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Created on 17 July 2015 Written by Sandra Idossou
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Program Manger Rwanda Broadcasting Agency Youth Radio Station – Magic FM

Cynthia is the first born of three. She can hold a conversation with just about anyone and describes herself as a born-talker. My career chose me, she says. “Nine years ago, a friend called me and said I could do radio. I laughed at him, but accepted to go and try. My first try was fine, and then I was asked to read an announcement, which was pretty disastrous. I remember it as if it was yesterday. But it wasn’t enough to break me. I went back the following day, and it was way better.”

She loves radio because it gives people an opportunity to express themselves and discuss issues. She loves that she can develop programmes and get people talking and hooked to the programs. Her job gives her an opportunity to talk about life, touch listeners and influence changes in society.

It has not been without its challenges as Cynthia shares, “Initially, being a radio presenter wasn’t a very rewarding job in terms of revenue. You needed to like it, stick around despite the bad conditions, and then develop it. Not all of us made it in this business.”

What is a typical work day like for Cynthia? “I wake up at seven, I am in the car by 8, and get to office by 8:30 and start work. I usually get a cup of coffee around 3 in the afternoon. Based on the amount of work, my day at work can end between 5 and 8pm. I exercise 3 days a week, am usually home by 9pm. A quick shower and light dinner, read or watch a movie, then call it a night.

Cynthia’s words of wisdom to the youth, “Believe you can get anywhere you want to be. It just takes a great deal of discipline, passion and determination.”

For those seeking to pursue a career in radio, she advises; first make sure you love it enough. Be curious, and have a passion for story telling. She adds that one will need a lot of patience to make it in radio because it takes time for one to prove their worth. “You just need to DO IT”, she affirms.

When she is not working, Cynthia enjoys meeting friends over a cup of coffee. “I love Rwandan coffee,” she adds. “I never get tired of meeting people and hearing what they have to say. I travel whenever I have the opportunity. Traveling and seeing the world, experiencing different cultures, is the best teacher in the world.” She also watches TV a lot.


1. When are you happiest? I am happiest when I am around the people i love, i love creating memories for them and with them.

2. What inspires you most? Successful people who remain humble. I mean successful in all kind of ways, not necessarily money, but even with other achievements. It takes a great deal of character to be successful and remain humble.


3. What is your saddest moment? I do feel sad when something sad happens, but i do not sit and wait for it


4. Your favorite hangout spot? I love coffee shops. They allow me to converse with people, and they give me positive energy.


5. Favorite drink/snack/dish? I have just discovered an interesting cocktail, called Pio in one of the restaurants in Kigali but my favourite, is a good capuccino,  and the basic food is rice, vegetables and thick sauce.


6. What gadget can’t you possibly do without? I thought I could not do without my laptop and phone. But the reality is I totally can, I tried switching all of them off the other day for sometime and discovered I can but I need to have them close just in case.


7. Your dream car? When I was 18 years old, I discovered a TIGUAN. It is a car that never got very popular,  but it is still on my bucket list.


8. If you had one wish, which influential person would you like to meet? I would want to talk with Christiane Amanpour. I think she has quite a number of stories to tell.


9. Are you dating, single or married? I am dating a very charming man!


10. What is the most daring or craziest thing you've done ? I think I am boring, or maybe I am just a good girl. I can't think of anything thaaaat crazy I have done!


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Created on 17 July 2015 Written by Gloria Iribagiza
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Chantal Umutoni Kagame has made headlines as the first ever woman, in Rwanda's Telecom business, to carry the title of Deputy Chief Executive Officer. At the helm of her career, is the weight of her experience in the Telecom world where she has worked for precisely seventeen years, as a Telecom professional.

Chantal U. Kagame joined Tigo Rwanda in 2009, and within Tigo's work environment she thrived due to women leadership inclusion which, is one of Tigo's success secrets -- a leaf to be borrowed by every company that has a growth plan for its staff.

Chantal U. Kagame shares with The Service Mag (TSM) audience her exciting journey to success. Below are the Excerpts.

TSM:What is the scope of the new opportunities and challenges you will have to deal with in your new position?

Chantal U. Kagame:I am absolutely prepared to embrace any new challenges in my new position as Deputy Chief Executive Officer. 'To whom much is given much is tested', there is so much expected of me and I have to admit the pressure is real. We have to constantly evolve and bring innovations to the dynamic society that we serve. I have seen the birth of Tigo Rwanda, and the timing is perfect for me to continue as I actively support the consolidation of what we built over the past five years.

Tigo Rwanda recognizes hard work and creates growth opportunities for its entire team. Our recruitment, training, and promoting processes are free from any discrimination whatsoever. Equal chances are given to all staff. The women in Tigo Rwanda have decided to be their best and it has worked for them in their quest to transform their families and personal lives for better. When you provide equal opportunities for all staff, the committed ones will work their way to the boardrooms. 

TSM: What inspires you and Tigo's team to stand out as a major competitor?

Chantal U. Kagame: We only compete within ourselves as a company to serve our customers better. Every day, we keep exploring new ways to reach out to our base in an effort to find out which  of our products and services impact their lives. Over 5,000 men and women selling Tigo products as freelancers are the sole and primary breadwinners of their families. This inspires me to be part of a team that works tirelessly to support those who matter the most to them.

TSM: What counsel would you give to other women aiming to build their careers in the private sector?

Chantal U. Kagame: Being in the private sector business, there are no favors given to anyone. It is imperative to seek a career that fills you with passion. I suggest to everyone: "Do what you love" and then you will find that the sky is the limit. I keep emphasizing to not only women but everyone else, the willingness to take risks. A lot of times we women don’t think we are ready to do something that goes beyond our comfort zones; yet, remember those zones are good but nothing ever grows there. It is extremely important to engage in tough projects and say, ‘I can do it’. A combination of passion and opportunity is the best environment for success.


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