Yeshiwork Woldeher: The Versatile & Transformative leader
Yeshi recalls fondly her childhood memories as part of a large family with three sisters and three brothers. She recalls how she and her siblings looked forward to the long hours they would spend at their father’s factory after school before accompanying him home. She stated that even as a primary school student at ህይወት ብርሃን ት/ቤት, the interaction she witnessed in and around the factory, between employees, auditors, government bodies, and others captivated her. Those may have been the stepping stones that led her to a career in business.
Yeshi excelled in her academics thanks to an attentive and supportive mother who understands the importance and necessity of a good education and a hard-working strong businessman and author of the book “ፍኖተ ህይወት” as a father. She was a very active student who enjoyed extracurricular activities such as gymnastics, basketball, and theater.
In her childhood home, the common question was “What did you try?” rather than “Where did you fail?” This encouragement gave her the confidence she needed to pursue her interests throughout her career. Yeshi worked as a cashier and accountant where she assisted her father with finances during the summers of her college years at Addis Ababa Commerce College. During this time, she noticed that the company’s traditional business practices were costing it time and money. As a result, she moved to change it and give it a more formal structure.
Following the completion of her undergraduate studies and the establishment of Ghion Industries and commercial plc, Yeshi was assigned as the company’s marketing and sales officer and later promoted to import manager. She outperformed her goals and expectations despite a lack of prior industry experience.
It was not always smooth sailing for Yeshi as she assumed the role of General Manager at the newly acquired Ethiopian plywood Enterprise. She arrived in an environment that was completely unfamiliar to her; workers had an extremely toxic organizational culture that contributed to the company’s deteriorating financial situation.
Faced with the challenges of a company near bankruptcy, Yeshi turned to the strategy she knows best – organizational transformation. She turned a nearly failing company into a profitable one within a year and a half after a long and arduous process of litigation and reorganization.
Following her journey in transforming Ethiopian Plywood, Yeshi now serves as the Managing director of Ghion Gas Plc, whose mission is to relieve the burden of women and households by providing a safe, clean and affordable energy source. Ghion Gas is one of the sister companies of Ghion Group which has 1200 employees under the numerous subsidiary companies, engaged in different sectors.
The new project for this transformative leader is to establish Ghion Group as a holding company and have a clear corporate governance structure so that the family business will sustain for generations to come conveying the mission of the holding company – to ease the daily lives of families. She also believes that a company should exist and thrive independently from its owners/founders – it should be institutionalized.
In addition to running the family business, she has a company called Momentum Plc involved in logistics, pharmaceuticals, and media which has produced a film titled “የማህን ምጥ.”
Yeshi is a proud single mother of two boys and one girl. She raises her children in the same way she was raised, encouraging them to make their own way in life while never making them feel entitled. “They have a fantastic work ethic, and I couldn’t be prouder,” says the mother of three. Yeshi is engaged in numerous philanthropy work and in collaboration with her family, she has built a high school in Ethiopia. She does, however, harbor a deep desire to establish a support group for single mothers in the future.
Yeshi has always believed in living a life of gratitude. She is thankful for the small things in life that we usually take for granted. Her message to the younger generation is to value professionalism as well as a strong work ethic and personality.
Yeshi has been a proud member of AWIB for over 5 years. “AWIB’s platform is essential for women to empower themselves so that they can empower those around them,” says Yeshi. The transformative leader has a talent for writing poems, which she uses to express social issues.
AWiB expresses its gratitude to Yeshiwork for letting us tell her inspiring story.
The AWiB Team
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