Seble Hailu – A Portrayal of Perseverance

Perseverance, the secret of all triumphs.
Victor Hugo

Born and brought up in Addis, Seble Hailu was the second of eight children to her family who gave her all the love and supports to be an accomplished woman and grows to become a person that not only loves people but also lives for them.

After obtaining her first degree in Management and Public Administration from the Addis Ababa University (AAU), Seble joined the Ministry of Mines and Energy and moved up the hierarchy from Junior to Senior Management Expert level.  Ever since, she has joined many local and international organizations at the capacity of Registrar, Director of Finance and Administration, Training Manager, Project Coordinator at UNILO and National Program Officer at UNESCO. She furthered her education and got her second degree in Educational Psychology from the AAU and in Counseling & Human Relations from Liberty University. 

Enjoying life one day at a time, Seble makes it a habit to get involved in activities that serve the community and expecting their betterment in life. Sharing what she knows and learning from others who accompanied her journey of giving, Seble says that she is still grateful and excited about the opportunity that was presented to her and her friends to join the Rotary club of Addis Ababa Finot. It is her contribution and relentless efforts as the President and later on the Country Chair that gave Rotary its current structure and the success that entailed in everything the club and the Office does.  She believes Rotary’s contributions to Ethiopia were not known so she targeted to enhance the visibility of Rotary in the print media, mass media as well as electronic media.  As a Rotarian, she still works as Community Service Director which focuses on raising funds for projects and addressing community needs.

As AWiB’s President for the year 2014, Seble says that she has become more aware of her strengths and identified her areas of improvements. Seble learned about bringing balance and handling conflicts as a leader, authentic communication, shaping conversations and leading by example. AWiB is a place where one can learn to have a wider outlook and a bigger vision through personal development. Social and cultural transformations begin with individuals and AWiB gives that platform to work on oneself.  She encourages women to become members, join the leadership team and invest on themselves. At the end of her term as a President, Seble believes she built on the foundation laid by others to have clearer strategic focus for the upcoming leadership to take AWiB to its destiny.  Five years from now, she wants to see AWiB harvest what has been sawn so far and made a visible national impact.

Now, Seble’s next big step is establishing an Association of counselors as there is not many to facilitate collective thinking on how to enhance services. In a country where people struggle to meet their physical needs, it is considered luxury to provide psychological services.  However, her passion is providing psychological services in Ethiopia as the country is growing up to become a middle income nation, people would come out of survival mode and seek services to meet their developmental, adjustment, relational and psycho-social needs that arise in different stages of life.

Currently working as a Counselor and Marketing Manager at Wudassie Diagnostic Center, Seble also taught counseling psychology, health psychology, educational psychology, forensic psychology, community psychology courses at Addis Ababa University on a part-time basis and Assessment and Diagnosis in Counseling in other colleges.  In addition, she provides psychological counseling services at the Ethiopian Airlines as part-timer. Her day is one of its kinds as she deals with clients who have psychological issues and are bold enough to seek help and resolve them.  She feels that her life is being realized as each client courageously works on him/herself or on family or work related issues and resolves them.  Seble considers herself accomplished when her clients live an adjusted life through her counseling and support. She is known for answering one psychological question from the public once a week on FM 102.1 Sheger Station, Endalkna Mahder Besheger program for the last three years.  That, she says, is also her other volunteer service and a way of giving back her knowledge and experience to the community.

Talking about challenges in life, Seble says it starts with mastering one’s life. Being able to maintain good health habits; eating, sleeping and exercising right, keeping a balance not to take everyone’s problem to her life and feeling pained (as her job demands her to listen to each and every emotional stress of her clients), ensuring that her life is not just about doing tasks but also having quality time with her children, siblings and friends are her constant challenges. At times, she said she could be quite workaholic and ignore everybody.  Constantly challenged with her being involved in many things, she has decided not to be distracted from doing what she wanted to do in life.  At this stage of her life, she feels it is time to strike her balance by dropping off certain responsibilities and learning to say “NO!” to new ones in order to stay focused.

The last three years were very critical for Seble as she was leading organizations that make a difference in people’s lives.  She said, “Leadership is about personal development.  Leadership is about handling crucial conversations.  Leadership is establishing good relationships and keeping a team spirit to move to the desired direction.”  She would like to encourage many women and the youth to dare take the lead.  This helps to grow up in many directions.  There are certain things we do not know about ourselves unless we are there.  So being in leadership positions allows us to know about our strengths and gaps, use opportunities to advance our life, our organizations and hence our country.  Dare to be a leader!

A very dedicated single mom, with two of her children in college, one graduating this year and the other won a full scholarship by the government of France and a freshman student, Seble says, “It is a blessing to raise responsible citizens.”  She believes every step in life is a lesson.  Each journey: academic, spiritual, relationship, work, counseling, and so on teaches her different lessons. She highly values life, spirituality, excellence and relationships.

When asked what her advice would be to the youth, Seble said, “You only have one life so take it seriously to make the most out of it.”  This may mean finding mentors that shape your life and whom you can be accountable to.  This may mean finding the right people to hang out with and networking for your personal, relational, career and business development.  This may mean taking an active role to push life instead of waiting life to come to you. This may also mean making right choices now and focusing on your purpose in life so that you have a fulfilling life.

Seble is now writing a book on the lessons she took from her clients and hopes that would give many people the opportunities to reflect and learn from others experiences.

Last but not least, she wants to express her gratitude to those who made her life easy and those who also made it difficult for they taught her lessons to tough it out.

She is most grateful to her parents as they were the basis for who she is today.  She is grateful to God. She is grateful to her family members and friends.  She is grateful for life and opportunities she has been given to serve others. She is grateful to her clients for trusting her with their life difficult issues and allowing her to walk them through to find peace in their journey.  She says, “My clients widened my perspectives about life.  They teach me what it means to be HUMAN.” She is grateful to all the education opportunities and workplaces she had a chance to work for.  She is grateful to Endalkna Mahder for giving her the opportunity to serve the public with her knowledge and also grateful to the public for asking pertinent questions that needs the support of professionals.  She is grateful to EAL for she can afford to travel abroad and take a break from her routine life.  She is grateful to Rotary for exposing her to community service as well as the International world of Rotarians. She is deeply grateful to AWiB for giving her a chance to be part of influential leadership who work relentlessly to developing women leaders for the country and beyond.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

— Maya Angelou

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