria Mumba: My drive started very young.  Like earlier said I was born after 4 men. My father was a very strong advocate of girl child education and women empowerment.  From the very start my he instilled in me the desire to go for the stars regardless of my gender.  So he challenged me to pioneer the way for other girls.  He would always tell me that I was not different from any man and that I too could do what any man could do because God had also given me gifts just like any man. He told me that I could take on any career I desired.

I went to my former primary school and my records are still there where I always passed number 1 from grade 1 to 7 consistently. Not because I was super intelligent but because I realised that I carried something special and that special thing is that I was created in the image of God. I was given equal intelligence like everyone and I had to work hard. I believed early enough that I could not depend on favours just because I was a woman.  Rather I had to work hard because God created me in such a way that I can do all things.  So my drive to date has been to break the ceiling.

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Drive Africa: What does it mean for you to be the first female after 26 years of this institute being in existence?

Victoria Mumba: It’s a great honour and a challenge at the same time. This institute of banking sits at a very important position in the financial sector and we believe that the financial sector is a critical sector for the development for any country.  Directly or indirectly, it affects other sectors and if something goes wrong in the financial sector, other sectors get affected as well.

The institute was formed 26 years ago that’s close to 3 decades now and for all this period there have been great men who have led it. After 26 years here is Victoria who rose through the ranks. Being here gives me great confidence that any woman out there can do great things. As long as you attach excellence to what you do posterity will judge you very well and when an opportunity comes you would have laid the foundation.

It’s an honour to head this great institution after 26 years since its inception and I think it’s an example to women and upcoming girls that anything is possible.

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Drive Africa: What are you currently working on apart from being The CEO?

Victoria Mumba: Am pushing towards girl child education and women empowerment. From a practical level I engage a lot with girls and I never miss an opportunity to mentor, inspire or empower girls and women especially through sharing my story.

My story is not of a girl coming from a rich background. I lost my father 2months before writing my grade 12 examinations and for any child that is very disturbing. But the drive that I grew up with and the words and values he impacted in me enabled me to move on and to ensure that I apply myself very well.

During one of the women’s day celebrations I was privileged to be invited to speak on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) with other great women. Together we joined hands to preach to women that we can be whatever we want to be. And through such interactions I receive a lot of testimonials from women who continue overcame biases based on gender in the work place.  Some of the women were on the verge of giving up but stood up and said that if Victoria has been able to overcome these trials we too can.

Drive Africa: What do you hope to change with the work you are doing?

Victoria Mumba: Gender stereotyping is the major constraint which we women face. Very often we believe that women can only do certain things. Usually when a women is appointed to a high position the first thing people notice is how she’s a woman even before they get to see her qualities. People would have already classified her as a woman based on her gender. That is what I want to change because it’s a mind-set problem. And unfortunately it’s been passed on from generation to generation and therefore am working towards changing that mind-set.

I am also working towards finding ways of how female leaders in this country can unite more. That way we can mentor people who are coming after us because the problem is that often times when people succeed they forget about others. Leaders are measured by who they carry on their way to the top.

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Drive Africa: What are some of the challenges you have faced?

Victoria Mumba: To prove oneself, to work against a belief that has been practised for generations. And for me it had to take my father to speak to me but unfortunately not every girl child has that opportunity. At the same time, I have had to prove myself especially among male counterparts. I have had to prove that I have the qualities to do what I have been chosen to do. Also dealing with fellow women can also be a challenge. Their mind set is often one of self-doubt so I consistently have to encourage other women.

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Drive Africa: Any other Advice?

Victoria Mumba: They key word I would say is anything is possible, once you learn and continue learning a lot more opportunities open up. For women who feel they have messed up there is always a second chance to re-write your story. For example I went to university 4 years from the time I was supposed to go. When I was accepted at university I had no government sponsorship. I therefore had to work in a boutique to raise funds for school and thank God my brothers came on board to help as well. The time I was getting into university my friends were graduating.

Drive Africa: Who inspires you?

Victoria Mumba: Inonge Wina, Sr Tukiya Mabula, and Hon Margaret Mwanakatwe

Drive Africa: Any words of Conclusion?

Victoria Mumba: Africa is a great continent. The struggle that Africa has gone through has made us stronger and we need to unite and put Africa on the world map. Africa shall arise and Africa shall be successful.