Ekram Akill: You Gain When in Gratitude

Even while having been raised by a strict mother, Ekram Akill remembers her childhood being a fun and crazy one.  She was a social butterfly among her circles.  Her mother taught her to take responsibility from a very young age.  Ekram’s mother, Yetemegne Ali, being a teacher influenced the way the General Manager of Yetem Trading PLC was raised.  A dedicated mother of three and a leader in the community, Ekram was born and raised in Nazret and came to Addis Ababa after finishing college.  She earned her diploma from Kuyera Adventist College in Business Administration.

Eventually Ekram moved to Canada, where she stayed for three years and returned to work with her family.  She joined the import and distribution business in Addis Ababa.  The closeness, connection, and strong family influence led her to join this line of business.

Giving and being kind to others is Ekram’s life principle.  You will not lose anything by giving to others.  Giving back doesn’t take much, and she is a firm believer in being positive every step of the way; she practices distancing herself from negative energy as much as possible.  Ekram believes that by supporting one another, we can achieve the growth we seek.  Her life principle is directly reflected in her values.  She values honesty and kindness.  She is a straightforward person who does not hold back when she sees something wrong.  She doesn’t shy away from telling others how they can improve.

Ekram is a formidable young business leader known for her leading by example and consulting in business startups.  Following her passion in cosmetics and the beauty world, she joined her mother who was already operating a small cosmetics company and turned it into one giant trading house in less than a decade. Established in 2004, Yetem Trading PLC is an exclusive importer of more than 14 brands from 10 different countries and distributes its products to retailers and hundreds of dealers throughout Ethiopia.

For Ekram, success means achieving one’s dreams and reaching their goal in life.  The accomplishment she is most proud of is realizing her longtime dream: the completion of the newly build cosmetic factory.

Ekram attributes her strength of character to her mother, her role model.  Her mom leads by example as strong, efficient and hardworking. Another major life lesson Ekram obtained from this savvy businesswoman is to be comfortable with failure for failure translates into success if we learn from it.

Ekram takes her corporate social responsibility (CSR) seriously; she believes in “to give is to gain”. She supports startup businesses by affording credit, products and consults on doing and running businesses. She encourages many women with ambition to be business owners and to join the cosmetic industry. Ekram also helps those who can’t afford to send their kids to school with the tuition money needed.  Her generosity extends to community, family and friends. She believes desires should not be curtailed for lack of money… a banker if you will.

Ekram spends her leisure time watching movies, spending time with her children, and going outside the capital for some fresh air.  A grateful person for everything, Ekram gives most gratitude for the family God has blessed her with.

Ekram considers a leader someone who sets an example.  leaders are committed and dedicated to their work and are role models.  Ekram is a role model for those who work around her and others in the business world.  She advises focusing on the work first, and money will inevitably come.

To the younger generation, Ekram advises: 

“Dream BIG.  You are still young, and you have all the time in the world to dream. But remember– dreaming is not enough.  You have to work hard for it.  Hard work always pays off.  You can’t just sit around and wait for your dream to come true.  Dreams and goals do not work that way.  Always focus on improving yourself.  Learn continuously to improve yourself.  Always follow your heart…even if what you desire is not related to your field of knowledge.  You still have time to learn new things.  Always stay focused and committed to your goals. “

Ekram has known AWiB since 2017 and is part the Female CEO Breakfast Club (FCBC).  Being active with the association helped her discover herself and what she wanted.  The weekend Round Table Discussions (RTDs) helped Ekram know more about herself.  She sees the organization as a way to bring out leadership in women.  It is a movement that brings out empowered women.  She believes AWiB can do much more if it is more involved with the youth—especially university students.  The unique programs and RTDs can greatly impact a broader population if it involves a group younger than those in mid-level management, starting the work earlier.  AWiB could utilize its members to reach out to the youth.  The organization has the potential to move much more lives.

AWiB is grateful for Ekram’s time in sharing her journey and wish her the best!

The AWiB Team

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