Lessons from Africa’s first woman head of state.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman president of Libera, journey can be summarized by the following:
When Ellen was born, it was predicted she would be great .
What did greatness mean for women in Africa?
She was a girl, destined to be a follower of men – not lead.
Her story is a compelling one of daring sacrifices among ruthless enemies, in a landscape of poverty.
We learn of her dedication and preparation through education, public service and professional development.
She served first in Liberia, then in the US as a senior bank, world bank and UNDP executive. She became adept at being the “first”.
Then at age 67 she ran for president of her home country – the first woman in history to become the head of state of an African country.
President Johnson- Sirleaf remained one of the continent’s most impressive leaders earning the Nobel peace prize and many other accolades during her two terms and twelve years leading Libera.
I had completed the reading of the biography, “Madame President” and wanted to hear more so I also purchased Ellen Johnson Sierleaf’s Memoir. Truthfully much of the facts in the storytelling of history were similar. What I found interesting was the end of the book that spoke more about her vision of leadership and goals for the country.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is an inspiring and experienced leader who demonstrates that women can lead and succeed in socio-economic and political careers. The end of the book provides her speech on her political agenda to transform Liberia from a war-torn country to an educated productive society of the future. While she may not have gotten there in the 12 years – two terms that she was at the helm.. she certainly maintained the peace and laid the groundwork for stability — if not — prosperity.