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Bet On Yourself

A podcast by ANN HIATT

CO-FOUNDER OF ANDELA

CHRISTINA SASS

Christina Sass is the Co-Founder of Andela, which scales high-performing engineering teams by investing in Africa’s most talented software developers. In five years, Andela has hired over 2000 developers and become known as the "Best Place to Work in Africa," with tech campuses in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Egypt.
Andela developers work as full-time engineers with companies ranging from the Fortune 500 like Viacom and Microsoft to high-growth startups like Cloudflare and GitHub.

Prior to founding Andela, Sass served as senior advisor to the president and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation, a global, private foundation with over 30 billion in assets working to advance youth employment across 10 countries in Africa. During her three years directing the Program Department at the Clinton Global Initiative, she worked closely with President Clinton's office to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. In her early career, Sass built education and employment programs in China, the Middle East, East Africa, and in her home state of Georgia.

She holds a B.A. from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) and a Masters in International Law & Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Sass has lectured at Stanford, Harvard and Yale, spoken on main stages at Web Summit, TechCrunch, Techonomy and more, written in and been featured in BBC News, Forbes and the New York Times. She's received alumni awards from UGA and Tufts, and business awards from the New York Business Journal, Business Insider, and Crain's New York. Sass is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Minute by minute breakdown

In this week’s episode of the Bet On Yourself podcasts I’m talking with Christina Sass, the Co-Founder of Andela, which scales high-performing engineering teams by investing in Africa’s most talented software developers.  In this conversation we covered a lot of ground! She has a treasure trove of actionable advice here.    

I personally resonated with how Christina focused on intrapreneurialism in her first jobs, by continually seeking out growth opportunities beyond her job description. She also highlighted the ways in which she, as a founder, has created a company focused on culture, talent and data-driven decisions with psychological safety at the core of her organisation.

We also discussed how we should make the effort to recommend women more since we, as women, tend to self opt out in a way our male counterparts don’t.

She also gave some critical advice on knowing when to say no and where to focus your energy - which we all need in the current environment of global overwhelm and fatigue.

These expert tips are drawn from her impactful career history. In just five years of founding Andela she has hired over 2000 developers and become known as the "Best Place to Work in Africa.” Andela has campuses in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Egypt. Andela developers work as full-time engineers with companies ranging from the Fortune 500 like Viacom and Microsoft to high-growth startups like Cloudflare and GitHub. 

Prior to founding Andela, Christina served as senior advisor to the president and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation and at the Clinton Global Initiative where she worked closely with President Clinton's office to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges.

This episode is impactful and will likely change the way you approach your work starting today! I am so happy to share this with you! Enjoy!


In this episode we discuss...

03:30: Christina walks us through her foundation
06:30: Has their been a central theme that helped you identify opportunities?
11:20: How did you learn to trust your instincts?
17:30: What was your exit strategy? How do you recognise when to take on the next challenge?
22:16: Christina talks about finding her co-founder
29:00: Culture, talent and data-driven decisions 
34:00: Christina gives us amazing insight into psychological security at the application stage 
38:00: Supporting women 
41:30: How do you know what to say no to and where to focus your energy?
45:20: Is there something that surprised you about scaling?
48:20: How do you ride that balance of hiring for seniority of skill but still remaining the authority figure?
51:20: What gives you hope for the future?

Christina Sass

episode #007 / diversity

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