Pledge 1%’s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.

What is your name and title?

Raabia Hawa, Founder & Executive Director at Ulinzi Africa Foundation.

Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your current role.

I manage a team of wildlife rangers operating in a 40,000-acre conservation ecosystem close to the Kenya-Somalia border to ensure wildlife is safe from poachers and communities thrive via ecosystem services.

How did you get here? Please share any quick stories from past work experiences.

I used to work in mainstream media, and highlighted the elephant poaching crisis on my programmes. In 2009 I was invited to join some rangers and saw a poached elephant for the first time, I couldn’t look back.

In your opinion, what’s the #1 decision or move you’ve made that has helped advance your career?

Leaving media and focusing full time on wildlife conservation.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned this past year?

Train hard fight easy – unless your fight is against corruption, then simply never give up.

What’s the number one challenge you face as a woman in your industry?

Being underestimated.

Do you have any mentors? What does mentorship mean to you?

Yes, Will Travers of Born Free Foundation. Mentorship means passing on knowledge and contacts that can further your goals.

What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?

Believe in yourself, especially when no one else does – you can do it!

What is one thing companies can do, big or small, to help create an environment that advances women into leadership positions?

Lock in on potential, more than performance, when you empower and encourage women, the results come automatically. Implement inclusion and gender balance in leadership positions for success.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year?

Empowering at least five members of the community, men and women, into leadership roles within the ecosystem and communities around it.

Is there a cause that is particularly close to you? If so, why this cause and how did you get involved?

Yes, wildlife conservation. I believe that biodiversity is the key to keeping ecosystems thriving, and this is crucial for impoverished communities that rely on ecosystem services for their survival. By protecting wildlife, we protect the people.

When did your company join Pledge 1%? What does your impact program mean to you?

Not joined yet. I was nominated.

What do you like to do outside of the office? Any interesting (or unique) habits or interests?

I like giving talks in schools.

Are you reading/listening to anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite book or podcast!

The Peregrine by J. A. Baker

What’s been the one (or two!) things that have helped you navigate this past year? Any tips or tricks to dealing with remote work?

The commitment of my team. Always keeps me going as they are my responsibility, if I give up they fall too, and I would never let that happen.