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Leadership in a VUCA World

May 4, 2023 @ 5:30 pm 9:00 pm

Leadership in a VUCA World

May 4, 2023, at 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Hilton Hotel


Members Complimentary
Non-Members 850 ETB

Leadership in a VUCA World

In the month of May, AWiB brings you Leadership in a VUCA World. VUCA is an acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. It is a leadership style that considers how to deal with these things in various situations, such as a pandemic, political divisions, and civil wars.

VUCA was introduced to leadership training in the early 2000s but has been around since the late 1980s. It originates from an American war college, where it was created to reflect the reality of the end of the cold war. In light of the pandemic, it has become increasingly popular.

We live in VUCA times; the world is becoming increasingly uncertain, dynamic, and complex. By understanding the four elements of VUCA, people will have a better understanding of the changing landscape and prepare for the future.

Let’s see what each element refers to…

  1. Volatility: refers to the rapid rate of change that characterizes today’s world. Events can occur quickly and unexpectedly, leading to instability and insecurity. In Ethiopia’s volatile market, for example, the prices of commodities can rise considerably in a short period of time, and the direction of a trend may reverse suddenly.
  2. Uncertainty: refers to the lack of predictability and clarity, making it difficult to plan for the future. With ever-changing conditions, decisions must often be made with limited information.
  3. Complexity: refers to the interconnectedness of different parts that comprise a larger whole. A change in one place may cause unintended changes to other things down the line. In a complex market, for example, the changes in gas prices affect the prices of many other items that are not directly related.
  4. Ambiguity: refers to the presence of multiple interpretations and meanings, making it difficult to know what is true and false. This can create confusion and make communication more challenging.

How Can VUCA Leadership Help Ethiopians?

AWiB is a networking platform and a leadership institute that envisions empowering women leaders from all over Ethiopia. We want to help people understand that it is an opportunity for leaders to advance and that agility is one of the most necessary skill sets to address VUCA. AWiB’s aim is to cultivate a leadership culture to manage change and uncertainty by providing a platform for networking, leadership development programs, and advocacy.

To foster a leadership culture, VUCA allows leaders to think strategically and remain agile in changing conditions. It encourages collaboration and helps to ensure that all parties involved have access to the same sources of information, enabling a more cohesive and effective approach to addressing complex problems. Leaders always have to lead themselves first; then, they lead by example setting high standards for themselves, hence others. They are courageous and don’t support injustice of any kind.

Since most Ethiopian culture seems to be resistant to change, do we truly develop the necessary skills to become effective leaders who strive to keep up with the ever-expanding world? Current issues such as civil war, displacement, ethnic-based violence, and religious tension have made the country increasingly hostile –a shortage of VUCA leaders.

Talking Points:

1. How can leaders use VUCA in their organization?
2. How can we understand the risks associated with decision-making in a VUCA world?
3. Who is an example of a VUCA leader globally?
4. What do you notice in Ethiopia from your lens and others?  What do we do well, and what can we do better? 
5. How can Ethiopian leaders become more effective?
6. Is there an Ethiopian leader who practices VUCA Leadership? If yes, who?


Addis Alemayehou is an ambitious, hard-working, creative, and innovative person passionate about helping Ethiopia grow by supporting its innovative youth. He is the founder and Chairman of Kazana Group, a holding company.

Through his vast range of experiences, Addis contributed significantly to Ethiopia’s trade exchanges. He was instrumental in facilitating the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) serving as the Chief of the Party for USAID’s Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) Ethiopia Program.

Addis’ other ventures include founder and CEO of 251 Communications, a public relations firm, co-founded KANA TV, a free-to-air satellite channel, and an investor in “Chigin Tobiya,” a TV Show where entrepreneurs showcase their businesses to investors.

Addis has been successfully navigating Ethiopia’s unpredictable and unstable business landscape, applying his solution-oriented mindset to overcome every obstacle. He is a firm believer in solutions to problems and works tirelessly to create opportunities for the country’s young generation, entrepreneurs, and business community to prosper.

Hikmet Abdella, Director General of Accounting and Auditing Board of Ethiopia (AABE) is known for commanding great power throughout her career. She is widely known for her work with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) where she served as country director from 2004 to 2012 with the regional responsibility toward contributing to ACCA strategy in Eastern African countries with specific operational responsibility for Ethiopia and Sudan.

Ms. Hikmet is also the founder of the Women Entrepreneurs Group (WEG) that later became the current African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) Ethiopia Charter. She has served as Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors for Global Insurance S.C. and also as the General Manager of Attco, a family-owned business established by her father, Ato. Abdella Abdulmalik, in 1969. Hikmet is an active member of AWiB’s Female CEO Breakfast Club (FCBC).

Recently she took part as one of the 50 members of the Destiny Ethiopia Initiative, primarily, to come up with four Scenarios of possible futures in the year 2040 for Ethiopia. Now she is a member of the Women Caucus within the Ethiopian Inclusive Dialogue (EID), hosted in CDRC.

Hikmet, sits on The Board of Trustees of The Center for Dialogue, Research and Cooperation (CDRC) which is an independent Ethiopia-based non-profit think tank, as well as a member of the Board of Directors on Ethiopian Red Cross.

Mrs Rahel Boon–Dejene, is an Ethiopian born Dutch social entrepreneur who aims to bring positive impact to visionary young professionals by creating job opportunities, developing soft skills, and stimulating entrepreneurship.  She is the founding managing director of R&D Group (Ethiopia) and RBD Consultancy (The Netherlands); organizations specialized in impact sourcing and entrepreneurship acceleration areas. She is partner at ORTEC Sports, an organization that provides a one-stop-shop digital solution in the sport industry. Throughout her career Mrs. Boon-Dejene has been committed to the spread of entrepreneurship and talent development. For the last ten years, she has created job opportunities for more than 250 youth and worked closely with +100 remarkable small and medium enterprise owners in Ethiopia.

Representing Ethiopia, she acts as an International Partner of World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF), an organization committed to collaborating globally to empower the economic development entrepreneurs. Rahel also serves as a board member at The African Diaspora Policy Centre (ADPC), a leading African diaspora think tank in Europe in the field of migration and development.

She holds an honor MBA degree from the University of Wolverhampton (UK) and MA in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Amsterdam and BA in International Business Management from four European Countries.


Kidist Gebreamlak is a Co-founder & CEO of Zero-One Zero-One PLC. She is also the Senior Center Manager of the Center for Innovative Drug Development and Therapeutic Trials for Africa (CDT Africa). Kidist served as the Board President and CEO of STEMpower Inc, USA, where she led results-driven, thriving projects across Africa.

She held Consulting and Program Support positions at the World Bank Group, HQ in Washington DC, USA. Kidist is strategic and empathic and thrives on projects requiring diverse cultural, social, economic, and political knowledge abilities. She is passionate about the untapped potential of African women and youth as creative agents of change to realize the Africa We Want. To that end, Kidist resettled in Ethiopia to do her part towards the inevitable thriving of the continent and its people.