At The Women’s Bakery, I work with an incredible team of individuals. Singular people represent entire departments of our business, from Human Resources to Finance to IT to Logistics and Operations, launching and supporting bakeries all over East Africa.
Many of you may have heard the expression “building the plane as you fly it.” I, quite frankly, could suggest that that expresssion sums up a large majority of my daily experiences at The Women’s Bakery in Kigali, Rwanda. As the Program Manager for our Kigali Flagship Bakery and Café, I, along with our renaissance team, have been building our plane as we go. From design and menu to operations systems, accounting systems, inventory systems, customer care manuals and standards, health intervention policies, protocol for working with other businesses, tour packages, the list continues for days as to the elements of our Flagship plane that we continue to grow, expand and invest in.
It’s really quite an exciting time to be a part of The Women’s Bakery. Our goals right now include focusing on proving our model and reaching profitability at all of the bakeries we own. It’s seemingly an ever chagning target with one very real win in mind—to provide truly sustainable, gainful employment for women. Bakeries are our medium, good business is our standard, and women’s empowerment is our end game. But that takes time, resources, management, skills transfer, systems, cashflows—the extent of which I might say has surprised us all.
But here’s the best silver lining there is—by building the plane as we fly it, we get to build the best darn businesses possible as well as develop and advance our own professional skills. We are truly the experts in the nitty gritty. We are the pilots who never lack the investment or zeal to see the manufacturing of this beast through. We bust through barriers on a daily basis as we seek to build around the details that unfold. We adapt, innovate, and lead together. As we climb in altitude, we are confident that an entire team of women (and men) will fly in the sleekest, cutting edge plane on the market, bursting through the clouds with resilience and pride.
Entrepreneurship requires grit, courage and patience. As a business, we must continue to build, even when we can’t find the parts or the entire model shifts (plane, business, or otherwise).
What is your #breadpower? What social impact are you passionate about that requires you to build your own plane?
Let the women of The Women’s Bakery inspire you—it can be done. It is being done. We may not have always been experts in plane (or bakery) building, but our team has worked hard in creating the plane you see today. It’s a journey none of us may have expected, but here we are flying in it.
Where will your plane take you?