Gloria Magombo is full of energy
FOR someone who is in the energy sector, it is only right that Dr Gloria Magombo is pumped full of it.
Those who know Dr Magombo, Zimbabwe’s recently-appointed Secretary for Energy and Power Development, can testify that the engineer has a passion for energy.
Her view is that electric and petroleum energy will over the next 10 years evolve significantly, and twice as much as mobile technology has in the last decade.
She is happy to be part of the generation that is changing the energy sector for the better.
“I enjoy energy and I love it. It keeps me going. It is one sector that I have fallen in love with. I understand it and it is sector that is going through a serious transition,” said Dr Magombo in an interview with The Sunday Mail last week.
“The energy systems that we talked about 10 years ago are not the systems that we will be talking about in the next 10 years, and I am very excited about it.
“I believe that the future is brighter for energy than any other sector especially if we unlock the storage for the solar energy in the country.
“If you look at the way we are going even in terms of mobility, we maybe be suffering today in terms of fuel, but the future movement of vehicles will be through solar energy.
“I am positive that the future has better offerings for Zimbabwe. If you look at countries in Europe, they have plans on how to phase out internal combustion engines; and are already advanced on introducing electric cars powered by renewable energy such wind and solar .
“I am happy to be part of the people that are going to change the country in line with President Mnangagwa‘s Vision 2030.”
Born in 1966 in Bulawayo, Dr Magombo’s dream was to become a geologist.
She attended Luveve Primary and Mpopoma High schools, opting for subjects such as Geography and Mathematics in the hope of increasing her chances in taking Geology as a major at university.
The course of her life changed when she was awarded a scholarship to study Mechanical Engineering in Cuba soon after Independence.
And she has never regretted that career path change.
However, it was not as easy as she thought it would be, and at the time engineering was male-dominated.
“I think we were a group of 25 Zimbabweans in Cuba and I was the only woman. It was not easy as I had to work twice as hard as my male counterparts to prove that I was up for the job,” she said.
“It was not easy being a female engineer at that time. I think that made me strong, versatile and prepared me for what I am today.
“I felt at that time that I was getting the worst of tasks as people were throwing everything and anything at me.
“But I was able to outclass some of my male counterparts, and looking back now, I always tell young people especially, young women, to never play victim in life, but embrace challenges and roll with the punches.
“I have also taught my children that with the right attitude one can achieve anything despite life challenges.”
Over the years Dr Magombo increased her academic qualifications, attaining an MBA from the National University of Science and Technology. She has an honorary PhD in Leadership and Management Studies from the Women’s University in Africa.
Dr Magombo has worked at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority as head of operations and generation planning, has been MD at Norconsult in Botswana, and regional energy advisor at Southern Africa Global Competitiveness Hub.
She has served as deputy chair of the Energy Portfolio Committee for African Forum for Utility Regulators.
However, she reckons her most successful project was setting up of the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority.
“One of my biggest achievements was the establishment of Zera. After the disbarment of Zimbabwe Regulatory Commission, my duty was to start a new organisation,” she said.
“I had to come up with a roadmap, operating systems and the recruitment of staff from 12 to 60 by the time I left. It is now a fully operational organisation which is about to get ISO certification.
“When I left, the organisation had passed the first part and I am confident all is well for it to pass the last hurdle.”
She still finds time to research on business and leadership.
Dr Magombo is a devout Christian whose latest reading in “God is My CEO: Following God’s Principles in a Bottom-Line World”, by Larry Julian.
“What I love about this book is that it provides certain principles and values, whilst you might be a leader and going through challenges, worldly leader will weaken under pressure, but if you are God fearing person you will get strength,” she explained.
“If you are a God-fearing person, your character should strengthen over time, and I have seen that in my character.”
An online synopsis of the book says it deals with conquering challenges in the workplace and focusing on goas.
Dr Magombo takes care of seven seven children and is married to an engineer.
“I have a big family, seven children of which two are from my late brother-inlaw and another from my late brother,” she says.
“None of them is an engineer, they are in finance and I guess that is where they believe the money is,” she chuckled.