“As a child, I loved numbers and was good at mathematics, so finance seemed like a natural career choice,” Catherine Asiimwe says, reflecting on her early years in Uganda.
“I eventually pursued accounting, finance and project management. Over the course of my studies, I realized that I could do more with my financial skills; I could impact others.”
Catherine, a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, manager of financial audits at the Uganda National Roads Authority and co-founder of the Kata Center for Development and Excellence, is working today to empower young adults in her community through financial mentorship and training.
“I want to use my time to help young people realize their full potential,” Catherine says. “I want to see them excel.”
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, Catherine began writing and sharing articles on LinkedIn for small- and medium-sized businesses in her community, all with a focus on financial literacy and planning for the future.
But in the establishment of her foundation, Catherine found it especially challenging finding new clients.
“We faced service marketability issues early on,” Catherine says. “We decided to first offer free consulting services and work with existing firms to broaden our network.”
The success of her mentorship work, Catherine insists, hinges on a commitment to helping others thrive.
“I always tell people to focus on the value you add to a business or to others,” Catherine says. “The value you add will bring in the money.”
Equally important, Catherine explains, is being able to show the tangible results of your work. It’s this evidence, as she puts it, that will move others to make a change in their communities.
“When it comes to results, the more visible, the more tangible, the easier it will be to demonstrate your impact and inspire others.”
Over the years, Catherine has worked tirelessly to share her financial skills and to help those around her both start new businesses and improve existing ones.
“Know what you are good at and work hard at it,” Catherine says.
Catherine envisions a world free of poverty and sustained by hardworking, driven people — a world that she insists is not far off.