News & Events
From November 14 – 17th 2019, the African Leadership Network (ALN) hosted its 10th annual ALN Gathering with the decennial celebratory theme, #daringtodance, in Accra, Ghana.
This year, we truly showed the power of the network and the diversity of it all. With 381 guests attending ALN 10, we had people from all walks of life including young entrepreneurs, passionate artists, bold politicians, inspiring educators, and driven investors. Also In attendance were a host of prominent guests, including former UN Secretary-General, Ban-Ki Moon, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, Nigerian businessman Tunde Folawiyo, British supermodel, Naomi Campbell, and founder of Mavin Group, Don Jazzy.
Participants engaged in thought-provoking sessions, discovered the strength of collaboration through dancing, learned from global leaders, paused and celebrated, while also strengthening and building new relationships with fellow guests.
For those who were unable to join us, we’ve provided a snapshot of this three-day event.
On Day One…
The Anzisha Prize team opened ALN with the first-ever Angel Investor Training session facilitated by Victor Asemota, Africa partner at the US-based VC firm Alta Global Ventures.
He recommended the book Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson, for aspiring angel investors. He also added that “supporting entrepreneurs is often not monetary” stressing that there are many other ways to invest in young entrepreneurs.
Responding to the challenges of talent building and leadership in most organizations across Africa, the ALX team immersed attendees in a 2-hour discovery session of their leadership development program. Attendees left the simulator inspired to effect changes in their styles of leadership, so as to translate the vision and strategy of organizations into impact, value and profit through world-class execution.
Our ALN women session merged music, dance and storytelling to celebrate the power of the ‘self’. Through a gripping poem by Nabou Fall, an interpretive dance by Elisabeth Sutherland, and moving stories from Micheline Ntiru, this session left us feeling lighter and deeply transformed by their stories of overcoming challenges as women.
We closed off the day with the Welcome Cocktail where Fred and Acha officially welcomed the guests.
On Day Two…
At our opening plenary, Franco, Founder of Cheza Cheza, kicked us off with an 8-count dance instruction; getting all attendees on their feet and dancing. He set the foundation for the rest of the gathering and encouraged us all to start thinking about what #daringtodance meant for each of us.
In a panel discussion on supporting young entrepreneurs in Africa – Reeta Roy, CEO of Mastercard Foundation, Josh Adler, Vice President of Growth and Entrepreneurship at Anzisha Prize, Melissa Bime, Founder and CEO of Infiuss, Elizabeth Bintliff, CEO of Junior Achievement Africa, and Chikezie Cecil, Anzisha Prize 2019 Finalist, explored the roles of today’s organizations in ushering a better future for Africa.
Conveying the need for not only collaboration but also trust and the freedom to take risks to support young Africans, Ms. Roy said:
“Africa’s workforce must go out and change the world. They should be dancing on the world stage, and our assignment is to make that happen.”
Finally, at our last plenary of the day, we heard from Masai Ujiri, Sherrie Silver and Strive Masiyiwa, leaders in the sports, creative, and business industries. Through their interviews, they motivated us to grow, lead and seek excellence in all of our endeavors.
Serial entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa reminded us that “Governments don’t create jobs. They create policies and frameworks. In the end, it is how entrepreneurs are able to operate that create jobs. In my journey, I have created 100,000 jobs. Little me. As long as I have breath in me, that’s what I am committed to.”
As tradition dictates, we celebrated our decennial milestone at a picturesque gala dinner where we looked back at ALN’s 10-year journey and were serenaded by Johnny Drille with his alternative tunes and sweet melodies. Through our Decennial Award Ceremony, we celebrated 10 years of convening Africa’s best, and awarded individuals and organizations who had taken our mission as theirs and gone on to empower young leaders across Africa. To close off our night Sherrie Silver officially opened the dance floor and even taught our guests how to bust a move or two!
On Day Three…
For the first time ever, we invited ALN attendees to host sessions on topics they are passionate about.
As part of these ‘Provoke sessions,’ ALN Women, Bogolo Kenewendo, Lulu Shabell, and Jumoke Oduwole, discussed their experiences being the first women to hold their positions. A few of their key reflections involved not being afraid to chart their own path and the value of finding a mentor early in their careers.
In honour of our theme, daring to dance, at our penultimate plenary session, we got everyone dancing as part of an experiential session on teamwork and leadership. Participants were split into groups and tasked with using pre-selected songs to choreograph a dance to depict one of five themes: resilience, humility, compassion, courage, or vision.
Our final plenary discussion with Patoranking, Isaac Oboth, Virginie Dias -Tagnon and Marcia Ashong, delved into the opportunities for collaboration among Africans. Through their different professions, they reminded us that whether you are a hit musician, a filmmaker or working in the corporate space you need others to help you on your journey.
Our White Party was one for the books. We danced to old and new hits and sang with Dr Sid and Patoranking whose live performances convinced our bodies that their rhythmic abilities were top-notch. With every joyful recollection of old-time pop lyrics, every bold attempt at the circular gwara-gwara, and every group smile captured by the click of a camera, we made history, redefined fun, and celebrated ALN for 10 years of progress, impact and inspiration.
After a jam-packed three days, we closed off ALN with a relaxing and joyous Farewell Brunch. We left with our hearts full and minds watered by the most engaging gathering of African leaders and change-makers. Indeed, we left to continue blazing a trail on our continent, a continent for whom the African Leadership Network exists.
With so many new perspectives on current situations unfolding on the continent, by the end of the weekend, Katleho Mohono, Consultant at The Catalyst shared:
“ALN has left me asking, ‘Who am I when the music stops?’”
The ALN Gathering only happens once a year and ALN 10 was a once in a lifetime event, but every year ALN generates enough inspiration, big ideas, and connections to catapult us into action and sustain us for the entire year. Dare to dance and keep moving.
We hope to see you at ALN next year!