Tanzanian Patra Sumari fell in love with HR right at the start of her career working in a local bank in Tanzania. “I knew that working with people and with issues around people development was what I wanted to do, and it aligned with the type of person I am,” she says. Softly spoken and humble, Patra is a spiritual person with a passion for helping individuals achieve their potential – while providing spot-on HR solutions to clients as well.
“There are so many talented Africans out there who need only a little bit of guidance on how to present themselves and show what they can offer to a potential employer,” she says. This is the driving force behind the company AMAS Consulting, which she co-founded in 2018. The human capital consulting company is all about matching the right people with the right companies so that both can grow and prosper and ultimately, help build a stronger Africa.
She believes there are many opportunities on the African continent that are often missed due to a lack of the right skills or confidence. “We often undermine ourselves, believing we are less than others. But we must forge our own narrative and believe in ourselves more. If you want to see problems you will see them everywhere, but there are solutions all around us too.”
This was one of the key take-outs from her Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice specialising in Innovative Leadership (PGDip), which she studied at the UCT Graduate School of Business in Cape Town (UCT GSB) in 2017- 2018 – an experience she says was a life highlight not least because it was there that she found the courage to finally start her own business. “The UCT GSB really gave me the confidence to do what I had been wanting to do for a long time. It broadened my thinking, changed my perspectives and gave me that final push.”
Four years later, AMAS Consulting has offices in Dar es Salaam and Arusha and is growing steadily with a focus on attracting the right kind of client instead of chasing numbers. She is proud of what the company has achieved – 243 satisfied clients and 17,873 customer engagements.
The company assists especially small and medium-sized organisations to find the right talent, build and develop staff, retain employees, and ensure all-round satisfaction. Recently, the organisation has also become more involved in youth leadership programmes to help young job seekers understand the market better and share knowledge about soft skills like communications, interview skills and resume building. Africa’s huge youth unemployment problem is a big concern to her, as without the right skills entering its workplaces and starting their own businesses, Africa’s economy could stagnate, and social unrest rise.
She explains, “You do want to see an impact that aligns with your own values. If I can help you get a job, secure an income and provide for your family, that makes me happy.”
Patra is also the mother of a five-month-old baby and admits that being a full-time professional and mother is hard work. But she enjoys her full days, balancing motherhood with long days at the office. Finally, co-founding her own company has given her the flexibility and direction she wanted in her life. “While at the UCT GSB, I had this lightbulb moment of realising just because I am from a lesser-known country, it doesn’t mean I can’t compete with other bigger and better-known consulting companies in South Africa, for instance. I learnt so much about myself and realised that nothing was holding me back.”