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Organization / Welcome Fiona Mati, our Customer Success Manager
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Meedan is excited to have Fiona Mati on board as our Customer Success Manager! Learn more about her in the short Q&A below.

1. What has been your experience before you joined Meedan?

I have been fortunate enough to work in startup spaces that linked technology to consumers in the Global South, mainly in renewable energy. My earliest similar role was as a Product Support Manager for a B2B technology company that enabled unbanked customers to purchase solar energy products using mobile money, incrementally. This was at a time when solar products were new and also M-Pesa mobile payments were not widely available to all. Creating and managing the Knowledge Base for sales agents and end-users was a steep learning curve for me. I realised that knowledge can either make or break consumer acceptance of new technologies.

2. Tell us about an exciting and insightful experience that has shaped your perspective and work.

Several years ago, I worked at a biotech startup that developed and launched East and Central Africa’s first locally manufactured organic mosquito repellent candle. We had many challenges, first regulatory and then convincing retailers to stock the product. The first product did not pass all tests, so we had to go back to the lab and rework the product formula. By then, we had run out of money so it was not possible to hire someone to carry out the tests. I wound up doing the tests at the University of Nairobi Bio-chem lab myself - even though in school chemistry was my worst subject! Eventually we got certified, thankfully.

Somehow, such experiences have been a running theme in my career, having to deal with new challenges while maintaining composure. I have learned that bugs are actually a good thing, as technology cannot progress otherwise. Tenacity is also important.

3. What is the startup ecosystem like in Nairobi? What are the strengths and what gaps do you see?

Apart from South Africa, I would say that Nairobi is the tech hub of sub-saharan Africa. This has also been enhanced by the proliferation of mobile phones and money. I think M-Pesa was the first mobile money tool made widely available to all, which has also made things much easier.

In terms of gaps, I would name the social inequalities that still exist, particularly to do with access to quality education.

4. What brought you to Meedan?

When I applied to Meedan, I actually wrote: ‘If there was ever a time that fact-checking was required, it is most definitely now!

With COVID-19 locking us down, even before I saw the ad for this role, I was actually getting very concerned about the volumes of misinformation being shared on WhatsApp groups. At the time it was all about fake-cures or COVID-19 denialism, and this was being shared by people that I respected. I realised that until we solve how to manage misinformation, anything else cannot work. The way to do that is to ensure that we are knowledgeable about these issues, and are enabled to make informed decisions about the content we share.

5. What’s a project you’re excited about right now?

I am excited about how we are making Check’s Knowledge Base and support communications more accessible. Firstly, translations will have a net positive impact on our partners’ use of Check. We have also been experimenting with new ways on how to keep everyone updated on what’s happening, not just with newsletters which also exciting. As we grow, I am also extremely enthusiastic about how we can make the onboarding experience more seamless for new Check users.

6. Tell us some fun facts about Fiona.

Before the pandemic, I really enjoyed travelling and can’t wait until everything gets back to normal. During the pandemic, I have become a balcony gardener and nothing excites me more than eating what I harvest. A great thing about being a Meedani is that with our distributed colleagues, I have been trying out different recipes!

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