Roman Kifle – AWiB co-founder

In the month of June, AWiB celebrates and spotlights Roman Kifle, co-founder and exiting president elect of the association. We celebrate her for the commitment and dedication she has given to the growth of AWiB during the past two years.

Roman is a woman of many qualities. She’s a happily married wife, a mother of four children and a proud grandmother of two beautiful girls. She is also the General Manager and Board member of Panorama Hotel, a 4 star hotel located in the Megenanya area of Addis Ababa. As General Manager of Panorama Hotel, she manages 120 employees and is tasked with the organization, control and coordination of the overall operational and functional activities of the hotel. A perfectionist and detail-oriented manager, Roman is committed to closely following on the needs of her guests and ensures that services provided by the hotel conforms to the prescribed highest standards.

Her giving is not limited to excellence in the service industry. Roman is truly committed to giving back to her community and this is demonstrated through the many social causes and philanthropic endeavors currently under her belt. Her passion is providing/facilitating access to education to the less fortunate with a focus on girls. Currently, she helps facilitate the education of 24 little girls between the ages of 7-10 years – called “Roman’s Girls”, with the assistance of her US counterpart, Ethiopian Family Fund (EFF). Ethiopia Family Fund (EFF) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization based in Laguna Beach, CA where Roman serves as an advisory board member. “Roman’s Girls” is a community based project which provides full scholarship for high achieving girls that do not have the means of getting the right support.  Assistance provided includes but is not limited to living allowance, food, clothing, school fees, uniform costs, transportation to & from school, after school tutorial, counseling service fees, etc.

Roman is also one of the founders and current president of Women For Life (WFL), an organization founded by enthusiastic and committed women who want to contribute to the advancement of the Ethiopian society by improving the current Women and Child Health Care System.  A ten year project, “Gandhi 2020”, is the cornerstone of this Foundation.  “Gandhi 2020” strives to create a center of excellence in Woman and Child Health Care.  The Foundation is named “Women for Life” for its immeasurable contribution towards alleviating the high maternal mortality rate in our nation. The name, therefore, ascertains that no woman should die while giving life to another human being. For Roman, all her energy and focus is making sure that WFL’s mission, vision, and objective is an utter success. In her own words she says, “then I can truly say I am an accomplished woman”! But as a proud mother does, she still notes that raising her fine children is one of her greatest accomplishments.

Before her return to Ethiopia, Roman worked for a number of years at Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage association) in various finance positions where she developed her analytical and management skills. Roman completed both her undergraduate & graduate degrees during her stay at Fannie Mae, which was financed through a full scholarship for both. After having accumulated a wealth of experience, Roman decided to resign and move back to Ethiopia with the hopes of sharing her knowledge & experience, in addition to her desire of assisting the less fortunate at whatever capacity, with an emphasis on education.

Since her return to Ethiopia, she has held the Directorship position of “Challenge 100,000 Africa” “Empowering women through education” – a university based project where the pilot project was based in Unity University College with the aim of providing University level education for underprivileged young women from all over Ethiopia with the aim of expanding the same all over Africa.  She has also assisted the education of 150 young women through the project with the assistance of funding organization like SIDA, USAID, Pact Ethiopia etc.

When asked to share her side of the story on how AWiB came to be, Roman had the following to share:

“AWiB was an agenda that was discussed over coffee and beer with my dear friend Nahu a little over 2 years ago to create a network, a platform for likeminded business women and/or women in any other profession.  I am thrilled to see that it has come such a long way where we were proud organizers of an amazing conference @ ECA on May 17th “Celebrating Women’s Agency”, that wowed everyone and left many in a dazzle. I am so proud of how AWiB has evolved and so very pleased that we did not give up when it was first me and Nahu struggling to put together meetings, events, platforms for discussion for women issues, giving platform for women to discuss their personal and professional shortcomings needing assistance and guidance from others, recapping same,  and sometimes getting to the point of exhaustion;  but we couldn’t give up on our creation. We founded AWiB and were determined to make it a success. We were the support system for one another because there were many days where both or one of us was ready to quit. We kept it going for over a year and then came the young energetic power that lifted us – the current Board members. I am thrilled to say that I co-founded AWiB & will always be an AWIB member and now I am very comfortable to also resign since I know it’s in good hands, which leaves me to further pursue my other philanthropic activities.”

On top of all that she is involved in, Roman is also Board Chair of Mothers and Children Multisectoral Development Organization (MCMDO) and a Board member of the Hotel Association of Ethiopia. In balancing personal and professional life, Roman enjoys driving out of the city whenever she has the opportunity and she expresses that she is most grateful for her blessings in life: her children and grandchildren, for her health and being in a position to support/assist the less fortunate,  and also for her  supportive husband who tolerates her many hours devoting time to others.

In her advice to the younger generation, Roman shares that picking a career that is fulfilling and makes one happy is necessary. She stresses, “learn to give back, it’s the most wonderful feeling. Be positive/happy, caring, confident, humble and have a good loving heart”.

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