Maimouna is the Founder & CEO of Lantana Consulting, a company commited to implement innovative partnerships and infrastructure solutions between African entrepreneurs, investors and industrialists that will expand regional trade in Africa and facilitate the continent's integration in the globalized economy. She is Consultant for different multinationals such as Sonetrad SA, Tradco Global, OCP (Office Chérifien du phosphate) and many others. She shares with us her experience.
#1/ What is the best time you can remember in your career?
It was when I signed my contract with OCP, the Moroccan fertilizer company. I was pleased because they saw my potential and not the fact that I was the daughter of a well-known person. In fact, they only found out afterwards.
#2/ If you had to give just one piece of advice to a junior starting his/her career, what would it be?
If someone gives you a negative answer – whatever the situation – don’t let it get you down. Instead, use it to improve yourself. Get up every morning and tell yourself you will prove them wrong and succeed, no matter what.
#3/ Do you have a Motto/Lucky charm?
Think big, start small and move fast.
#4/ What do you enjoy the most in your day-to-day job?
I love a challenge and like targeting niche markets that people often ignore.
#5/ If you had to do it again, would you choose the same career path?
Yes, because not working with my family has allowed me to discover my strengths and weaknesses. I was in an environment where I was not the daughter of a wellknown entrepreneur, so I had to prove myself and learn humility. I have learned to become a go-getter and not let anything stop me from improving myself and learning from other people.
#6/ Where is your favourite place on earth and why?
I really miss my village Ndawara. All my happiest memories take me back there. Unfortunately I don’t often go to my home country, Cameroon, but I live in Senegal now and I must say it’s a country I absolutely adore. The people are nice, there is no crime, it’s child friendly, clean and peaceful. I grew up in Geneva and have always felt more at home in small cities. Big cities are not for me. Besides, I am a very curious person and like to go around meeting people from all different backgrounds, which is easy in a small, safe town.
#7/ How would you describe your relationship with Ampersand World?
When you come from a wealthy family, people tend to think that everything is easy for you. In some respects they are right, but when it comes to the world of work things are very difficult. First of all, everyone expects you to do better than your parents because you had a better education. Secondly, people think that even if you aren’t qualified to do something, your name will always open doors for you. For me, it was important to know I could get on without my family name and be appreciated for who I was and for my work. Penda gave me this opportunity, accepted me for who I am and guided me. She also challenged me a lot, which was a good thing. Thanks to this, I have learned more about myself, my abilities and determination. I am more confident in myself and am recognised as Maimouna Baba and not as the daughter of. Penda took the time to assess me, push my boundaries and guide me in a direction that suited my character and aptitudes, and, when necessary, she brought me back to earth. Every time I get a contract through Ampersand World, I know it is because of my abilities and their trust, not because of my family background, and this is the greatest gift you can give a person from a wealthy family. I feel blessed and want to thank them for trusting me and allowing me to be myself and achieve all my unrealised potential.