Messeret Belihu: Leading Life with Purpose!
Messeret Belihu, an optimistic and driven business woman, was born and raised in Dire Dawa, in a family of twelve. Being the first born, she set the trend for her siblings to follow. After finishing her high school, she moved to Addis Ababa to pursue her higher education in Accounting at Addis AbabaBusiness College. She did not stop there, her belief that education is the tool to progress in life propelled her to pursue a 2-year diploma in hotel management that fostered a successful career as a hotelier.
Messeret, a mother of two, is the founder and operator of Ras Amba Hotel (hotelrasamba.com), one of the prominent hotels around Addis ranging back 20 years. As the Chief Operating Officer of Ras Amba, Meseret manages the day to day operations of the hotel ranging from making sure the hotel facilities are in order to lending support to her employees even if it means going into the kitchen to prepare meals. She is an ardent team player, she is always ready to be where she is needed to make sure that the hotel is running efficiently.
Before venturing into entrepreneurship, Messeret’s work experience started as a clerk at TesefaGebreselaisse Printing press followed by an administration staff at the University of Addis Ababa. Her first business venture as an entrepreneur was born from her passion for cooking. Meseret has a keen eye for identifying business opportunities and as such, she was able to change her passion into a viable and successful business. Coming from a large family, she did most of the cooking which everyone raved about, this leads her to open a business called Amba Ras Restaurant with the intent to provide the same homemade, quality food that her family raves about to the general public. Meseret did not stop at being a restaurateur, with her business acumen at hand – identifying a gap in the market, she took advantage of the incentive the government at the time provided to lease land and open one the first women-owned hotel.
Messeret is one of the few people that have turned their passion into a thriving business. Her passion for cooking has brought her to where she is in life. Aside from cooking, she is an avid lover of greenery which is very evident both at her place of work and home. At her home, you are welcomed with lush greenery which gives you a feel for Garden of Eden. She attributes her love for reading as the bases for her passion for cooking and gardening. At the very least, she reads fifteen pages each day. This has allowed her to expand her knowledge and better incorporate her passion into her daily life. Her leisure time is also spent in the garden or buried in a book that serves as a source of drive and pleasure.
Messeret is a woman with integrity. She believes in living beyond herself by lending a helping hand to the people in her community. As such, she has been a devoted supporter both financially and in-kind at the local Mary Joy charity for orphaned children. She also provides financial support for women that are interested in education, particularly for women returning from the Middle East as a means of improving their livelihood. She hopes there will be more opportunities to support women empowerment.
Messeret lives and breathes her love for greenery. You can tell it’s innate by how much she lights up when talking about her garden both at her workplace and home. The best part of her day is when she is working on her plants, a form of therapy to sooth the mind and feed the soul. She shares this love with her community by volunteering to plant trees on new public pedestrian roads that have been paved. She has adopted the road from German Square to Ras Amba, where you can see full-grown trees that were once a sapling.
Giving back to her community does not end there, Meseret also actively participates in establishing and furnishing the yellow and black small police stations in her neighborhood and nearby locations.
Messeret puts forth her accomplishments with humility and grace. Her most significant achievement has been to build a business from ground up and be in a position to have a thriving business that will be passed down to the next generation. Simultaneously, raising a family has been an immense accomplishment, she beams when she mentions her two adult children that she is most proud of and her enthusiasm of being a first-time grandmother is infectious.
“I see challenges as a package! Challenges come with possible solutions, depending on how you look at it. Being in a management position means to be able to find solutions to your problems.”
Messeret is not one to shy away from challenges, or as she calls it “packages”. She considers challenges as another form of opportunity to create a solution, hence she refers to it as a package. Especially being in management position, her inherent optimistic character has enabled her to face them with a positive attitude that has allowed her to provide resourceful solutions. She also believes that failure is a chance to learn and shape your future. This outlook has shaped her to be an approachable, creative and insightful business woman.
Being a meticulous and purposeful person, Meseret values being able to wake-up with a purpose, fully engaged to make each day better than the last. Her personal experience has thought her that if you have purpose and you are honest with yourself, you will be successful in life’s endeavors. Hence, with a sense of responsibility, she advises the young generation to have a dream, a purpose in life and to be honest with themselves.
At the core, Messeret is most grateful for the life she has built, for the loving family, and most importantly to be able to live a life with a purpose. She is also thankful to be part of the AWiB community that has allowed her to learn from other people’s experience and to know what the younger generation of women are accomplishing which is a source of inspiration.
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