Celebrating Women of Excellence

When I was a student, the grade “Excellent” was given to students who achieved superior result, usually above 90% on the cumulative tests and assignments given on a particular subject.  Hence, as student, my concept of “excellence” was very much associated with achievement of superior performance.

When I visit some organizations, I see the word “Excellence” posted on the wall as one of the values of the organization.  Organizational excellence is chosen as their driving factors they would like to strive for.  How many of them strive for it is another issue.

In choosing a quote for the Women of Excellence event that will be on the AWiB’s card, we searched what best fits the criteria of ‘excellence’.  After going through the different people’s definition of what they mean by ‘excellence’, we coined, “Excellence is soaring together to reach our height for the common good of our society.”  This expresses three character elements:

1)    Soaring together:  Leadership is about using one’s potential to its fullest to rise beyond the binding circumstances.  When a woman soars, she uses her potential but she also pulls others to soar together.

2)    Reaching our height:  Leadership would never settle for mediocrity.  Aiming high and striving to reach there is a leadership characteristic AWiB counts as excellent.

3)    Valuing the common good of society: Leadership requires choosing a cause to live for, standards to be guided by and a deliberate effort to team up to accomplish a purpose. AWiB believes in giving back to the community that sustains us.  A leader who thought of herself beyond her own circumstances to elevate her society from their status quo should indeed be awarded.

Hence, by excellence, it is not just having a record of superior result or achieving what one sets as goals – for many of us are achievers.  Nor it is posting “Excellence” as a value on one’s wall.  It is a character and life style or a habit developed to reaching one’s height taking the surrounding to soar together.

The five women we will celebrate on October 27 have passed through the scrutiny of AWiB’s excellence criteria for they have consistently exhibited the discipline, the courage and the focus one requires in their personal, career, and social pursuits of life.  Each nominee was examined on her own rights.  This is not competition among business women.  Whether in the sphere of public service, trade, non-governmental or governmental organization, one’s excellence is exhibited the way they conduct their lives and the height they reached.

I was reading Tids and Bits section of AWiB web site which posted Robin Charma’s Top Ten Things Amazing Leaders Do.  The last point attracted my attention – “LIFE IS SHORT SO BE OF USE” Robin quoted what his dad said to him, “Robin, when you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Son, live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice.” ….To truly be a leader has nothing to do with ego-stroking, applause and fame. No, to be a leader is to make phenomenal contributions that make the world better and cause a lasting difference. To lead is to serve. And to be of use, said Robin.

Personally, through the process of the public nomination, setting the criteria for selection, interviewing the nominated women and finally selecting the top five was a learning turn for me to think about my life to live a life of excellence.  Hence, I would like to bring forth that challenge to all of us to learn from the Women of Excellence nominees, to focus on our end and rejoice when we die knowing that our lives are worth lived by reaching our height, contributing our time, money, vocation and other resources for the wellbeing of others and lifting others to reach their height.

On the press conference organized to sensitize the media, the 2012 Women of Excellence awardee made a remarkable comment. “AWiB is setting a trend of appreciation.  In Ethiopia we write wonderful quotes in tomb stones and hear wonderful stories about the deceased on his/her burial ceremony.  It is a good culture to develop celebrating people while alive than write stories after they pass away.  This encourages others to live accordingly,” said Tsigie Haile. Hence, let’s learn also from AWiB which pioneered a culture of appreciations by bringing forth women leaders who lived by the virtue of excellence.

We rejoice when others are lifted up!

Come and let us celebrate these women of excellence on the 27th of October at Sheraton Addis from 5:30 – 10:00 p.m.

Tickets are available at AWiB’s office.  You may call at +251-911-606055 or +251-911-221505.