“My childhood dream was to become a pilot. But that dream had very little to do with the work of a pilot per se. It had more to do with the glamour associated with being a pilot and the opportunities that come with flying: traveling to different parts of Tanzania and the world,” Catherine says.
Inspired by her parents, especially her mother, she took schooling quite seriously from the word go and finally graduated as a geologist at the University of Dar es Salaam. “I am grateful to my beloved late mother who inspired us to face challenges and persevere even in situations that seem impossible to many people.”
She believes seriousness and hard work are the core issues behind one’s success, especially in companies like Shell. “I have been blessed with opportunities and rare chances and I have correspondingly worked hard to justify that rare fortune.”
It all started with an opportunity that emerged when in 2014 the BG Group (now Shell) opened doors to young graduates in Tanzania, Catherine recalls.
“Like most of my cohort members and especially because of the opportunity to work in different countries and with individuals from diverse countries and backgrounds, that offer was very rewarding to me as a young person,” she says.
But joining the company straight from university was a tough challenge, she also recalls. “I needed to learn really fast and adapt to what was an ever-changing situation. I needed to deliver results as I worked on the Tanzania gas discovery project. I received a lot of support and encouragement from my managers and peers to whom I will always be grateful.”
She says the training that Shell has afforded her has been extremely important to her in life --- at personal and professional levels.
From her experience, she believes that oil and gas will for quite a long time be important sub-sectors of the energy sector, and energy will continue to play an important role in the development of Tanzania and other countries in Africa such as Mozambique and Uganda.
Catherine argues that young people, who have had an opportunity to become professionals in the gas and oil industry, should consider themselves agents of change and should help peoples of the world change their lives for the better. “I see myself as an agent of change working to ensure that local communities and nations benefit from the resources they have been blessed with.”
She says, the nature and content of Shell’s continuous learning and development opportunities through trainings in Tanzania and other parts of the world has assisted her to learn the technical side of oil and gas value chain and especially in exploration and production.
She has been able to learn from world-class experts. “In addition to formal training, I have learnt tremendously through living and observing. Countries, such as Kazakhstan and Nigeria are very different from a country like the Netherland. These similarities and differences are the kind of things from which one can learn through experiencing and observing.
Catherine says working for Shell has provided her with a lot of experience that is preparing her for success as a young Tanzanian expert in the oil and gas industry. “I hope that, in the future, I will be able to utilize the knowledge and experience I have gotten from various countries around the world, to support the oil and gas sector in my home country, Tanzania.”
Catherine jokes that although she does not fly airplanes frequently in fulfillment of her childhood dream, she nonetheless flies regularly to different countries in fulfillment of her professional tasks. “I do fly to different countries and continents not to help people get to their holiday destinations, but to explore oil and gas and reserves in order to provide people with energy”.