End of the Year Monthly Meeting Recap:

As always, the last month of the year meeting was bid farewell with the gathering of our phenomenal 2017 Women of Excellence (WOE) nominees W/o Ellene Mocria, W/o Lidya Tafesse, Professor Yalemtsehay Mekonnen and the 2017 WOE Titleholder W/o Anna Getaneh. It was a cosmic event not to be missed, with an intimate set-up where all attendees got to personally interact with our titleholder and nominees.

We were divided into four groups with each group having one of the 2017 WOE as their focal point. You could hear laughter, see admiration behind the thoughtful questions being asked as each group interacted with our honored guests. Each honored guest got to rotate and meet eagerly awaiting attendees within each group. Below are some of the interesting questions that our 2017 WOE were asked:

Ellene Mocria:

Q: You were the first woman journalist to be on Television and Radio, where did you get your habits of taking initiatives?

A: She replied with her heart warming smile, My family and up-bringing contributed a lot to that, I was raised to be confident in myself.”

Q: Who is your role model? What were the challenges you faced being a woman journalist?

A: My role model has always been my mother, strong and very caring woman. There were many challenges I faced which made me all the more determined to overcome them. One incident I recall was when I was out in the field to report for BBC, I was taken to the local jail even though I had all the right documentations from the government to do my report. I was held for a few hours while the arresting officer was making a call to his superiors to justify his arrest. I believe it was after his third or fourth call, he was ordered to release me as I had not broken any rules. He let me go with disdain and no apologizes for his action. As such, my challenges were mere momentary set backs, I have always been focused on achieving my goals and get things done.

Lidya Tafesse: 

Q: What does it mean to be a Women Coach in Ethiopia?

A: To be a women coach is challenging and one needs to be very strong and needs to have full support to be successful. I started my journey as a coach with other women but I am the only one in the field now. As the coach for Buna versus St George game, I was seen as a very tough person. I was nick named “the owner of red cards” as I don’t hesitate to give one when I sees faults. With all the trial and tribulations, I love my job and when I am on the field I feel dedicated and fulfilled.

Q: How do you manage married life, motherhood and doing a job that is not “for women in Ethiopian context”.

A: I married my best friend who gives me enough room to be independent and do what I love.  We have an open and honest communication in our relationship that has made it all easy for me. He is supportive in all aspects of my life. 

Yalemtsehay Mekonnen:

Q: How were you able to make the decision to leave your family (husband & two children) to pursue your PhD abroad?

A: Making the decision to pursue my PhD abroad sans my family has been one of the toughest decisions I had make to date. I would not have been able to make the decision had it not been for the support of my family. My husband was extremely supportive of my dreams along with my mother, which made my decision bearable. Knowing that my children were in good hands, I was able to do the unthinkable and make my way to Germany.

Q: What motivates you and what advice do you have for the younger generation of women?

A: My motivation has always been to be the best at what I do. As a child, my father had instilled in me and my siblings “you can do it!” attitude that had played a major role to motivate me to do and be the best at what I do. My advice for the younger generation is to be persistent, face challenges head-on and have passion for what you do. If you have passion in what you do, success is around the corner. 

Anne Getaneh:

Q: What inspired you to open a School in the village of Aleltu?

A: After having first hand experience volunteering at a refugee camp, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I launched Ethiopian Children’s Fund (ECF) and came to Addis to partner with an existing NGO but because I desired to be more involved, I opted to create my own NGO and began the search for a location to build a school. The ideal location would be no more 100 km away from Addis in any direction, with that in mind, we visited several locations before we came to Aleltu. At the time, it was a village with a small elementary school, no clinic or high school making it a perfect match to set-up a school. Moreover, the people in the community wanting to have a school made it all the more necessary.

Q: Looking back, what has been your greatest accomplishments to date?

A: Amongst my many accomplishments, I am most proud of ECF, not just for building a school for kids but also the opportunity to transform their lives, providing quality students to the community and making a lasting impact. I am also blessed with two wonderful children that grew up closely watching my work, they currently volunteer and help at the school.

The event was concluded with highlighting the key takeaways from our 2017 WOE titleholder and nominees. In no particular order they included: being passionate in what you do, having a supportive environment, focusing on your goal and working hard to achieve your goals. In addition, there was also the WOE Magazine available for sale making the event even more memorable. This was a great way to end the year with a high note, leaving us inspired and ready to face the new year ahead with zeal.

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