I’m sharing a rather exciting, yet bittersweet, update. After ten years of leading Cycle Connect, I am transitioning from CEO to a board member and welcoming Emmy Okkema to the role of CEO. Emmy is our long-time Managing Director and an inspiring, committed, and strategic leader who I firmly believe in. Simply put, we’re at the right stage with the right leader in place to take us to even higher heights.
It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve Cycle Connect for the last ten years. I leave feeling incredibly lucky to have had such an opportunity and for so many to trust me in the process. It is one of the most humbling experiences to reflect on (and one that I hope my fellow entrepreneurs do so they, too, can appreciate!)
Throughout my time, I showed up every day because I believed in our mission. I believe in the potential of farmers in Uganda and across East Africa. They are resilient, resourceful, and deeply focused on creating a better life for their children. Everything is an investment for the next generation, a lesson that I carry over and relate to in my own personal journey as a mother.
If the mission is what got me up for the day, our team is what got me through it. We have an amazing group of people who challenge me to consistently reflect, slow down, and build community. They are humble, deeply committed, and passionate about our clients and mission.
I have never been more proud of our team and what we have accomplished, than how I feel at this moment. I remember the early days when it was just myself and a couple of early team members huddled in our first office. And, today we have more than 60 team members spread across eight locations.
Since those early days, our team has:
- Worked with over 12,000 smallholder farmers across Uganda to impact over 60,000 lives.
- Grown from one small office space to eight locations across Uganda.
- Expanded our portfolio from a singular bicycle offering to a range of productive assets that are empowering smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods.
- Added >$6M in wealth into Ugandan last mile communities.
My favorite part about our expansion over the past few years is that it wasn’t even led or initiated by me- Emmy joined our team in 2019 as Managing Director and pushed for expansion. Given what she strategized and then led, it made me recognize that this was the right time for me to take a step back. Emmy is the right leader for this next stage of Cycle Connect and I am truly eager to see where she leads us.
I see myself handing over Cycle Connect to a strong leader, partner, and friend. Emmy inspires, optimizes, and rallies the team to push forward. She is always a supportive person herself and, as I think about the journey to hand something over, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect person to do that with.
To our clients, team, partners, funders, and stakeholders: thank you for trusting me, partnering with our vision, and giving grace when it was needed. We have an incredible community and I fervently believe it is only getting stronger with Emmy as our CEO.
With much gratitude,
Molly Burke, Co-Founder
As CEO of Cycle Connect, Molly Burke has:
- Grown our team from a single employee in a cramped garage office to a team of 60 employees across eight locations
- Gone from testing our model with a savings group in northern Uganda to working with 12,000 smallholder farmers across Uganda–impacting over 60,000 lives
- Expanded our portfolio from a singular bicycle offering to a range of productive assets that are empowering smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods
- Added >$6M in wealth into Ugandan last mile communities