July 7th Recap – AWiB Presents Her Gems: Valuable, Useful, And Beautiful

The AWiB monthly networking event began with a video about the courageous life story of Senedu Gebru, a patriot, a fighter, and a heroin who paved the way for women in Ethiopia to be the person they ought to be and live life with courage. Indeed, Senedu’s dream has come true.  Today women are rising and shining using platforms such as AWIB that encourages and helps women unleash their potential, discover their worth and value.  In supporting this notion, AWiB, every July at its monthly program presents Her Gems so the best and the brightest developed by AWiB could tell their stories, share their success stories and inspire others. AWiB’s Gems presented on July 7th were three “Bold & Beautiful” women who dared life in every corner: Roman Tafessework, Director of New Products Development at Kuriftu Resort & Spa, Asefach Haileselassie Reda, General Manager of BEZNA Counseling & Training Center PLC and Tihitina Legesse, General Manager of WARYT Mulutila International PLC.  These ladies let us in on their secret, shared their stories, inspired and dared us to live our lives with purpose, passion and challenge.

Roman Tafessework grew up in a large, warm, loving, playful and full of laughter household with six of her siblings. As most Ethiopian religious family, Roman was raised religiously and by attending her church school. In the evening, the family gathered around for a play time where her brother plays the “Kerar” and the ladies sang.  However, this beautiful family didn’t stay together for long. Her father, her great supporter, left the family when she was only 9 years old.  She said “her father was an amazing father but an abusive husband”. As a child, the incongruence disturbed Roman throughout her adult life; perhaps another important lesson in life.

Roman’s life turning point was when at thirteen, she found a love letter under her seat in a classroom. Roman who was known for her achievements and good results in school did not give any attention to the love letter but to laugh it off and forget about it.  However, being innocent as she was, she didn’t suspect anything worse would come; but her nonresponsive action had angered the boy. He organized a gang group and made his life mission threating her in every way possible and kept his promise for a while.  The situation even turned to sexual harassment and distracting her through exams that this achiever had to score low and even though about quitting school. But she had to learn and relearn that she is a smart girl and quitting had no place in an achiever’s life. She learned as a result to embrace challenges which to this day help her to move forward.

Even though, Roman’s ambition from early age was to study law, she was led to explore the hospitality industry which proved to be a better decision for she is flourishing in the business arena. Roman Joined Hawassa University, hold her B.A in Hotel Management with a great distinction. Roman as ambitious as she is, her mission in life is to give back to the community that sustains her. This commitment to give back started for her as a college student serving as a volunteer that helped strengthened the Gender department that supported female students.

Roman’s career took off from a get go as “Housekeeping Department Head” at Global Hotel right after graduation. And without wasting much time, she moved up the ladder as a GM at Jupiter Hotel; she was only 22.  Roman at present serves at Kuriftu Resort & Spa, as Director of New Products Development.

Roman Tafessework, a devout social activist, puts humanity above all and participates in several social movements, mostly in relation to women and children. She is an active member of AWiB and serviced in the leadership. Roman is one of the few strong members who are reasons for AWiB’s development and status in the community today. Her other community activities include: Project-E, the Ethiopian Red Cross, Gojo, One pack for one Children and one meal for one Child organizations. Roman always believes that thinking positive in any circumstance, time management and consistently working on ones own self development is the key for a successful path. Roman’s vision is AWiB’s vision; seeing women in leadership and their equal representation in the parliament.  “Her presence was felt” is what she wishes to be written in her tombstone. Roman’s passion in life is to give love. Being Vulnerable is being valuable was her message to the audience.

Asefach Haileselassie Reda is the founder and General Manager of BEZNA Counseling and Training Center PLC in Ethiopia. She attended primary and secondary school in a little town called Wekro in Tigray where she was born and raised. She later joined the Addis Ababa University and earned her first degree in Psychology. Asefach began her career as a counselor in high schools that exposed her to the experience of educational and behavioral challenges faced by students. After her graduation she worked in humanitarian organization for 25 years before she moved to Hope Ethiopia as a “General Manager”. Asefach also worked for International Organization for Migration (IOM) mainly focusing on women refugees. In order to have a better understanding why a woman wants to work and live abroad, she continued her studies in the area of Migration and earned a master’s degree from University of South Africa.

Life has taught her to believe in the possibility of things if we persist and never give up. This attitude helped her overcome the challenges that she had faced in her life from raising her three children to people’s expectation about her. She gives credit to her father for insisting to pursue her education, her mother for raising her to be genderless and her brother for his indispensable support throughout her life.

“There is no me without you” is a motto that Asefach follows in her contribution and her services for different organizations. Asefach is an active member of AWiB, a member of Soropitimist International Club Ethiopia– a global voice for women. She also served as its President.  Asefach has served as a VP of Ethiopian Psychology and she is also one of the founders of Pan African Psychology Union. Asefach is active in “Idir” and is an advocate and practitioner of green area for a community.  She preaches “there is no mental health without environmental Health”.

Her passion is to live her life by empowering women and the youth. Her Vision is to see a creative and innovative entrepreneurship training facility in Ethiopia. Asefach claims her achievement in life is to understand and work constantly on developing herself and insisting on having a life/work balance. “A courageous woman laid here” is what she wishes to be written on her tombstone.

A question from the audience was raised on what she did to empower women?  By modeling what leadership looks like! She says that women need to be bold in exercising their leadership ability without any limitations, they need to say NO and use effective time management; they must be self-aware of their actions and the consequences of their actions on their mission in life.

Assefu gave thanks to AWiB for giving her the platform to work on herself development and she advised the audience to work on theirs.

Tihitina Legesse is the first born in a family of three children which her birth order required her to be all to the family—responsible with higher expectation than the rest. She believes this high expectation required of her was  crucial in contributing to her success and made her to be one who is always up to challenges, never shies away from competition and strikes on new venture even when she understands how tough and slim the chance of getting in or having what she wants may be.

Tihitina attended her first and secondary education at Nazareth School and later joined Addis Ababa University and earned a degree in Psychology. Even though her desire was to study business, she said studying psychology helped her to better understand and express herself.

She started her career in her family business which has been handed from generation to generation. Tihitina worked her way up to the GM of the company, WARYT Mulutila International PLC, a furniture supplier involved in the importation and manufacturing of furniture and water purifier for the past 16 years. Waryt is also known for its strong commitment on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Tihitina, in her 12 years of service for Waryt has worked in every department which helped her to become a better leader and effective manager to her employees.

Tihitina asserts that her family’s unwavering support in everything she does has contributed to her success. Tihitina understood the value of money at a younger age because of her family’s simple lessons regarding how to handle, earn, save and distribute money. For a pair of shoes, she needs to have 25% her savings, if she needs a car, she has to make sure how to change a tire, if she needs money for her graduation she needs to work and got paid for it. Tihitina made sure to pass this tradition to her two children to teach them the value of money and work.

Her other success factor is AWiB and its transformative space; it made her realize that she hadn’t have a work life/ balance when she first joined AWiB. It was an eye opening for her and she made sure to work on her self-development, time management and networking. She even served as a board member that helped her believe in herself, her capacity and her ability to achieve more. Later Tihitina joined different organizations to expand her network: Ethiopian Institute of Governance under Addis Ababa chamber of commerce, Ethiopian Employers Confederation and Ethiopian Furniture Association are among the few. She believes networking and sharing information are very important and that was her message to the audience.

Her passion in life is to be challenged and to become a better person from yesterday. Her vision is to become a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Ambassador. “I will live the life that I have lived before” is what she wants written on her tombstone. Tihitina is intelligent, an astute observer and one with positive outlook on life. She is a successful female leader of our community.

{gallery}July 7 2016 Recap:::0:0{/gallery}

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