Alex Arsene Kitio, country manager, Carmudi Cameroon and Congo Brazzaville
1. What was your first job?
At a start-up enterprise called Saleka. I joined an old school friend and headed up operations. It was there I started to improve my level of professionalism.
2. Describe the parts of your job that keep you awake at night.
Nothing really keeps me awake about my job. I’ve always been positive about my life and motivated. Even when I am faced with challenges, I know I can overcome them.
3. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
I would say my mother, because she used to tell me that I have the name Kitio and I must therefore always finish what I start, because that is a winner. She also said I need to be a leader.
4. And the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice has been from my wife. She told me I have a capacity for leadership and in management, but I am also very stubborn. But after she pointed that out to me, I have tried to be less stubborn.
5. The top reasons why you have been successful in business?
Firstly, I can identify solutions to problems. So when I think I have spotted a good solution, I implement it, without having to wait for approval from others. I can make good decisions independently. But I am also open to other views and work well in a team.
6. Where is the best place to prepare for leadership, business school or on the job?
I think you need to be a leader first. If you are not, then I don’t think you can learn how to be one very easily – that’s my opinion. However the job can teach you some leadership skills and help you practise them. But you do need to have it in your blood.
7. How do you relax?
Firstly, with my family. When I go home I have at least 30 minute with my children to joke, play and so on. Secondly, with my wife. I like to talk about the day, and how it went. And then once a week we like to travel or perhaps go for a bicycle ride.
8. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk?
Generally I start working at 5am, but I work wherever I have internet.
9. Your favourite job interview question?
I want to know what is the one thing a new employee can add to the business.
10. What is your message to Africa’s aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs?
My message is very simple: be humble. Aspiring business people and entrepreneurs should know they can start at a very low level and slowly rise to the top. And when they’re rising, they should know that they could fall, and might have to start at the bottom again. But they must be strong enough after the fall to get up and try again.
Alex Arsene Kitio is the country manager for both Cameroon and Congo Brazzaville at the online marketplace, Carmudi. The e-commerce platform is an initiative of the Africa Internet Group.