Ephrance Eunice Kuzimba, a trailblazing entrepreneur and recipient of the dfcu Bank’s Rising Woman award shares her remarkable journey, from her experiences as a lecturer in electrical and electronics engineering to her entrepreneurial endeavors in the construction industry. Eunice’s story is one of determination, resilience, and a commitment to breaking gender barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields. Get ready for an inspiring conversation that highlights her accomplishments, the challenges she’s overcome, and her vision for empowering women and transforming communities through her work.
As the Founder and Managing Director of Cuisine Services, offering comprehensive construction management solutions, I’ve embarked on a journey leading to my recognition as a Rising Woman winner. My inspiration stems from a childhood marked by my father’s entrepreneurial endeavors, particularly his brick-making business, which faced distribution challenges. This early exposure fueled my aspiration to establish my own enterprise. Before venturing into entrepreneurship, I spent 11 years as an academic lecturer in the Electrical and Electronics Engineering department at Kyambogo University. During this period, I witnessed the plight of numerous graduates struggling to secure employment, motivating me to become a job creator. My background in engineering provided a unique avenue to support both my students and my community. Thus, my path to becoming a Rising Woman winner has been defined by my commitment to entrepreneurship, addressing unemployment issues, and a fervent desire to positively impact individuals and society at large.
The decision to enter my current industry or profession was primarily driven by the glaring gender disparities that exist within it. The construction and related fields have long been male dominated, posing a considerable challenge. Clients often reacted with surprise when a woman, like myself, engaged in construction or paving projects, leading to doubts about our capabilities. However, these obstacles ignited my determination to shatter these gender barriers. I recognized the crucial role of initiatives like dfcu’s Rising Woman in supporting women striving to establish themselves in male-dominated industries. The yearning for a robust support system as a woman was undeniable. Rising Woman, in particular, provided a pivotal platform for me to assert myself confidently as a female engineer in a male-dominated realm, challenging stereotypes and advancing gender equality in my industry.
A key challenge I faced in the past three years was gaining acceptance as a female leader overseeing a male-dominated team in this industry. Overcoming prevailing biases against women in such roles demanded persistent efforts.
Asserting myself as a capable leader despite these odds was vital. It necessitated unwavering resilience, driven by my goals and the desire to break gender barriers in a male-dominated field. My ability to persevere and remain steadfast in my pursuit played a pivotal role in surmounting these obstacles and achieving my current level of success.
Receiving the Rising Woman award has been a significant career milestone, emphasizing that success transcends financial gain and personal accomplishments. One cherished achievement is providing employment to my students, mentoring them, and witnessing their professional growth. Empowering others in my field is also a source of pride. More than professional achievements, what truly resonates is the transformation within my community, where I’ve witnessed lives change and seen tangible impact. My proudest accomplishment extends beyond monetary gains; it’s the lasting positive influence on individuals and the community.
Mentorship has been pivotal in my development, beginning with my parents, especially my father, who instilled values like hard work and perseverance. I’ve also benefited from interactions with seasoned businessmen, senior architects, and accomplished individuals in the housing and construction estate. Their guidance and willingness to share insights have significantly influenced my journey, deepening my industry understanding and reinforcing dedication and resilience as key virtues on my path to success.
My accomplishments hold the potential to inspire other women to pursue their aspirations in traditionally male-dominated fields, thereby promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. In my own sphere, I have actively worked towards this goal by ensuring that over half of the individuals I collaborate with are female, a figure that which stands at 51%. This deliberate effort aims to encourage more women to engage in engineering and similar professions, demonstrating that success knows no gender boundaries. By breaking barriers and fostering inclusivity, I contribute to the broader societal goals of gender equality and empowering women in my field and beyond.
Never let obstacles discourage you; maintain unwavering confidence in your abilities. Embrace a lifelong commitment to learning and constantly seek knowledge. Don’t hesitate to seek help and support from every available resource and build a strong, supportive network around you. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this journey alone, and with determination and the right support, you can achieve anything you set your mind to accomplish.
My future aspirations center on community impact, particularly through initiatives promoting sustainability and affordable housing for disadvantaged communities. Our projects, such as McConnell Reservella, demonstrate our commitment to these causes. I intend to increase social development by empowering individuals through skill development programs, offering training in crucial areas like electrical wiring, bricklaying, and painting. This aligns with my broader goal of effecting positive change within my industry and beyond.
Nurturing these qualities within myself involves maintaining a strong focus on my goals. I make it a practice to write down my objectives and stay unwaveringly dedicated to them. Despite external influences that may attempt to divert my path, I remain resolute in pursuing the dreams I have meticulously documented. Seeking inspiration and words of encouragement from successful women who have faced similar challenges is another way I sustain resilience. Moreover, I continuously learn from the obstacles that arise, using them as opportunities for growth and development.