I remember my YALI Washington Fellowship Interview , the scramble to get ready , The red shoes that looked like heaven and were hell to wear .The Security checks at the US Embassy and my determination smile through it .
Then my name was called , the admin person came to escort me to the interview room , 2 min walk with my lovely red shoes , i could swear they could all see me wobbling . I entered ,I smiled i walked in memorizing the names of the 3 interviewees. I had made it from 3000 applications ,top 10% , i was now fighting to be part of the top 1%
Then there were the questions , what do you expect from the Fellowship and what do you bring to the fellowship . I remember mumbling something about networking opportunities and sharing my story with others etc , quite frankly i was trying to sound profound , i am not sure if a i succeed , but i think sitting now in my living room watching the movie wasteland and the sound of chicken frying in the Kitchen is the best time as any to answer those 2 questions….
What do I expect from the Washington Fellowship ?
I failed my Secondary School Examination, my grades were below average and that for years shook my confidence in my abilities , I remember knowing i could conquer the world but a piece of paper told me that i could not , I was below Average !
Years Later when i was awarded an Msc in Distributed Systems(The Only Female in my specialization) on Scholarship at Brighton University ,My First thought was …not bad for someone who failed their Secondary School Certificate Exam .
What do I expect ? MY Story and passion might be different from the other 499 Fellows but we share a passion to succeed , to make an impact in our communities,families and in the World.
I want to hear the stories , i want to share experiences , I want to find synergies to collaborate , I want to come away with one project where at least 3-4 fellows will collaborate on . I will share the dream project at the end of the blog .
I am going to YALE University for my institutional learning [Yes I am still doing cartwheels when i think about it ] , I getting a Ivy League education and i expect one .!!!!
I want learn from other fellows , what works and what doesn’t in their various endeavors
I am excited about meeting government and business leaders , I have already met Penny Pritzker( US Secretary Of Commerce) and Nina Vaca, Chairman of Pinnacle group ( I am always intrigued by anyone who has the strength and fortitude to build and grow her business in a recession) , I hope to meet more of such leaders ,come away with a mentor or 2 and again to look synergies where possible to collaborate
And Lastly I want add to my ‘personal persons’ and be part of a group people that are change makers and Making a difference
What do I bring to the YALI Washington Fellowship ?
I bring my experience, my passion (]Technology,Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship] , my failures , my willingness to learn .
I bring my willingness to share my experience , my business skills and talent, my soft selling skills.
I bring my determination to change the world and to make President Obama and everyone that gave me this opportunity very proud .
My Plans after the YALI Washington Fellowship
I left my job as Commercial Solutions Manager at Vodafone , to start my own Company Edel Consulting , This is my second attempt at entrepreneurship , I failed at the first attempt in 2010(You can tell i am no stranger to failure and getting back up ) ,
I kept asking myself these questions Why did I fail and how can I ensure that others like me do not fail as they take their Entrepreneurial plunge , and how could others learn from my experience.
In 2013 I launched an initiative with iSpace Ghana called Business Innovation Series. I gathered my new experiences in Product Innovation, Business Strategy and Networking especially from my role as Business development Manager in Sierra Leone and in Vodafone as a Commercial Solutions Manager where I was an internal entrepreneur and partnered with iSpace; Foundation Ghana(a new technology innovation hub in Accra, Ghana funded by Indigo trust )
This partnership/initiative, run a monthly series on how to create a strategy , how to form strategic partnerships and how to build products that sell . I also collaborated with them on Google #40Foward Program for female Entrepreneurs
Additionally I work with iSpace to mentor its hub residents,
Due to my work with entrepreneurs , 2 companies invited me to be part of their advisory boards,Chillax :An App that uses Artificial Intelligence to recommend entertainment options and Egotickets : An eTicketing & Events search service in Ghana with plans to be available to other selected African countries soon.
The next logical step for me in this space , is an accelerator/incubator program ( 2-3) month program to give entrepreneurs across the continent the tools and skill set to build their business and to help connect with relevant venture capital funds . I am in the midst of putting together the proposal for funding by USADF
I would love to be able to collaborate with Sister Accelerators/ Other YALI Washington Fellows across the continent on cross country go to market strategies and
So I am ready ,Lets do this !!!