Sarah Banda-Ortiz, a banker, started her journey in the corporate world many years ago, focusing on community development.
This saw her gain a deep understanding of what the needs of average communities were and what she could do as an individual.
Banda-Ortiz, before she went into the uncharted waters of supporting community initiatives, immersed herself first in learning the business conditions and emerging trends.
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When she joined Lafarge Cement Zambia in 2019, as Corporate Affairs Manager, Banda-Ortiz promised herself that she would make a difference within the establishment and most importantly the community where the company operated.
She was very instrumental in spearheading community initiatives which impacted positively on lives.
Little did she know that one day she would be rewarded for her good works of implementing projects that touched lives especially the vulnerable communities.
As Corporate Affairs Manager at Lafarge, Banda-Ortiz leveraged her networks to ensure that best corporate strategists were implemented with a focus on community initiatives.
She did not only discharge her role, but did the extra of managing relations with Lafarge’s stakeholders, communities and government, knowing that these were very key in meeting the company’s objectives in terms of corporate social responsibility programmes.
During her spell at Lafarge, from 2013-2014, she was responsible for the Marketing function where her office provided exceptional customer service, which in itself provided an avenue for her to better appreciate the needs and wants of the public.
Banda-Ortiz, working with other teams, assisted to design the company’s strategic direction focusing mainly on people relations.
Her role helped to boost the company’s market share and brand presence in the market.
Her interventions saw her nominated for the Emerging Marketer at the Zambia Institute of Marketing in 2019.
Currently, Banda-Ortiz is Head of Public Relations, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility at Stanbic Bank Zambia.
At the bank, Banda-Ortiz is responsible for corporate social responsibility initiatives, a role which she very much enjoys.
This and many other programmes dedicated to transforming lives earned her an international award recently when was crowned an Achiever in ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’, at an event held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last Friday.
Ortiz received the prestigious award for 2023, alongside other influential African women.
This year’s edition of the African Women Awards was held under the title ‘The role of women in business in propelling Africa’s socio-economic renaissance.’
The event witnessed a gathering of some of Africa’s biggest icons, as attendees included top most female dignitaries, ambassadors, chieftains as well as diplomats.
The organisers said the award recognises top female icons, while also creating unique platforms.
“The international award which indelibly confirms the status as a member of an elite group of African top female icons also provides you with a unique platform to translate that capacity into a new solid business relationship,” the organisers said.
Ortiz was also inducted into the larger group of the SHE Achievers network at the continental level.
Responding to her African Woman Achievement Award, Ortiz said she was grateful for the recognition, as she urged African Women to honour and celebrate each other’s achievements.
“I am so grateful for being crowned overall African Woman Achiever in the Corporate Social Responsibility category of the 2023 African Women Awards. I do not take this for granted because I am a firm believer in helping to transform the communities where we live and operate from.
“This award comes barely six months after winning the African Professional Award last year and special tribute goes to all those that groomed me and the business executives. It is time for African women to honour and celebrate each other’s achievements,” she said.
Other categories were Most Outstanding Female in Women and Social Affairs which went to Ethiopia Minister of Women and Social Affairs, Ergoge Tesfayi, while her counterpart Minister of Health Ethiopia, Liya Tadessi won the ‘Most outstanding female in the health Ministry across Africa.’
Others were Ghanian Patricia Obo-Nai who is Vodafone Chief Executive Officer who was crowned the African Woman Achiever in telecommunications, as Mary Stella Macheze from Mozambique got the African Woman Achiever in Recycling.
Included on the award list was Martha Monono Kombe who was awarded the African Woman Achiever in the category of the Non-governmental Organisation/charity foundation, and Zimbabwean Lumbie Mlambo, who is Founder/Chief Executive Officer of JB Dondolo got the ‘Environmental consultancy award.
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