After moving to Austin last year with her family, Thembie Chiromo was waiting for TIEC to walk into her life. TIEC’s new Director of Finance and Operations has had a long and passion-filled career in non-profit finance and operations, and brings a depth of experience with public and private donor grants and contracts to the organization.
Thembie originally came to the United States to pursue her undergraduate and MBA degrees. Thembie then returned back to Zimbabwe where she began what became an exciting 25 year career with international and U.S.-based non-profit organizations in Zimbabwe, Liberia and New York. Thembie has managed both large multi-million dollar, and small funding portfolios. Her passion for working in non-profits and humanitarian sectors was inspired by her early work at World Vision International in Zimbabwe.
TIEC is pleased to welcome Thembie to the Texas Consortium family, and feels fortunate to have found such a highly-qualified professional to help manage the retirement of our loyal and long-standing director of business affairs, Mr. Ken Kolinek.
TIEC sat down with Thembie to find out more:
Tell us about yourself:
I moved from New York to Austin, Texas a year ago and I love it already, I’m looking forward to exploring and discovering more of Austin’s beauty. In New York, I worked as Director of Financial Planning and Reporting for the Church World Service– an international non-profit. I managed federal funding for the Refugee Program.
I have family in the USA and in Africa, and in my spare time, you will find me talking to people and gardening.
How did you get into finance and operations?
I started my career as a personal assistant/secretary with World Vision International in Zimbabwe. While there, I was exposed to the various humanitarian and development needs around the world and how I could contribute to making a difference in the lives of others.
I resigned to pursue my education in the United States. Upon completion of my undergraduate degree in Accounting and an MBA, World Vision hired me back as Director of Finance and Administration with oversight of six country programs in Southern Africa. This role gave me solid training and grounding in good stewardship of resources, ensuring that every dollar raised was used for its intended purpose. Since then, it has been one non-profit after another and now TIEC. I am looking forward to the years ahead.
Why did you apply for this position at TIEC?
There are key things I consider when joining an organization. Firstly, its vision and mission have to resonate with me, so that it doesn’t just become a job to earn a salary, but a cause that I am contributing to. TIEC and its partners and networks play a leading role in shaping the education sector in the USA and abroad, building capacity and strengthening international relations.
The scope of the role of Director of Finance and Operations is quite broad and substantive. As part of the senior strategic management team, my role participates and contributes to the decision making processes ensuring that TIEC’s programs are delivered in the most transparent and accountable manner. It is an exciting opportunity to continue doing what I love to do.
What part of this job excites you most?
I am excited that TIEC is in a transitional phase of re-branding and rebuilding its programs, and organizational infrastructure. This gives me an opportunity to contribute my acquired expertise from working with other international non-profit organizations for over 20 years.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
I am at peace and relaxed when I interact with nature and the environment. I like gardening and farming and it’s in my blood: I’m from a family of 10 children, raised on a school teacher’s salary and therefore had to live off the land.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Everybody I’ve talked to so far, exudes a lot of energy and enthusiasm about TIEC’s prospects for its development, growth and impact both nationally and internationally. The work environment is very warm and professional.