It was an ample dose of inspiration and practical self development lessons as eight (8) successful young Africans in Environmental Sustainability Advocacy, Agriculture and Food Security, International Development amongst others converged in Calabar on July 11 2012, for the 2nd Edition of The Bridge Leadership Foundation’s Career Day with theme ‘Talent, Leadership & Entrepreneurship’.
The Career day was aimed at inspiring and empowering young people in choosing the right career paths and making informed decisions. It was also aimed at providing a platform for young Nigerians and graduates who are; seeking to enter the job market, at the start of their career or aspiring to be entrepreneurs, to learn from accomplished entrepreneurs and professionals (home and abroad) that have made major achievements in different sectors in the society.
Speaking at the event, the Acting Director of the Foundation. Mrs. Ini Onuk, said “ Our speaker line-up is informed by the need to show participants how young people within the locality of Cross River State, Nigeria and outside Nigeria but within Africa all share common challenges, stories and opportunities at success and contributions to national development. In order to defy the excuses that the successful members of the older generation may have had it easy or do not understand the complexities of today’s reality; we have some young people who are indigenes of the state or have lived and schooled here – in the same locality – and yet have taken charge of their lives.”
Speakers at the event engaged participants under three sub-themes. The Common Thread, facilitated by Emmanuel Etim- Directorate of Human Resources, Science and Technology, African Union Commission, Ethiopia and Nnaemeka Ikegwonu- Executive Director, The Smallholders Foundation, Nigeria. The journeys of Personal Discovery to National Impact were shared by Idris Bello- Program Director at Wennovation Hub and President, Oxford University Africa Society and Esther Agbarakwe- Atlas Corps Fellow at Population Action International, USA while Grace Nanyonga – Founder, Granafish Supplies, Uganda, Tobias and Titus Igwe, Founders -SpeedMeals Kitchen and Steve Harris, C.E.O EdgeEcution, held participants spellbound with their compelling stories of Survival, Success and Significance.
Other highlights of the event included a Q&A interactive session where participants asked speakers a variety of questions on their personal journeys and decisions. Also, an elevator pitch contest was organized where randomly selected participants vied for an opportunity to go home with the Official Biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacton. The first 100 participants won prizes from the foundation whilst the first participant to arrive, Ms. Iquo Nya was rewarded with a three-month paid internship with the foundation.
Highlights of the 2012 Career Day Presentations:
“Who would have thought that a young boy who attended Estate Secondary School in Calabar some years back will be the one seating on most of the African Union and United Nations board meetings and that same boy is the man standing before you today” – Emmanuel Etim
“Great things start small. Never say because you had no one to help you, that’s why you couldn’t succeed. Think critically, provide solution to peoples immediate needs, be very strategic in your planning, work with the right set of people and lastly, always learn to pay people back whether in gratitude, cash or kind for supporting you achieve your dream.- Tobias and Titus Igwe
“I started small but today, I have met Michelle Obama,Walmart is a mentoring organization to Grana Fish Supplies, ladies and gentlemen how I got there, hard work and diligence, tenacity took me there” – Grace Nanyonga
“I had always wanted to be journalist, but twice JAMB failed me, I eventually studied History but my passion for Journalism never ceased; it got reignited when I volunteered with a local Agriculture Extension NGO this inspired me to set up Small Farmers Radio; today, I am not just a journalist but one making a difference” – Nnaemeka Ikegwonu
“My passion for the environment was ignited when I realized the spring on my road had dried up; this prompted me to begin to ask questions and learn more about the environment; this passion has blossomed into my Career”- Esther Agbarakwe
“It is not what you have that limits you; it is what you have but do not know how to use that limits you”- Steve Harris
“If your dream does not scare you, then it’s not big enough, discard it and try another. Many people do not know what they want. Whether it’s a job, or a career, or a business - the rules are the same”- Idris Bello.