A presidents reflection on excellence

October 21st, 2012 brings mixed emotions to me. This is the day I dreamt about since the inception of Association of Women in Business (AWiB) two years ago. Now, I am approaching this big day, like a pregnant woman who suddenly realizes the day is certain and she must deliver. I am engulfed by emotion that comes with arduous labor to deliver a precious baby. This day marks excellence and the emotion comes from the anxiousness of \”will excellence be delivered\”?

I moved back from the USA a little over eight years ago and had been wanting to form a networking group where women come together to discuss their dreams, desires and yes even their fears without second guessing themselves. I finally succeeded and then more. Yes, “Women of Excellence”, I thought needed to be part of this agenda. Why excellence? Because we all need to know what it looks like and how it is done. Why? So that the coming generation would know nothing but excellence and that would be AWiB’s legacy and the legacy of all involved with this great association– a great platform for the one who believes her life is her business and her business is her life. And yes, AWiB finds this thing called excellence in ten great women to be unveiled on this 21st of October. The kernel of this great idea is to expose our role models to the public so we could become like them.

I have been asked a few times why the need for an association for women? Why not for all? With a smile and a sigh of relief that someone perhaps understands the importance of such platform, and perhaps wanting to be included, I answer: because we have to start somewhere.

One fateful November evening, a long time ago, there was a knock at my grandmother’s door in Ambo. My sister and I were being raised by my paternal grandmother — a beautiful gentle soul. In those few weeks, my father was in the hospital in Addis for a minor condition and my mother and my grandmother after spending some time with him were told he got better and to go back to Ambo to be with the children anticipating his release from the hospital soon. But all was not well. A 34 year old, very strong, dynamic and handsome man died that night and the news had to be delivered to the mother and a 24 year young wife. My life changed overnight and my sister and I were sent to all girls’ boarding school. I was seven and my sister was five. I met many fatherless little girls in this institution and grew up with them until I finished high school and went to the States to further my education in another all girls’ college dormitory. I spent a formidable 14 years with girls–the passage of time–I believe was also a source of my strong sense of self. So, to go back to the question why women only, perhaps I felt in my small way, I needed to give back the love and camaraderie I received from my girlfriends when my world seemed to turn dark…where I was sent to a boarding school at the age of seven, fatherless and responsible for a younger sister and found solace regardless.

These are my treasures and it hurts when I see women treated unfairly. I am doing it for me and I am doing it for all my friends way back when. Above all, AWiB is an initiative by a few courageous women for women to come together and find their own solutions that nurture their aspirations and their visions. It mustn’t be something to be justified and I sincerely hope this great occasion will prove to the community that what this women’s association does benefits the society at large. We are wives, sisters, daughters, friends and mothers who consider all human beings as our children and that joyous partnership must succeed in spite of categorization. This grand event will be testimonial and I trust all who join us on this day to celebrate excellence shall find a vintage performance.

Nahu S. Girma, Founder and President