From Lab Coats to Boardrooms: Meet Dr. Jorjoh Ndure-Tambedou, a Tech CEO

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Dr. Jorjoh Ndure-Tambedou, a Tech CEO

By: Awa Conteh 

In the dynamic world of technology and innovation, remarkable women continue to redefine the boundaries of possibility, standing at the intersection of excellence, leadership, and inspiration. 

Today, we invite you to embark on an inspiring journey with us as we introduce you to one such remarkable individual. Join us in this special episode of our Women in STEM column as we delve into the world of Dr. Jorjoh Ndure-Tambedou, CEO of Insist Global Gambia. This visionary tech company specializes in creating cutting-edge technological solutions.

But that’s just one facet of her journey. She is also a postdoctoral researcher, delving into the depths of knowledge in her field, and a dedicated adviser to the illustrious Women in STEM Gambia Association. 

Her life story is a testament to the power of determination and the boundless potential within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through her experiences, she leads a thriving tech company and champions the cause of women in STEM, fostering an environment where their voices are heard and their talents are celebrated.

In this episode, we will explore the influences that have shaped her, the innovations she has pioneered, and the insights she offers to aspiring women in STEM in The Gambia and around the globe.

Dr. Jorjoh Ndure-Tambedou holds a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences, with a particular interest in data analytics and statistics. She has always had a passion for research, and her journey began over 20 years ago as a teenager taking placements during her summer holidays to undertake research projects. Dr. Jorjoh returned to the Gambia after graduating from university in the UK to serve as a scientific officer on various vaccination clinical studies at the Medical Research Council for nearly ten years. Perhaps the most awe-inspiring of Dr. Jorjoh’s journey is how she tiptoed from the world of medical science to the forefront of the tech industry. From an early age, she was a relentless questioner, constantly ready and motivated to solve problems. 

This insatiable curiosity sparked her lifelong love affair with technology over four years ago, initially as a consultant, and with an unwavering commitment to innovation and a relentless pursuit of excellence, she quickly rose through the ranks, taking up a position to head the product engineering and quality assurance team at ISIST Global, where she embraced using technology to solve challenges and contribute to national development. 

Dr. Jorjoh Ndure-Tambedou, with her team

Dr. Jorjoh led her team to implement several country-wide projects, including developing the Education Management Information System for the Ministry of Higher Education Research, Science, and Technology, developing a business management tool for entrepreneurs to gain access to financing, and developing a Labour Market and Migration Information System for the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration, and Development.

In addition to leading her team to develop solutions that fit the Gambian context and solve challenges, this remarkable woman has contributed to developing occupational standards, policy, and strategy documents to drive the digital transformation agenda and the training of STEM professionals in the Gambia. 

In 2021, she became the Chief Executive Officer of the pioneering tech company known for its quality and innovative technological solutions. 

Dr. Ndure-Tambedou is the primary author of the Gambia’s first accredited mobile application development curriculum and the UNESCO National Consultant for developing the Gambia’s TVET and skills development sector’s Digital Transformation Strategy document and implementation plan. 

This superwoman has over 15 years of leadership and management expertise and was recently acknowledged by Forbes Africa as a woman leader driving change in the Gambia’s ecosystem. In addition, under her visionary leadership, ITAG has also named InSIST the Gambia’s ICT employer of 2022 for its commitment to training and developing young Gambians. 

Today, Dr. Jorjoh stands as an example of the infinite potential of women in technology, breaking down boundaries and establishing herself as a dynamic and prominent leader in the ever-changing world of technology. Her story demonstrates the power of enthusiasm, tenacity, and ingenuity in achieving the highest professional goals. It also indicates that combining enthusiasm, expertise, and adaptability can construct an exceptional route to success, regardless of where the trip begins.

Our energetic trailblazer has gained valuable abilities in innovation and leadership due to her research. 

As a passionate researcher, she believes that pursuing a research degree such as a PhD is about the training it implies, not the title. While conducting original research is admirable, she feels that to have a tangible impact; one must consider how to create change in society through the completion of several years of rigorous research. According to her, PhDs can assist in gathering evidence and data through thorough study and testing, responding to experimental feedback, identifying trends and outliers, optimizing or innovating systems, and managing numerous projects simultaneously. Furthermore, essential researcher abilities in innovation include the ability to hypothesize, develop, test, iterate, and negotiate uncertainty. 

“All successful researchers have an internal “locus of control” (LOC) – this means that they are highly self-motivated and take the initiative to move forward in a self-powered way. The research training did not mean I knew everything. It helped as I could self-reflect to know what I did not know and use a substantial business advantage, which is knowing how to learn!” she said.

At InSIST Global, Dr. Ndure-Tambedou is one of the founders of Afrijula, a UNCDF initiative that provides a business management tool for young entrepreneurs. Afrijula was designed with the African merchant in mind, and much research was conducted to understand better how semi-literate consumers traverse platforms. Support films in the local languages have been prepared to help users efficiently use the solution. Furthermore, as part of the initiative, the company trained over 9000 people in digital literacy and onboarded over 10,000 users on Afrijula. Their merchants can now manage their finances, generate financial reports to acquire access to financing, generate financial analytics, scale their businesses, and improve their standard of living.

Dr. Jorjoh, in addition to her successful professional career in the ICT sector, also acts as an adviser to the Women in STEM (WiSTEM) Gambia, where she has substantially impacted the ecosystem. The group is achieving critical outcomes for women and girls interested in STEM through advocacy and mentorship initiatives. 

Dr. Jorjoh and WiSTEM have held STEM fairs in high schools in the past years to raise STEM awareness and inspire the future generation of STEM professionals, particularly women. She is also actively training and developing prospective STEM professionals, serving on numerous committees, and organizing programs involving students and the larger community to increase awareness, boost STEM uptake, and make it more accessible to ladies. 

Women have historically been underrepresented in STEM fields, giving the impression that men predominantly dominate these fields. This misconception, exacerbated by cultural preconceptions and biases, causes difficulties for women seeking STEM careers. It inhibits young females from pursuing their interests in these disciplines and contributes to the gender gap. It is critical to acknowledge that talent knows no gender, and diversity in STEM delivers a plethora of viewpoints and ideas, eventually driving innovation and advancement. 

WiSTEM Gambia attempts to solve this issue by addressing preconceptions, creating inclusivity, and offering opportunities and support for women in STEM so that they can fully contribute their talents and ideas to these essential sectors. The community is an amazing tribe of over 500 girls and women, and its activities are making a big difference in the everyday lives of women in STEM by collaborating to empower more girls/women in STEM disciplines.

“Women are greatly underrepresented, especially in leading positions in the STEM fields globally, and we need to make a deliberate effort to try to narrow this gap. Some women also experience having their competence questioned by their male counterparts due to the gender perception bias”, Dr. Jorjo” said. 

Despite the multiple hurdles of being a woman in these fields, Dr. Ndure-Tambedou maintained a healthy work-life balance as a mother, leader, and STEM professional. She finds it incredibly rewarding since she can see the tangible impact of what she is doing for the very people for whom they are designed: Africans! She strongly advocates for more women in STEM, as she feels that when men make decisions or create solutions, their experiences, perspectives, needs, and expectations must be considered! Like many others in the industry, she emphasizes the importance of hard work, devotion, and perseverance among women in the sectors to develop themselves to fill any skills gaps for their roles.  

At InSIST Global, Dr. Jorjoh encourages flexible working, and as a result, the company has attracted high-caliber and talented women to join the team. Currently, 80% of the company’s senior management staff company’s women contribute significantly to the company’s efforts to create change. The company recognizes the efforts of men in these sectors whose actions exemplify the belief that actual progress is a collective effort, where gender should never hinder anyone’s potential. 

“I still have a lot to achieve”; I will continue working hard, acquiring and sharing as much knowledge as possible to achieve my goals/targets. It is a continuous process – there is always a problem to solve using technology! I am grateful to work with a supportive group of men, especially the founder, Seedy, and the Chief Technology Officer, Mbanyick. They are part of my support system, and we learn from each other daily”, she told TAT. 

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