Trailblazing in Technology: Loice Ngulube’s Path to Diversity, Governance and Community Impact

Loice Ngulube
Loice Ngulube

The setting of a conference room, filled with eager faces hang onto every word spoken by a seasoned executive—a role model for aspiring ICT and business practitioners and continues to mentor them. In the world of information technology, Loice Ngulube is an embodiment of leadership and innovation. With her commanding presence and wealth of experience, she captivates the room, inspiring all who have the privilege of hearing her insights.

From her early days as a nurse to her current role as Chief Information Officer at POSB Zimbabwe, Loice has consistently pushed boundaries and shattered glass ceilings. Her vision? To utilize her expertise in enhancing shareholder value, a testimony to her dedication to organizational success.

But Loice’s influence extends far beyond her role at POSB. As a board member of the Attorney General’s Office and ISACA Harare Chapter, she shapes governance frameworks and mentors aspiring ICT professionals. Her leadership roles in various organizations including the Computer Society of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Open University Council underscore her commitment to driving positive change.

Loice’s accolades speak volumes about her achievements. From winning Gold as Female Business Executive of the Year to being recognized as one of the Top 100 Gartner CIOs, her impact is undeniable. Yet, amidst the accolades, Loice remains grounded, guided by her passion for empowering others and driving innovation.

Inspiring Paths

Loice’s journey into the realm of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is nothing short of inspiring. Starting her career as a nurse, Loice’s fascination with ICTs began when she accompanied her spouse to an ATM launch in the United States. “The passion for ICTs was ignited,” she recalls.

While working as a nurse for a decade, Loice pursued part-time studies in information technology, eventually earning her Higher National Diploma in Systems Analysis. This was followed by a degree in Business Studies and Computing Science, opening doors to a career shift. Landing a job as a Networks Engineer in a manufacturing company marked the beginning of her journey in the ICT sector.

Her career trajectory took a significant turn when she secured a two-year Graduate Trainee program with a bank. Climbing the corporate ladder, Loice transitioned from trainee to branch manager before finding her niche in the ICT Department as a Business Analyst. Through dedication and hard work, she eventually assumed the role of acting ICT Manager.

However, life’s twists and turns led Loice to Tanzania where she embarked on a new chapter as a Computer Science teacher, achieving remarkable results recognized by Cambridge University. Transitioning back to the corporate world, she became a Microsoft Assurance Account Manager in a private company.

Returning to Zimbabwe, Loice seized an opportunity as an IT Executive at a bank, a role that evolved into her current position as Chief Information Officer. Her influence extends beyond her workplace as she serves as a director on various boards including the Zimbabwe Open University Council and the Zimbabwe Office of the Attorney General’s board. Additionally, her commitment to community service is evident through her involvement as a Rotarian.

Throughout her journey, Loice has been an ideal example of resilience and determination, garnering national awards and continually upgrading her skills as technology advances. “My motto is to never give up and always strive to win,” she affirms.

Despite her professional pursuits, Loice prioritizes family, raising three accomplished children, one of whom follows in her footsteps in ICT while the others pursue careers in law and quantity surveying.

As Loice reflects on her journey, she acknowledges that the road ahead is filled with both challenges and opportunities. Yet, with her stanch determination and thirst for knowledge, she embraces the adventure, knowing that the destination is still on the horizon, waiting to be reached.

Strategic Alignment

Loice emphasizes the importance of aligning technology with business strategy. To balance the strategic vision of leveraging technology with operational needs. She says, “I spend time understanding the business strategy.”

Engaging in discussions with key stakeholders, Loice identifies pain points and collaborates with them to prioritize projects. She highlights the significance of governance frameworks for alignment and oversight, stressing that effective communication is key. “If poorly executed,” she warns, “projects may fail to meet the desired outcome.”

Loice’s approach underscores the essential link between technology and business objectives, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently and projects are executed effectively to drive organizational success.

Securing Trust and Driving Growth

Deeply engaged in the dynamic financial sector, Loice is enthusiastic about driving electronic banking initiatives. She notes, “The financial sector has been quite dynamic and I have enjoyed being part of the force driving the initiatives.” Her approach involves building strategic partnerships and conducting market research to understand customer needs. She highlights “Customer education ensures a quick uptake of the products with the creation of seamless user experiences to prevent customer aversion.”

Prioritizing security and trustworthiness, Loice’s initiatives have resulted in enhanced operational efficiency, customer retention and expanded reach. These initiatives have seen the bank enjoy increased revenues and minimized operational costs. Through her strategic vision and proactive measures, Loice continues to propel her organization forward in the ever-evolving landscape of electronic banking.

The Power of Valuing Differences

Loice prioritizes fostering diversity and inclusion within her team, recognizing its crucial role in fostering creativity and innovation. She asserts “Every member of the team irrespective of gender, religion, or ethnicity is valued.”

Setting a clear vision for diversity outcomes, Loice ensures that team members agree to shared goals and regularly track progress. When recruiting, she avoids biased job descriptions to widen the recruitment pool. She stresses, “I aim at creating an environment where all team members ‘feel’ valued and respected.”

For Loice, effective contribution to team goals and objectives is what truly matters irrespective of background. By championing diversity and inclusion, she cultivates a collaborative and empowered team culture that drives success and fosters a sense of belonging for everyone involved.

Meeting Sectoral Needs

While conversing about the banking and healthcare sectors and leveraging her IT expertise, Loice explains, “In both sectors, improved operational efficiency and customer satisfaction are paramount.” To tackle challenges, she leads digital transformation initiatives, enhancing both internal and external customer experiences. Security is crucial to building trust and protecting data.

Loice also navigates regulatory requirements ensuring technology compliance within the sector. By addressing these challenges head-on, she drives sustainable growth and innovation, meeting the evolving needs of both sectors while fostering trust and reliability in technological solutions.

Integrating Technology Trends

Loice accentuates the importance of staying updated on technology trends by continuing to learn her mantra. Attending webinars, reading online publications and attending conferences are essential for staying abreast of emerging trends. As a member of professional ICT societies, she remains connected to industry advancements.

Collaborating closely with executives and business unit leaders, Loice ensures alignment with the bank’s strategic priorities. Understanding strategic priorities helps in leveraging emerging technologies while driving value. By proactively seeking opportunities to integrate new technologies, Loice plays a pivotal role in shaping the bank’s technological landscape to meet evolving needs and strategic objectives.

Achieving Strategic Objectives

Loice emphasizes a combination of essential qualities for driving innovation and achieving strategic objectives. “Technical expertise, collaboration skills and communication skills,” she notes, “are among the key traits needed.”

Additionally, Loice values results orientation, emotional intelligence and the ability to make decisions and solve problems. She explains that once these skills are nurtured, a high-performing team capable of value creation can be developed.

By fostering these qualities within her team, Loice ensures they are equipped to adapt quickly to new innovations and deliver exceptional results, contributing significantly to the organization’s success.

Leadership in a Global Context

Loice’s leadership style and problem-solving approach are significantly influenced by cross-functional and cross-cultural experiences. Adapting to various working styles and organizational cultures has enhanced her adaptability. She underlines the value of collaboration and effective communication in working with diverse teams acknowledging the importance of embracing cultural differences.

Loice’s leadership style is inclusive, embracing cultural diversity and empathetic to the needs of team members. Emotional intelligence helps one understand unconscious bias. She highlights its importance in decision-making. Her experiences working with people from different cultures and religions have shaped her empathetic leadership style, making her a transformational leader who considers individual needs.

Through her cross-cultural experiences, Loice has developed a leadership approach that values diversity, effective communication and empathy. By embracing cultural differences and leveraging emotional intelligence, she fosters a collaborative and inclusive work environment conducive to innovation and success.

Safeguarding Success

Loice emphasizes that in the tech industry, effective governance is crucial due to its constant evolution. She highlights risk management as paramount requiring robust systems security measures to mitigate evolving threats. The risk function reports to the board offering oversight and leadership.

Loice underscores the importance of fostering a culture of innovation and responsibility, alongside stakeholder engagement and compliance with industry standards. In a rapidly changing landscape, staying abreast of industry standards and engaging stakeholders ensures alignment with best practices while fostering innovation. By prioritizing effective governance practices, tech companies can navigate uncertainties and capitalize on opportunities, driving sustainable growth and success in the dynamic tech sector.

Empowering the Future

Loice’s aspirations for the future are driven by a desire for greater diversity in technological leadership. “I would like to see more women in the technology leadership space,” she asserts, actively mentoring aspiring students and fresh employees entering ICT roles. As an engaged member of the ISACA Harare Chapter and IFIP, she is already taking steps towards this goal.

In addition to her passion for mentorship, Loice envisions herself continuing in the governance space as a non-executive director offering valuable insights and contributions. “I believe I could offer valuable insights,” she affirms, acknowledging her potential to shape organizations.

Moreover, Loice aims to give back to the community by staying updated on new technology initiatives and serving as a technology consultant. Embracing new interests, she sees potential in agricultural technologies to improve farm management and crop yields.

With a mindset open to limitless possibilities, Loice embraces the idea that the world is full of opportunities for her to make a significant impact. Her unwavering determination and commitment to growth ensure that she will continue to pursue her aspirations with enthusiasm and dedication.

Thriving in Technology

Reflecting on her professional journey, Loice offers valuable advice to aspiring individuals. “Grow your support network,” she advises, “by seeking like-minded peers, mentors, or sponsors.” Emphasizing the importance of diverse support networks beyond the tech industry, she acknowledges the encouragement she received during challenging times.

Continual curiosity and staying informed are essential, Loice stresses. “Attend seminars, conferences and demonstrations,” she suggests, to remain updated on new trends and opportunities for growth. Building self-confidence and self-awareness is crucial. She highlights the importance of showcasing one’s uniqueness confidently, stating “Know your strengths and weaknesses.”

For students, Loice advocates embracing STEM subjects to progress in the ICT industry. STEM education is key. Loice accentuates recognizing its significance in building a foundation for future success in technology-related fields. By following these pieces of advice, aspiring individuals can navigate their professional journeys with confidence and resilience, equipped with the necessary skills and support to thrive in the ever-evolving world of technology.