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Some pics from May 29th 2019 launching conference

Group Pic- Some of the organizing and advisory committee members, speakers, and panelists…

Some highlights from the May 29th conference on Bridging the Leadership Gaps in Africa organized by PRO Leadership Global Inc. Many thanks to the Organizing and Advisory committees (YeAbsira Zewde Besu Bk @Rahawity @Semhar @Amha Krish Murti Mali Phonpadith Tebabu Assefa Yetnayet Demessie Eric Rasch and many more) and volunteers on the big day. And, our guest of honors, AU Ambassador to the US, our keynote speaker Admiral Helena, speakers such as Dr. Abebaw, and Prince Joshua Oyeniyi, our panelists (@Samson @Matthew @Viola), and those who shared their amazing stories such as Chiko Barnabas Abengowe, Omekongi, and Julian, and the fabulous MC Bofta Yimam.

When Congress Joe Neguse’s statement was read. You can read his full statement by clicking here…
H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, African Union Ambassador to the US, video message from Addis Ababa. You can watch her video message by clicking here…

We appreciate the efforts put by our amazing videographers @Nebiyu and @Asmamaw (Lob Video Productions and Mela Productions). The video footage is getting ready… Photo credit goes to Matt Andrea! Thank you, Matt, for these professional photos. Thanks also for all our sponsors (please see the banner to acknowledge our wonderful sponsors), and all of you who came to attend the conference. It was beautiful because of the teams behind it and you who made it colorful.

County Executive of Montgomery County, where PRO Leadership is based, Marc Elrich

Those in Addis, don’t get jealous 🙂 The hard-working team in Addis Ababa is working hard to launch this Initiative on the soil of Africa, Addis Ababa- the seat of African Union on July 17th @2 – 6pm at AAU. Those of you in Addis get ready, mark your calendar, volunteer, sponsor, share, and invite others. Stay tuned for more info about the Addis launching conference…

Guest of Honors Councilmen Tom Hucker and Will Jawando, and Mali Phonpadith- CEO of SOAR Community Media Network

What is next? The May 29th and July 17th are conferences to launch the Initiatives that aim at raising competent leaders in Africa- especially the youth and women by engaging the diaspora, who can transform the beautiful continent whose hour has come to shine in one generation. We have already designed some projects toward implementing the Initiative one community at a time. We have also got some initial strategic partners to support the successful implementation of this Initiative.

Keynote Speaker, Rear Admiral Helena O. Mishoe (PhD, MPH) (Ret)

What about you? If you are an individual who would like to see Africa’s redemption and transformation once for all, you should join this movement. Let’s know if you are interested in volunteering and supporting the Initiative. If you have an organization that empowers youth, women and engages the diaspora, be one of our strategic partners. Whether you are a local, national, continental or international organization involved in bringing sustainable development in Africa, we can team up to empower the organizational and leadership capacity of your team and the local community leaders whom you are serving. Let’s meet, discuss to identify some potential areas to team up, and sign a memorandum of understanding and begin transforming lives, and in turn, communities, and nations in Africa.

Audience

Leadership makes or breaks. No country, community, or organization or family has ever experienced true and lasting transformation without having the right and competent leaders at all levels. The more competent leaders we have at the grassroots level, the more transformation and the quicker we can get it. This must be the generation that takes Africa to the next height and unleashes her untapped potential, and you are part of this generation and meant to play your fair share toward the transformation of our beloved continent. Reach out to us if you may have any questions or suggestions.

Will Yemi Jawando, Councilmember of Montgomery County
Mali Phonpadith, Advisor
Tebabu Asefa, Advisor
Panelists
Dr. Assegid Habtewold, Founder of PRO Leadership
Nebiyu, MELA Productions
Asmamaw (Lob Productions) and Nebiyu (MELA Productions) with the founder
Asmamaw, Lob Video Productions
Organizing committee behind the success of this launching event
Yeabsira Zewidie, Introducing panelists
Master of Ceremonies, Bofta Yimam
Rahwity Haile, Introducing African success story speakers
Julian Kiganda, Transformational Brand Strategist
Dr. Abebaw Y. Adamu, Director of Ethiopian Institute for Higher Education
Guest Speaker from Africa, Joshua Oyeniyi
Dr. Omekongo Dibinga, Director of UPstander International
Chiko Abengowe, CEO/Founder of Perfect Staffing Solutions, LLC

Launching Conference in Addis Ababa

1. Background

This season is the last chance Africa has. It makes or breaks its future. Right now, the continent is at a crossroads.

Africa has been lagging behind almost in every sector, far behind. If Africa continues this path because the continent is using the same approaches and with the usual pace that led Africa to this point, there is no better future for its people and the coming generations. Africa must take this season seriously and as its last chance to redeem itself. This is time to chart a new path, turn a new page. Otherwise, Africa will remain behind forever.

Africa now, however, has a new hope regardless of those skeptics who dubbed it ‘The Hopeless Continent’. Africa is the youngest continent endowed with untapped potential.  These give the continent a competitive advantage to come out of its predicaments. What is more? Regardless of past misfortunes, betrayals, and brutalities in the forms of colonization, slave trade, and so on, Africa demonstrated resilience and survived. Now, we see so many encouraging changes in many parts of Africa. Hope is on the horizon.

21st C is Africa’s. The continent is an upcoming star in the universe. It is set to shine in the new Century. We at PRO Leadership see a bright future ahead for Africans. That is why we dedicated the next few decades to bridge the leadership gaps in the continent so that Africa may tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities the new era presents. We are committed to play our fair share- together with our strategic partners, for the transformation of Africa. History is in the making and we would like to be part of this history.

Nonetheless, Africa must tap into its human capital. Resting its hope solely on any form of revolution- industrial or technology- must stop now. The continent took too much time and failed to capitalize on these on time. These revolutions that helped other continents cannot accelerate its speed of growth to catch up with the rest of the world. It is too late. Financial and in kind assistances, technology transfers, and experience sharing from those who attained sustainable economic development alone cannot also allow Africa to experience true transformation in one generation.

The continent must make a paradigm shift from focusing on techniques, systems, and technologies alone to investing in its people, especially on its youth and the most crucial section of her society- women. Africa should also tap into the Diaspora community well beyond its contribution in the form of remittance.

In short, Africa may need to undergo lots of changes and use various approaches at multiple fronts before the continent attains sustainable development. Regardless of multitudes of development efforts Africa must undertake and at multiple fronts, it should put developing its human capital at the center. These efforts cannot be successful both in short and long terms without raising competent leaders in quantity and quality. In the next few decades, raising leaders at all levels should be the focal point of Africa’s transformation.

2. Launching conference in the US

That is why PRO Leadership has been focusing on African leadership and dedicated its annual conference on “Bridging the leadership gaps to tackle the major ills Africa faces”. The first launching conference of this initiative was held on May 29th, 2019 in Washington DC, US. The keynote speaker was H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, African Union (AU) Ambassador to the US. Because of an urgent call from the Headquarters of AU, she couldn’t make it but she sent a short video message. Click here to listen to her message.

Speakers, panelists, and organizing committee memebers

The following were confirmed speakers:

1. Guest of Honor Speakers:

  • Marc Elrich, County Executive of Montgomery County
  • Tom Hucker, Councilmember of Montgomery County
  • Mohamed E. ‘Mo’ Seifeldein, Councilman of Alexandria Virginia. He couldn’t make it because of an urgent legal matter.
  • Will Yemi Jawando, Councilmember of Montgomery County
  • Congressman Joe Neguse couldn’t make it but sent his remark. Click here to read his statement.

2. Panelists:

1. Viola Llewellyn, Co-founder & President of Ovamba

2. Samson Teffera, Board Member and Communication Lead of TASFA

3. Matthew Breman, Regional Director, Africa of International Youth Foundation 

3. African Leaders Success Story Speakers:

  • Julian Kiganda, Transformational Brand Strategist
  • Dr. Omekongo Dibinga, Director of UPstander International
  • Chiko Abengowe, CEO/Founder of Perfect Staffing Solutions, LLC

4. Presentation about the Initiative:

  • Dr. Assegid Habtewold, Founder of PRO Leadership Global Inc.
Partial view of the audience…

3. Launching conference in Addis

The Addis conference is a follow up to the US launching conference. We decided to hold the first consultative conference as part of launching the Initiative on the soil of Africa- Addis Ababa, the capital city of African Union, on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at Addis Ababa University (AAU).

The keynote speaker is H.E. Dr.-Eng. Getahun Mekuria Kuma, Minister of Innovation and Technology. We anticipate the participation of high-level government officials, youth and women leaders; diaspora returnees; representatives of those relevant institutions in Addis that serve the youth, women, and the diaspora communities; diplomats as the guest of honors; representatives from universities, international organizations, development agencies, private foundations, and so on. Below are the core elements of the program of the upcoming conference in Addis:

  • Brief opening remarks by guest of honors (Elected officials, diplomats, VIPs, Major sponsor);
  • A keynote (s);
  • Presentation about the Initiative and May 29th resolutions;
  • Panel discussion focusing on the three pillars to bridge the leadership gaps;
  • Success stories of a diaspora returnee, a women and a youth leader;
  • Consultative discussion among strategic partners concerning next steps and future projects.

For your info, founded in 2009, PRO Leadership Global is a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization based in Maryland, USA. PRO Leadership PROmotes leadership, PROduces leaders to bridge the leadership gaps (Geographic, Gender, and Generational leadership gaps) to tackle the major ills of the world one community at a time.

4. Goal

The main goal of this follow up conference in Addis is to bring key stakeholders together and brainstorm on how to bridge the 3G (Geographic, Gender, and Generational) leadership gaps in Africa to overcome the challenges the continent faces starting from Ethiopia, the seat of African Union (AU).

5. Objectives

The conference is designed to achieve the following specific objectives:

  • To share the resolutions of May 29th conference in the US
  • To discuss the importance of raising competent leaders for the transformation of Ethiopia in particular and Africa at large
  • To examine the challenges Ethiopian youth and women are facing that prevent them from taking leadership initiatives to serve their respective community
  • To brainstorm on how to equip and empower youth and women leaders
  • To recognize the crucial roles the diaspora may play to contribute its share in bridging the gaps by transferring the leadership lessons they gained from their respective hosting countries
  • To brainstorm some of the ways strategic partners should work together to begin bridging the leadership gaps in Africa starting from Ethiopia

6. Outcomes

It is our hope that the remarks by the keynote speakers and other speakers will increase the awareness of participants about the critical role leadership could play to tackle the major challenges Africa at large, Ethiopia in particular face. We also anticipate the following main outcomes at the end of each conference:

  • Identification of the most common unique challenges the youth and women leaders in Ethiopia are facing and the corresponding actions that should be taken
  • Recognition of crucial contributions of diaspora returnees on the ground and other diaspora members in contextualizing the leadership lessons they gained into Africa’s culture
  • Clarity among key stakeholders on who plays what roles Formation of partnership with some of our strategic partners to immediately begin implementing the initiative small scale

7. The Team leading the launching of the Initiative

7.1. Advisory Committee for May 29th launching conference in the US

Members of the Advisory Committee provide advices, suggestions, and recommendations to the Organizing Committee. Members include:

  1. Tebabu Assefa, Co-Founder of US-Africa Diaspora Business Council
  2. Omega Tawonezvi, Director of Southern African Community USA
  3. Mali Phonpadith, CEO of SOAR Community Network
  4. Krish Murti, Community Leader and Senior Project Management Expert
  5. Obang Meto, Executive Director of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia
  6. Dr. Tylema Miabe, Executive Director of National Congress for Democracy
  7. Shim Mekonnen, Chairman of the Board of Your Ethiopian Professionals network
  8. Kalewongel Tesfaye, UN Youth Advisory Board and Founder of YouthToYouth
  9. Dr. Yetnayet Demessie, Empowerment Coach and Consultant
  10. Dr. Gabe Hamda, Founder of Go PRO21 Community
  11. Eric Rasch, Operations Manager of Silver Spring Civic Building
  12. Mary Assefa, Consultant and Co-Founder of Jantilla

7.2. Organizing Committee for May 29th launching conference in the US

Members of the Organizing Committee are dedicated volunteers who carry out the day-to-day execution of the conference’s program. Members include:

  1. Yeabsira Zewdie
  2. Peyton Brooks
  3. Semhar Woldetnsae
  4. Besu Bekele
  5. Rahawity Haile
  6. Dr. Eche Wilson

7.3. Advisory Committee for July 17th launching conference in Ethiopia

Members of the Advisory Committee provide advices, suggestions, and recommendations to the Organizing Committee. Members include:

  1. Dr. Desalegn Mengesha Degefaw, Former President of the University of Gondar (UoG)
  2. Meti Shewaye Yilma, Former President of Association of Women in Business (AWiB)
  3. Dr. Kassu Jilcha Sileyew, Director of Addis Ababa University Career Development Center
  4. Selam Teshome, General Manager at GHBS Management Consultancy
  5. Dr. Abebe Kebede, Founder of Ethiopian Science and Academic Network
  6. Obolessa Adola, Program Producer at Evangelical TV
  7. Sara Tadios, Founder & Managing Director, iCAN (International Career Advisory Network)
  8. Dr. Asmamaw Mengestie, CEO of American College of Technology
  9. Kalewongel Tesfaye, UN Youth Advisory Board and Founder of YouthToYouth
  10. Ahadu Gebereamalk, Managing Director, Center for African Leadership Development
  11. Dawit Betseha Merawi, Senior Presenter on 105.3 AfroFM
  12. Maskarm Haile, Author of Abyssinian Nomad

7.4. Organizing Committee for July 17th launching conference in Ethiopia

Members of the Organizing Committee are dedicated volunteers who carry out the day-to-day execution of the conference’s program. Members include:

1. Assegid Mulugeta

2. Dureti Tolasa Barkesa

3. Hana Hailu

4. Kalkidan Tadesse

5. Mekonnen Asfaw

6. Sisay Mengistie

7. Dr. Yidnekachew Mogessie

8. Target Audience

We anticipate the dynamic participation of many Ethiopian youth and women leaders, and diaspora returnees. We also believe that many youth and women leaders from other African countries, some Ethiopian Ministers, Diplomats, leaders of Non-Governmental Organizations, Private Foundations, UN Agencies, and other Multinational and Regional Development Institutions that are fighting poverty, conflict, diseases, unemployment of the youth, and gender inequality in Africa will join us. We also expect the active engagement of top leaders from some universities, organizations that serve the youth, women, and the diaspora community. Though the conference is going to be held in Ethiopia, we believe that many leaders from other African countries will join us to participate as strategic partners.

9. Tentative Program for the July conference in Addis

Below is the tentative program of the conference:

1:00 – 2:00:   Registration and Networking

  • Come and network with likeminded leaders

2:00 – 2:05:   Welcoming

  • Master of Ceremonies

2: 05 – 2: 15: Opening remark (President of AAU, Prof. Tasew WoldeHanna)

2: 15 – 2: 35: Remarks by Guest of Honors

  • Guest of Honor 1
  • Guest of Honor 2
  • Guest of Honor 3
  • Guest of Honor 4

2:35 – 3:05: Keynote Speaker (H.E. Dr.-Eng. Getahun Mekuria Kuma)

Theme: The significant place and roles of leadership to transform Ethiopia

3:05 – 3:15: Briefing on the Initiative and May 29th resolutions

  • Dr. Assegid Habtewold, Founder of PRO Leadership Global Inc.

3:15 – 3:25: Speaker on ‘The importance of raising Women Leaders for National transformation’

3:25 – 3:40: Break and Refreshment

3:40 – 3:50: Speaker on ‘The Significance of Education and Roles of the Education System to Raise Competent Leaders for national Transformation’.

3:50 – 4:00: Dr. Eyob Mamo on ‘The Leadership Qualities Needed to Transform Africa’

4: 00 – 4: 50: Panel Discussion*   

  • Moderator
  • Panelist 1 focuses on Bridging the Geographic Gap- the roles of the diaspora
  • Panelist 2 focuses on Bridging the Gender Gap
  • Panelist 3 focuses on Bridging the Generational gap
  • Q&A

4:50 – 5:55:   Consultation among stakeholders on the next steps and future projects

  • African diaspora community organizations, youth, and women associations
  • Multinational organizations that are working to alleviate poverty, resolve conflict, fight inequality,

Below is the tentative program of the conference:

1:00 – 2:00:   Registration and Networking

  • Come and network with likeminded leaders

2:00 – 2:05:   Welcoming

  • Master of Ceremonies, Meti Shewaye Yilma

2: 05 – 2: 15: Opening remark (President of AAU, Prof. Tassew WoldeHanna)

2: 15 – 2: 35: Remarks by Guest of Honors

  • Guest of Honor 1
  • Guest of Honor 2
  • Guest of Honor 3
  • Guest of Honor 4

2:35 – 3:05: Keynote Speaker (H.E. Dr.-Eng. Getahun Mekuria Kuma)

Theme: The significant place and roles of leadership to transform Ethiopia

3:05 – 3:20: Briefing on the Initiative and May 29th resolutions

  • Dr. Assegid Habtewold, Founder of PRO Leadership Global Inc.

3:20 – 3:35: Break and Refreshment

3:35 – 3:50: Dr. Eyob Mamo on ‘The Leadership Qualities Needed to Transform Africa’

3: 50 – 4: 35: Panel Discussion*   

  • Moderator
  • Panelist 1 focuses on Bridging the Geographic Gap- the roles of the diaspora
  • Panelist 2 focuses on Bridging the Gender Gap
  • Panelist 3 focuses on Bridging the Generational Gap
  • Q&A

4:35 – 5:35:   Consultation among stakeholders on the next steps and future projects

  • African diaspora community organizations, youth, and women associations
  • Multinational organizations that are working to alleviate poverty, resolve conflict, fight inequality, youth unemployment, and so on
  • Private foundations that are active in Africa to contribute their share for sustainable development
  • Universities and colleges that have leadership and management schools, and African studies

5:35 – 5:55:   Ethiopian Leaders Success Stories

  • Success Story 1
  • Success Story 2
  • Success Story 3

5:55 – 6:00: Closing remark by a guest of honor

  • unemployment, and so on
  • Private foundations that are active in Africa to contribute their share for sustainable development
  • Universities and colleges that have leadership and management schools, and African studies

5:55 – 6:00: Closing remark by a guest of honor

10. Resources needed

We need support for the following expenses ($4, 250 USD):

  1. Flyer design and promotion ($300)
  2. For vendors who take and edit pictures and video clips ($1000)
  3. Reception food, refreshments, and water ($1500)
  4. Audio/Visual equipment rental ($200)
  5. Design and printing poster, banner, repeat, stationary, & other unexpected expense ($1, 250)

We would appreciate if you sponsor the conference by contributing financially toward covering the cost of the aforementioned expenses. In-kind contributions in the form of goods and services are also welcomed. The above amount would change if refreshment is sponsored in lieu of cash.

11. Sponsorship Packages

Below are the sponsorship packages to choose from:

  1. Platinum (1): Equivalent of 1000 USD
  2. A brief message (3- 5 min) during the opening session
  3. Acknowledgment of sponsorship from the stage during opening and closing
  4. Logo on PRO Leadership website
  5. Name mention on flyers, the event’s program, logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s face-book page
  6.  Diamond (4): 500 USD
  7. Acknowledgment of sponsorship from the stage during opening and closing
  8. Logo on PRO Leadership website
  9. Name mention on flyers, the event’s program, logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s face-book page
  10. Gold (3): 200 USD
  11. Logo on PRO Leadership website
  12. Name mention on flyers, the event’s program, logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s face-book page
  13. Silver (4): 100 USD
  14. Name mention on flyers, the event’s program, logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s face-book page

5. Bronze (5): $50 USD

Below are the sponsorship packages to choose from:

I. Platinum (1): Equivalent of 1000 USD

  • Table at the event (to promote your company, showcase your products and sell)
  • A brief message (3- 5 min) during the opening session
  • Acknowledgment of sponsorship from the stage during opening and closing
  • Logo on PRO Leadership website
  • Name mention on flyers, the event’s program
  • Logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s facebook page

 II. Diamond (2): 500 USD

  • Table at the event (to promote your company, showcase your products and sell)
  • Acknowledgment of sponsorship from the stage during opening and closing
  • Logo on PRO Leadership website
  • Name mention on flyers, the event’s program
  • Logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s facebook page

III. Gold (3): 200 USD

  • Logo on PRO Leadership website
  • Name mention on flyers, the event’s program
  • Logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s facebook page

IV. Silver (4): 100 USD

  • Name mention on flyers, the event’s program
  • Logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s facebook page

V. Bronze (5): $50 USD

  • Logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s facebook page

We really appreciate your support!

12. Contacts

If you have any questions or need further explanation about the program and/or would like to involve, please contact the coordinators of the Organizing Committee:

Kalkidan Tadesse                                 Mekonnen Asfaw                                
Email: tadaykal@gmail.com Cell: 903184404   Or       Email: nobilamak@gmail.com            Cell: 939290069  
  • If you would like to learn more about the sponsorship packages, please contact:

Sisay Mengistie

Email: mengstiesisay7@gmail.com  

Cell: 912072262

  • If you would like to volunteer on the big day, please contact:

Dr. Yidnekachew Mogessie

Email: esksenioradvfornorthandeastafrica@gmail.com

Cell: 922392838

  • If you would like to learn more about media coverage, please reach out to:
Assegid Mulugeta           Dureti Tolasa
Email: assaefeker467@gmail.com
Cell: 929315640
Or      Email: duretijesuse@gmail.com           Cell: 703-870-1207
  • If you would like to engage on social media, please reach out to;

Hana Hailu

Email: hanahailu016@gmail.com

Cell: 935965345

PRO Leadership- Bridging the Leadership Gaps in Africa- Dr. Arikana video message

H.E. Dr. Arikana, Ambassador of the African Union to the US, was the keynote speaker at the launching conference “Bridging the Leadership Gaps in Africa”. Because she was needed at the headquarters of AU, she had to travel.

Regardless of her travel outside of the US, she sent this powerful video message to be run at the conference.

To learn more about the Initiative, check our website https://proleadership.org/?page_id=1309

Remarks from Congressman Joe Neguse of Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District

Greetings to all attendees of PRO Leadership’s annual conference! I apologize that I could not be there with you in person this evening, but I appreciate the invitation to send remarks.

My parents came to the United States as refugees from Eritrea over 36 years ago. They fled their country of origin amidst a civil war and sought a better life for their children and grandchildren in the United States. They depended on the values of this nation to uplift themselves and guarantee their children freedoms they may never have otherwise known. Their experience motivated me to be an active participant in our democracy at an early age, and to give back through public service and civic engagement.

Africans and African-Americans make substantial contributions of leadership to communities across this nation and our world. They are CEOs, professors, elected officials at all levels of government, military service members, and beacons of guidance and strength for society.

I am glad to hear about this conference’s goal to tackle the major challenges in Africa by filling generational, gender and geographic leadership gaps. Though I am the first African-American elected to Congress from the state of Colorado, it has always been my goal to ensure that I am

not the last. It will take great drive and commitment to ensure this goal is achieved, which is why

I am so pleased to hear of your engagement in this conference today.

Thank you for being here today and for taking on the leadership of tomorrow!

Note: We at PRO Leadership are proud of the accomplishments of Congressman Joe Neguse. He is an inspiration for millions of youth here in the US and around the world, especially for immigrants from Africa. We’re proud of him and highly appreciative of his support for the Initiative.

Final Program- May 29th 2019 @5 – 9 pm

Banner/Stand and Repeat background

Conference on Bridging the Leadership Gaps in Africa

May 29th 2019 @ 6 – 9pm

Veterans Plaza, Downtown Silver Spring, MD 20910

5:006:00: Registration and Networking

6:006:05: Welcoming, Master of Ceremonies, Bofta Yimam

  • Statement from Congressman Joe Neguse

6:056:25: Brief remarks by guest of honors, Tebabu Asefa

  • Tom Hucker, Councilmember of Montgomery County
  • Mohamed E. ‘Mo’ Seifeldein, Councilman of Alexandria Virginia
  • Will Yemi Jawando, Councilmember of Montgomery County

6:256:40:   Keynote Speaker, Admiral Helena O. Mishoe

Theme: Africa’s Future: ‘Growing’ High Impact Leaders.

6:406:55:   Presentation, Dr. Assegid Habtewold

Theme: Explaining Bridging the Leadership Gaps Initiative

6:557:00: Marc Elrich, County Executive of Montgomery County

  • Video message (or call) from Ambassador of African Union to the US

7:00 – 7:15:             Success Stories of African leaders, Rahwity Haile

  • Julian Kiganda, Transformational Brand Strategist
  • Dr. Omekongo Dibinga, Director of UPstander International
  • Chiko Abengowe, CEO/Founder of Perfect Staffing Solutions, LLC

7:157:30: Dr. Abebaw Y. Adamu, Director of Ethiopian Institute for Higher Education

Theme: The importance of higher education leadership

7:308:15:   Panel Discussion, Yeabsira Zewdie

  • Viola Liewellyn, Bridging the Gender Leadership Gap
  • Samson Tefera, Bridging the Geographic Leadership Gap
  • Matthew Breman, Bridging the Generational Leadership Gap

8:15 – 8:20:   Guest Speaker from Africa, Joshua Oyeniyi

8:20 – 9:00: Consultative Discussion, Besu Feleke & Semhar Woldtnsae

Theme: Next Steps and Brainstorming with strategic partners

9: 00: Closing Remark

The Place of Leadership Development to Implement the Ethiopian Education Roadmap

Ethiopian Science and Academic Network and One Pupil organized a conference at Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC on May 18th 2019. Congratulations to the team for organizing such a successful event. We need these kinds of platforms to deliberate and strategize on how to improve our education system, one of the key factors to transform our country. The theme of my 15 minutes presentation was “The Place of Leadership Development to Implement the Ethiopian Education Roadmap.” This article captures the main essence of the presentation.

From the start, I disclaimed that I’m not here as an expert on education, but rather, as a leadership practitioner who began taking lead as a youth leader in the early 90’s. As the president of AAU students’ union, in the late 90’s, I had also some golden opportunities to witness the place of leadership from a very close distance- from the classroom to the ministerial level. I was lucky to serve together with some great student leaders, and work with faculty and department heads. Unfortunately, I also observed some failed leadership while I was traveling to the different faculties of AAU, a few universities out side of Addis, and some government offices. In short, I had enough exposures to attest the vital place of leadership for our education system.

I was also there presenting as a leadership professional. I wrote books, articles, and blogs on the theme of leadership. I’ve been coaching and training leaders of some government agencies, major corporations, and community organizations here in the US. During my recent travel to Ethiopia, last November, I had chances to conduct some consultative discussions, make keynotes, and facilitate workshops for some corporations and learning institutions. I am grateful for the opportunities I was given. These experiences allowed me to closely witness the eagerness of the leadership of these institutions to bring leadership experts like myself to empower their people. I also saw the hunger and thirst for knowledge from participants. That is to say, I was there presenting as a leadership professional to share my thoughts on how leadership development is critical to implement the Roadmap successfully.

H.E. Ambassador Fitsum Arega

Before jumping to talk about the vital role leadership plays for the implementation of the Roadmap, I gave a context. Reminding the audience that Ethiopia is experiencing change, I pointed out that in the past people used to say ‘change or risk stagnation’. But, in the 21st C, it’s ‘change or die’. You might have already noticed, many individuals, organizations, and communities ‘died’ because they had resisted change. Like the dinosaurs, many ‘died’ because they failed to be friend with change. They were unable to make deep change on time. Otherwise, all victims of change tried to catch up with it but it was too late. They were stubborn to undergo deep change when it mattered the most, and paid dire prices.

Ethiopia now is in a critical juncture aspiring to undergo a transformational change. This is encouraging. Hope is on the horizon. However, we should understand that change means one thing to some and another all together to others. It is subjective. What is more? Change has also levels: Superficial and Deep.

For example, if my current shoe is hurting me, I just need to buy a new one. I don’t need to go through lots of structural and deep changes. However, if I had an accident and if I broke my leg, I need a deep change that may include amputating my leg and having a substitute. Another example. If a company is experiencing a revenue decline, it may need to make some quick changes to reverse gear and begin increasing its income. Nonetheless, if a company is losing its customers in mass and its market share going down the spiral, it has to go deep change before it goes bankrupt. This kind of change, nevertheless, demands to change at so many levels including the top leadership, the policies, brand, and the underlining culture of the organization.

Depending on where we are, we can choose either level of change. Both are relevant in their rightful place. But, we have to stop and make that call wisely. Sustainable development at national level calls for a deeper change.

In my personal opinion, the kind of change that Ethiopia needs at this juncture is deep change, not superficial. If we are on the same page on this, for a given deep change to succeed, the least, these must be carried out:

1. Reforming the culture

2. Putting in place the necessary laws

3. Building/rebuilding institutions

4. Remodeling the education system

5. Developing the people

Though each of these is important, in my presentation, I only highlighted the last two points. In my future writings, I may cover the remaining top three. For now, as you may already now, Ethiopia decided to reform its education system. That is why we have now a new Roadmap. This is outstanding.

As I disclaimed earlier, I wasn’t there as an expert on education that I didn’t talk about the actual Roadmap and its content. My focus was about the need to raise competent leaders who could implement the Roadmap so that its intentions are translated into concrete results. And, in turn, Ethiopia, through her new education Roadmap may equip the next generation leaders who enable her experience true transformation in one generation.

Change isn’t a one-time phenomenon. It’s a process. Sometimes, it takes years, even decades. Though change is fluid and don’t take a straight-line, for the sake of understanding, let’s break down change into three phases: Initiating, Implementing, and Sustaining. Note that there are many major and mini-steps within each core stage. A given organization or nation may also pass through multiple stages at the same time. The activities that should be carried out under each stage also vary from a given change case to another.

The Roadmap is now in the Initiation phase. There may be some implementations underway though. At this point, it is very critical to think about developing leaders at all levels to implement the Roadmap so that it may achieve its goal and objectives. As the saying goes: ‘leadership makes or breaks’. Look at any nation or organization, even a family. If you see that nation or organization or family flourishing and advancing, no doubt, though there may be other factors, the single most important factor is leadership.

We may not agree about its definition and may remain arguing about what kind of leadership is necessary for a given organization or nation. Interestingly, like beauty, we all know leadership when we see it. When we walk into a place or organization or village, we will immediately sense the presence or absence of leadership. That is why the phrase ‘leadership makes or breaks’ resonates to many around the world.

You can have everything you need for a change and still may not succeed. If there is lack of proper leadership from the top to bottom, the change will fail. For the Roadmap to get implemented successfully, we need competent leaders. However, we cannot have such leaders without investing our time, energy, and resources. We need to plan and strategize to develop leaders. In short, for the Roadmap to bring meaningful change and finally produce productive citizens who are part of the solution to transform Ethiopia, we need to develop the organizational and leadership capacity of leaders from the top to the grassroots- classroom level.

Every new effort starts with idea, then you write it down, and finally you implement it. Afterward, you evaluate to see if it worked and attained the intended results. If it succeeded, great, if not, you regroup and start the process all over again. At each level of this flow, we need leadership with unique qualifications.

When the Roadmap was released, it passed the ideation phase. After documenting the new ideas that aimed at improving the education system, next is gathering inputs to improve it, and ultimately implement it.  The latter is the toughest. That is why, going forward, it is key to develop competent leaders at all levels to implement the Roadmap successfully.

We need leaders at all levels. The top leadership- at the Ministry level is the highest leadership that should focus on vision casting, and providing clear directions, and this Roadmap is one of the deliverables of the top leadership and those professionals who consulted and advised the leadership. The vision also needs effective strategies. The top leadership in close consultation mainly with leaders at university and college levels, I presume, have already come up with or may still be working on it to enlist potential strategies and tactics to implement the Roadmap. At the end of the day, leaders of faculties and departments, their admin staff, and teachers/faculty members are the ones who play critical leadership roles for the successful implementation of the strategies and tactics on the ground to translate the vision into realities. The vision may abort if there is a lack of competent leadership at this level of the hierarchy. Leadership is especially critical at this level in the hierarchy due to the fact that leaders/teachers not only they should equip their respective students technically, but also they are expected to demonstrate leadership in empowering their students by molding their attitudes, mindsets, people skills, and character. They cannot do that theoretically. They should lead by example. If they themselves aren’t well developed as leaders, they cannot fulfill this obligation. Remember, students may not pay attention to what their leaders/teachers are saying but rather what they do. There is a saying, “Your actions are so loud that I cannot hear you.”

Of course, at the end of the day, we need new breed technocrats in all fields of studies who are not just technically superb but also well equipped as problem solvers, proactive, innovative, and creative geniuses with ‘I can overcome and succeed’ mindset. These are important qualities of leadership. They should also develop character and demonstrate consistency, authenticity, and credibility to serve the public with integrity. These vital leadership attributes should be developed while students are still in school before they go out to serve. Parents and local community leaders, and other stakeholders at the grassroots level should also be empowered to play their respective roles for the successful implementation of the Roadmap.

Developing leaders should be done by following two routes: Short courses to achieve urgent and quick results, and long term programs for lasting solutions. Since implementing and harvesting the results of the new Roadmap takes years, if not decades, the relevant body at ministerial level should prepare for the long term development of leaders at all levels while partnering with other stakeholders to provide quick leadership development courses so that all stakeholders are ready to shoulder their respective leadership responsibilities to implement the Roadmap. The long term effort may require establishing a leadership organ (institute) or partnering with the existing leadership schools at various universities to custom design and provide some leadership programs according to the level of leadership of each stakeholder.

Whether in the short or long term, leadership development efforts should consider developing holistic leaders. The programs should incorporate contents that can produce all rounded leaders who have a) The right mindset and attitude, b) The necessary technical know-how and soft skills (people skill), and c) Character. Providing mere leadership programs that only focus on developing skills doesn’t lead to raising competent leaders. It is like pouring new wine into an old wineskin. We cannot raise new breed leaders who can implement the Roadmap and at the end of the day change the destiny of our country while providing the usual leadership training without addressing outdated and counterproductive mindset and flawed character.

That being said, how can PRO Leadership, a non-profit organization established in 2009 in the US, help in raising competent leaders who can successfully implement the Roadmap? Together with its strategic partners, the following are where it can help:

  1. Creating platforms
  2. Designing programs
  3. Providing contents
  4. Delivering motivational speeches, trainings, and mentoring programs
  5. Evaluating these programs

The good news is that PRO Leadership is going to launch an Initiative called ‘Bridging the Leadership Gaps to Tackle the Major Challenges Africa Faces’ on May 29th here in the US and July 17th in Addis Ababa. The initiative outlined how PRO Leadership teams up with its strategic partners to empower youth and women leaders in Africa, starting from Ethiopia, by engaging the diaspora. During these upcoming two launching events, we will gather the inputs, advice, and suggestions of potential strategic partners.

If you’re in the DC metro area, please join us on May 29th, 2019 @ 5 pm at Veterans Plaza downtown Silver Spring, MD and let’s hear your opinion and how you may want to get involved. If you are in Ethiopia, mark your calendar and we look forward to hearing your inputs as well. In the meantime, PRO Leadership has already begun discussing with some strategic partners here in the US and Ethiopia to begin implementing the Initiative one community at a time, and you and your organization may join us implement this initiative within your own community. To learn more about PRO Leadership and the Initiative, please visit our website at www.proleadership.org

Master of Ceremonies for the May 29th conference is announced

The Master of Ceremonies for the upcoming May 29th conference on African leadership is Bofta Yimam- a Dynamic Speaker, Emcee, Award-winning Journalist, and Coach.

Come and join us as we launch an initiative, which aims at bridging the leadership gaps in Africa starting from Ethiopia, the seat of the African Union.

The Place of Leadership Development to Implement Ethiopian Education Roadmap

The Ethiopian Science and Academic Network in partnership with One Pupil organized an event on May 18, 2019, at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC. The was very successful, great speakers. Congrats to the organizing committee members.

My presentation was about “The Place of Leadership Development to Implement the Ethiopian Education Roadmap” I showed on how leadership makes or breaks any initiative.

The success of the Roadmap is dependent on whether we can raise competent leaders at all levels- from Ministerial to Unversity to Faculty and to Classroom levels, who can implement the Roadmap successfully.

Translating this great Roadmap, which is now on paper, into realities; converting the vision into results, requires to invest on leadership capacity development within our education system, and I shared how the upcoming Initiative by PRO Leadership, which will be launched on May 29th here in the US and July 17th in Addis could contribute its fair share, in partnership with our key strategic partners, in bridging the leadership gaps.

I will share the content of my presentation soon. Stay tuned…

Press Release- Conference on African Leadership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                          Press Release

Conference that focuses on bridging the leadership gaps in Africa

PRO Leadership Global dedicated its annual conference on “Bridging the leadership gaps to tackle the major challenges Africa faces”. The conference will be held on May 29th, 2019 6 – 9 pm at Veteran Plaza Civic Building in Silver Spring MD. The keynote speaker is H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, AU Ambassador to the US. The conference incorporated a panel discussion and success stories of African leaders in the diaspora. Elected officials, Diplomats, and VIPs are also invited to attend as guest of honors. At the end of the conference, there will be a strategic consultation session among key strategic partners to brainstorm the next steps and ways to collaborate in bridging the leadership gaps in Africa.

Silver Spring, MD, May 2, 2019 (PRO Leadership)This season is the last chance Africa has. It makes or breaks her future. Right now, the continent is at a crossroads. Africa has been lagging behind almost in every sector, far behind. If Africa continues this path because she is using the same approaches and with the usual pace that led her to this point, there is no better future for its people and the coming generations. She must take this season of her seriously and as her last chance to redeem herself. This is time to chart a new path, turn a new page. Otherwise, she will remain behind forever.

Africa now, however, has a new hope regardless of those skeptics who dubbed her ‘The Hopeless Continent’. Africa is the youngest continent endowed with untapped potential.  These give her a competitive advantage to come out of her predicaments. What is more? Regardless of past misfortunes, betrayals, and brutalities in the forms of colonization, slave trade, and so on, Africa demonstrated resilience and survived. Now, we see so many encouraging changes in many parts of Africa. Hope is on the horizon.

21st C is Africa’s. She is an upcoming star in the universe. She is set to shine in the new Century. We at PRO Leadership see a bright future ahead for Africans. That is why we dedicated the next few decades to bride the leadership gaps in the continent so that she may tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities the new era presents. We are committed to playing our fair share- together with our strategic partners, for the transformation of Africa. History is in the making and we would like to be part of this history.   Thus,

Thus, PRO Leadership dedicated its annual conference on “Bridging the leadership gaps to tackle the major challenges Africa faces”. The organization created this platform to bring key stakeholders to launch its initiative that aims at bridging the leadership gaps in Africa in order to tackle the major challenges the continent faces, and also tap into the opportunities the 21st C presents.

The main goal of the conference is to signify the importance of developing the organizational and leadership capacity of Africa to tackle the major challenges the continent faces. The conference is designed to achieve the following specific objectives:

  • To acknowledge the three major leadership gaps that exist
  • To recognize the significant place and roles of leadership to tackle the major ills in Africa
  • To discuss the roles of major key stakeholders to narrow the gaps
  • To provide the platform for strategic partners to devise ways to partner in bridging the gaps

This is our hope that the remarks by the honorable Ambassador of AU to the US and other speakers will increase the awareness of participants about the critical roles leadership could play to tackle the major ills Africa faces. We also anticipate the following main outcomes at the end of the conference:

  • Increased awareness about the need to invest on the organizational and leadership capacity of key stakeholders, which in turn empower them to tackle the major ills Africa faces.
  • Clear understanding about the three major leadership gaps that exist and the potential approaches stakeholders should take individually and collectively to bridge these gaps
  • The coming together of strategic partners to create synergy in bridging the 3 leadership gaps in the coming years and decades until Africa experiences true transformation.

African Diaspora community leaders; Elected Officials; representatives from international organizations; Private foundations; immigrant, women, and youth activists are expected to attend the conference.

Below are confirmed speakers:

1.Keynote by H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, AU Ambassador to the US;

2.Guest of Honor Speakers:

  • Marc Elrich, County Executive of Montgomery County
  • Tom Hucker, Councilmember of Montgomery County
  • Mohamed E. ‘Mo’ Seifeldein, Councilman of Alexandria Virginia
  • And more.

3. Dr. Helena Mishoe, Rear Admiral of United States Public Health Service (Ret) Title of speech: “Africa’s Future: ‘Growing’ High Impact Leaders”

4.Panelists:

  • Viola Llewellyn, Co-founder & President of Ovamba
  • Samson Teffera, Board Member and Communication Lead of TASFA
  • Matthew Breman, Regional Director, Africa of International Youth Foundation 

5. African Leaders Success Story Speakers:

  • Julian Kiganda, Transformational Brand Strategist
  • Dr. Omekongo Dibinga, Director of UPstander International
  • Chiko Abengowe, CEO/Founder of Perfect Staffing Solutions, LLC

6. Book Signing by Dr. Assegid Habtewold, Founder of PRO Leadership Global Inc.

About PRO Leadership:

Founded in 2009, PRO Leadership Global is a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization based in Maryland, USA. PRO Leadership PROmotes leadership, PROduces leaders to bridge the leadership gaps (Geographic, Gender, and Generational leadership gaps) to tackle the major ills of the world one community at a time. To learn more about PRO Leadership, check out its website: https://proleadership.org

For more information and/or interviews, please contact:

Besu Feleke

Email: besu21@gmail.com

Cell: 540-230-3622

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Some more tips to speak like a pro based on a short video clip

Two weeks ago or so, I shared some helpful tips based on a short speech video clip to help you take your speaking competency to the next height. Some of you may be advance speakers and may not need some of the tips. However, I thought, you may want to share these tips with those who may need it the most. If you missed the previous tips I shared 2 weeks ago, checkout the tips before further continuing to read this blog:

In this follow up blog, I would like to use another short video clip of mine to share with you some takeaways you may apply immediately in order to take your speaking ability to the next level. By the way, the speech was based on my latest book “Unchain Your Greatness”.  

While watching the Youtube video below, I encourage you to take some notes. Write down what worked very well and what need to be improved…

How did you find the speech? This is my hope that you have enjoyed it. 
If you may remember from my previous email, I coach people to speak like a pro. This time, let me coach myself so that you too may learn from this conversation with myself  

What went very well:

  1. Finished on time. Like the previous speech, I finished this one within the time frame I was given.
  2. Connected with the majority of my listeners using proper eye contacts. Hope, you could be able to see from the video that I was making eye contacts to engage people in the conference room.
  3. Used the stage very well. If you may remember from the previous video, I was constrained. The stage was very tight. This time, the stage was very wide, and I fully used it to the max. Don’t forget, you don’t have to move around a lot unless you have a fairly large group. Regardless of the size, however, you should come out of the podium and come close to the audience when you speak. Don’t allow any barrier between you and your listeners create blockage.
  4. Purposeful gestures. I used my gestures purposefully. One quick tip: Your body is your weapon of communication, especially your hands. Nonetheless, you should avoid erratic and purposeless use of your hands. Once in a while, you may consider using bold gestures. But, be cautious. The occasion, the audience type, and the topic may not warrant such bold gestures  Let me ask you: When in the speech did I use bold gestures? One good example is when I talked about the great ones burned their bridge. Another one is when I was talking about how they turning setbacks into assets, their scars and defeats into testimonies, etc. Where else did you notice bold gestures?

What would I do differently if I get a chance to give this speech again?

  1. Share some stories. Since I had 7 minutes to summarize a 200 something pages book, when I was preparing for the speech, I focused on sharing the four stages to unchain one’s greatness without paying attention about mixing some stories. Looking back, I should have given some examples for each stage. 
  2. Insert some humor. In the previous video clip I shared with you, at least, I inserted one sense of humor and I smiled more than I did here. Some how, I was too serious devoid of any humor  To refresh your memory, I told you that nowadays, people would love to be entertained even if your topic is serious. You might have already seen that in your own case, people like speakers who are friendly and approachable. Well, I missed a golden chance in this speech but I’d consider to add some humor, smile, and laugh more if I get another chance to deliver this the same speech again. 
  3. Use the book. If you watch the video, I went there with my book and put it on the table but never used it   Did it happen to you? Do you relate with that? I have a story or a statistics or a graph you would like to share, boom! You forgot to share. 
  4. What else needs to be improved?

This is my hope that you have drawn a couple of lessons, which in turn may help you take your speaking ability to the next level.

If you may have any questions, feel free to reach out to me @ assegidh@gmail.com or give me a call at 703-895-4551