Bosses Who Inspire


I had been in the job for 2 months. I was already having an “imposter syndrome”. I had been given a managerial role after college(2016) and was responsible for managing a youth program in Ghana. I had fear, uncertainty and a lot of doubt. I could spend an hour in typing an email. I did not want to make mistakes. “I cannot afford to lose this job”, I would often say to myself. Every morning, I came to work in fear. I loved my job but I had fear about my ability to perform the various tasks. This fear crippled me in several ways. I discovered that being a manager was not just about bearing the title, but also about making tough decisions I was not prepared to make.

During this period, my regional boss flew in from Zambia to supervise the launch of the youth program I was working on. That was the beginning of a new journey for me.

I met Ms. Yemi Lawal during this period. She was and still is the definition of a thought leader. Yemi discovered my struggle and called me in for a talk. I was scared because I knew I was not meeting the role’s expectations so I presumed that it was going to be a “goodbye conversation”. But I was wrong. Yemi took a different approach; she started with, “Tell me about yourself”. What are your fears? How can I make your work easier? How have your previous experiences been like? In summary, Yemi gave me a chance to start all over and on a positive note.

She helped me to improve my strengths by allowing me to perform challenging tasks and providing me with the autonomy to be creative in my unit. She signed me up for training programs that helped me improve my PowerPoint skills – which were not impressive then. She taught me how to be assertive and influence people. By the end of my 4th month, I had been officially confirmed from my probation. The CEO told me he was impressed with my work. The HR manager said I had begun to look and sound like Yemi – I guess I couldn’t help it.

The “Yemi effect” was evident. My self-confidence was high, my performance improved and I had become an ambitious woman who was aiming at greater heights.

Yemi became a mentor and a mother to me. She wrote my recommendation and reviewed my essays for my Schwarzman Scholars application and guess what? I was accepted!!! She also reviewed my CV when I wanted to change jobs and had the patience to prep me for my job and scholarship interviews.

If I had to describe Yemi in one word, I would choose the word – phenomenal.

Thank you, Yemi for not giving up on me and for giving me another chance. Thank you for giving me the opportunity and for teaching me to do same for others.

I am super excited to have met you. Thank you for being PHENOMENAL!!

I pray for more Yemis’ in the corporate world.

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