Spotlight (68)

Roman Tafessework, a tenacious young woman, is an ardent AWiBer and an active supporter of the movement. There are very few who we consider pillars of AWiB and Roman is one. Roman was born in Merhabete from a family of six and grew up in Addis Ababa.  Roman holds a master’s degree in Marketing Management.

Roman works for Boston Partners as an Executive Director. She, along with her colleague oversees the company’s vast projects and manages the existing operations: the Kuriftu resort chains, Boston Spa, Diplomat, Vault and other running operations of the Boston group. She is also responsible for proper and timely execution of ten projects on the pipeline--making sure visions turn into reality. She acknowledges, as a true leader would, her success in her profession is also based on a strong team that she is afforded at Boston Partners.

Roman has an extensive experience in the hospitality industry.  She served as a GM for Jupiter International four star Hotel at agetwenty three. She started her hospitality industry career as a department Manager at Global Hotel. She says she haslearnt a great deal from her past experiences. She gives credit to her bosses in her professional experiences, always to a strong team and to great mentors, Beyam Bisrat, Managing Director & Elias Assefa, Deputy Managing Director of Jupiter Hotel. Her experience, educational background in Hotel management and willingness to learn from others, she says prepared her to excel and give more in her current position at Boston Partners, a dynamic company with a dynamic CEO, fast paced, and expanding at neck breaking speed.  She handles the pressure with grace and humility that any good, self-assured leader would. 

Yalem Seyoum was born in Maichew , South Tigray  where she attended her elementary and junior secondary schooling. While in high school at Atse Yohannes secondary school in Mekelle  , Yalem was one of many Ethiopian students who participated in the “Edget Behibret” - Development Through Cooperation Campaign. She was first sent to Abi Adi and then to Hagereselam.  While on this assignment, Yalem joined the student movement in 1976. With months left for the Ethiopian School Leaving Certificate Exam(ESLCE), popularly known as Matric at the time, she  joined the armed struggle as a member of  a city cell. Much to her dismay, however, she was unable to sit for it due to the existence of mass, politically motivated killings known as Red Terror. In March of 1978, Yalem said goodbye to her studies and joined the armed struggle. Speaking of her decision to join the armed struggle, when asked why she left  her studies at such a critical time, Yalem says” There was just too much rampant killing that it was just unbearable”. 

Upon joining the armed struggle, she underwent combat training as part of a group of 24 young girls who came straight from their schools in the city. Upon completing the training, she started as a regular righter and worked her way up to a level of an Army “commissar” (equivalent to a current major). She then became a trainer for a group of women and an entire battalion of women that was more than a thousand strong was trained by her and her other female colleagues. Upon completion of training, these women fighters were called “D’ala” meaning “Equal” – which signifies that women fighters were just as good as men fighters.  From her time in the army, Yalem remembers that women were at the forefront as top fighters and leaders.

Saturday, 30 September 2017 06:34

Tihitina Mulushewa Legesse

“Working hard and trying to get to the top is much easier. Then, if you go down, you will know your way up”

Tihitina Mulushewa Legesse, speaking about the value of hard work.

For an observer, walking into Tihitina (Tutu) Mulushewa Legesse’s office is a bit of a window into the personality that sits within. It is obvious from the vibrant paintings on the wall to the live plants in the corner and the crystal ball full of candy opposite the busy desk, there is warmth and a driven person is occupying the space. She prefers to use her mother’s name as a middle name, even though she does not officially go by the name Tihitina Mulushewa Legesse for legal purposes. Born and raised in Addis Abeba, as a second generation, she manages the business her family formed twenty seven years ago. Along with her sister, she manages 200 employees in their organization, WARYT. She tells me that WARYT is her grandmother’s name, which also stands for Work AndReach Your Target.

Thursday, 31 August 2017 04:18

Tseday Asrat: La Dame Formidable!

Millions recognize the brand she built. With 33 branches and still growing, Kaldis Coffee has become a household name that fills the days of many people with aroma. But very few know the woman behind Kaldis Coffee. Tseday Asrat is the founder and managing director of Kaldis Coffee. She also owns Lori Agro-Industry and Gusto Restaurants, a chain of Italian restaurants. She co-owns Gursha Restaurant in Dubai.

Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Tseday has always been following her passion. She always wanted to own and run her own business. When she didn't get enough point at the national matriculation exam to enter university, she started modeling. Her family insisted she took the exam again to pursue her education but Tseday knew that is not the road she wanted to take.

Roman Yassin was born in Addis Ababa and went to Addis Ketema High School. She came from middle class family. Since her young age, she always had a sense of her community and a giving spirit      

Her life changed when her physician ex-husband left her with three kids with no steady income of her own. She worked as a street vendor selling coffee and tea with bread then roasted barely (kolo) to make ends meet. Roman highlights, “Even though times were tough, I have instilled in my kids mind to focus more on what we have and not on what we do not.  I have always felt that we have enough to give and share. “She made sure that the basic needs of her kids are met for them to focus in school as she is a firm believer that the only sure way out of poverty for her family is her kids’ education.

Mebrat Beyene was born and raised in Mekelle, in Tigray region in a family of six siblings. Mebrat served her country as a freedom fighter with TPLF and after freedom was won, as a diplomat for 24 years. Mebrat joined the freedom fighting movement along with TPLF at the age of 20; retired at 60 from her diplomatic mission she continues life as a philanthropist and as an instructor at the Civil Service College sharing her experiences and guiding the young generation in the schooling of diplomacy. Mebrat has earned a Master’s degree in internal relations fromUniversity of Amsterdam. Mebrat says it is gratifying to give back to a society that sustains life as she knows it. Mebrat, in collaboration with a few of her comrades, is writing a book depicting a life of a freedom fighter in hopes that it will teach the young that “if you want something in life, you will have to fight for it; delaying instant gratification, willing to sacrifice beyond imagination, not looking back and staying the course no matter what until you achieve what you aspire to”.

Mekdes Zelelew, Founder and Executive Director of Integrated Family Services Organization (IFSO) was born and raised in a village called Beliho in Ambassel Woreda of South Wello Zone in Amhara Region. Mekdes was educated at the Wuchale Elementary and the renowned Woizero Siheen Secondary School in Dessie. She started her career as a Kindergarten teacher after graduating with a diploma in Kindergarten teaching from the Ethiopian Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs KG Teachers’ Training Center in 1972.

Monday, 01 May 2017 12:08

Gigi Sebsibe: In a class of her own!

Gigi Sebsibe was born and raised In Addis Ababa. After living and working in the USA for more than 30 years, she has come back home to contribute to Ethiopia’s economic development.  Gigi’s current position is as an owner & GM of a successful business, “Interior Motifs & Design (IMD) PLC, furniture manufacturing, interior designing & interior decorating company.

Gigi performs dual responsibility in line with the interior design and furniture production tasks of IMD. In the manufacturing field and designing,  she deals with the manufacturing staff, insures that customer orders are met as per the required specifications and pays a visit to the manufacturing plant two to three times a week to check the production line, quality control and motivate workers. On the interior design, she supervises the discipline of the architects’ and the designers’ works closely to get the best possible design concept and change it into a reality. Eighty percent of the time she does the design herself according to the specifications and she makes sure everything is up to the highest standard. Controlling the quality, color, texture of raw materials during purchase are strictly done by her alone to ensure her customers’ discriminating taste . 

Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Yoadan (Yoyo) Tilahun, Founder and Managing Director of Flawless Events, finished high school at Lycee Gebremariam and left to the US for further education.  Upon completion of an MBA, she worked as a marketing agent at a commodities marketing company. She also worked for World Bank in HR department. After 15 years in the USA, Yoadan decided to move back to Ethiopia. “When I moved back, it was like I never left.  But it also felt like, finally, real life began,” she says. She was energized by Addis, by its chaos as much as the people she came across on the street.

While she was living in the USA,Yoadan regularly attended events in the DC metropolitan area. Many of the events gave her the impression that there was much amiss in how they were organized and how the logistics were handled. Her drive to deliver flawless events is what eventually brought her events management company to life, with its aspirational name.

Mulualem Genene was born and raised in Addis Ababa and spent most of her childhood in a town called Dembi Dello in Wellega region where she attended primary school.  When her family moved back to Addis, she continued her secondary school at American Mission girl’s school later called “Yehiwot Berhan”. After accomplishing her secondary school, Mulualem continued her higher education at the Addis Ababa University and graduated in Chemistry with an honor while working at night as an assistant chemist quality control.

After three years of working as a chemist, she left the job she loved dearly because of the health problems that was caused by the chemical reaction in the laboratory. Nevertheless, Mulualem used this situation to search her true passion and purpose in life. Then she made the decision to teach. Mulualem has been teaching at Nazareth Girl’s School, for the past 30 years.

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AWiB would like to proudly acknowledge its partners for the year.