Archives For leadership

by Christine Baingana, CEO of Urwego Bank

As the CEO of Urwego Bank, the largest microfinance institution in the HOPE network—and in the country of Rwanda—Christine Baingana shares what she’s learning about leadership while leading a team of over 300 staff.

I first learned of HOPE International after reconnecting with Peter Greer, HOPE’s president and CEO, while I was in graduate school. I had met Peter in the early 2000s while I was working for a large commercial bank in my home country of Rwanda and he was serving as the managing director of Urwego Bank. As we reconnected, Peter shared about the work he was doing through HOPE International—and asked if I wanted to join him.

In 2010, I joined the HOPE International team as the savings and credit association (SCA) specialist, later going on to serve as the Africa SCA regional director. When HOPE became a majority stakeholder in Urwego Bank in 2016, I was asked to step into the role of CEO. Having been on the board for several years, I knew that this would be a challenging time to lead the organization. I felt unqualified to lead such a large team through such a major transition.

But as I sought counsel from others, they reminded me to think of those Urwego could serve, men and women who have not had many of the privileges and advantages that I have. As I took my eyes off of myself and focused on them, I chose to say yes to this opportunity. It’s exciting to know we are changing lives for the Kingdom, that men and women who come to Urwego for a small loan, or to find a safe place to save, will have the opportunity to overcome poverty and experience a closer relationship with the Lord and their community members.

Here are five of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned on this leadership journey:

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Each month, HOPE’s human resources team puts together learning updates for staff members’ professional development. Wendy-anne Durika, benefits and policies specialist, introduced this month’s update: “This edition of the learning resources update has a back-to-basics focus. Giving, thank-you notes, the essentials of strategic planning, and getting to the root of issues through the Five Whys are just some of the topics in this learning update.” We hope you find these resources useful too!


Spiritual Integration

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HOPE International is pleased to announce that our founder and board chair, Jeff Rutt, was presented the 2013 Epoch Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding work in the missions field. The award was presented to Jeff on October 28 at Atlanta’s historic Fox Theatre during the second annual Epoch Awards presentation.

The vision of Tim Abare of Adventures in Missions, the Epoch Awards honor those who are persistently tackling issues of poverty, sex trafficking, HIV/AIDS, the need for clean water, homelessness, and other concerns in today’s society.

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Our leadership conference continues. We are studying Spiritual Leadership, by Henry and Richard Blackaby. Sessions discussed, among other things, the pitfalls that can derail spiritual leaders. The Blackabys discuss 10 of them. It was interesting to see how engaged the group was during this session. All of us have known, either in ministry or corporate domains, leaders who have fallen from significant leadership positions because of one or more of these issues. And, of course, we can all see our own tendencies in these as well. Here are a few of the pitfalls we discussed:

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