RECAP—Systemic Transformation: Your Voice Matters (World Café)

The first 2021 AWiB monthly networking event took place at Hilton Addis on January 13, 2021. As each year starts, AWiB Listens as members and concerned parties suggest how the next 365 days should unfold. At exactly 6 P.M. the networking event ended and the program started with Kemer Temam taking the floor, introducing herself as the president for 2021. She announced the year’s theme–Systemic Transformation–and explained that systemic transformation in AWiB is crucial now more than ever as AWiB turned 10 and is planning for the 10 years ahead. Therefore, Kemer implied that this event is the perfect platform to announce the critical survey done by the AWiB team through the year, interviewing the past and present members, frequently invited speakers, Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) members and mentors about the past decade. She invited one of AWiB’s Gems and Board Member Abigeya Getachew to the floor as she was the lead coordinating and analyzing the survey results.
Abigeya stated AWiB did an internal assessment. The reasons for the survey were to visualize what impact AWiB made so far, to understand where AWiB is after the last survey in 2016, and to envision AWiB’s journey for the next decade.
AWiB sent out an anonymous survey to 729 past and present members, and interviewed members, mentors, past and current board members and frequently invited speakers. AWiB also reviewed the past documents and websites including the social media comments made by the community. After the summarized presentation of the survey result, to our attendees the World Café experience started.
Attendees were seated in small groups around six tables for the first of 20-minutes round of conversation. When time was up, each member of the group moved to a different table. At each table, a table host (a current, active member) welcomed the group and briefly filled them in on what happened in the previous round. Subsequent questions build on previous ones to focus the conversation or guide its direction.
There were three questions to reflect and discuss. Noted below are some remarks by participants.
Question 1: What assumptions, beliefs and thoughts do women hold against ourselves that hinders us from achieving our potential?

External factors

  • Lack of women role models
  • Lack of resources

Internal factors

  • Fear of not having enough knowledge
  • Lack of self-confidence and low self esteem
  • Wasting time and energy on unnecessary things
  • Loosing focus of values and goals
  • Waiting for opportunities instead of creating them

What behaviors, habits, qualities and intelligence do we need to develop as leaders to lead transformational change?

  • Brush up soft skills
  • Attend sessions like the RTDs, meditation, etc., that AWiB provides
  • Question the system around us
  • An “I Can Do It” attitude
  • Getting out of the comfort zone
  • Make a positive impact on others mainly through the positive outlook towards self

Question 2: How can AWiB make systematic transformation of herself?

    AWiB does these wonderful things for women and wants her work to speak for itself but in order to reach a wider circle and gain more members she needs to work on advertizing herself using mainstream and digital media.
  • Getting influential women to join AWiB
  • Showing how diverse AWiB is in terms of opportunities, sectors, jobs and most importantly her network both within and outside AWiB
  • Organizing a specific program that focuses on mission, vision and objectives of AWiB (orientation)
    Acknowledging AWiB’s teaching methods and her effort to enhance our self-value; this way we can aim further and go towards it
  • Making annual plans with members to gather new topics
  • Monthly payment options for financially challenged members

Question 3: What can we do together if this pandemic—this crisis—is going to lead to a meaningful transformation?

  • Online membership will help both AWiB and the community
  • Get interns specifically for tech-related issues at AWiB
  • Develop a section on the website or social media platforms where professional members in the same field can have conversations

How can AWiB support your journey to complete your transformation?

  • AWiB already helps by providing a platform for personal and professional development, which leads to transformation.
  • Act on the lessons and trainings given by AWiB mentors
  • Setting up programs regarding mental health and its importance, especially for the youth, as they are the ones taking over the community

How can you support AWiB on HER systemic transformation?

  • By transforming self to the best version and act as AWiB’s ambassador both in real life and social media
  • Renew membership annually
  • Business community needs to promote AWiB as a leadership institution that she is

After the discussion in small groups, table hosts were invited to share insight from their exchanges; Kemer summarized each table’s core points at the end of the presentation. The event concluded AWiB-style by Abigeya thanking everyone for coming, inviting them to the next monthly (Feb. 4), and connecting those who needed rides home with those offering.

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