Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) – What a Great Program!
The MarkUBiz team had the joy of being able to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in 2015.
Thank You to Those Who Made YALI Happen In Reno
Before I jump into the details of our involvement in the program and what we gained through the program, I want to congratulate and thank all of the University of Nevada, Reno staff and other community members who brought the program to Reno and made it a success. The program allowed us to share our wonderful community with the young African leaders.
Reno Is A Great Community!
I remember hearing one of the fellows talk about how they had no clue what to expect from Reno, NV, when they found out that is the city they would be spending time in. However, after 6 weeks in the community they went on to talk about how they felt bad for the fellows who did not get a chance to visit Reno! This is such a great statement and was a great reminder of just how special our community is.
Our Experience with YALI
I, Devin Sizemore, was matched up as a peer collaborator with a young African leader from Zimbabwe, Martin Ndlovu. Martin has been instrumental in helping bring internet to Zimbabwe and has worked on creating a collaborative working environment at his local university. The more I got to know Martin, the more I was impressed by what he has accomplished and what he plans to accomplish. He is going to do some great things!
During our time together I believe that myself and the MarkUBiz team learned more from Martin that he did from us (although he will likely try to tell you otherwise). It was great to be able to learn about his culture and the challenges that they are facing, especially when it comes to technology. In addition, it was inspiring to see what Martin has accomplished with limited resources.
During our first get-together, we went to dinner at a steakhouse (Martin really wanted a steak). During our 3 hours together I learned so much about Martin and his culture. Zimbabwe definitely has many differences from the United States, like the average income, cost to live, lifestyles, etc… With that said, I found much in common with Martin’s goals. He is passionate about helping others and by spending time with Martin, I hope we were able to give him some insight into the world of online marketing and how businesses in the United States are marketing.
For our second get together, we hosted Martin at our office for a day. He was able to work with the various members of the staff, attend a Rotary meeting and a presentation that I gave at Great Basin Federal Credit Union. Throughout the day, Martin asked a lot of great questions and I know the team enjoyed answering them and sharing what knowledge we have.
Although we only spent a short time together, I consider Martin a friend and look forward to staying in touch.
Inspiring Others Is Such A Positive Experience!
One of my passions in life is to inspire others to reach their full potential. While spending the day with Martin, I can tell you that he got some nuggets that allowed him to understand business and what he can accomplish. What Martin probably doesn’t know is that he inspired myself and the MarkUBiz team! For me personally spending the day with Martin, along with the other times I spent with him, will be one of my highlights for 2015.
I had my head down and was focusing on MarkUBiz so much that at times I can forget to slow down and enjoy life. While spending the day with Martin, myself and the MarkUBiz team got to slow things down and enjoy the day, enjoy sharing knowledge and enjoy learning about another culture. It was very refreshing and I know it was a well needed energy boost for myself and the team.
Additional Stories from Fellows
In addition to spending time with Martin, I was also able to connect with Ruddy Kielo and Rasheeda Mandeeya Yehuza.
Ruddy has an SMS company and is doing some unique things that allow governments and the education system to reach out to their target market. Ruddy’s situation is much different than Martin’s as he is from Democratic Republic of the Congo, which seems to be a bit wealthier and further along with technology integration. During our hour together it was great to share what we do for online marketing and learn what Ruddy is doing. We were able to give Ruddy some perspective on where his market might head as they are a few years behind ours when it comes to the transition between traditional marketing and online marketing. (Ruddy’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ruddy.kielo)
Rasheeda and I connected after she left Reno. We have met via Skype once and have another meeting setup for next week. She is from Ghana and is a software engineer and has a couple companies that she is involved in. She is interested in digital marketing and also has a platform that helps simplify the voting process. I look forward to our next meeting and learning more about Rasheeda’s culture and challenges. I know that the more we talk, I will learn a lot from Rasheeda as she has a different set of skills that I have. (Rasheeda’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yehuza)
We Look Forward To Next Year!
As a company we look forward to being involved with the program next year. We look forward to learning about other cultures and creating some long-term friendships.