Olorato Senthufhe, our Operations Analyst under the Treasury Department, joined Cellulant five years ago. To her, Cellulant was a gem she found while researching agriculture-related research. She stumbled on an online article featuring cellulant. As she reminisced, it was as if she had discovered a rare diamond, one of the exports her country(Botswana) is well known for.
Her curiosity gave her the courage to send a job application to the HR team even though, at the time, there wasn’t any advertisement. Still, she chose to have faith, and lo and behold, her application was successful, and she landed a job as a Finance intern, which later translated to a full-time Job.
Today she shares her Cellulant story, life before cellulant, and her mother’s role in being who she is today.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a warrior, a storyteller, and an advocate for change. My name is Olorato Senthufhe, commonly known as Lonkie. My parents – avid readers and country music lovers – are blessed with four girls, and I am the third born. Growing up, my mother used to read short stories and recite poems for us. This beautiful childhood memory has dramatically influenced my interest in reading. I recall when we would sit together and discuss current affairs, historical, political, and governance issues.
I have always had a passion for exploring mathematical problems and analysis. I have extensive experience spanning multiple organizations in leading operations, banking, and financial management.
I possess seven years of experience in driving growth and financial discipline, of which five years of experience I got to gain while here at Cellulant as an Operations Analyst, where I have the responsibility to foster profitable, long-term relationships between the business, customers, and other stakeholders.
Where and what did you study in university?
I studied at Botswana Accountancy College, attained the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), and progressed to the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA ). I have also acquired an Advanced Diploma in Banking & Finance from Botswana Institute of Banking & Finance. For professional development, I have accomplished a Certificate of proficiency in short-term insurance and a Business strategy, governance & Ethics with the European Business University.
What is one lesson your mother taught you that you will always cherish?
Love wholeheartedly and pray consistently! My mother has dazzled and intrigued me to the core. Her expression of love towards her children has always taught me to love genuinely.
What words of inspiration would you give to young women and girls who still feel that tech or certain professions are not for them?
A career has no gender. You can be anything you desire to be if you stay diligent and committed to your dreams. Nothing will be handed to you quickly because you are a woman. You need to equip yourselves and pursue your dreams enthusiastically. Position and take up space anywhere.
Where would you go and why if you could go anywhere?
I would like to visit Rwanda because of its digital transformation and how they’ve been able to grow its economy is one journey to behold.
I would also like to discover more about the culture and tourism sector for its vibrancy and transformation.
You spoke of your love for research and reading. Tell us who your Favorite African Writer is.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a radical author passionate about sharing stories more relatable to different people worldwide. She gets to share more on politics, culture, race, and gender, which are areas of my interest. I have had an opportunity to read several of her books, ‘the thing around your neck, ‘Americanah, ‘Purple Hibiscus,’ and my favourite was ‘Half of a yellow sun! ‘ based on the Biafra War in Nigeria. Although I have never been to Nigeria, Chimamanda vividly described the events that transpired and led to famine, ethnic conflicts, and political instability in her book.
Now let’s talk about your Cellulant journey. What attracted you to Cellulant?
My passion for reading, research, and documenting led me to Cellulant!! In 2018 I read an article online about food security and the challenges in the value chain of Agriculture in Africa. Food insecurity is a multidimensional problem across Africa; while keen on this subject, I also read about the possible and current solutions to address how technology manages agricultural wastage. I read that a fintech entity named Cellulant was creating a blockchain agricultural ecosystem intended to solve challenges that prevented Africa from being food secure. The marketplace capability of the blockchain would solve the challenges of liquidity, distribution, demand, supply, connectivity, and payment solutions.
While researching, I realized my interests aligned with the Cellulant’s mission of accelerating growth for Africa. I immediately contacted Cellulant and expressed my interest in working with them. Although I had nothing related to technology, I thought I could thrive here. I am passionate about Africa and its development; therefore, this would be a place I would learn, contribute positively to improve initiatives, and engage with different teams across Africa. They had not advertised for any vacant position, but the zealous energy within me made me hopeful. A month later, Cellulant offered me an opportunity as a finance intern. That is how I landed at Cellulant and grew within the business.
What’s the one problem you are solving for clients in this market?
Manage internal and external controls for digital payments channels, escalate and resolve payment issues and collaborate with the product, commercial, technical, and finance teams while providing support to merchants’ financial needs by ensuring technical and operational issue resolution on reconciliation discrepancies and customer issues as well as providing revenue assurance to the Business and investigating and identifying unsuccessful transactions and processing refunds to customers. My work depends on delivering one of the core values, “Customer Delight, Whatever it Takes,” because my role is customer-centric.
What do you love most about working at Cellulant?
I value that I get to wake up and make a change in the digital payments sphere in Africa.
Cellulant is a constantly evolving working environment with a multicultural setting. I enjoy working with a diverse team with flexibility, including the opportunity to collaborate autonomously to achieve the business’s goals.
Working for a pan-African entity that exposes me to payment pains across Africa that we solve and embracing cultural exchange through working with people from different countries, I get to travel through the lens of my computer.
Who has been the most significant influence in your career & why?
I have always been self-motivated and keen on analysis and problem-solving. However, some people I admire, like Maya Angelou and Winnie Mandela, did not influence my career choice. They instead instilled discipline and a sense of believing in myself through their individual stories. I became zealous about my interest. My mother has always been supportive throughout my career journey.
How do you want to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered for building meaningful relations and uniting people for a greater purpose and for my compassionate and positive energies.
What do you do during your free time to relax?
I enjoy traveling, exploring new places, hiking, reading, and documenting stories.
I also give back to the community through volunteering in organisations that have a mandate on socio-economic development.
In your own words, what does Cellulant want to do in Africa,
Cellulant intends to provide innovative solutions to grow the digital payments ecosystem in Africa.