Pursue What Fulfills You – Flavia Anyiko

Wilma Mankiller once said that women in leadership roles can help restore balance and wholeness to our communities. We are privileged to have a female leader in Risk Management as our guest for the day. 

Hi Flavia, thank you for joining us today. Congratulations on the amazing work you do in energy. We surely need more women like you on the front line
Hi Winnie, thank you for inviting me. I looked through your website and it’s a wonderful initiative. From my experience, I believe stories are truly powerful. I keep visiting the website and enjoy other stories published. 😀 I am happy to share my story.

Please tell us your name and what you do at the moment
My name is Flavia Anyiko from Uganda, currently the Head of Risk at UEGCL (Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd). I am responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining policies and frameworks for Enterprise Risk management and Business Continuity Management in the company so that strategic objectives can be achieved with minimal downside events.

Walk us through your STEM journey from childhood to where you are now
Well, I was born and raised in Kampala. By the time I was 11 years old, I had lost both my parents so my aunt and uncle have raised me since. My family is big, so much fun and so full of love. My sisters (calling them cousins just won’t cut it) were my first best friends and are still so.

I went to Mt St Mary’s Namagunga for my O and A ‘level education and Makerere University for a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering undergraduate degree. I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a Civil Engineer but had a preference for science subjects, especially chemistry. My love for Chemistry made me dream of making a perfume one day ;). However, while I was selecting my options for a university degree, Chemical Engineering wasn’t among the options available at Makerere and I did not know how else to do it while still on a government scholarship. So, my next best option was Civil Engineering. It was while studying at the university that I came to appreciate what engineering was about and how it suited my strengths and abilities.

My first job was with a Consulting firm; Sampar Consulting Engineers, a few months before graduation. I learned a lot about hard work, teamwork, going the extra mile, and resilience during the 1.5years I spent at this firm and these values have stuck with me to this day. With that experience, I joined the Ministry of Works and Transport as a Civil Engineer and after about five years at the ministry, I joined UEGCL as Senior Materials Engineer at the Karuma Hydropower project and two years later transitioned to the risk management role.

What have been some of your biggest challenges while on this journey?
Finding my voice in a male-dominated industry was challenging. Many people often express surprise that I am an Engineer, which often made me doubt my capabilities. My mother believed I would do great things and she often said so. So I grew up knowing I was smart and capable of so much because that’s all I heard growing up. It has seen me through many such times and the people I have surrounded myself with are always encouraging.

Job transitions for me were always uncertain. At the time of decision making, I was often unsure of what to expect and struggled with whether the direction I was taking was right for me. I have since learned that there will always be some level of uncertainty but having the right people in my circle to advise, guide, and mentor me always helps me consider my options more objectively.

What is that one constant source of inspiration in your life?
Faith in God and growing in relationship with God has been my source of inspiration and purpose. I know that God truly loves me and has presented me with so many opportunities to be blessed and be a blessing to others. So even in difficult and uncertain times, I know that God has me covered.

Let’s talk about your prestigious awards and moments of recognition
As far as awards go, I got an MSc in Transport Planning and Engineering (Leeds, UK) but more importantly for me, it was the experience of self-awareness and personal growth while on this program that was most impactful and memorable.

I am also a certified member of the Institute of Risk Management (UK), and an honoree of the United States Energy Association, Women in Energy September 2021 edition.

What do you enjoy doing during your spare time?
Time with family and friends is my favorite thing. A great meal and a good laugh are almost always guaranteed. I like to give of my time, knowledge, resources, skills, and abilities. It is why I joined Girls For Girls (G4G) Uganda and the Global Women’s Network for Energy Transition. I belong to two book clubs 😉 because of my love for good books just to have a good laugh and of course learn a thing or two. I enjoy the new experiences that come with travel and visiting new places, near and far.

Risk Management during the Karuma project
Women’s day; visit from my sisters during the Karuma project

What’s your favorite quote?
Never stifle a generous impulse” ~ William R Hewlett. Another one is; “Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. We are strongest when we cheer each other on” ~ Serena Williams.

Please leave us with a word of encouragement for a young girl in STEM
We have dreams for the same reason we have a unique fingerprint. There is a contribution only you can make. So believe in yourself and committedly pursue that which fulfills you and positively impacts another. Remember to have fun while at it, it’s not that serious 😉

Thank you very much, Flavia, for sparing some time for us on this project. I am glad you added your voice to this cause, and wish you more and more success ahead.

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