Lelemba exits ZOONA executive leadership, to focus on women empowerment initiatives

Lelemba Phiri at a Visa talk show in 2015 where she spoke on financial inclusion.
  • She remains a shareholder and non-executive director at Zoona and will support the strategic direction for key markets

Chief Marketing Officer and shareholder at Zoona, Lelemba Phiri, announced on 18 July, that she will be exiting the financial service provider in September to pursue investment opportunities in women empowerment.

Lelemba, over the 6.5-year period, held various positions in the group to include, Zambia, South Africa and Malawi and has played a key role in building the brand across the region. She was at the helm of the Zambian subsidiary during some of its most important growth phases and was instrumental in expanding the business into the Malawian market.

With a great passion for women empowerment she has led key initiatives within the company that drove for gender balance both within the leadership teams and within their agent and teller networks. This included key initiatives as the ‘Girl Effect’ Empowerment Program – GEEP that saw the company proactively working with community leaders in Zambia to identify young women with high potential from poor communities and recruit them to become part of the Zoona teller network. The young women were further up-skilled with business, finance and technology skills.

“My passion for developing women leaders and creating opportunities for women to be empowered is no secret. It’s been a theme throughout my career and is at the core of who I am. I earnestly believe in the ‘Girl Effect’ – the notion that empowering women creates better sustainable communities – and I am committed to contributing to making that happen through my life’s work. I am therefore excited about the journey ahead and I am looking forward to working with key players in the region to accelerate empowerment opportunities for African women.” said Mrs. Lelemba Phiri. 

Zoona was founded in 2009 by Zambian born brothers, Brad and Brett Magrath, who have both worked closely with Lelemba in the various markets. ‘As a company we have always been committed to diversity and growing women leaders. Our strategic leadership team across our markets stands at 55% women so this commitment is not just lip service for us. We are therefore in full support of Lelemba’ s move to pursue other opportunities for empowering women. She is an amazing and highly influential woman leader herself – and so this move can only be good news for the company, in which she remains a shareholder, and the region as a whole and she has our full backing,’ remarked Brad Magrath.

“I remain a shareholder and director at Zoona, therefore I will still support the strategic direction for our key markets and help strengthen the leadership teams and their networks locally and regionally. I will always be a brand ambassador for the amazing work we’re doing as a company and will continue to engage with key regional stakeholders in any capacity to ensure that the Zoona brand keeps growing from strength to strength,” Lelemba concluded.

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