Shingai Gunha
Shingai Gunha

Say hello to our Head of Operations: Shingai Gunha

Say hello to our Head of Operations: Shingai Gunha

23 Feb 2024

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Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Shingai Sharlton Gunha. I am the Head of Operations at Cue. I live in Harare, Zimbabwe.

You were the first person to join the company! What has it been like watching the company grow from the ground up?

It has been an epic journey since 2016. From the first year, I have realised that not one year is the same. Each year comes with its challenges, learnings, and celebrations. Things that we would pop a bottle over in 2016 now happen daily. The only constant thing is work.

Your team is spread across SA and Zimbabwe, how do you stay connected and collaborate?

Communication tools, mainly Slack and WhatsApp. We also rely on Trello to manage tasks. Most of our work conversations end with a personal check-in.

What do you do outside of work?

I enjoy purposeful exercise. On Saturdays, I play friendly soccer games with the Mabhuza team. Recently, I’ve started cycling for errands instead of driving. I enjoy comedy clubs and Mashwede.

What has been your biggest highlight since being at Cue?

I played a foundational role in shaping Cue’s current state of technical operations. My influence is evident in all of the systems that we continue to use today. Learning from experts who restructured and improved processes has been a rewarding experience, ensuring quality, growth, and efficiency for our clients.

What inspired you to pursue a career in technical operations?

I’ve led operations since varsity through ENACTUS and outreach programs like Education Without Borders. My passion lies in hands-on fieldwork, solving problems, and providing support. Instant gratification—those heartfelt ‘thank yous’ from clients—they're uniquely rewarding. While long-term success matters, I find fulfilment in building efficient processes and problem-solving frameworks.

How did you find your way to Cue?

In varsity, I was close to the university CFO, who knew Ryan Egnos (Cue's CRO). At the time, Ryan (Cue's CEO) was the varsity's account manager.

I had a call to meet with Ryan and Richard, but they had already hired the salesperson they were looking for. I still came through and sold myself to them. At the time, there was no job offer or position available for me, but they liked what I had to offer. and 8 years later, here we are.

How did you get the nickname "Rider of The Night"?

In 2016 I stumbled upon Kickstarter (now Monday Motorbikes) which was making these electric mopeds. I would spend most of my office time either talking about them or googling them. I have since wanted one; thanks for reminding me. I think I can now afford one. Check out the Monday Motorbike M1 and tell me that's not cool.

Has becoming a father impacted the way you work or interact with other crew members?

Becoming a father has made me more patient, and has made me develop an understanding and appreciation for long-term vision, especially for someone who is motivated by instant gratification. Guiding a child’s growth parallels leading a team.

I’ve learned patience, mentorship, and setting positive examples. Other natural lessons include simplifying explanations, resilience and maintaining a positive outlook, adopting to change and empathy.

Who's the greatest Arsenal player of all time?

The one I have seen play and loved has to be Thierry Daniel Henry and his 4 Preemier League Golden Boot medals.

Looking back, what would you say were the key milestones that shaped Cue's success?

  1. Hiring me 🙈

  2. The merger of RnR and PrizeCloud to form Apex. I used to work for both companies.

  3. Watching Donald develop WhatsApp Business as a bootleg channel before it became a thing.

  4. The development of live chat just before COVID-19 was the best timing ever.

  5. Hiring SUPER HUMANS. The people make this the best company to work for.

What are some of the biggest operational challenges you've faced at Cue, and how have you overcome them?

The jump from Operations Manager to Head of Operations was the greatest challenge to date. Like everything at Cue, it didn't come with a manual. I thank Richie, who has always had unparalleled confidence in me. Celeste for holding my hand, and Ryan for clarifying expectations.

Describe a typical day or week in your role as Head of Operations

  1. Morning Brew: Sip Beanies Vanilla Flavored Coffee or Cerevita.

  2. Slack Scan: Check Slack on my phone, and jot down urgent tasks. Prioritise: Tackle time-consuming tasks later.

  3. Schedule Check: Review meetings and Trello boards.

  4. Onboarding Meeting: Resolve pending applications.

  5. Task Juggle: Handle assignments or delegate.

  6. Evening Recap: 5 PM catch-up, prep for tomorrow.

  7. Quality Assurance: Test completed setups.

  8. Onboarding Progress: End the day with team updates.

As the Head of Operations, how do you keep your team focused, excited and motivated?

My team consists of superhumans who are super competitive and self-motivated.

Ensuring transparency on who is handling what creates this weird, "I can also do it, and do it better" dynamic among the team.

My job has become less about motivating them and more about calming them down, appreciating them and always being there to support.

Shingai as best man at the wedding of another Cue crew member, Evans (in white) as well as Taurai (in the front).

What advice would you give to someone pursuing a career in operations?

Be willing to embrace continuous learning, change and practical application. Invest time in learning, being up-to-date with systems and process trends, and understanding how things work and why they work that way. Always take time to apply this learning to real life to see what works and what does not, and how it can be adjusted. Be willing to accept that things, processes and systems change. Be willing to unlearn and let go of what you have learned if new and better information presents itself. Always TEST!

As Head of Operations, you wear many hats. What aspect of your role do you find most rewarding?

While I enjoy working with APIs for instant gratification, I have been enjoying formulating strategies lately. I have only recently realised that by sitting down to plan for the future, you can proactively see flows in your present-day processes and systems.

What excites you most about Cue's future?

I look forward to the moment when there is a full integration of chat AI with live chat agents, where both agents and chat AI can interact with the customer in real-time. Allowing the chat AI to respond on behalf of the agent if the agent is slightly delayed.

If you could have any superpower to help you with your job at Cue, what would it be and why?

Telepathy. I would love to be able to send knowledge to someone's brain so that they can problem-solve on their own.

Describe the Cue culture in three words

Fun, superhumans, innovative

What's one fun fact about your day-to-day work that most people wouldn't know?

I always test everything I set up the next day. I do better testing if I have not touched it.

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