Lubaba Damtew: “First in Her Class”

Lubaba Damte was born in Merssa, a small rural town in the northern part of Ethiopia. Having lost her father at a younger age, Lubaba was taken to be raised under a project for children of solders whom have lost their lives in the line of duty.  While losing her father was painful, this incident changed the course of her life dramatically.  Lubaba was no longer at risk of early marriage or being denied access to education as in rural Ethiopia boys were preferred to be sent to school. Having recognized the opportunity at hand at an earlier age, she made sure she worked hard and stood first in class every year. Later, having scored a high mark in the school leaving exam, she joined Addis Ababa University to study Management.

In the last semester of her graduating year, Lubaba was recruited by Commercial Bank of Ethiopia CBE) as a management trainee and began an impressive career journey with the Bank. Upon completing her 2 year on the job training, she was placed as a loan officer. Then on to Officer of Human Resource Department in which she cultivated keen interest and passion in HR. Over the years, under HR, Lubaba became part of the team in: coining the vision of the bank, developing a strategy to have world class human resource, recruiting international partners to transfer knowledge and technologies to increase competitive advantage, developing of performance management and succession plan, and intensive continuous trainings.

As a leader, Lubaba believes one needs to be visionary and a practitioner of their own sermon. At her current position as a Director of HR, her thinking is in line with developing good leaders. She believes value plays a great role in our life. While “Be Yourself” is her philosophy in life, she has many role models who supported her to be who she is today. Her mother, a successful uncle, and collogues were the ones who taught her the real meaning of strength, commitment, truthfulness, and hard work.

Lubaba also looks up to Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro) as exemplary of courage and conviction in the face of danger. Lubaba defines success as being happy, being satisfied with what one has and paying it forward. Lubaba is grateful to God for her success and strength of character.

Lubaba’s most noted achievement is as a leader of the HRD in the envisioning, designing, constructing, equipping, staffing and running first class HR Training School of CBE in Addis Ababa.

Known as a champion for mentoring and coaching, Lubaba strongly argues the general assumption that women do not support each other in life. She believes lack of different planforms or opportunities are the culprit of this assumption. Lubaba promotes the creation of different planforms and organizations like AWIB to enable women to come together to support each other, to network and invest in their personal and professional development.

As part of the strategy of the Bank, Lubaba is responsible for planning, organizing and executing capacity building programs for all workforce of CBE. She invests her time to mentor and coach staff. In addition, she gives the opportunity for her female colleagues to participate in trainings and meetings she is invited to. Through AWIB that she worked hard to partner with, Lubaba is able to give the chance to female employees of the bank to have access to capacity building programs, networking platforms, mentoring sessions and exposure to role models.

Lubaba is most grateful for AWIB for creating the platform for women to come together to network and work on responsible leadership. She wishes for many AWIB like organization to flourish and to see women taking the leadership role in politics, businesses and social sphere of the country as is happening within CBE—those employees belonging to AWiB taking leadership roles.

As a member of the lion’s club, Lubaba participates in the drive for covering the school material costs for disadvantaged children. In her leisure time she loves to enjoy a quiet day at the spa and quality time with her 3 children.  She is most grateful for being healthy.

For many Lubaba is inspirational! Who would have thought a girl from a very small rural village will one day be heading the human resource section of the biggest and most successful Bank in Ethiopia.

When asked what she would like to share with the younger generation, Lubaba was very clear in pointing out the need for the youth to be conscious of the company they keep and the decision they make which may affect their lives.  She emphasizes the young generation having a vision,  a plan and working hard towards accomplishing their goals; being smart in managing peer pressure and knowing that there is time for everything will make them stand out of the crowd.

“I was not supposed have a life I have today but God had other plans for me which I was conscious of and did not take it for granted. I used every opportunity, worked hard and went the extra mile to be ahead. I made the decision early on to get married and have children. This did not stop me from giving 110% for my professional and personal life.  We, women have inner strength unmatched by any other and we can do anything if given the opportunity.” ~Lubaba Damte”~

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