First Ugandan woman appointed as MD for Motorcare Nissan

MD Florence

MOTORCARE Uganda Ltd is a subsidiary of KJAER GROUP which holds a leading position in the automotive sector within Uganda, Mozambique and Sierra Leone, where it owns and operates various distributions, workshops and service facilities in under the name MOTORCARE.

Makada gained extensive experience in the automotive industry since joining MOTORCARE Nissan in 1995 as a network administrator and accounts assistant. Now more than 21 years later, she was promoted to managing director position.

“Florence is a well-adapted individual with extensive knowledge of the business, and will steer employees proactively towards company objectives,” says Richard Nijhout COO of the KJAER GROUP in Africa.

KJAER GROUP’s ambition is to develop the business in a profitable and responsible way, “We are totally confident in her abilities to realise this and we know the business will be in good hands,” he adds.

MOTORCARE Nissan Uganda holds distributions rights in Uganda for Nissan vehicles, Suzuki Motorcycles and Continental Tyres, and is focused on brand quality, customer care and being well represented across the country.

Based on international standards and certifications, MOTORCARE Nissan’s value proposition is to offer complete automotive solutions to government, business entities and individual customers close to their operations.

To keep close to these objectives, Makada is determined to strengthen relationships with government departments and prominent business operations, and to build an even stronger team to realise company goals.

Makada says, “During my time with MOTORCARE Nissan, I obtained prominent interpersonal skills. I’ve worked in almost all departments of the business, dealing with all sorts of personalities, and acting in various leadership responsibly roles. All this now, work together so I can perform optimally.”

Makada obtained qualification as a Certified Chartered Accountant (in the United Kingdom) between 2004 and 2006, and soon after, got promoted to deputy finance manager and human resource development manager.

“Being in finance for so many years, I learned to be the watchdog; being in Human Resources for so many years, I learned to listen and got to understand the business and its stakeholders so well.”

“I therefore have two personality types: one hard and unbending when dealing with financial concerns, and one soft and empathetic when dealing with employees,” she smiles.

“I also know how to make sure all departments work well together, and know how to interlink with everybody, which are all considered characteristics and qualities of being a good leader.”

Spending much time in human resource areas, which formed part of her Chartered Accountant studies – Makada got to know the employees’ potential, their skills, their talents, their shortcomings.

“I don’t believe in employing weaknesses,” she says. “I believe in placing employees where they are experts in their field, then just guide and assist them appropriately, and through that, get great results. Just after I had been appointed as Managing Director, I already asked myself how I will turn weaknesses in opportunities.”

For Makada being a female business leader in Uganda means hard work. “The ladies I’ve seen going up the ladder in Uganda’s business environments, is because of hard work, not because they’d been pushed up through policy but because they are capable,” Makada confirms. “We are all capable women.”

Staying with a company for more than 21 years is a remarkable feat to anyone’s standards. “You know why I lasted so long with MOTORCARE?” she asks hypothetically. 

“It’s because of MOTORCARE ’S corporate values, the way we work.”

Some of MOTORCARE ’s values include: professionalism, the competent way in which employees conduct business and how they interact with each other; mutual respect between colleagues, partners, customers and other stakeholders; dedication; excellence in product delivery; and attention to customer care and aftersales service.

But the values most important to Makada what MOTORCARE stands for, are honesty, being reliable and always living up to their promises.

Another value Makada employs is always putting the company’s objectives and goals first in dealing with any employee request or situation, whilst still being fair.

The biggest challenge facing Makada in Uganda is reaching MOTORCARE Nissan’s sales targets, which prompted the team to branch out to new commercial companies, and to rekindle relationships with old business and fleet customers. “We’re looking at generating more interest in the Nissan NP200 and Nissan NP300 Hardbody segment within external agencies that will evaluate development contractors in the road infrastructure and also go out aggressively in the Energy infrastructure, construction sector and Oil and Gas services.”

“Most people know the Nissan pickups are workhorses and stay on road for a long time. We will structure attractive packages that will generate more interest and garner sales.”

During her tenure with MOTORCARE Nissan, Makada headed the company’s process review projects and had been promoted to people manager. She was made a member of ACCA (UK) body; obtained champion of Investors in People Certification and saw MOTORCARE Uganda win the Vantage Award from Uganda Revenue Authority.

Between Jan 2012 to February 2016, Makada held positions of finance and business planning manager primarily responsible for driving the company financial strategy, a role she has successfully managed until promoted to her new role as managing director.

The legacy and impact she wants to leave on MOTORCARE is, “I want people to know that achievement does not come easily. It’s a combination of hard work, making the right choices and taking responsibility.”

“I consistently and persistently work towards achieving each and every goal set before me and aim to achieve the best results always. When I had to give birth to my three children, study for my ACCA and applied accounting degree qualifications, achieve my targets in the office and attend to my family matters all at the same time, I did so with a winning spirit and I did achieve all of them with very good results”.

I always tell my peers and children, if you set goals, stay committed, stay focussed and work hard with a plan, then there is no reason why you should not achieve them. Just be persistently patient, and know good things come to those who wait.”

Makada admires her team’s sisterhood, the brotherhood, the togetherness. “I see it when we have functions together, when we have our cooperate outings and we engage in the different activities including getting to the floor to dance, you won’t know the difference between management and employees.”

“Now that’s what a happy life is all about.”