AWiB 4.0 – Powered by a New Board

From left to right: Sara Tadiwos, Mekuranesh Abebe, Semhal Guesh,  Metasebia Shewaye Yilma, Sewit Haileselassie

Six years on AWiB has been counting her many blessings!

Over 72 monthly events, 5 May Annual forums, 5 annual Women of Excellence Award events celebrating 35 extraordinary women; more than 70 bi-monthly roundtable discussions, severalself-confidence and conversational English workshops; 3 public seminars on women’s leadership and many other activities later, we are blessed and grateful. Behind the success and fruition of all of these movement building and social transformation activities are Ethiopian women from various backgrounds that have given countless hours to gain countless self-actualization benefits.

And at the start of 2017, we continue counting our blessings. After an entire year of a very deliberate and methodical process spearheaded by the Strategic Leadership Team, AWiB is happy to announce and celebrate its incoming 2017-2018 board members – progressive, brilliant, daring and massively courageous in their choice to lead AWiB to the next level.

On a lovely Friday evening in September 2016, the Strategic Leadership Team had a celebratory and informal dinner with the new board members to get to know them better. Following months of headhunting, shortlisting, interviewing, orienting work, this Friday evening was a moment to mark another stage – “arriving.” We dined, we laughed, and we got to know each other – much like any other social setting. Then, in true AWiB style we got to “really” know the new board members as they unpacked and authentically shared what made them who they are today. What followed, as these women shared who they are, is a powerful and beautiful unveiling of their fears and their dreams ensconced in their past, present and their many future possibilities. Moved by the heart based stories and how they told it, I couldn’t help find myself teary eyed and utterly stirred by their stories and the promise that particular moment held.

Mekurianesh Abebe, affectionately referred to as ‘Maky’ is literally a well of sunshine warmth. Beyond the radiant smile she possesses, one cannot help but burst out into laughter together with her when she laughs. Redefining the word ‘optimist’, Maky owns a profound story and from that experience is the type of person who makes one want to savor and celebrate every second and minute of life, because that is exactly what she does. An IT specialist by profession, Maky is currently working as a computer programmer for a Swiss based company. She brings the promise of her can-do winning attitude and strong IT technical skills to AWiB’s leadership.

Sewit Hailesellasie is a fierce and articulate feminist. As a founding member and former President of Jupiter Toastmasters Club, her gift of articulation does not come as a surprise. Also, equipped with a sharp intellect and deep feminist analysis, she not only speaks but also lives her feminist principles, not shying away from pointing out and addressing an injustice. Having served as a Gender and Business Officer on the UNDP and Government of Ethiopia led Entrepreneurship Development Center (EDC) national initiative, Sewit currently works as a Communications and Partnerships Expert in the Dean’s Office of the College of Development Studies, AAU. She brings the promise of feminist analysis to AWiB’s leadership.

Semhal Guesh, is an architect by schooling and leather bags aficionado, designing and producing through the company she co-founded and manages – Arkies Leather. A deep-seated sense of humility resides with Semhal, as one interacts with her. Committed to learning and developing herself, one can get a glimpse of her sense of purpose and urgency as a young entrepreneur. Semhal brings to AWiB’s leadership her entrepreneurial savvy.

Metasebia Shewaye Yilma, also known widely as Meti is without a doubt a bubbly and vivac

ious personality, carrying an unparalleled zest and curiosity for life. Known by many since her news anchor days on ETV English News, Meti is a media content developer and radio talk show host. Another optimist packed with energy, Meti brings to AWiB her public relations expertise and strong intellect.

Last but not least, we are pleased to introduce Sara Tadios, who comes in as AWiB 2017 President-Elect. Gracious and sincere by nature, Sara is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator, Workforce Development Trainer and a freelance HR consultant. Sara also comes with a commitment to leadership development and social service, having worked in the US prison system with detainees. Her commitment to leadership development is not only limited to others but extends to herself in her keen openness to continuously learning and growing. It is also this openness and her commitment to leading AWiB that we are most excited about in what will be Sara’s 2017 President-Elect journey towards becoming the association’s President in 2018.

You may have well noticed the words I have used to describe the incoming board – progressive, brilliant, daring, massively courageous, optimist, fierce, humble, vivacious and sincere. But this is not all they are. As Ethiopian women, leaders, professionals, daughters, sisters, mothers, wives and the plethora of roles they play in their day-to-day lives, they are much more. And it is that richness of being that they collectively bring to AWiB towards co-creating, nurturing and sustaining a space for Ethiopian women to connect, emerge and grow together – the AWiB vision!

~ By Billene Seyoum Woldeyes for the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT)

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