Changing of the Guard
Felekech (Fei) Zewde Biratu
Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Felekech (Fei) Zewde Biratu graduated with cum laude in double major Applied Economics and Finance and double minor in Management and Accounting. After graduating and working for a year in Duluth, Minnesota she moved to Washington D.C. She received her Master’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on Strategy from the University of Maryland while working full time as a financial analyst at AOL. Soon after, she moved back to Addis Ababa where she worked as an independent consultant for a brief time. Wanting to work on something she is passionate about, Fei coupled her business acumen with her love for jewelry and co-founded a company called Yenaé.
Yenaé is an online-based, high-end fashion jewelry brand that manufactures and retails culturally curated and African-inspired, one-of-kind jewelry pieces that come with stories (www.yenae.com). It is a brand that aims to change the narrative of the African continent by highlighting each African country’s culture and heritage through jewelry. Going down the entrepreneurial path—nurturing an idea and taking it from concept to market—has been a great source of pride for Fei. Although only a year old, Yenaé has been a great learning curve managing a start-up with no prior industry experience, working cross-continent whilst starting a family.
Fei’s two small children are her source of happiness, and balancing these competing priorities of her business and family has been a great source of accomplishment. Fei believes there is no limitation on what you can accomplish or become. She says the only limit is your imagination and like the saying goes, “If there is a will, there is a way.” She believes all you need is good, old-fashioned hard work, dedication and persistence. Fei has managed to put herself in a position where she can be financially and mentally independent by working hard and getting an education to ensure she is competent and competitive. In addition, she has built a broad, strong social and professional network.
Most importantly, Fei believes it is important to know your ‘why’ of what you are doing and if you are able to answer that question, you are halfway there. The strategic leader has served in the AWiB board for the last two years. She is decisive and gets things done with quiet authority. Fei is a formidable businesswoman, a loving mother and a caring friend who will usher AWiB into a new age as AWiB celebrates 10 years of Responsible Leadership. She believes in approaching all that you do with positive intentions and that will in turn come back to you, ten folds. We look forward to a wonderful year ahead with this exceptional woman at the helms!
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