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Women of Excellence 2013 and My Take from the Event on October 27

A bright Sunday; full of anticipation and excitement for those involved in the preparation of such a historic event and for the five WOE nominees.

The moment we have been looking forward to have come after some laboriously busy and consuming weeks. I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the unreserved energy among AWiB board and supporters and congratulate each and every one of us.

October 27, 2013, AWiB and its members along with partners and 500 plus guests and supporters lavishly celebrated the five Women of Excellence at a gala dinner at Sheraton Addis and awarded one of them, W/ro Sara Mohammed, with a Trophy and Ethiopian Birr 100,000 (one hundred Thousand) to be donated to a program/charity of her choice. This year’s celebration added a new feature to the grand event, i.e. Life Time Achievement Award, which was bestowed upon Dr. Jember Teferra, a woman who dedicated her life to alleviate urban poverty in an integrated manner.

I was contemplating on how this came to be and trying to put my finger on the major factors that led to us all to such a beautiful evening. Here are my reflection points:

  1. Thanks to AWiB, which created the platform for many us to open our eyes to those tireless and devoted women who excelled in everything they do without expecting any return but see the change in the lives of many as their reward;
  2. Thanks to the many excellent people out there who genuinely accepted AWiB’s call for nomination, looked into their own heart, took their time and nominated these women whom they believed their phenomenal work and their attitude to change deserves recognition,
  3. With recognition comes expectation, hence, being nominated and celebrated in such a manner encourages our five WOE nominees to do even more. Nevertheless, they are also put in a position to public scrutiny and as a result a growing sense of accountability, as well.

As we say at AWiB, Excellence is not achievement but a character! I also found this quote from anonymous resource, which says, Excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude! This event, I hope helped many assess their attitude, challenged their understanding of excellence; and instigated discussion among people on terms such as, appreciation, celebration and recognition. For me, after being part of such an enlightening event, it will be difficult to close my eyes to the small but purposeful activities in my surrounding. I will definitely be aware of those who do things in their capacity and cultivate change in whatever they do.

If we all become aware of those people, our next year nominee list will be different, in number and quality at the same time. Thus, let’s do our homework starting today. I can’t wait till October 2014.

Grateful for this opportunity, I will leave you with what W/ro Sara Mohammed, WOE 2013 Awardee, said when asked, what is your understanding of excellence? “Excellence for me is doing our personal best under circumstances difficult or easy; equally. Regardless of what job we do.”

This is an event, I will proudly be telling my children and grand children about, Oh yes! Those who couldn’t join us for various reasons, see you next year and for the many more years to come, as this will go on for generations to come.