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Charles Lebon Mberi Kimpolo

Developer & TW Africa P3 Lead

Charles Lebon Mberi Kimpolo (born 12 June 1977), from the Republic of Congo, has a passion for software development and joined ThoughtWorks in May 2012 where he works as a Consultant Developer. Charles graduated from AIMS in 2005. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg. After completing his doctoral studies, he worked as a short-term postdoctoral fellow doing research with the support of the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), and as a Business Analyst & Researcher in the Strategic Planning Division.

The Interview

I came to find ThoughtWorks by

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS: http://www.aims.ac.za/). I am the first AIMS graduate who joined ThoughtWorks.

My geeky passion is

To use the power of technology to make the world a better place, including making a significant difference in Africa, the forgotten continent.

The best advice I can give a current or future ThoughtWorker is

Being a ThoughtWorker gives you an incredible opportunity to join a group of passionate technologists whose core mission and passion are not only to have fun while developing software, but more importantly use the power of technology to advocate for social and economic justice across the world.

The thing I’m most proud of from my time here is

To be given an opportunity to represent both my social class and Africa in the leadership of an international tech company and achieve my career dreams. I have always dreamed to be a voice of the continent and I knew that technology continues to play a critical role in addressing the challenges that Africa in particular, and the world at large, face. I am proud of the investment ThoughtWorks is making in identifying and developing great leaders in the Global South. My time at ThoughtWorks has also given me the opportunity to meet with outstanding great and humble people whose leadership inspires me a lot and I consider them as my role models.

One of the most interesting stories I recall from my time at ThoughtWorks was when

The first time I met with Roy Singham, I din't know that I was talking to the founder and chairman of the company I was planning to join. I remember arguing a lot with him on a range of topics. At that time, I was wondering whether it was still possible for us Africans to trust and believe in an American tech company which comes to us with interesting stories and talks. This time ThoughtWorks story was different: "By Africans in Africa and for Africa", which resonated a lot to us.  I am not sure that if I knew that Roy was the chairman and founder of the company I wanted to join, I would have been arguing with him the way I did. I was trying to be honest to myself in defending the interest of our continent.  It turned out to be a great moment of my connection with Roy. I had a feeling that it was important to give myself a chance to believe and trust Roy and ThoughtWorks, and whether or not it was going to be a mistake, the future will tell. I strongly believe that I did not make a mistake!

The most interesting thing I’ve learned on the job is

How to better describe what does it mean to be a ThoughtWorker? It is not just being an employee of ThoughtWorks. Being a ThoughtWorker cannot be reduced to just playing a role: Developer, BA, QA, PM, MD, RD, CEO, CFO, CTO,... it is more than that.

The thing I love most about my work is

To always be surrounded by great people who are ready to provide me with the support I need in order move forward. Another thing I like about my work is that even when I am under pressure, I always have the motivation to do the work not because I have to please some kind of "boss" who dictates me what to do, but because it is for the interest of the whole company.   

If I could fix one of the world’s problems, I’d put my powers to use on behalf of

Uneducated poor people, specially youth from the Global South.

With ThoughtWorks, I’ve visited

Uganda, India, UK, USA