Tuesday, 28 November 2017

2017 Top 40 under 40 Woman-Caroline Somba

How many 29 year-olds do you know who head up the finance function of a multi-national organization, manage to find time to run an amazing blog and a mentorship program to inspire young people to pursue their careers and passions concurrently? Not too many I believe!

I am delighted to introduce you to a fantastic lady who fits this bill, her name is Caroline Somba.



At just 28, Caroline was appointed as the head of the East African region’s finance division at National Oilwell Varco, a global oilfields equipment manufacturing company present in over 65 countries. 

When she is not being a kick-ass professional, Caroline feeds her love for travel and the outdoors. She started a blog called ‘My Global Attitude’ where she talks about her travels around the world and gives advice to young people on how to plan trips without breaking the bank. At 10 months old, her blog was nominated for the prestigious 2017 Annual Bake Awards. Twice a year, she donates sanitary pads to girls through partnerships with Children’s Homes within Kayole and Ruai areas.

CB: What do you consider as your greatest achievement to date?

C: Starting a Finance department at National Oilwell Varco Kenya from scratch and running it to become the best managed unit in Africa is my greatest achievement. This was my first ‘start up’ to work with. Setting up the Kenyan unit and the rest of East Africa from scratch and seeing the portfolio we have built in the last 3 years brings us (the team) great satisfaction! I also take it as an achievement when I see my team succeed; especially the fresh graduates who I’ve trained and have now become experienced team members.

I am also fortunate to have started a Travel Blog and Mentorship programme. I run a blog called www.myglobalattitude.com where I write about my passion (Travelling) and give pointed advice on how to plan trips without spending too much. My blog was nominated for the Best Travel Blog 2017 in the Annual BAKE Awards at 10 months old.

Using the blogging platform, I mentor young people on pursuing their careers and hobbies concurrently with utmost success in both. I’m currently running a programme at Multi-Media University where I give mentorship talks dubbed Career+Hobby with an aim to inspire young people to pursue their careers and passions concurrently.

CB: What has your career path been like as you have navigated through your chosen field leading up to your current role/position?

C: I began my career at Galana Oil Kenya as an Intern, and  worked as an Assistant accountant until 2014. I later joined National Oilwell Varco as a ledger controller where I was hired to start up the company’s Finance department in Kenya, and expand to East Africa. Two years later, I received a promotion to  Finance Controller, which is my current role.

Climbing the corporate ladder as a young African woman in an international company requires a lot of hard work. I have learned to speak candidly and pay attention to my leadership style. It’s only through this approach that I have been able to beat the outdated perception that some positions can only be occupied by men.

CB: What advice would you offer to young people on figuring out the balance between work, family life and social life?

C: Striking a balance between work, school and life has always been a challenge which I have learnt to manage over time. I’ve overcome this by only doing things which I think add value to my projects.

Climbing the corporate ladder is not an easy path and I am genuinely grateful to God for what I have achieved in life.

I also believe that young people can pursue their careers and passions concurrently. It is possible to be a great professional and still pursue your interests and hobbies, and thrive at it all!


CB: What is your greatest piece of advice to the young upwardly mobile individual?

C: Start building your career as early as possible. Talk to people in the industry you would like to work in, and never sell yourself short when given the opportunity.

CB:  What drives you?

C: Ambition.  When I read about people, especially women who have achieved a lot and continue to push for more, I get inspired. I have a role model who is Ory Okolloh Mwangi. She is one woman who does it all and succeeds while at it; from blogging, to career especially at Google Africa, to digital activism to family… she does it all!

CB:  Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

C: The Oil and Gas industry is still very young in Kenya therefore there are fantastic opportunities to rise further career wise. I am looking at rise to the CEO/Country Manager position in the next 5 years.

I would also like to expand the Career+Hobby project to other Universities and reach out to as many young people as possible.

I believe nothing is impossible!



‘’Be prepared to spot growth opportunities when they present themselves- because they are the key learning opportunities. You’ll know because they make you uncomfortable, and your initial impulse may be that you are not ready. But remember: Growth and comfort never co-exist’’ Ginni Rometty, Chairlady, President and CEO, IBM

See you same time next week.. I will introduce you to one of the few women actuaries in Kenya.  In case you didn’t know, Kenya only has a handful of qualified actuaries country-wide! She is also a recipient of the prestigious Young Insurance Achievers Award, a recognition for her outstanding contribution to the insurance sector. Talented, brilliant and definitely conquering the world… one number at a time!


20 comments:

  1. Very amazing. We were together in college and she was ever ambitious n focused. Go go Carol. The sky is the limit.

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    1. Thank you for reading! She is such a star!

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  2. Yes! Caroline is amazing. I read and follow her travel stories which are very inspiring.

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    1. Thankyou for reading! Continue to be inspired

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  3. Really curious to know if she read Malcolm
    Gladwell's "Outliers" at an early age! That she has stayed woke and is impacting lives is e-very-thing to me! Looking forward to the next piece!

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    1. Thanks for reading Olive. She's a testament that you can be a kick ass professional and still find time to pursue different passions.

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  4. Great caro...go go go..keep going

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    1. Indeed. Thank you for reading and I hope you were inspired

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  5. Great ! This is really inspiring Carol..keep it up

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking time to read. Glad that you were inspired

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  6. Inspiring.. go go Carol. This is amazing

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    1. I am glad you were inspired, thank you for reading

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  7. Such a good read Lydia. I love that she advocates for young people to pursue both their careers and passion!

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    Replies
    1. I love that about her story as well. Thanks for reading Loise

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