Though she had to beat the urge to keep aiming higher when her career was at its peak by tendering an early resignation, Batsho Dambe-Groth’s life story, success and greatness didn’t die with a change in her working life. Dambe-Groth is currently the chairperson of Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) board, a position she has held since 2008. She joined BIHL in 1994 and by the time of her resignation in 2003, she had progressed to the position of Assistant General Manager, Support Services. “I had long stalled on my plans to resign and pursue my other plans but then when I realised that my one of sons needed my attention following a bullying incident at school I had to resign,” she said. This, according to Dambe-Groth, turned out to be the best decision after all. Her professional life has been a whirlwind of success and the beauty of it is that she managed to attend to several aspects of her life that she had neglected.
Her deep understanding of BIHL and its workings, easily explains why she was picked to sit on its board. She joined the Board on March 25, 2008 as an independent non-executive Director and Chairperson of the HR Committee. She was appointed the Chairperson of the Board in March 2010 after acting on the position for a year. She is the only lady among men in the board. This, however, has never rattled her. As far as she is concerned her position requires necessary skill and nothing else. No boardroom bully gets to her. “I do not let any guy bully me. I make sure I am up to every challenge at any given time,” she maintains, insisting that based on the huge resources at stake BIHL would not have chosen her for any lesser reason than her skill and expertise. “I feel very fortunate that members of the Board are highly professional and intelligent. We use the skill in each to come up with the best outcome for the business,” she says. “We are developing and grooming some who are now at Subsidiary level to gain more experience before taking senior appointments,” she says, noting that her advantage has been the fact that she grew up in the BIHL system. “I am humbled to be leading such a big organisation. I am proud to be its chairperson,” says Groth who now leads a group whose subsidiaries are led by women – being BIHL Group CEO Catherine Lesetedi-Letegele; Botswana Life CEO, Bilkiss Moorad and Bifm CEO, Neo Bogatsu.
She embraces the servant leadership mode – where one works just as hard as she wants her team work. “Instead of being authoritarian leader, one is a servant of his team under this mode. Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela practised this leadership style,” she says, adding that together with her business partner – her husband – they never lose staff in their businesses as a result of this style. She is a keen convert on the value of mentoring. “Whoever has been my subordinate has grown and flourished. You must groom the people below you because you cannot move unless people below are good enough to take over,” she maintains. An avid reader for aspiring leaders, she recommends the book – Leadership Challenge – by Kouzes & Posner while for budding entrepreneurs she points to– Robert Kiosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad.
Resource Logic, her company which consults to a wide range of organisations on Human Resources and business solutions, took off. She also managed to look after and fend for sons closely. The two are now successful young sportsmen who continue to hoist the national flag high internationally. The mother of two is also a Director of Botswana Craft, Etsha Weavers Group, Boitekanelo, Gems of Kalahari, and is a Council Member of Maru-a-Pula School.