Chemistry to Human Resources – Bwari Ondima

It’s always believed that with STEM, you are flexible enough to fit in any field of work. Here is Bwari narrating her transition from Chemistry to Human Resources;

Hi Bwari, good to speak with you today. I can’t wait to hear more about you than what I have already heard from Waithera
Hi Winnie, thank you for inviting me here. I have to say I was very impressed when Waithera mentioned your work to me. You are doing a good job.

Briefly give our audience an introduction about yourself
My name is Christine Bwari Ondima but I go by Bwari Ondima on most days unless I’m traveling or I need to show my passport or National ID for identity proof, haha. Professionally, I am trained as a Quality Control Analyst but haven’t been in practice for 8 months now since I quit my previous job.

Currently, I would say I do a lot of things. I am an entrepreneur, running my business called The TurbanCo. I also am a virtual assistant for a writing company in New York. My job here entails proofreading articles, managing the website, and writing, sometimes. As a freelancer, I do content writing for some World Food Program (WFP) projects. I recently got an acceptance letter for a Country Coordinator role for a program called ACE under Tata Consultancy Services. This is going to be my main focus soon.

I can see there has been a shift from Chemistry to now Human Resources at Tata. Walk us through this journey
I have always been one of the most curious people in the room – I ask a lot of questions. This natural inquisitive character pushes me to learn new things easily. So definitely this always made me one of the top performers in school. I ended up doing a BSc. Industrial Chemistry in university because of my love for sciences. To be honest, I wanted to study Aeronautical Engineering but life happened, haha, and I ended up in a chemistry class.

While at the university, I realized my love for laboratory work. My interest was more in procedure, protocol, exploring, and other things in that line. During the same time, I also discovered my leadership potential through the AIESEC program. That was the beginning of a new journey, a new era, a new phase. There’s nothing as beautiful as identifying your power and using it to make an impact.

At the moment, I am in a phase of trying out new things. I still love my Chemistry, and look forward to pursuing more of it, even at the master’s level. However, at this point where I am not finding ready opportunities in that, I have chosen to maximize my other skills and use those for a career. Hence my one-year contract with the Human Resource Department at Tata. In general, when it comes to Chemistry, I am open to remote opportunities that I can still do to keep my passion and desire for the subject alive, alongside my soon-starting role.

Let’s talk about some of the challenges you have faced as you transitioned from Chemistry to Human Resources
Unemployment is a really big problem and it’s something that needs to be addressed. Not just from an angle of no opportunities but also the provision of dignified work opportunities in terms of good pay and a good work environment. There is more to it than just a job. Employers need to understand that.

Another challenge was not getting enough opportunities in Chemistry. I would love to explore this area but not getting good opportunities in terms of a good healthy work environment and good pay has been tough.

Despite all these challenges, what keeps you motivated on your career journey?
Seeing women go out and get things done! I am a feminist. Not that kind of toxic feminism that people have been passing around. The right and true definition of feminism. I love seeing women rise. And seeing how much we can do keeps me going. Seeing the opportunities we now have and can pursue them, makes me want more and go for more.

That makes the two of us!

We enjoy celebrating our amazing women; tell us about some of your achievements along your career journey
I participated in the L’Oréal brandstorm competition in 2020 and was part of the National finalists. The competition was about coming up with plastic-free packaging for cosmetic products and this was close to my heart since I’m a Chemist.

I was a National Vice President in charge of Operations in AIESEC in the year 2020-2021

What are some of the things you enjoy doing during your free time
I enjoy traveling a lot. I’m doing a series of traveling to a different town monthly. At the moment, I am in town 6 out of 12. I also enjoy going on food dates and adventures. Sometimes I enjoy inexpensive hobbies, haha, like reading books and photography.

What is your favorite Quote?
Every Great Change Starts like Falling Dominoes” ~ Lorne Whitehead.

How would you encourage a young African girl who wants to transition from any STEM field to Human resources?
In life, the Be, Do, Have principle makes everything so achievable. For you to get what you want, you need to Be it, Do it and you’ll have it.

Thank you, Bwari, for sparing time to share your unique story with the world. Transitioning from Chemistry to Human resources is a huge move! From you, I learn that it’s okay to be uncertain at some points but always aspire to be better than you were yesterday. Thank you very much.

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3 Responses

  1. Indeed unemployment is a very serious problem especially in the growing countries because even those who get chance to get to university end up on streets. However big up to those who look for the second alternative and prosper.

    1. Thank you, Ssuna, for reading our content, and for your contribution. We hope to change the existing narratives one story at a time.

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