Of Trailblazing Legacies! – Sanda Ojiambo

Ms. Ojiambo comes from a family of achievers, but not just any kind; the trailblazing ones. Her late father, Dr. Hillary Ojiambo, was Kenya’s first cardiologist. Her mother, Prof. Julia Ojiambo, was Kenya’s second female elected Member of Parliament and the first female assistant minister. Sanda has three siblings consisting of a doctor, a lawyer, and a consultant management trainer. She speaks highly of her upbringing and attributes the support and inspiration she received to her success, now being the first African CEO of the UN Global Compact.

Sanda did her O levels in England and proceeded to pursue a BA in Economics and International Development at McGill University. After that came an MSc in Public Policy and Development Economics from the University of Minnesota. Her career decision was also majorly influenced by her experience growing up in Kenya, as she would get involved in various community development programs.

After her master’s degree, Sanda worked in Somalia for five years. She worked with CARE International and the UNDP office in Somalia as a Program Coordinator and Consultant respectively. She then joined the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 2002 and two years later moved to the International Planned Parenthood Federation. She served as the Director of Programs in the Africa Regional Office, reaching over 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008 Sanda joined Safaricom and worked with the company for 11 years. Among her key moments during the period was the inauguration of the M-Pesa Foundation Academy. At Safaricom, she also got exposed to sustainability as the Head of Sustainable Business & Social Impact and worked together with the UN Global Compact when Safaricom became a member company.

As the CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, Sanda works with businesses the world over to bring to realization the Sustainable Development Goals. She proposes that businesses must embrace working together to achieve these goals. Specifically for African Businesses, she puts forth that it would be impossible to survive should they choose to act unilaterally. She also emphasizes the need to move from ambition to action and accountability. Through the UN Global Compact, she can provide businesses with a system that helps them in this transition by allowing them to set goals and provide feedback on the same. According to Sanda, having a purpose-driven profit mindset is what will help businesses contribute to the SDGs and the 2030 vision.

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