Joyce Ngugi, Director of Finance and Operations at The Nature Conservancy, Most Admired WomenLeaders of 2021 Profile

Joyce Ngugi
Director of Finance and Operations – Africa at The Nature Conservancy

Joyce Ngugi, Director of Finance and Operations – Africa at The Nature Conservancy, Most Admired WomenLeaders of 2021

“Championing strategic impact”

Joyce Ngugi is the Director, Finance and Operations for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Africa, a position she has held since 2016. TNC is the world’s largest conservation organization, with a current footprint across 75 countries and territories worldwide.

Harnessing her experience in effecting business continuity and operational efficiency, Joyce has grown the regional business unit’s operations and finance capabilities from a small team into a thriving program running across nine countries. TNC’s business management demands are extensive and rigorous. The innovative systems and expert team that Joyce has put in place and leads are the backbone of the regional program and key to its conservation achievements to date.

A firm believer in carving one’s path through pursuit of knowledge and exploration of one’s fullest potential, Joyce is a formidable force at TNC. As the Director of Finance and Operations for Africa, she provides leadership and technical oversight in mitigating risks and ensuring strategic effectiveness, wearing these multifaceted hats while simultaneously strengthening gender equity by playing an active role in evaluating recruitment processes, employee recognition, succession planning, compensation structures and staff development.

Well respected for her adaptive capacity in managing oftentimes complex and ambiguous situations in a fast-evolving landscape, as a member of TNC’s Africa Region leadership team, Joyce has been instrumental in making bold decisions that champion TNC’s strategies, in meeting the organization’s operational goals and resourcing objectives across the continent.

Joyce has been influential and remains keen in ensuring strategic focus while providing innovative solutions to emerging challenges. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic presented various organizational challenges and unseen situations, she was credited for steering difficult conversations and facilitating vital decision-making processes conclusively.

Inspired leadership

“I draw my inspiration from my parents, especially my mother, who taught me how to be people-centric when relating and working with others. She is a natural pioneer herself, she challenged me to pursue my goals with tenacity, whilst respectfully dissecting cultural parameters, which often pose as barriers towards progress for women. My father is a hard worker and we all learned from him how to show up in workspace and get things done!’ Joyce shares.

Joyce also highlights how she gleans from ordinary women across the globe who strive tirelessly to provide for their families, and from remarkable leaders who through their work positively impact people’s lives, economies, governments, and the environment.

“There are numerous perceptions of what a woman in leadership should look like and how she must navigate the realms of authority. I have often seen this play out on many occasions in my professional journey, however I have been fortunate to tap into the advice and encouragement of many who have inspired and mentored me over the years, which has propelled me to be intentional about how I define and develop my own path in a quest to remain true to my authentic self,” Joyce asserts.

Embracing the opportunity to impact communities

Joyce acknowledges the existence of gender bias in workplaces and is hugely committed to fostering continued dialogue on this inequality. Her career path has presented her with opportunities to support the discourse of women in the workplace, leveraging her experiences of working and living in areas across Africa that are considered high risk for women. Her passion and notable interpersonal skills have propelled her to evolve as a voice for the seemingly voiceless, inspiring her to stand in the front line of supporting women who are keen to explore opportunities for growth.

“Being a part of an organization that has zero-tolerance for gender bias awards me and others the rewarding opportunity of ensuring constant dialogue and developing action plans on prevailing issues,” she says.

“We each have a unique opportunity to contribute towards the welfare of the world we want to live behind. Stepping into my role daily to do my part as part of a wider global team has been truly transformational,” says Joyce.

When asked to share what advice she has for people, particularly women on a quest for professional growth, be it in a corporate setting, or within the communities they serve, Joyce attests to the importance of courageous persistence and the need to press on towards the goal, regardless of how challenging a situation may be and pushing through even in the face of opposition. “Achieving goals requires willpower, flexibility, and determination, attributes to which we all possess if we tap into what lies within,” she concludes. IEWL


The Nature Conservancy


Joyce Ngugi
Director of Finance and Operations – Africa
at The Nature Conservancy


The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. We're proud of what we've accomplished since our founding in 1951: The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 117 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide — and we operate more than 100 marine conservation projects globally.

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