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When I started my business, Ignite Excellence Inc., nine years ago I was a woman with a vision, passion, determination and a helping hand. Without all four of these foundations of influence I know I would not have had the confidence or the means to pursue my passions of investing, inspiring and developing future African women leaders.
I think all entrepreneurs will agree, that those four pillars are necessary to get your business beyond start-up stage. The question is who is your “helping hand?” Is it a parent that believed in you? An uncle or aunt? A teacher, a business associate or a husband?
For me, when I started my business, it was a business associate that felt my ability was something he wanted to invest in. Many of the women that I have interviewed on Wisdom Exchange tv, however, had a much more personal helping hand – their husbands
In speaking to Leah Ngini, Founder & Managing Director of St. Christopher’s School in Nairobi, she says it is her husband’s continuous support “as the head of the household” that made her dream of building a school a reality.
Samarwit Moges, Founder & Managing Director of Travel Ethiopia says that her husband “is the force behind me.” She confesses that he helped build her confidence and recommended for her to branch out into her own business. He encouraged her to join clubs that would provide her with leadership skills.
Katherine Ichoya, Executive Director, FEMCOM and institution of COMESA, confesses her husband and children went to the United States with her so she could pursue higher education. “If you don’t have a family that supports you, you will go forward two steps and back one.”
Nigest Haile, Director of CAWEE (Center for African Women Economic
Empowerment) credits her families support and passions for ability to donate so much time to improving women in business making them export ready.
Jane Wathome, Founder, Beacon of Hope was able to pursue her passion to start a facility that would aid the welfare of women with HIV/AIDS. This philanthropic initiative could not be realized without the support both mentally and financially of her husband.
Other women interviewed on Wisdom Exchange tv that share where they received their helping hand, for some it was an investor, for others it was a relative and for others it was their sure belief in themself.
For me, after I started Ignite Excellence, the influential communication training company and decided to make a radical change to how to execute its mandate, it is my husband’s belief in my vision that had been the helping hand. He too supports the premise that by developing more women leaders in Africa it will provide helping hand to communities, countries and continent.
We all need a helping hand, someone to talk to, to share our frustration and to celebrate with. I can’t help but think back to my interview with Samrawit Moges, when she was talking about the support of her husband and he believed in her more than she believed in herself – I said it sounds like the key is to marry well!
Action: If you are a person with a vision that must be realized, it appears that many of the women leaders that succeed are the ones that have someone who believes in them as a wife, mother and perhaps most important as an individual. Picking the right partner will assist with your foundation of influence. This may seem so obvious, but often obviously forgotten.
Traveling through Africa 2011/2012 – conducting Wisdom Exchange tv Leading Lady interviews
Suzanne F Stevens, is the Chief Edge Optimizer of the Ignite Excellence Inc. Group of Initiatives. As Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Coach, Host and Philanthropist, she inspires, develops and invests in people to push their edge to personal and professional potential from backpack, to briefcase to boardroom. As a trainer, Suzanne’s influential business communication training arms individuals and organizations to influence, differentiate and engage more people and more business. Visit www.igniteU.igniteexcellence.com for online influence university. Self-pace business training for your career growth!
Visit our other Ignite Excellence Group of initiatives’ websites with corresponding blogs.
Suzanne F Stevens – Profiling women leaders who have pushed their edge to personal or professional potential from backpack to briefcase to boardroom
igniteU – Online influence university. Self-paced learning to develop your business skills for your business success.
Ignite Excellence Foundation – Leadership, Advocacy, Education – following donations to scholarships for women in developing countries
Wisdom Exchange TV – A forum where women will be inspired from the achievements of African women in business, education, philanthropy and politics.
You Me & We – a husbands and wife’s journey through Africa in 2011/12
Ignite Excellence Inc. – Influence, Differentiate, Engage more people and more business – a training & development company