Welcome Address delivered by Mrs. Eno Attai – First Lady, AWLO – at AWLO Induction Dinner 2020

The Founder, African Women in Leadership Organisation, Dr. Elisha Attai

Distinguished Guests

Eminent Members of AWLO

Friends of AWLO

Gentlemen and Ladies of the Press

Ladies and Gentlemen

As we gather here tonight for the unique 2020 Induction Dinner of the African Women in Leadership Organisation, it is an obvious fact that the world around us is not exactly the same that we left behind at the conclusion of the 2019 Induction Ceremony. Between December 2019 and now, one year after, many events have unfolded across the globe which has left many countries, their economies and travel protocols altered permanently.

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic saw much destabilisation in the public health system of most countries of the world. For the African Women in Leadership Organisation, this had meant that many scheduled programmes, including conferences and outreaches, were either postponed, put on hold or outright cancelled. The African Women in Leadership Conference (AWLC), scheduled to hold in Sierra Leone in the first week of April, was forfeited to the harsh onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Atlanta Summit was equally not speared in this case.

To keep our community and global networks together, the African Women in Leadership Organisation had alternately made recourse to webinars and digital townhall meetings where we shared ideas and interacted with special guests of global repute. In spite of the pandemic, the African Women in Leadership Organisation facilitated many of these online sessions covering a wide array of themes and focus, including gender inclusion, women and girl-child economic empowerment and indeed the almighty rape scourge.

But, happily, here we are tonight, converged as a body of gender advocates and gender parity campaigners. This is not a sheer coincidence. We have been among the lucky ones to be alive and active today. Much gratitude is due to the almighty God. Many would have wished to be alive but they were not as fortunate. It is in this very sense that this year’s Induction Ceremony is dedicated to giving thanks to God almighty for all that we have been through as persons in our individual rights, as African Women in Leadership Organisation, and as citizens of the globe. As the researcher Ruth Benedict once said, ‘A man’s indebtedness…is not virtue; his repayment is. Virtue begins when he dedicates himself actively to the job of gratitude.’

In the same spirit, I like to acknowledge the creative leadership of the Founder of the African Women in Leadership Organisation, who also doubles as my husband and life companion. I like to commend his grits, good spirit and fortitude through the trying moments of AWLO’s journey, and for being able to put together great teams to work with from time to time. For the African Women in Leadership Organisation under Dr. Elisha Attai, there has never been a scarcity of leadership as everyone is either a leader or a leader in the making. This singular fact has kept us going as AWLO, and I believe it is also worth being grateful for. As William Faulkner the novelist once wrote, ‘Maybe, the only thing worse than having to give gratitude constantly all the time, is having to receive it.’

Over the years, I have found myself at the receiving ends of gratitude from my husband. But, this time around, I think it only decent and decorous to really give honour to whom it is due. As it was once said, ‘Gratitude, like love, is never a dependable international emotion.’ So, as we receive gratitude, we must be able to return gratitude to those for whom it is due, including people and indeed God almighty. Therefore, I commend the Membership of AWLO for demonstrating a rare doggedness, commitment and strong faith in the leadership of the organisation. Distinguished AWLO members, your consistency through the years have been commendable and we use the platform of this occasion to appreciate you all for being the great and committed followership that you are. Kudos to you all!

It is in this very reflective mood and in the spirit of appreciation, that I welcome you all, ladies and gentlemen, to this auspicious occasion. I remain hopeful and positive that the convocation of tonight will serve as a springboard to launch us into the new and more promising moments in our experience as African Women in Leadership Organisation.

Once again, welcome to the 2020 Induction Ceremony of the African Women in Leadership Organisation. I wish you all a great, refreshing and unforgettable positive experience.

Long live the African Women in Leadership Organisation!

Long live African Women (and their men)!

Long live the world!

Leading through Financial Independence: It’s a Woman’s World Too

Leading as a woman entails bearing financial burdens, and consequently it entails Financial Independence. What this does is a lot more than just helping to meet expenses. Women are also bearing responsibilities of their families and keeping pace with Men.

In this age of women empowerment, there has been an eye-opener, and women are effectively winning at employment and are working hard to be financially independent. So financial independence is another one to have in the bag, to compete favorably and live your full potential as a woman.


Why is it Important to be Financially Independent?

It is a Woman and A Man’s World

A lot of times I realize it’s a ‘man’s world’, where women are not really able to level up with the men.  Finances become a measure of capacity and women must show capacity as well.

In a patriarchal world men may tend to be richer than women, they continue to stand up for themselves , and attain their full potential. Most women may have ambitions such as political ambitions, but cannot pursue it because they are not financially able to sustain such ambitions. For instance, Politics is one of the areas where men have dominated in time past because of their financial capacity.

It is important for women to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their counterparts in any field, especially because they are being judged based on the same criterion as the men.


Take Charge of Your Life

Money is not a luxury, it affords you your needs, and opportunities.

Recently a man ranted on social media about women wanting to be paid for being in a relationship. This was to throw shade on women overly relying on men for their needs. In other words, men are being put in the place of paying  women for not necessarily adding value. Well, that is not to say that we should utterly let go of support.

First and foremost, it is very important to be able to offer value to oneself before another person can. Take charge of your life. Financial independence means adding value to your life, being in control, and it invariably affects your self-esteem.

Money will Buy You Confidence

Financial independence doesn’t put anybody in the place of having a say over you, but you. And you can brag on yourself when you don’t depend on anybody for your expenses. It further inspires confidence when others know that you are capable of bringing something to the table.

Take Responsibility

You are an asset when you are financially independent. It enables you to take responsibility. There will be a tremendous increase in female participation in adding value to the society when there are empowered women in the society. Through paying taxes women will contribute to revenue generation, they’ll be increased productivity too, and they’ll also be able to give back.

The family can also use the huge support of women. With a high inflation rate, It becomes tough when for instance one person  has to take care of all the expenses. When there can use the help of a financially stable support, this means a lot to the family. Money empowers women to rise to responsibility.


Final takeaway; Become Empowered by Empowering Yourself

Your value in money is dependent on your earning power. You increase your earning power when you are constantly working on your skills and improving yourself. Once you start earning you have the resources. And there you go; financial independence

Peer Mentoring: Reliable for Leveraging Experiences Among Women in Leadership

There is no one-size-fits-all in mentorship. Some are formal within organizations or mentors in the field. Others are informal relationships that are unique but reliable in fostering personal growth.
Peer mentoring is a form of mentorship between a person with a specific relevant experience – the mentor, and a person new to that experience – the mentee, within the same peer group. The mentor provides support, coaching, and refers relevant opportunities to the mentee.

For instance, I find that my relationship with my sister is useful to my career experience. Using Transferable knowledge in one career for the other is a product of mentoring from a supportive sister.

This kind of informal mentorship is also useful in making health and life style changes. For instance, AWLO creates an opportunity for like minds to meet, and foster supportive relationships. Making yourself accountable to a supportive peer, is powerful in influencing your decisions. They can help you reach your goals, and challenge you with new ideas. They encourage you to move beyond comfort zones. Peer mentors are picked for their sensitivity, confidence, social skills and reliability.


When You are Picking a Peer-Mentor:

Know yourself

[Tweet “Don’t let another person’s opinion define you.”]

Defining yourself sets the tone for the relationship already. Who are you? What are your views? What are your interests? Set the tone already. Don’t let another person’s opinion define you. Know who you are, and let the people in your life support you to bring out the best in you.

Consider your Options

[Tweet “When there is conflict of values, relationships become draining”]

A peer mentor must have experience and knowledge relevant to you. You want to find shared goals, and mindset. When there is conflict of values, such relationships become draining. You must find it inspiring, and let it allow you to be free. Be free to air your opinions, and make honest mistakes. Let it become the ground for you to grow, and learn in a supportive environment.

Making a decision

[Tweet “Position people in your life who can stand up for who you are.”]

Writing down the options in mentors, whom you are considering, will allow you to examine the possibilities simultaneously and also judge the values and condition of each options potential. Relationships among peers have the most potential in influencing an individual’s core values and essence. Don’t allow yourself be pulled down or shadowed by other’s shine. Stand up for who you are, and be able to position people in your life who can stand up for who you are.

“Women Who Are Introverts Are Great Leaders” – Eno Attai

Many times, I am fascinated by the demeanor of AWLO Member; Mrs. Eno Attai. Cool, calm, collected, and hits you with the right words when she speaks. In this month for ‘sisterly love’, as we aim to bring out the best in one other, she shares on the strengths of introvert women.

She is a Toastmaster and admits that this has been a booster to opening up and sharing more. Mrs. Attai studied  Business Administration at the republic of Benin; where she learnt to speak French in addition to 3 Nigerian languages. She is a creative with a flourishing bead-work and women read-to-wear (made by her) business.

Her day-to-day work engages her creatively. It demands a lot of focus, attention to detail and discerning approach. Mrs. Eno Attai says women can leverage on such strengths to be spectacular leaders.

There has been a Misconception

Leadership has been a thing for the bold and extroverted. You hear people proclaim themselves as ‘born leaders’ most times because of their bold nature. Sometimes, the ‘slow and steady’ really does win the race.

5 Traits That Make Introvert Women Better Leaders By

Toastmaster Eno Attai

They Listen

Listening is a sign of good communication and leadership. Being able to listen without interruption assures people that you are following. Introvert women are good listeners, and they can bring this on-board leadership.

They Embrace Solitude

[Tweet “Introverts are boosted by spending time with themselves – Eno Attai”]

Introverts are boosted by spending time with themselves. As a leader, this will give them the opportunity for self-reflection, reasoning and research. Then, interruption is less and focus and imagination is accelerated. Leader, Bill Gates has been known for always disappearing as a child, and retorting back “Don’t you think?” when his mother would find him.

They Are Prepared

[Tweet “Thoughtfulness, consideration and thorough preparation are principles every leader should deploy – Eno Attai”]

Thoughtfulness, consideration and thorough preparation are principles every leader should deploy.  Introverts have an edge here because they may overthink their tasks, since people tend to underestimate their abilities. Well, that is why they knock people off their feet.

They Think Before they Talk Or Act

Since introverts spend more time in their head, the result is usually thoughtful words and action. They think before they speak or act. During communication with team members or presentation, they are aware of the impact of their words. So, they mean what they say, say what they mean, and their words and actions are in sync. This inspires integrity and trust.

They maintain A Calm Disposition

[Tweet “Being cool, calm, and collected and not exhibiting despair as a leader, inspires confidence – Eno Attai”]

Being cool, calm, and collected and not exhibiting despair as a leader, inspires confidence. It is a sign of being organized. Nigerians can relate to Former President Obasanjo whom, when he had the opportunity to address the nation in a face of national crises his address would be interjected with lines such as ‘I dey Kampe’; an assuring Nigerian pidgin phrase meaning ‘I am fine. Nothing can go wrong’.

If you are a woman in leadership, or AWLO Member, other women can leverage on your leadership experience. You can share useful tips on networking, building great relationships, and teamwork for women leaders in this month of February. Shoot us an mail via contributor@awlo.org

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