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Dr Karusisi on her biggest lesson learned since becoming the CEO of Bank of Kigali

It was in February 2016 that Dr. Diane Karusisi was appointed managing director and CEO of Bank of Kigali. She has at the helm of Rwanda’s largest commercial bank by assets for over eight years.

At that particular point in time, it was still an exception to see a woman at the head of such a big organization. After 8 years of being at the head of Rwanda’s biggest financial institution, Karusisi reveals the biggest lesson she has learnt so far.

Reflecting on her journey, Karusisi emphasizes the importance of having a clear vision. “The first one is clarity of vision, to know what you want to achieve and having a vision,” she explains.

She highlights that while many people can have a great vision, the real challenge lies in executing that vision effectively.

While sharing various points during Africa CEO Forum’s panel discussion entitles ‘Conversations with CEOs’ Karusisi mentioned that in order to make an African company stronger and bigger, the leadership has to have a crystal clear vision and consistency.

She said, “Leading means rallying people around a vision, clarity of visions it needs to be crystal clear, you need to be consistent the world has so many distractions. Stick to your vision and make sure people understand it.”

The CEO also shares insights on the opportunities available to the younger generation today compared to her own. “Young people today are luckier than many people. Many people in my generation were born as refugees. Today, our young people have an opportunity to thrive and are given so many opportunities—education, informal education,” she says.

She stresses the need for ambition among the youth, encouraging them to aim higher not just for themselves, but for their communities and country as well.

“When you are not ambitious, you can have all the education you want, but nothing much will happen,” Karusisi notes. She urges young people to step out of their comfort zones and strive for growth in whatever they are doing to make a significant impact. “Get out of your comfort, try to grow in whatever you are doing so you can have more impact for yourself and also for your communities.”

Karusisi’s journey and the lessons she has shared serve as an inspiration for many, demonstrating that with a clear vision and ambition, significant achievements are possible.

Diane Karusisi has been leading Bank of Kigali for 8 years

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