Kate Hyde is using her MBA to help eradicate infant and maternal mortality in Africa.
Career track: Product and Service Management
Nationality: Canadian (Vancouver)
I'm a born challenger because I'll strive to step outside of my comfort zone to solve problems.
Every year in Uganda, thousands of women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
But as Director of Business Operations with Shanti Uganda – a charity that runs a groundbreaking health and education facility in central Uganda – UBC MBA grad Kate Hyde is working to put an end to those tragic deaths.
“Maternal health is a human rights issue, and providing women with excellent care improves everyone’s lives,” says Hyde. “Access to information, education and safe, gentle care shouldn’t be reserved only for people who live in wealthy nations.”
Before doing her MBA at UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School, Hyde spent several years working in logistics and supply chain management in the shipping industry. But, her position was limited to a very specific corner of the business and Hyde craved a broader, more global picture.
“I didn’t have a sense of why we were doing what we were doing,” says Hyde. “I became interested in businesses as a whole, not just a grouping of individuals doing their own thing.”
Hyde says the diversity of knowledge she received at UBC fuels her lifesaving work at Shanti Uganda.
There’s no way I would have been able to do this without an MBA. At Shanti, I’m in all different areas: I do marketing. I do finance. I make budgets. I look at process design and donor management and sales and business development, and I know about each one of those because of the MBA.
Hyde says the MBA program significantly expanded her horizons. During an internship at popular fashion label Kit and Ace, Hyde pinpointed strategic locations for new distribution centres, and developed a logistics model that could be used company-wide as the brand continued its global expansion.
She adds that her connections with fellow students, graduates and faculty – and what she learned from them during the MBA – has also proven to be invaluable.
“I was surprised that there were so many different people from different backgrounds, different locations, different nationalities. There were people who had worked for huge multinationals and people who worked for family businesses, and people who worked in IT and then others who worked in science-based professions,” says Hyde.
Now at Shanti Uganda, she works on funding, marketing, operations and other key areas, as well as bigger picture strategy and systems.
“I really like the process of being handed an interesting problem and saying, ‘Ok, what steps am I going to take to figure this out?’” says Hyde, who also has a deep passion for learning. “I’m always looking for new things to discover and explore. I think there’s always something interesting to be learned — especially in business.”
Shanti Uganda runs a birth house in central Uganda where they offer a safe and supportive place for women to give birth as well as pre-natal and post-natal care, education, community outreach, teen workshops and more. Combining both traditional and modern medical practices, the staff includes registered midwives, a traditional birth attendant and a lab technician.
Hyde helps to secure funding through public donations and corporate contributions, as well as through income-generating training retreats in Uganda, and regularly employs the marketing skills she acquired during her MBA.
I learned a lot about how marketing is storytelling, and I use that all the time in my job. In a non-profit or a charity you’re always selling your story and the idea of your services, and you’re competing with other non-profits for funding. So how do you tell the best story about what you’re doing?
The organization recently celebrated its 1,000 birth — and they have never lost a mother. It’s a point of intense pride for Hyde, who credits the UBC MBA program with giving her the tools she needed to succeed on the global stage.