For the love of jewelry: Samrawit Meressa

Samrawit, as a child was mesmerized with jewels and how it made her feel. She made sure she stays with her craftsman father in his shop that introduced her to the unique Ethiopian jewelry design from which later in life is revealed to be her career path and passion. This is the life journey of Samrawit Meressa who was born in Addis Ababa in 1993. As the only girl of five siblings, Samrawit was raised with the utmost care, love, and protection. For her father she was not his only baby girl but also hope to avenge the opportunities he lacked as a child. When she was admitted to Gondar University, School of Medicine, he was sure that his daughter will indeed become what he always hoped to see in life.

But something did not settle well for Samrawit. Understandably she found her days filled with self-doubt & fear. Nevertheless, she stayed in medical school for 2 years before returning to Addis to work on her discoveries from revelations that she was to have a different path. This journey was to take her to a different track that would not impress her dad and startled her as well. Jewelry was her way to self-expression. She appreciated the art form to tell her stories that included her native land.  She discovered she was cutout to be a jeweler. Yet, she was convinced that she needed additional skills on how to make and sell jewelry. She learned from the originator-her father- quality cannot be compromised under any circumstances and attention to details was crucial to the jewelry business.  She applied for Business School, London School of Commerce in Malaysia and got accepted.

In spite of self-doubt that sneaks time and again, her passion for jewelries carried her through the season. She graduated with honor. Once she returned from Malaysia, she was skeptical to jumpstart on the jewelry business and moved on to other businesses.  Her skepticism was backed with the anxiety that “Because I do not have any experience in Business, I may fail.” Around this time, Samrawit heard about AWiB and joined. She found women with similar mind set. She learned not to be afraid. She even met one of her best friends in AWiB. With these new support community at her back, she took full responsibility for the management of a DSTV project that produces a Reality Show for children; Titilo Show.

In AWiB, she also developed the confidence that she has the capability to make a business successful. In the fast-paced world of producing a show, she sharpened her skills in setting a goal and achieving. Within a year she managed the production of 69 shows. In parallel, at AWiB she was given the opportunity to lead the Fund for AWiB (FFA) ad-hoc Team. This gave her another opportunity to exercise leadership.  The success of the FFA in raising funds proved her self-doubt wrong.. Through the FFA she learned the importance of working with others to achieve results and the importance of delegation in leadership. The Silent Auction Gala!

Armed with pertinent skills and self-discovery, she embarked on the love of her life—jewelry business! She made sure she knew everything to know about silver and gold– more than 60 different kinds of gold– to support her business.  She also studied Ethiopian jewelries, the design, and the message behind each design. She found that the jewelries by themselves are expressive of Ethiopian cultures, beliefs, and heritage. For instance, the design commonly known as Tileflef (Infinity) signifies the sense of unbound, limitless, and unhindered. She also found that precious stones have always been intertwined with Ethiopians. They are an expression of respect and honor. Kings presented jewelries that made the statement of a highly valued receiver. Subordinates brought precious stones to the monarchies to speak respect and honor.

Samrawit sees jewelries as forms of self-expression, an artwork. She wants to create an experience for people to feel and touch what each jewelry intends to express. Also, she wants Ethiopian jewelries to outshine globally. With this vision she worked on upgraded extension of the renowned family business, Zoskales Diamonds. This upgraded version of the shop is expected to be launched before the end of 2022. She says she is now living out her passion.

Samrawit upholds honesty at the core of her life philosophy. Looking back Samrawit is proud of her decision to leave Medical School and of the time she spent discovering her true self. She defines success as an ongoing process of pushing oneself to do better.  The core to her success is valuing and respecting people who respect and encourage her. She is grateful to her mother and brothers for their support and trusting her with her every decision and her dad by challenging her to be a better version of herself. Her mother who she describes as the Crown of the family’ is the first in line of her role models. Nahu Senay Girma, CEO of AWiB is her other role model; through their one-to-one mentorship, Nahu helped her to value people, to be grateful for what she has.

Sam rawit believes that she is a leader and defines leadership as “an attribute to practice inclusivity, to allow people to voice their truth,.” She exercises leadership in her work and in giving back to her community.  She gives back to her community and other women through AWiB and the Meri Project AWiB took over recently. She had never thought that she can work with women. The FFA experience was eye opening in the sense that women can work together and if they come together, they can contribute for a great cause.

For young people, her advice is “Do not let fear control you or keep you from doing what you want to do. Do not be attached to family or items or expectation of others because it may hold you from discovering yourself.”

AWiB thanks Samrawit Meressa for sharing her inspirational story.

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