Young Leader Wall of Fame: Saran Kaba Jones

Water is  crucial  in accomplishing  Africa’s development goals. Africa faces endemic poverty, food insecurity and pervasive underdevelopment, with almost all countries lacking the human, economic and institutional capacities to effectively develop and manage their water resources sustainably. According to the United Nations, 768 million people worldwide are without access to improved water sources. One of the most marginalized areas affected by this is Rivercess County, Liberia, where only one-fifth of its 80,000 population has access to clean water. This week, Saran Kaba Jones is on our Young leader wall of fame; as she is one the young people who have taken it upon themselves to create lasting changes in their community and country at large. Saran is a social entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of FACE Africa, a community development organization working to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure and services in rural communities across sub-Saharan Africa.

Saran Kaba Jones is a global citizen, clean water advocate, fortune hunter, wife and a Mother. From a very young age she was exposed to a world of diplomacy, travel and community service. This paved the way for her and helped her to focus on  something that would help people in a meaningful way; thus,the FACE Africa intiative.



Saran was born in Liberia but left the country at eight, shortly before the country’s civil war began. Saran spent her formative years living in Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, France and Cyprus before moving to the United States in 1999.  On returning to Liberia almost 20 years after, Saran was chagrined to find her country in dire need for clean water and made it her mission to help. She  focused on providing safe drinking water, sanitation and empowering women and girls through education and skills training.

[Tweet “.@sarankjones  focused on providing safe drinking water, sanitation and empowering women.”]

Face Africa started out as a project to give back and contribute to improving lives in Liberia. When she realised the impact of Face Africa upon completion of her  first project in October 2009, she decided to focus on the Project fully. She launched FACE Africa, and decided to quit her job to focus on running the organization full time. It was a hard decision for Sara to make at that time.

In an interview with a popular  website, Saran stated “we completed our 20th project recently and our projects combined have impacted over 10,000 people in Monrovia and its outskirts. In January of 2013, we launched an ambitious new initiative to provide clean water coverage to the entire county of River Cess, one of the most marginalized and under-served counties in Liberia. We’re calling it our ‘County by County’ commitment and the goal is to construct 250 clean water points, which will provide clean water access to over 60,000 people. The plan will cost about $1.2 million and take place over 3 – 5 years so it’s a huge undertaking but once completed will be a major accomplishment for us and for Liberia”.

[Tweet “.@sarankjones: our projects combined have impacted over 10,000 people in Monrovia and its outskirts.”]

Saran used her company, Face Africa launched in 2009 to raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from JP Morgan Chase, Coca Cola, the Voss Foundation, P&G, Chevron and the Robert Bosch Foundation to build over 50 WASH projects and  has reached 25,000 people in rural Liberia. Face Africa was also at the forefront of Ebola response efforts in Rivercess County, Liberia, where they conducted social mobilization, prevention and awareness and community engagement programs.


Face Africa was launched in 2009.


Saran says, “I decided to focus on water because water is life and directly affects every area of development. Children cannot attend school if they are sick from dirty water, and adults suffering from water-borne illnesses overwhelm hospitals and cannot go to work. Hours spent looking for and collecting clean water mean hours not spent adding to a family’s economic well being. It made sense to tackle the issue of water because without it, a country cannot make true progress in terms of development”.

[Tweet “.@sarankjones: I decided to focus on water because water is life and…”]

Saran is also a board member of the UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group West/Center Africa and a 2013 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She was listed by the Guardian UK as one of Africa’s 25 Top Women Achievers alongside President Joyce Banda of Malawi and Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee.  She  has received the Longines/ Town&Country “Women Who Make A Difference’ Award for her work with FACE Africa.



I also read an article that stated that saran is a  frequent speaker on topics including water infrastructure, entrepreneurship and gender equality and has served on panels at the World Economic Forum, Harvard University, MIT, the London School of Economics, and the African Union. She is also a member of the U.S. State Department’s International Information Programs (IIP) and frequently conducts workshops globally on entrepreneurship. She has been selected as a TED Fellow, a prestigious international program comprising leaders from across the world (TEDGlobal 2017 Fellows). And  she is first Ted fellow from Liberia.

I envisage a reader might say, ‘ she had a platform and he/she does not”. But am sorry to counter that notion by saying that; we can all make a difference; starting small.

Every little effort we put into a cause, springs up some how- only if we are dedicated to that cause/endeavour.

Saran’s zeal and achievement shows how much young people are making a huge difference across the global.

What is stopping you though?

You are Gold!


Young Leaders Wall of Fame: Roshawnna Novellus

I am super excited to write about this lady, whose achievement is astounding. She is a testimony that young people, more so, young black women are capable of being many things at the same time and be good at it too. Dr Roshawnna Novellus has earned the Young Leader Wall of Fame this week because she is an exemplar for young women everywhere.

[Tweet “Dr Roshawnna Novellus has earned the Young Leader Wall of Fame this week because she is an exemplar.”]


Young Leaders Wall of Fame: Roshawnna Novellus


Roshawanna is a co-founder of Bootstrap Capital.  She is also the founder of a startup funding, a weekly podcast that features experts in the field of finance and other investment related matters.  Roshawnna is often regarded as the ultimate guide to mastering finance, science, technology and business intelligence. Isn’t this amazing!

[Tweet “Roshawnna is the ultimate guide to mastering finance, science, technology and business intelligence.”]

Novellus is an enrolled agent that is federally licensed to represent and resolve high-level tax disputes. She is also a  world traveler who has journeyed to over 50 countries and 5 continents, and is certified in yoga philosophy and instruction in Thailand.

The most fascinating part of her story will be from an excerpt from Greg Hill:

“She received over $600,000 in scholarships. She bought her first house at 22 & a few years later obtained her doctorate in Systems Engineering from George Washington University. After working a few years, she decided to start her own business and move to Miami.
In less than 1 year she booked a one-way ticket back to Atlanta leaving everything behind. Fast forward a few years and now she is a successful finance entrepreneur, author, coach & angel investor.”


yoga philosopher and instructor


This is to motivate young girls out there; there is more to being pretty. We can add more acumen and be descrided as “beauty with brains”. Dr Roshawnna has been able to bridge the gaps and found the balance with work, finance, life and her goals. She is better known as The Wealthy Yogi because of her agility and foresight in science, entrepreneurship, fitness, travel, and creativity.

[Tweet “This is to motivate young girls out there; there is more to being pretty. We can add intelligence.”]

Reading through her profile online and asked myself; what is stopping you though!?

We are young, we are free and we are free to be anything we want to be. We can also use this opportunity to prove to the older generation that, although we are millennials, we are blessed to be able to be anything at any time, achieve so much at a young age, live our lives without boundaries and still impact and shape our society positively. Roshawnna’s story shows the extent to which education can propel women to achieve more and not be tagged as an accessory for the home.

[Tweet “Roshawnna’s story shows the extent to which education can propel women to achieve more.”]

Stay woke sisters!


Young Leaders Wall of Fame: Yaye Souadou Fall

It is super amazing to see young people step up to do great things around the Globe. And youngsters in Africa and the black community are not left out of this audacious rebirth. This week on Young Leaders Wall of Fame, I have  Yaye Souadou Fall of Senegal.

[Tweet “It is super amazing to see young people step up to do great things around the Globe.”]

Yaye is the co-founder and President of E-cover, an entreprise that recycles and repurposes tires into useful products such as shoe soles, tiles for playgrounds, courtyards, terraces, and even floor coverings for swimming pools to mention a few.


Young Leaders Hall of Fame: Yaye Souadou Fall


Whilst growing up, the 21 year old saw the need to help her community, which was littered with tires and materials plastics. This graduate of Business Administration and Management from ISM Dakar, currently has six employees and hope to increase the number soon. She is fluent in 5 languages and is responsible for the marketing and the management of her business.

The products from E-cover are used by many sports centres and individuals in several municipalities in Senegal. The recycled tires and plastics are also used on the development of urban roads and have helped reduced the carbon footprint in her community. Yaye’s company has also helped to increased import substitution and offers companies opportunities to fulfill their Corporate Social Responsibilities.

In the next five years, she hopes to diversify into other forms of plastic waste which can be channeled into alternative uses like in 3-D printing and clothing.
Kudus Yaye Souadou!

Black Girl Magic!


Control That One Variable Called Work Ethic

Can luck make one successful? Maybe. But you are truly successful because of one or a mix of these; effective use of your time, smartness in handling responsibilities and rightly positioning yourself in the right place with the right people. But being successful is not enough. It has to be passionately maintained. This can only be done through hard workethic – the ladder through which you got there in the first place. That is the one variable you can control.

[Tweet “But being successful is not enough. It has to be passionately maintained.”]

A lot of people are not working up to 100% of their capacity. When you have decided on what you want to do, give it your best. Work hard to do it right. I’m sure you don’t want to be that person five (5) years from now who will be known for nothing, because you have refused to find you, your true passion and your place of primary assignment in life. Some readers of this article, if not careful, may just end up as one of these people.

[Tweet “When you have decided on what you want to do, give it your best.”]

But did you know that time is as cruel as a hungry lion? It definitely does not respect your inertia or pointless living.
When I talk to people who are about going into business (which I often do), I tell them to look right at their immediate environment, to get inspired by people who are successful in their chosen endeavours. These successful people are those who have dedicated their all into that worthwhile venture.

What is worth doing is worth doing well because hard work sure yields success. By hard work, I mean working smart and adding value to others, as the average person will never part with their money or resources if they know you are not adding any value to them.

It is true that some species of human don’t have a brain that can think up ideas. Sounds like a joke, right? You can laugh over this if you must! But others do have a brain that generates ideas.

While some people believe in sharing their ideas with others, some are marvelously stingy with theirs ; they do not share them with others. Such people might have grown up with the deadly notion that sharing their ideas with people might cause them (the ideas) to be stolen or even tagged bad. Whatever their reasons might be, ideas hoarding doesn’t help the person who hoards either. It only shuts further refining and referral of the potentials, embedded in an idea.

Sharing your ideas, not just with anyone, but with perceived and proven resourceful persons is a good habit. Clap! Do you know why? You are pregnant with potentials. But potentials not sharpen and birthed at the right time have a very high risk of premature death! Finding the right people to discuss the ideas with is like being in a labour room having the right combination of expatriates – doctors, nurses and what have you. Delivery is close to certain. At delivery they clean up the baby, wrapped and then brought to the mother. This is called Idea refining!

[Tweet “Sharing your ideas, not just with anyone, but with perceived and proven resourceful persons is a good habit.”]

Also, being in the labour room commits the medical team on duty to help you deliver your baby (your seed). And for you, you need to push hard, not minding the pains of the moment, despite the fact that helpers surround you. That shows integrity, seriousness and hard work on your part!

The things we do in the past have a subtle way of creeping into our future, unannounced! Hence it is needful to understand that no acquired knowledge or experiences are a trash. They are invaluable assets : I have come to know this by experience! I’m sure you have something to say about this, too. Don’t you?

Purposes are, and should be established after multiple counsels. I bet you are not as all-knowing as you think you are. And you are definitely not and will never be! Only God is. Control how you work. Dedicate your time to things that matter most to you. The more time you give to a thing, the better you will be at doing it.

[Tweet “Dedicate your time to things that matter most to you.”]

Don’t sit back. Go to work. Inculcate this rule.
You don’t want to miss the next golden rule to becoming a successful entrepreneur; “Understanding The 5-steps Sales Process That Will Help You Sell To Anyone”.
Till I come your way, stay focused.


Top 7 Questions to Ask Daily For a Purpose Filled Day!

Living with purpose and passion is your decision. You may choose to live day after day, one after another, in a completely ordinary existence. OR you can choose to greet each day with a possibility mindset. A purposeful mindset. A Passionate mindset. Which ever path you choose, be certain that you at the end of the day you go back to bed with your mind at peace with you.

Begin each day with Purpose, these questions and be amazed at how much you will achieve at the end of the day.

Why is it important for me to engage myself in my work passionately and purposefully each day?

This question often time is ignored when people start their day, they walk into a new day not knowing what to even do for that day, only to realize that they had spent half of their working hours doing nothing productive.

How will I choose to allow my attitude effect how I address stressful situations at work today? How can I be more effective and proactive in regards to stress and attitude?

When am I most likely to react with the most passion and purpose today? Meeting with clients? Working on my computer? Following up on a lead?

Take note of what makes your passion come alive, so you can use it to better your work performance.

Where within the organization am I best able to express my passion and purpose? Is it working with my peers? My supervisors? Clients? Inter-departmentally? Where physically do I perform the most purposefully?

With whom do I need to spend time in order to maintain balance as I pursue my passion and purpose? Within the organization, who best supports me?

What choices will I make today that align my purpose and passion with the tasks at hand at work?

Who am I called to be today as an expression of my passion for living?

There you have it, the top 7 Questions to ask as you start each day purposefully!
Do have a purpose filled day.


Quit Trying To Make Yourself “Smarter” And Do These Three Things Instead

This post first appeared in Fastcompany

There’s no shortage of brain teasers, training tools, and even pills you can take that claim to improve cognitive functioning and allegedly make you “smarter.” There is a certain logic to this. For one thing, our brains operate better under some conditions than others. For another, practice really does improve our performance on just about everything, at least up to a point.

But asking whether such cognitive “improvements” actually work is missing the point. The better question is whether task-related gains in performance (for instance, at Sudoku, chess, or a video game) can carry over to another task, and other areas of life: Does becoming better at X also make us better at Y or Z?

The answer is that instead of trying to get “smarter,” you’re probably better off pursuing one of these three goals instead.

1. AS YOU GET OLDER, FOCUS ON KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE

Although there’s some debate as to whether we can significantly enhance our raw mental capacity, most of the scientific evidence suggests the answer is no. Scores on fluid intelligence tests, which represent the best single measure of our abstract reasoning and learning ability, remain quite stable over our lifetimes. In fact, there’s strong evidence for age-related decreases in this form of intelligence after our late 20s, which means that even if there were some exercises to boost our brain power, the best they can do is slow our decline.

On the other hand, as we grow older we can afford to rely less on our learning potential and more on what we already know. So you may be able to stay sharp (or even get sharper) overall simply by deepening your knowledge base over time, for which age is clearly advantageous. Expertise—and therefore performance—doesn’t just depend on intelligence, it’s also a function of our curiosity and motivation, which can make up for slower brain power as we age. Unsurprisingly, age typically confers higher levels of knowledge and expertise. As psychologist Daniel Kahneman noted in the New York Times in 2011, “True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes”—which also means 
remaining well aware of your limitations
.

Imagine you have to pick between an experienced surgeon in her 60s who’s performed thousands of operations and a 26-year-old rising star in the same field. Or between a sharp young pilot who’s flown 20 flights and a seasoned 55-year-old pilot who’s flown thousands of times. Most people would pick the older, more experienced professionals—and rightly so. While you can become “smarter” by boosting your knowledge at any age, older individuals have an advantage simply because of the wider range of experiences and opportunities they’ve had.

2. SKIP THE BRAIN-TEASERS AND PRACTICE YOUR PEOPLE-SKILLS

Most real-world problems are ill-defined and require dealing effectively with other people. While the personality characteristics that determine how well you get along with others are partly a matter of genetics, there are still habits you can practice to get better at social interactions.

For example, getting feedback on how other people see you can enhance your self-awareness, which really comes down to how well you understand the way your behavior affects other people. It generally involves being more other-focused than self-focused—or at least seeming that way. As Mark Twain noted, “Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.”

Likewise, being aware of your stress triggers can keep the dark side of your personality at bay—those less-desirable qualities that get in the way of building healthy relationships. Contrary to popular belief, the most likable people are not authentic; they just manage to come across as genuine enough, while paying close attention to how they’re perceived. In other words, they’re just expert reputation managers. This may sounds controversial, but while we tend to be wary of those who seem “fake”, the reality is that we’d much rather deal with them than with people who clearly show they don’t care about social norms and good manners.

3. SHIFT YOUR FOCUS FROM SMARTS TO SUCCESS

Efforts to get “smarter” often stand in for another desire—which is just to be more successful. There are millions of self-help books dedicated to this subject, and most of the strategies they lay out work better than intelligence-boosting gambits. The downside, of course, is that the glut of success formulas out there tends to inflate people’s hopes.

Perhaps the problem is that we keep searching for a simple, universal solution where none exists. If you look at the most successful people around, there aren’t too many generalizations you can draw from their experiences; those you can extract aren’t easily replicated. As academic reviews (and my latest book) point out, there are really only a few core ingredients to career success: ability, likability, and drive. More specifically, if you can persuade other influential people—those who make decisions that affect your career—that you possess those qualities (whether or not you actually do), you’ll probably be successful.

The problem, though, is that—like intelligence—ability, likability, and drive aren’t all that easy to fake. It’s hard to fool all the people who matter, all the time. Likewise, if you’re obsessed with chasing success, others will catch on (Henry David Thoreau was right to say that “success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it”). Still, it might make more sense to take a broader view of what’ll make you succeed, and fixate a little less on how smart you are, or would like to become.

In the grand scheme, it’s one of the smartest things you can do.

BY TOMAS CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is an international authority in psychological profiling, people analytics, and talent management.


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