Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
Joseph Z. Tore
helps you in your leadership.
Joseph Z. Tore
Name: Joseph Z. Tore
Title: Managing Director
Organisation: Willbey Solutions (Pvt) Ltd
I am a seasoned executive with over ten years of experience administering and optimising business operations for social finance/microfinance organisations and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). I have consistently demonstrated a results-oriented approach in my positions as Managing Director, Operations Manager, and Head of Operations by streamlining processes, implementing effective operational policies and procedures, and attracting top talent to drive year-over-year revenue growth.
My strategic and analytic mindset enables me to identify opportunities for business development, develop robust strategies, and make well-informed decisions to achieve goals within time and budget constraints. I am adept at training and constructing high-performing teams, as well as nurturing a culture of excellence and continual refinement.
With a strong focus on client satisfaction, I ensure the delivery of best-in-class products and services that meet their requirements and contribute to the bottom line. By implementing decentralised loan processing functions, improving the quality and control over loan creation, and ensuring compliance with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) operations, I successfully reduced the default rate to below 2%. In addition, my experience launching Mlatho Financial Services in Malawi demonstrates that I am able to adapt to various business cultures and markets.
Within a year, I expanded the business, brought 5,000 people into the mainstream financial system, and amassed a substantial loan portfolio of MK 180 million. I have extensive experience devising and implementing effective corporate policies and procedures, in accordance with industry regulations and standards. By leveraging my international experience, I have consistently driven business growth and achieved substantial portfolio expansion, generating revenue in previously neglected sectors. As a leader with vision, I am adept at recognising and seizing new business development opportunities while proactively resolving potential problems.
I am able to communicate effectively with administrators, senior management, clients, and cross-functional teams because I have developed exceptional relationship-building skills. Professionals of all levels value my ability to direct them to the most suitable solutions and resources for their particular requirements. If you are looking for a committed and resourceful professional with a track record of driving revenue growth and optimising operations, I would be delighted to speak with you. Please feel free to contact me via email to discuss how I can contribute to the success of your organisation.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Moving to a new country to start a business was a rich experience with enormous challenges to match as a leader. I was tasked to lead Wisrod’s expansion into Malawi trading as Mlatho and despite being our regional kin, there was a culture clash that no book could bridge. As such, our first few months were very difficult as we had failed to understand our clients. Our fortunes began to turn when I attended seminars of Malawi Microfinance Network (MAMN). It was through this network I began to understand the cultural differences between Zimbabwean and Malawian clients. Through MAMN we partnered with another microfinance institution to serve women who do small income-generating activities. By the end of 2018, 5000 women were accessing small business loans from Mlatho across its network of three branches. These loans helped vulnerable women to meet their daily needs and provide a frontline defence in times of financial shocks. Apart from continuous learning, I have found networking to be most challenging in leadership. This is because, in my opinion, networking is the ability to relate and connect with people to inspire and empower lives.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Lifting others is both a life and leadership lesson I have been taught by those who have empowered me. I grew up an orphan and through the benevolence of my community and the African convention that says I am everyone's child I managed to get an education and become Chief Operating Officer of one of Zimbabwe's largest microfinance institutions, Platinum Microfinance and then the Managing Director of a fast growing up microfinance - Willbey Solutions. These are lessons I apply both to my professional and personal life. I used my limited privilege to sponsor another orphan like myself, through A-level studies and university. While our resources are small, it would be motivated to make sacrifices to better the life of somebody.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I take the best morning routine because it promotes both wellness and productivity for my whole day. Whether I am working from home or at the office, I give myself enough time to mentally and physically show up for work. I pronounce positive affirmations which helps to combat limiting beliefs about myself and support a confident mindset. When said in the morning, positive affirmations can motivate you to do your best and believe in yourself throughout the day. I will then transition my mind from personal time to professional by dedicating time each morning to reviewing and prioritizing my tasks for the day.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I believe leadership does not mean power, but the ability to empower a potential. I am trying to live by this inherent quality throughout in life
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
How the best leaders Lead by Brian Tracy. From my answer on question 2, I am sure you can pick that, Seven Qualities of a Leader by Brain Tracy impacted me and I am trying to live with that everyday.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
I believe that if social and economic change in the world truly is to take place, we must take up a wealth of opportunities in counter-intuitive collaboration between profit and non-profit. Basing on my experience I concluded that, if changing people’s lives is the ultimate, entrepreneurs fostering financial inclusion and social impact transformation are constantly challenged to innovate, design and scale-up sustainable social financial products. Therefore, I encourage every leader to check their contribution to social transformation of people around us.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I came into being in a traditional African blended background. The challenges faced by my family include violence, abuse, parenting, grief and communication. I established the plan of bringing our members together as a Christian influenced by the value of love and bringing people together. In 2018, I started a WhatsApp family group with 12 members. I introduced a culture of birthday parties aiming to bring members together. I took the opportunity to invite guest speakers to teach us how families can stay together. These family gatherings gave everyone a good time to check in with each other, address plans and air concerns. Our children started developing essential social skills, with boosting self-esteem and behaviour. In turn, we see changes in their academic success and they are becoming good friends with others in our community. Currently, the members of our group have increased to 61. This has taught me that one of the biggest donation families can offer one another is to spend time together. Not only does quality time strengthen and build family bonds, but it also gives everyone inside the family a feeling of belonging and security