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Becoming A Person of Influence!

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Even though there are many ways to finish the sentence ‘Leadership is….’, today, I want to focus on one profound definition – “Leadership is Influence”, nothing more, nothing less!  I am learning that “everyone is (created with natural abilities to be) an influencer of other people” and if we want to accomplish our goals in life, be better leaders and make an impact in our world, we “can do so faster, be more effective, and the contribution we make can be longer lasting if we learn how to ‘be a person of influence’”.   

The fourth quarter presents a new challenge to me.  I am already looking into the future and making commitments to invest in self-development to take my ‘influence’ and ultimately my ‘leadership’ to higher heights.  But wait! did I just say “invest”?  Yes, I sure did; because I received revelation knowledge that “The road to successful leadership (becoming a person of influence) has several toll booths.  People who keep depositing, sacrificing and paying at this toll road get the reward of great leadership skills”.

In January 2017, we will begin our series of Mastermind sessions and it is not a co-incident that we will be digesting the greatest book of all time “Becoming A Person of Influence – how to POSITIVELY IMPACT the LIVES of OTHERSWhat a great way to begin the New Year! 

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Driven to Action

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It is such a divine coincidence that three weeks following the major certification seminar I attended in Orlando, Florida and being so inspired about including Youth Leadership Training into our service menu, I was invited by Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) President to a Youth Summit in Washington D.C.  It happens that while in Orlando, I heard John Maxwell and most of the speakers at the seminar repeatedly stating the viewpoint that “everything rises and falls on leadership”.  There could not have been a better time for this summit because in this very season, my heart was focused on Youth Leadership Development and the agenda for the three-day event zeroed in on “Promoting Youth-inclusive Policies for Growth/Youth Livelihoods and Learning Program”.    

During presentations on the first day, I had the opportunity to be surrounded and educated by influential leaders from the continent of Africa and the United States.  These instrumental leaders have captured the revelation that “leadership is a process” and a country’s quality of leaders is dependent on how early and how much those in power begin or are willing to invest to develop the population targeted to navigate the country in the future. 

The Honorable Ministers from Senegal, Mali and The Gambia shared the different programs that are currently available to promote Youth education and create employment opportunities in their respective countries.  Among the domestic presenters were representatives from GYIN, The Mayor’s Office of African Affairs, Center for Excellence in Public Leadership – GWU, Center for Learning and Development District of Columbia and District of Columbia Government.  It was mind blowing to get introduced to all the effective programs that are available to Youth in the District of Columbia some of which can be replicated in Africa.

Then came day two – the session at Capitol Hill.  Again, we had the diplomats from Africa and this time, they were joined by the Chairperson of the National Youth Counsel in Uganda.  Among the local representatives were Congressman/Chairman, Congress-member Bass, House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, International Youth Foundation (IYF), International Business Machines (IBM), World Bank, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Shea Yeleen and panel moderators from The Washington Post and Voice of America.  I was really impressed by these leaders who are investing in youth leadership development programs because they are ready to pass on the baton to the next generation of equipped heirs.  Listening to the delegates share their investments in Youths and programs in the continent rejuvenated me as I was able to envision a beacon of hope rise up in the world and specifically in Africa. 

I have to admit that hearing leaders representing the African Society and a congress member make remarks like: “Africa is beaming in a generation of hope” and that “exposing the youth to different programs allows them to find their nitch/passion/place in society and groom their leadership skills” was uplifting.  Now more than ever, I am challenged to contribute my quota to Youth leadership development especially for the future generation of the continent.  I am challenged to do ‘what I do’ with a purpose and be very intentional about my contribution to the exponential growth of African Youth leaders.  What will you do to help me meet this challenge?

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A Divine Dream come True

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When I was growing up as a child, I was always inspired by people who teach, speak or who seemed to have the guts to stand on a platform with several eyes watching them.  I cannot explain how being inspired by their bravery led me to my own path of dreaming to become like them some day.  My dream was ignited when I heard the opening address from my high school principal – Mrs. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta.  She sounded eloquent, intelligent, poise and such a graceful ambassador of her country.  This lady was distinctive, dignified and appeared to be lifted from the “bogs” and “stereotypes” of women in our society at the time.  I listened to her with every fiber of my being and deep inside of me, I murmured: “one day, one day, I will be like you”.

My journey of becoming a teacher, speaker and now a coach started in primary school and maybe it is worth mentioning that following my graduation from high school, the same principal who motivated me also mentored me into becoming a teacher in the same school.  Even though the career was short lived, it was the most rewarding first job I could have ever had.

After only one year of University education in The Gambia, I immigrated to the United States in search of higher education and greener pastures.  Even with my accent and being in a foreign land, I received several compliments and positive feedback from my English/speech professors during my years college/University.  Little did I know that such positive reinforcement was all I needed at the time to remind me of my childhood dream. 

Life happened and so did my career choices.  I started in retail and later transitioned into banking where I met my all-time mentor – Anita Kelley who presented me with the opportunity to polish my teaching and speaking skills.  She believed that I had the calling for teaching and positioned me to improve my platform skills.  Then I was introduced to the Mortgage servicing industry where I landed a job which changed the course of my journey.  Even though I was thriving as a leader in my organization, I was miserable inside of me.  The discomfort and dynamics of the work environment pushed me in search of a new job. 

By divine orchestration, I met another ‘purpose-driven’ woman – Myekye Hamilton who coached me into applying for my first training job.  What I thought was a job in the beginning turned into a career and now a lifestyle.  It has been a long journey to get to this point but it is worth the wait.  Now what appeared to be a long shot when I started pursuing my dream of becoming a branded speaker, teacher and coach has been fulfilled.  Today, I celebrate the accomplishment of becoming a John Maxwell Team member – an independent Certified Teacher, Speaker and Coach. 

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