Women of Aidlink

Annet Evara

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born and grew up in Kenya, I studied in Kenya up to university level and also qualified as a chartered accountant. I worked for Ernst & Young firstly in Kenya and then in Bermuda. Later, I worked for the Central Bank of Bermuda. While in Bermuda I studied and qualified as a certified financial analyst and moved to Ireland in 2011 to take up a role with the Central Bank of Ireland, where I oversee that banks compliance with financial regulations (i.e. they safely maintain customer deposits and have enough money to lend to customer). I joined the board on Aidlink in 2021.

Can you tell us about someone who inspired/inspires you?
My mother is my greatest inspiration. She was a primary school teacher and she was able to raise and educate a family of 7 children, including 2 of my cousins, by herself. My father died when we were young, leaving my mother with young children, with no financial assistance from government or friends.

Where did you draw your professional inspiration from?
My accounting lecturer, who pushed me to work hard. I ended up winning accounting awards, as I was one of the top students in two chartered accounting subjects. He also mentored me on career choices and in seeking job opportunities.

What was one of the most pivotal moments in your career?
This has to be in 2019, when I was seconded for a period of about 6 months to work for the European Central Bank. It was a great experience working in one of the Baltic countries. I learned a lot including different ways of running an economy, different cultural values and different ways of working.

What is your favourite part of your job? What is the most challenging part?
The most fulfilling thing about my job is the value and impact it has on society, as it ensures financial stability of the banking sector, which boosts people’s confidence to deposit their money with banks, to borrow money to buy houses or to pay for various items. The most challenging part is that the job can involve long working hours, which can be a bit exhausting.

Where did your interest in international development begin?
My interest in international development began when I was young. My father had travelled to London to study and my mother told us stories of his experience. Growing up I strived and prayed to God that one day I would also get a chance to leave the country and experience what my late father experienced. By God’s grace the childhood dream came to pass.

Do you feel the opportunities for women and girls are growing? What changes need to occur to ensure gender equality becomes a reality for women and girls in Ireland and in the global south?
I believe opportunities for women are growing, in particular at senior levels of the organisations. This has been partly driven by The Central Bank rules which seek to encourage regulated entities to ensure diversity in their leadership teams. In the global south, opportunities are growing for women as more women getting an education and being empowered through access to information from social media.

What would you tell young women who are just starting out to work? What would you like them to know?
When offered a job, do it with excellence. In the long-run, the good work and good relationship with colleagues pays off, and opportunities will open up through an established network.

How did you come to be involved with Aidlink? What makes Aidlink special to you?
I learned through a friend about Aidlink and that an Aidlink board member was retiring. She knew about my passion for charity and ongoing work I was doing individually to support education for less privileged in Kenya. What makes Aidlink special is that it was aligned with my objective of supporting the girl child and I also liked the partnership model of working with local NGOs.

Can you share a quote that motivates you or holds special significance to you?
To be the best version of myself, take a step at a time, take time to smell the roses while enjoying the journey.