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40 Minute Mentor - Episode 1 - Charlene Chen - BitPesa

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I'm really excited to write this blog as it's the first blog for our new podcast, JBM's 40 Minute Mentor!

As this marks the first episode of our new series I wanted to tell you a little bit about it before introducing today’s guest.

About the 40 Minute Mentor

As a search firm that works with high growth, disruptive clients JBM get to work with some amazing people every day. Through our work we’ve been fortunate enough to develop an eclectic network of entrepreneurs and business leaders who are doing some incredible things across a number of industries.

I’m a huge believe in the power of mentorship and learning from those who are where you want to get to.

Finding great mentors who you can learn from is one of the top tips that I’m always giving to candidates who we work with at JBM and to help those of you who are looking for that mentorship we decided to launch this podcast.

In each episode we will share the inspiring stories, advice and mentorship from those in our network to help you learn from their insights so that you can apply them in your career and your life.

I’m always keen to get feedback so if you have any thoughts once you’ve listened to this interview just drop me an email, James@JBMC.co.uk

So who is our first 40 minute mentor?

Today’s guest and our first mentor is Charlene Chen, COO at BitPesa.

BitPesa is an online payment platform that leverages Blockchain technology to significantly lower the cost and increase the speed of business payments to, from and within sub-Saharan Africa.

I sat next to Charlene at an Innovate Finance dinner a couple of years ago and we instantly hit it off, sharing very similar views on the importance of people, culture and mentorship. She had a fantastic energy and I found her passion for BitPesa was infectious.

Charlene’s story is a really interesting and inspiring one that shows what you can achieve if you chose to follow the path less well travelled.

Having started her career in Consulting she decided to take some time out to complete an MBA which led to her moving to Ghana for 3 months to work with the Tech Start up, Busy Internet.

This trip opened her eyes to the opportunities that existed in Africa and after completing her MBA she went back to work with companies across Kenya and Tanzania for the best part of the last decade before moving to London to launch BitPesa.

We cover some really interesting topics in today’s conversation and I hope you’re going to get a lot from what Charlene has to say.

Whether you’re thinking about launching your own start up, considering an MBA or thinking of going to work in a different country or continent, there’s something in here for everyone.

If you want to find out more about BitPesa you can check out their website - www.bitpesa.co

If you want to find out more about Charlene you can check out her LinkedIn profile - www.linkedin.com/in/charlenechen