MEET MERI MENTORS
Meri ‘መሪ’ is a leadership and mentorship program that was first launched by Billene Seyoum under Earuyan Solutions, and is now under AWiB (Association of Women in Boldness). Meri aims to provide critical leadership and employability skills training to young female senior university students/newly graduates through soft skills and job readiness training, with the intention of tackling youth employment. The graduates of this program will serve as ambassadors whiles echoing the message of developing young professional leaders in Ethiopia.
The objective of the መሪ program is designed to introduce and match recent female university graduates with experienced Ethiopian career and businesswomen, complemented by a leadership development program that is twelve weeks long and an annual forum – Meri Medrek “መሪ መድረክ” aimed at building a growing network of mentees and mentors.
Meri Program Outcome
- A self-assured and self-confident career woman.
- An independent and critical thinker who is curious about her surroundings.
- A socially conscious woman whose aim is contributing to a larger community.
- An ambitious leader whose goal is to bring change in corporations, politics, academia, and Ethiopia.
- A self-poised woman who sells her ideas effortlessly.
- A compassionate and inclusive leader with the skill to build and maintain relationships.
- A woman whose life’s purpose is to become a voice to the voiceless.
- A fearless worrier who makes Ethiopia proud.
- A kind considerate daughter, sister, friend, and neighbor.
- A woman whose middle name is commitment, whose calling is effectiveness, whose purpose is a sisterhood.
Bilen Aynu is founder of Savor restaurant and café. The business became groundwork to carry out her lifetime passion in human development by providing employment opportunity. Harvesting the fruit of success with Savor, driven by her passion, building on her rich experience in the corporate world, and in partnership with her sister, she embarked on creating a scaled-up, co-working hotel: Adore Addis.
Bilen’s passion in life includes women empowerment and creating better future for orphans, which is linked with her life philosophy. Staying true to herself and living transparently is a value Bilen holds dearly.
Bilen pursued Management Information Systems and later a master’s degree at the University of Maryland in Strategic Information Management.
Sosina Wogayehu is a well-known performer with Circus Ethiopia. She has toured globally with Circus Oz and many other major companies, creating links with an international network of performers, directors, teachers and agents.
Sosina has successfully established two organisations: Gamo Circus and Ethio Circus Entertainment. Gamo Circus combines social circus and circus skills training to provide opportunities for the youth to develop confidence, a strong sense of community and cultural pride. Many of her students also choose a professional career in circus. For those who do, Sosina’s Ethio Circus Entertainment ensures they are able to perform with leading companies throughout the world.
Sosina understands well that leadership is about guiding and understanding. She leads by example; she is accepting, open to ideas and learns from her team every moment.
Yeshiwork Woldeher is a managing Director at Ghion Gas Plc. She is a high performing executive with a proven track record of leadership in restructuring failing companies to success and profitability. She has over 15 years of experience in import and export, international trade, business development, International finance, sales & marketing, freight forwarding, insurance and customs regulations.
Armed with experience, reputation and credit in the business community, Yeshiwork coaches, guides, and advises business owners and paves the way to their own successes. As an astute business leader, Yeshiwork supports those who seek her mentorship with proven strategies by identifying goals and clear directions.
Yeshiwork is a transformational leader who passionately believes in competence, character and deliverables. Yeshiwork uses poem as a tool to promote social causes that she is keen about.
Etalem Engida is the Enterprise Development Lead at First Consult’s BRIDGES Program, which unleashes a transformational change through tapping into the creativity and ambition of existing and aspiring young Ethiopian entrepreneurs. Etalem is an accomplished development professional with over 20 years of progressive experience and proven track record of leadership, highest standards of performance and ethics, and professional excellence. She has extensive work experience in multi-cultural environments and has efficiently implemented key national and international programs.
Etalem is a former CEO of Entrepreneurship Development Center (EDC), a quasi-governmental organization. She successfully led the establishment of regional entrepreneurship development centers in the major regions of the country to support young entrepreneurs and the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Etalem has the utmost admiration for all women who have achieved remarkable success in their career, business or any of their chosen fields despite the many challenges they face.
Kidist Gebreamlak is a Co-founder & CEO of Zero-One-Zero-One PLC, Addis Ababa, ET; she is also the Senior Center Manager of the Center for Innovative Drug Development and Therapeutic Trials for Africa (CDT Africa), Addis Ababa.
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, DC, USA.
Kidist is strategic, empathic and thrives on projects requiring diverse cultural, social, economic, and political knowledge ability. She is a passionate believer in 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.
Siham Ayele runs a national youth employment project- “Dereja.com”- a platform that aims to develop the soft skills of young graduates to make them competent to join the workforce and as a result curb youth unemployment.
Siham finds comfort in books and keeping journals. Siham, as a political science and international relations scholar, found her passion in addressing the socio-economic problems related with youth unemployment. Her enthusiasm and desire led her to current position to practice her love for knowledge-sharing. She believes the youth has untapped potential but no system to unlock their potential or dreams.
Dereja.com helps screen young female leaders for the Meri leadership & mentorship program. This mentorship program is all the more rewarding for Siham as she went through a similar program during her early collage years organized by AWiB.
Amakelech lulu CEO and General Manager of Gishen pharmacy, established in 1998. She is pharmaceutical chain pioneer, in Ethiopia with over 10 active branches. Exemplary entrepreneur for her commitment in the healthcare industry, Amakelech built her empire to a larger health industry market and known for its drive as “People come first.”
Amakelech has served and is serving as a board member of a few institutions. Amakelech is a certified life coach and mentor among other credentials.
Abigeya Getachew Wolde
Abigeya Getachew works as a reform coordinator and assistant to the Chief Justice at the Office of the Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia. She coordinates the reform initiatives of the Chief Justice and is the focal person for the Chief Justice’s strategic partnership with foreign governments, international organizations and development partners. She is also an affiliate expert of Oslo Analytica and OnFrontiers LLC.
Abigeya’s aspiration is to be legal and policy advisor that works for the benefit of the African continent. She indulges in celebrating her femininity, fellow human beings, nature and the Master behind it.
For more info: http://awib.org.et/newsite/abigeya-getachew-wolde/
Tizita, a former board member of AWiB, is an ambitious, open-minded woman who portrays herself as “a woman in the making,” Her passion for self-empowerment and leadership development traces back to her student days at Nazareth School where she volunteered and trained actively in institutes such as YWCA and the Ethiopia Scout Association.
Tizita values independence, reliability and personal growth greatly and thrive to incorporate those in her life. As a former board member, Tizita went through a rigorous mentorship program herself. It was an experience that changed the trajectory of her life for the better. Her wonderful mentorship experience at AWiB is what drew her to participate as a Mentor for the Meri program, to pay forward what she has received.
Lewam, a former AWiB board member, is a young social anthropologist that is confident, ambitious and pro-active. She has organizational and administrative skills gained as an assistant manager on gender based tasks. Lewam was responsible for Technovation, a competition for girls under 18 in a global IT. She saw the success of Technovation from ideation, coding, entrepreneurship and marketing to finally come with pride through the Ethiopian pitch.
Lewam believes in serving and giving to the community hence her work with Project-e, international NGO educating young women in hotel operation. Lewam, herself has undergone through a rigorous board leadership that included mentorship. She believes it is a great honor to be called upon as a mentor this time around to give back to the youth.
For more info: http://awib.org.et/newsite/lewam-fessehaye/
As AWiB 2021 President, Kemer has seen a great transformation in herself. Being part of the AWiB tribe gave her a better understanding of self and was able to clarify her values, goals and mission that provided her focus and clear direction in her life. By joining the AWiB leadership team, she developed further her personal growth.
Kemer is a General Manager of Barsebe Industries PLC. In addition to her educational background in business management and economics, her skills in effective time management, task prioritization and effective delegation have helped her perform efficiently at work while maintaining a great work-life balance. Kemer is a dedicated woman who strongly believes our main mission in life is to bring change and leave a better world for all with whatever capacity is provided to us.
Through AWiB and its new project Meri, she hopes to let women learn their capacity and achieve their full potential.
Samrawit Moges Beyene
Samrawit is the recipient of the 2011 TIAW World of Difference 100 Awards. This award is given to 100 extraordinary women from around the world who have contributed to the economic empowerment of women. She is a true leader who develops others and shares her resources and her knowledge freely.
Samrawit with her husband and business partner Thomas Matanovich founded Travel Ethiopia in 1994. This major travel and tour company through its world class service and well-trained tour guides (mostly women), sets an example of hiring and promoting women in the tourism industry.
For more info: http://awib.org.et/newsite/samrawit-moges-beyene-2/
Nahu Senay Girma
Nahu S. Girma is Founder & Director of Association of Women in Boldness (AWiB) founded on April, 2010 primarily as a women’s networking platform but over the years has transformed into leadership institution. She has over 30 years of experience in designing, developing and delivering training programs on leadership skills, team management, conflict resolutions, and sales. She has dedicated her life to creating a safe space for women to learn, grow and empower themselves to become the best version of themselves.
Throughout her career Nahu has mentored and guided numerous young women to embrace themselves and unleash their potential. She hopes to continue to do so for the young girls of the Meri program.
Helen Degefa has over ten years of experience on working in developmental projects, specifically focusing on women and youth empowerment. Currently, Helen is working as Gender Equity and Diversity advisor at CARE Ethiopia supporting CARE’s commitment to enhance gender equality at institutional and programmatic level.
Helen is a proud feminist who is passionate about gender equality and youth empowerment; she is also an advocate for social justices. She believes in investing on young girls and women to create a world where equity and fairness exists. She is thrilled to be part of the young female leaders making progress through Meri leadership and mentorship program.
A highly motivated and result driven person who has 20+ years of invaluable experience in leading and developing a successful finance and operations team. Turunesh is a holder of MSc. Degree in Business Administration from Lincoln University, California. She is currently working as an Operations manager at ICS.
Samrawit Meressa is a young and energetic leader, serving as a mentor in the Meri program. She has diverse experience working as a Production Managing Director on the “Titilo” show broadcasted on DSTV as well as, as an Assistant Manager at Zoskales Diamond – a family business. Influenced by her father at an early age she is very passionate about jewelry design and strives to make her dream of designing a reality.
Samrawit led the FFA (Funds for AWIB) committee and had been successful in organizing and executing a unique Gala featuring the first-ever Silent Auction. Samrawit has gone to great lengths on the path to self-discovery. She believes it is a continuous learning process and one she is happy to share with a young college student of the Meri program.
Nebat is an experienced Human Resource (HR) professional. She is passionate about Employee Engagement, learning and development, performance management, employment law as well as diversity and inclusiveness. She is currently working as a consultant and trainer in the fields of Human Resources. Her company is called Phoenix Business Consulting Plc. Nebat’s contribution is demonstrated through increased employee engagement through implementation of a consistent talent acquisition, development and retention practice that resulted in a better company performance.
Nebat is a passionate member of the Society of HR Management in Ethiopia (SHRME), AWiB( Association of Women in Boldness), AWEP ( Alliance of Women Entrepreneurship Program – Ethiopia Chapter) & Imperial Toastmasters Club.
For more info: http://awib.org.et/newsite/nebat-abbas-bold-gentle/
Fitsum Kidanemariam is an HR specialist and author of the book የህይወቴ ቅኝት a memoir of her life experience and lessons learned an inspiration to both young and old. Fitsum has more than 20 years of managerial experience and leading teams with diversified skills. Her communication skill and extrovert nature helped her to interact with teams and motivate them to meet organizational goals and objectives.
She believes in networking with professionals to grow and practice her leadership skill. Fitsum has served on AWiB’s board and SLT group. Fitsum credits AWiB for creating a platform where she could meet role models, learn from and also give back. She is a seasoned member of the Toastmasters International. She has also obtained the Able Communicator Silver Award from Toastmasters for her achievement. Her credit includes an active member of Society of Human Resources Management in Ethiopia (SHRME).
Semayawit is a Pharmacist, an Assistant Lecturer at AAU School of Pharmacy, and a Business Development Manager. She has developed firms from the ground up and advised pharmaceutical companies and individuals seeking education and professional certification.
One thing that shines out in all of her involvement is her desire to introduce better methods of doing things, which results from her passion for technology. As a researcher, she is interested in research that activates digital health, contextualizes it for our context, and matches the present scenarios. She applies these findings to create business concepts that have a significant influence on the community. She believes her greatest accomplishment in life is her evolution in knowing and understanding herself better.
Yetnayet Beyene is an LLM degree holder and has more than 12 years’ experience in Corporate Law. Yetnayet works at Dashen Breweries S.C.as a Legal and Compliance Director. Previously, Yetnayet worked at National Bank of Ethiopia and Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) as a legal drafter developing simple contract to Proclamations; provide legal advice, represent the companies at courts of law, conduct compliance investigation and managed more than two units and lead the legal department. She is an accomplished, results-oriented professional with extensive experience in the legal field in Ethiopia.
Yetnayet is also involved in community support work and actively participates in area beauty and cleaning programs and supporting under privileged children with school materials, arrange after school recreations and when the need arise school feeding programs.
Rediet is a passionate medical doctor, who has an experience both in clinical work and health service management. She is also a person who is a critical thinker and eager learner with a drive for growth, making a difference and reaching out to the public on a broader aspect.
She earned her medical doctorate from Addis Ababa University in 2017. She practices her profession in governmental and non-governmental organizations including benishangul-gumuz region. For the past two years she has been supporting Government led program on the treatment of Covid at Millennium Covid-19 Care Center.
In all her journey, she takes it as a responsibility and source enjoyment to share her life and things she learned to women and growing by supporting each other in every way possible.
Zebib is the Co-founder of Adore Addis Hotel, co- working and a dining space. She is an environmental health specialist by profession. Zebib is a wife and a mother of two children. She is passionate about creating employment opportunities for as many people as possible in the hospitality industry.
She loves mentoring and encouraging the young and as well as the marginalized, by supporting and encouraging them to manage their own learning , to maximize their potential, develop their skill, so that they strive to become the best they can be, and feel empowered.
Zebib strongly believes she is who she is because so many good hearted who people have contributed for her well-being and growth directly and indirectly.
Azeb Estifanos is a proud educator passionate about teaching math to young children. She has been working as a teacher for more than 20 years in different schools.
Participating as a mentor for Meri was a very easy decision, as a teacher her entire career is dedicated to guiding young people to become the best they could possibly be. Therefore, the mentorship program is very close to her heart and one she is happy to be a part of.
Currently, she teaches math to high school students at an International Community School (ICS). Azeb is a mother of two girls and she enjoys reading books and spending time with family during her leisure time.
Tigist Ambaw Degu
Tigist Ambaw is a journalist and hosts radio and Television programs especially on Women at AMN (Addis Media Network). She also serves on many public seminars as Master of Ceremonies. Her hobbies are reading books, and following motivational programs. As a solution oriented person, she spends most of her time solving others’ problems and helping them learn from their challenges.
Tigist, from life experience and supporting others through life’s journey has earned many insights that would translate as a guiding light to young leaders. She believes, excellence as AWiB Brand, means achieving one’s life goals and having a life that gives experience to others and being good in social, economic and spiritual ways. Tigist is excited and ready to give back to her community that sustains us all by mentoring Meri girls. As a former teacher, she would bring her teaching instincts to the making of leaders—Meri.
Hanna is a Managing Director of Bezalel Construction Material Manufacturing PLC and Hebron Resort PLC. As a certified accountant from AAU, Hanna has worked for several local companies.
Hana is highly engaged in community service. She has undertaken different activities in helping children and senior citizens, and has continuously supported various kids through school and employment.
Hanna has served in numerous positions throughout her career including: Chairperson of Enat Bank Sh.Co.’s Board of Directors; Co-Founder and Financial Advisor, MH Engineering PLC; Internal Audit Manager and Finance Manager at Norila; Finance Director of Lalibela Engineering; Senior Accountant then Finance Manager for RRC / ASG Transport Project.
Genet Abebe is the HR director at Dashen Breweries S.C. She received her BA in management from Unity University and her MBA in management from St. Mary University. She is a strong leader with skills in professional HR and managing teams in setting, supporting, and achieving corporate objectives.
Her passion lies in developing others. She mentors young women by sharing her life experiences and showing them the wisdom in discipline, determination, and resiliency to reach their lives goals.
Genet also went through an AWiB board mentorship program that has a reputation for being rigorous. This platform has allowed her desire of giving and receiving from her community. Her participation in the International Financial Corporation (IFC) training on Women on Board through AWiB has prepared her to sit and serve on any board that has the ambition to grow its business.