Having read the programme blurb many times I chose to take part in the programme because I felt it would provide a challenging learning space for me to figure out how to do something for Africa. I hoped that the programme's innovative approach and design would build on my knowledge, experience and skills while channelling my energy and talents.
Prior to the programme, Common Purpose gave us a challenge to explore. The challenge was 'How can African Diaspora Leaders use their skills, talent and experience to benefit the continent of Africa?' This was one question I'd been asking myself since 2012 because of three defining moments:
1. a near death experience involving myself, my husband and our six year old son
2. travelling to Accra and Tamale to share my leadership skills with other leaders
3. approaching the tenth anniversary of running my business in leadership development
The award winning singer and UNICEF ambassador, Angelique Kidjo wrote "An African is always confronted by the question of how they can give back to the continent". The defining moments had brought other questions up to the surface of my heart. How would I stand on the shoulders of my parents who relocated from Africa to create a better life for myself in the UK? How could I create a positive legacy for my son, niece, nephew, God children and the other Diaspora children I come into contact with?
The programme came at a very significant time in my life and in response to all these questions - I am now redirecting my passion, purpose and potential.
The leadership programme was a wonderful experience. I got to spend 4 days with 28 other amazing African Diaspora. I heard from and met a range of stakeholders who challenged me to re-examine my values while broadening and deepening my African perspective. It was, at times, difficult being a participant on a leadership programme when I am usually the facilitator! The added value aspect of the programme was making new connections and meeting people with whom I have already begun to partner with.
I arrived at the leadership programme with an idea; to grow the cultural, social and leadership capital of the next generation of African Diaspora Leaders in London and hopefully throughout the UK over the next 10 years.
During the programme my idea was put under the spotlight and scrutinised. I've taken the feedback on board and begun to build a dynamic group of stakeholders who will support and continue to challenge the idea so that it can go on to make, I hope, a great impact in improving the lives of the African Diaspora wherever they live, work and play.