“AWEC is a game changer.” This was a common refrain in the Zoom chat box during the AWEC Virtual General Assembly, held during the week of March 16.
A Virtual Pivot
The inaugural AWEC General Assembly was initially designed as an opportunity to convene current and former participants to deepen their connections and develop their business skills in practical and applied ways.
However, to ensure the health and safety of our community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we transitioned to a virtual event facilitated by video conferencing.
Already accustomed to video meetings and remote collaboration AWEC community members embraced the pivot to an online-only event with flexibility and understanding. AWEC cohort members and alumnae actively engaged over the course of the week, posing thoughtful questions to panelists, perfecting their pitches in small group sessions, and celebrating their peers’ achievements during a virtual year-end celebration and awards ceremony.
Pushing the Limits of Distance Learning
Among some of the most well-attended sessions were the alumnae-led Masterclasses – interactive and practical workshops designed and facilitated by members of Cohorts 1 and 2. Topics spanned a variety of functional areas including digital marketing, human centered design thinking, and building team core competencies. Expertly-led by Yemi Adenuga, Atinuke Babatunde, Rehema Bashir, Desiree Joule-Adam, Oluwaseyi Kehinde-Peters, and Kimani Purity Wanjiru, attendees learned new skills, shared resources, and engaged in lively conversation.
This cooperative spirit was also apparent during small group Pitch Workshops hosted throughout the week. In groups of six and facilitated by AWEC staff, participants had the opportunity to deliver their one-minute business pitches, solicit feedback from the group, and pitch again after incorporating feedback and recommendations from their peers. Throughout the 75-minute session, many participants noticeably improved their pitches, thanks to the actionable feedback their peers provided.
Hugs and High-Fives…From Afar
In addition to serving as an opportunity to learn from and connect with fellow AWEC community members, the Virtual General Assembly was also a celebration of the members of Cohort 2 completing their program year. Founder and CEO of AppsTech and AWEC Board of Stewards member, Rebecca Enonchong, provided remarks during graduation, offering advice and wisdom on being a woman entrepreneur, especially in the face of the current global challenges. She told Cohort 2, “If anyone can harness their skills to thrive, not just survive, in this troublesome time, it’s African women.”
The resilience of Cohort 2 was already on display with 81% earning their Certificate of Completion, a 3% increase over the previous year. Each woman who earned this certificate was acknowledged during the closing celebration, alongside several cohort members who were awarded specific recognition for the following achievements:
- AWEC Brand Ambassador Award: for embodying the values of AWEC throughout the program both within the community and in the broader world
- Ramatu Ibrahim, Pure Garment International Limited
- Cheswa Vwalika, Mobile Medical Services
- Cooperative Award: for openly sharing her knowledge and expertise to support and enable the growth of her fellow participants
- Yemi Adenuga, SHEROES Global
- Felicia Mensah, CMH Spring-Forth Business Solutions
- Impact Award: for applying the knowledge she learned over the course of the AWEC program year to make major change in her business
- Resilience Award: for her consistent commitment to AWEC and her business over the past year despite person and professional challenges
- Tuji Chizumila, Rita’s Etiquette
- Timi Edwin, CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative
- Champion Award: for pushing the AWEC community and even the AWEC staff to improve and expand our efforts by encouraging her peers and by raising new and innovative ideas to the management team
- Community Builder Award: for going above and beyond the requirement of one Peer Review to consistently complete several high quality Peer Reviews month in and month out
As the members of Cohort 2 transition to the AWEC Alumnae Network, we want to congratulate them on this achievement and celebrate a year of hard work, commitment, and resilience. As Rebecca aptly put it, “I know that we have a larger army of women with the skills to impact their communities and the continent. The AWEC army has grown today.”
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For more highlights from the General Assembly, check out the #AWECAssembly tag on Instagram and Twitter.