Coming to America is a wild dream for many young Africans, dare I say for anyone across the world. When I got the news that I've been selected to work in the USA after the six week study period, I was over the moon. Finally, I actually got to work 9 to 5! I could finally sing along to all the songs about working 9 to 5 and actually mean it. Working nine to five, what a way to make a living🎤 Anyways...
Corporate South Africa is very advanced and widely professionalized. We strive to be globally competitive in everything we do. However, in this post, I'll focus on some of the culture shocks I experienced in my first week working in America.
During orientation, IREX and the US Embassy gave a number of tips on how to thrive in the US workplace, etiquette and all. Look... It's one thing being told what to expect, but experiencing it first hand is a WHOLE different ball game.
So there I was on Monday ready to conquer the concrete jungle of Washington, DC.
Shiny brown shoes, check!
Big smile, check!
Called Uber cause it's my first day and I'm not trying to get lost in America, nah nah! Being the overachiever I am, I get to the office around 8 am. Everyone arrives to work, and they wearing jeans, sneakers, pretty casual. I'm like hold on... What day is it today? Is it a public holiday or something? (I quietly Google, it's Monday 5 August 2019, no its not a holiday.). Okay but aren't we in Washington DC? The capital of the USA? This isn't the America they sold to me, give me back my change.
So here we are at LDI Africa, a social enterprise offering an international pro-bono consulting program for emerging business leaders in Africa. CEO tells me I'm the Chief of Staff, I'm responsible for a lot of things. It's. My. First. Day!
Also what is "Chief of Staff?" Quick, Google! It's bad enough I have to convert every dollar price to South African Rands (which by the way, you should never do. Unless you wanna die young), but now I had to convert job titles? Nelson, what have you done?
I lead a successful consulting firm back in South Africa and my team knows we wear fresh suits and a tie. We keep it neat and professional,
America!!! The office is pretty casual, in fact, I hear people over at Google go to work in their PJs & flip flops! It's about the deliverables, deliver good quality work on time.
After writing my first email, the CEO comes to me and politely says "Okay let's go over the language." I'm there thinking "But I know how to speak and write English just fine." You see,
What stood out for me is just how the Mandela Washington Fellowship managed to place me in an organization that fits 101% perfectly with my work back in South Africa. Working with LDI Africa has opened so many doors and I think I literally stepped into a time machine to a future self.
Getting a global perspective of professional development initiatives is important in reaching the goals I've set. This includes networking with young professionals in international development, local entrepreneurs and the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Forums. Meeting like-minded professionals and entrepreneurs have added value to the business models I build and add value to clients and stakeholders back home.
Overall I appreciate that South Africa is on the right track to achieving sustainable economic growth, reducing unemployment and poverty. Cooperation between the private sector, government, and civic organizations are key to unlocking the maximum value of the opportunities for growth. Deliberate, effective actions need to be taken to address challenges of small and medium enterprises which will, in turn, reduce our unacceptably high unemployment rates.
Oh, by the end of the week I have settled in - jeans, t-shirt and nobody dropping the phone on me.
I am ready for the next three weeks.
We are proud to welcome Thabo Mongatane to the LDI Africa staff team as Mandela Washington Fellow.
Thabo Mongatane is a visionary South African Chartered Accountant, Business Coach and Professional Speaker who is dedicated to addressing high unemployment and poverty in Africa.
He completed a Leadership Development Programme in Civic Engagement at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as part of the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. He is a founder of Kumbaya Africa, a nonprofit organization providing strategic development opportunities to emerging/startup social enterprises. During his tenure at LDI Africa Thabo will be conducting research on how to create a global talent pipeline for Africa’s development.
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Media Contact: John-Ubong Silas, VP of Partnerships, 202.740.6873, email@example.com
LDI Africa - MEST Africa Partners Towards New Opportunities for
Leadership Development in Africa
WASHINGTON, DC, October 29, 2018 - LDI Africa, a social enterprise providing technical assistance and pro bono consulting to African based businesses, proudly announces its partnership with MEST Africa. This newly established partnership creates an unparalleled opportunity for LDI Africa to advance the work of creating the platform to bridge the gap of human and financial capital necessary to bolster the growth of Africa’s private and public institutions.
“Recognizing the innovative and long-term vision that guides the work of MEST Africa on the continent, LDI Africa pursued this unique partnership to expand our expertise in attracting the best human capital to support a dynamic organization. This is the beginning of the next iteration of LDI Africa as we seek to collaborate with existing Africa focused fellowship programs,”
--John-Ubong Silas Vice President of Partnership
“We are excited to partner with LDI Africa, who will support recruitment efforts for fellows at MEST. A key part of our commitment to our entrepreneurs is providing them with world-class global fellows who are experienced leaders in their respective fields, entrepreneurial-minded and excited to be part of our pan-African vision. We look forward to working with LDI Africa and their exceptional network of talented professionals across the continent.”
--Aaron Fu, Managing Director, MEST Africa
The LDI Africa – MEST Africa partnership will have a profound impact on the LDI Africa’s Emerging Institutions Fellowship Program. The 2019 Fellows and future cohorts of the program will receive a world-class leadership development experience as well as access to investment capital, international markets and technological support. This leadership opportunity is available to any rising business, nonprofit, government and development leader from any part of the world. Applications for the 2019/2020 Emerging Institutions Fellowship Program closes Nov 15, 2018. For more information please visit www.ldiafrica.org
LDI Africa was created with the idea to help talented individuals gain global industry leadership through a service opportunity in an emerging market – Africa. Headquartered in Washington D.C and working all across Africa. LDI Africa Fellows serve in organizations like Convergence Partners in South Africa, Emerging Cooking Solutions in Zambia, Jumia in Nigeria and One Acre Fund Africa-wide
The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and MEST Incubator provide training, seed investment and mentorship for the next generation of globally successful African software entrepreneurs. MEST Africa, offers aspiring entrepreneurs a fully sponsored, intensive 12 month training program. Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) are sourced from top graduates in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Cote d'Ivoire.
LDI Africa is an award-winning social enterprise that connects African organizations and leaders to the global marketplace using the expertise of skilled volunteers. We do this by providing paid fellowships for emerging leaders around the world at Africa's best profit and nonprofit organizations.
Through an exclusive partnership with One Acre Fund applicants for LDI Africa Fellowship program can also simultaneously apply for selected positions. Candidates will be able to take advantage of an accelerated review process. We are seeking your support in identifying rising business and social enterprise leaders to apply for the LDI Africa Fellowship positions at One Acre Fund. You can assist either through word of mouth, social media, or email communication.
Fellowship positions are listed below for interested candidates to directly apply. Please note that candidates must also submit an LDI Africa Fellow application.
For tips on how to make your application compelling and successful, please watch the LDI Africa Informational Webinar with One Acre Fund
For application and partnership inquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the LDI Africa Fellowship, please visit – www.ldiafrica.org
Deadline to apply -November 15, 2018.
Earlier submissions will be given priority.
The LDI Africa Fellow is a rising business, non-profit, government, technical, and development leader actively seeking opportunities for global leadership development, with a focus on African emerging markets. The LDI Africa fellowship program is, therefore, designed to provide this leader with crucial on-the-ground professional experience, expanded networks for collaboration and impact, and opportunities for leadership growth and development. The substantive work experience attained not only develops and expands concrete and technical skills but is also a platform to achieving transformative social and economic change on the continent.
LDI Africa partners with the George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs for the annual Talent Africa Series
WASHINGTON, DC, September 17, 2018 – Africa, the next frontier of global service is now open for business. This is the response of many African governments and private sector leaders to the lingering, Aid versus Trade, Local versus Global debate as the way forward for Africa’s development. LDI Africa is proud to join this conversation as we hear perspectives from dynamic alums of influential Africa-focused fellowships programs on this topic on September 18, 2018, 6pm EST, at George Washington University. Our panel will discuss the economic contributions being made by social enterprises and innovation hubs across the continent and the continued need for human capital. The panelists will represent programs such as Africa Business Fellowship, Mandela YALI Fellowship and One Acre Fund.
The LDI Africa Fellow is a rising business, non-profit, government, technical, and development leader actively seeking opportunities for global leadership development, with a focus on African emerging markets. The LDI Africa fellowship program is, therefore, designed to provide this leader with crucial on-the-ground professional experience, expanded networks for collaboration and impact, and opportunities for leadership growth and development. The substantive work experience attained not only develops and expands concrete and technical skills, but is also a platform to achieving transformative social and economic change on the continent.Fellows complete a year-long service engagement with leading African nonprofit and profit organizations, lending their expertise and human capital to develop and enhance the host organization’s standing in the international marketplace. They participate in shaping the global strategy of their host organization, encourage cultural diversity and exchange, and promote capacity building for long-term sustainability. There are three overarching qualities for an LDI Africa Fellow – leadership, cross-cultural competency, and service.
Sometimes connections can come in the most unlikely of places and lead to unexpected and surprising results. These are the stories that are the most encouraging and affirming of the work we do at LDI Africa. Recently, LDI Africa received news that one of the finalists of the EIFP program, Winston Reid, had left his job in New York and moved to Morocco to join an exciting new venture supporting African startups. This all had happened after meeting Kenza Lahlou during the EIFP application process and staying touch.
Although neither Kenza nor Winston went on to complete the fellowship, they continued to believe in the future prosperity of the continent and the need to work towards its realization. Kenza returned to Morocco to launch OUTLIERZ, which provides smart capital to African startups anywhere on the continent and invited Winston to join her. He now serves as OUTLIERZ’s Director of Portfolio Management, where they oversee investments from $50,000 to $200,000 to innovative entrepreneurs across Africa.
OUTLIERZ has the support of some of the world’s most prestigious angel investors and venture capitalists and is dedicated to providing financial support, technical assistance, and access to a world-class network of mentors and investors. “The target outcome will be a stronger pool of high potential startups that are ready for subsequent investment and, in the end, lead to success stories that are uniquely African,” explains founding partner and manager Kenza Lahlou to Disrupt Africa.
While providing emerging African businesses with top global professionals and industry experts is primary, the LDI Africa mission is also to foster connection and collaboration between those who have the interest of developing African business at heart, and encourage new and innovative avenues for development.
Either as global professionals lending their expertise and acumen to African business, entrepreneurs and investors working directly on the continent, or social entrepreneurs serving local communities with much needed resources and skills, LDI Africa welcomes and celebrates all those who contribute to our common goal of social and economic prosperity in Africa. We congratulate OUTLIERZ and look forward to working with Winston, Kenza, and OUTLIERZ as a partner, collaborator, and tribe member.
LDI Africa is currently accepting applications for our 2018 Emerging Institutions Fellowship Program (EIFP). The program supplements financial capital investments in Africa with top tier global human capital talent. Our fellowship program has engaged numerous business leaders in direct service at host organizations such as Emerging Cooking Solutions in Zambia, One Acre Fund in Malawi, and Rocket Internet in Nigeria. Fellows tend to be mid-to-senior level professionals with up to 10 years transferable experience in business management, finance, social enterprise, technology, and international development.
The application deadline is fast approaching! Apply now at https://www.ldiafrica.org/ by November 15, 2017.
LDI Africa was recently featured in an APSIA (Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs) webinar addressing the lack of diversity in international service professionals and how to best bring about a more inclusive community. Founder Gbenga Ogujimi spoke to universities in APSIA's network about the history of LDI Africa and its particular role in placing rising global leaders at profit and nonprofit organizations across the African continent. Listen to the webinar for more details on how LDI Africa is helping to change the landscape of international service development.October 1, 2017 marked the official opening of applications for the Emerging Institutions Fellowship Program for 2018. For more information and the application use following link: https://www.f6s.com/emerginginstitutionfellowshipprogram/apply
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Media Contact: Joan Lindo, VP of Programs, 202.670.4182, email@example.com
LDI Africa Partners with TechnoServe and APSIA for the annual Talent Africa Series Global Professionals - Emerging Opportunities in International Service and Leadership
WASHINGTON, DC, September 22, 2017 – LDI Africa is proud to partner with TechnoServe and the Association of Professional Schools for International Affairs (APSIA) for the annual Talent Africa Series in Washington, DC on October 11, 2017, 6pm EST. Our panel of global experts will discuss current fellowship and employment opportunities in Africa across diverse industries, as well as shaping the future of global engagement with the continent. LDI Africa is also excited to announce the additional partnership and support of the Congressional African Staff Association (CASA) and the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs for this series and future projects.
As global interconnectedness continues to accelerate at an ever far-reaching pace, there is a need for the next generation of leaders to expand their professional development opportunities beyond their own borders. “As we work to define a new era of US and Africa engagement, LDI Africa is excited to lead the way by connecting talented professionals looking to expand their international experience in a meaningful way to the leading African profit and nonprofit organizations in need of crucial human capital in order to expand impact ” says founder Gbenga Ogunjimi.
The event will be held at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E St. NW, Room B12, starting at 6pm EST. The program includes a panel discussion on international leadership and service, specifically in Africa, networking opportunities to meet global experts and young professionals, and a chance to learn about current work and international service opportunities with leading African profit and nonprofit organizations. LDI Africa will also present its Emerging Institutions Fellowship Program and current openings to place rising global leaders and professionals in industries across the continent.
Visit the following link for program information and registration: https://www.ldiafricatas2017.eventbrite.com/
LDI Africa is a nonprofit social enterprise that builds the capacity of African corporations, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations to compete in the global marketplace through the service of skilled international volunteers.
CASA is a bipartisan, bicameral organization that strives to educate Congressional staffers on substantive African issues, highlight best practices for diplomacy and governance, and bring light to innovative initiatives in Africa and throughout the Diaspora.
TechnoServe is a nonprofit organization operating in 29 countries and a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty
The Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) was created in 1989 and dedicated to the improvement of graduate education in international affairs and brings together the field’s leading graduate schools around the world.