Walking the walk: how we celebrate international women’s day every day

Our approach to farmer professionalism is evidence based, why shouldn’t our workplace policies be the  same?

Many mission driven companies lose sight of their mission when it comes to their employees.  Research has shown that while women comprise  over 75% of mission driven staff in some sectors, men are still predominating  the top management roles[1]. This same research has demonstrated that mission driven organizations with women in top management positions are more successful in realizing their mission and reaching their goals, and their employees are more satisfied with the organization’s overall  performance.  According to studies by the World Bank, McKinsey, and Ernst & Young more gender parity leads to better decisions.

 SCOPEinsight’s internal, organizational decisions are congruent with how we approach our mission – that is that we listen to the data and the evidence.  That’s why 50% of our employees are women and our General Manager is a woman.

For International Women’s Day, we interviewed our own Marise Blom, General Manager.

What is your position in SCOPEinsight and for how long have you been working here?

I am SCOPEinsight’s General Manager and for the past six years I have been leading a diverse team of high-performing professionals.

Why SCOPEinsight?

I chose to work for SCOPEinsight because of my passion for the developing world – which began with Africa – and a profound desire to create a real, positive, impact in these countries.  What attracted me to SCOPEinsight is not only that it’s a company with a mission but also that its approach to transforming the agricultural sector is market based, ambitious but also realistic.  I wholeheartedly believe that the route to positive change for agri-SMEs in developing countries is through the professionalization of their organizations; this would allow farmers to “step-up” their game, be trusted suppliers, and link to the necessary financial and market services.

What did you do before you came to SCOPEinsight?

With a master’s degree in economics, I spent part of my career in the financially oriented positions, working in investor relations and with an investment fund.  I got my appetite for working in emerging markets when I saw the great opportunities when looking at it through a more entrepreneurial lens.

How would you describe your leadership style?

Others have described my leadership style as Transformational.  I try work to be a role model and lead by doing.  I mentor, empower and encourage SCOPEinsight’s employees to develop their full potential and contribute more effectively to the organization.

[1]Nonprofit Quarterly: Women in power, or — not so much: Gender in the nonprofit sector by Erin Lamb (2015)

Marise in action during a multi-stakeholder meeting in Kenya