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Archive for January, 2019

Service is a global pursuit!!

Dr Anita Davis-DeFoe: Service to all mankind

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DR ANITA DAVIS-DEFOE

Service to all mankind

Dr Anita Davis-DeFoe is a busy woman. She’s a career and workforce development expert, a business thought coach, CEO of the Global Cottage, a consultancy organisation assisting people in building their impact, a speaker and trainer, social entrepreneur and author. Through all of this, she uses her 20 years’ experience to motivate, coach, inspire and transform women and organisations around the world.

‘Growing up, I was always involved in community and human development projects, and that intensified during my college education. My sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, is guided by the motto ‘Service To All Mankind’ which has always resonated with my heart and spirit.’

Dr Davis-DeFoe speaks globally at conferences, retreats and seminars to inspire and transform people, processes, programs and places and believes it’s crucial we focus on empowering women in particular.

‘I was a director of an alternative school in the US Virgin Islands, and far too many girls—and in some instances, their mothers as well—were faced with challenges for which their resiliency skills were in short supply. My late father was a city councilman and I helped him implement a range of projects, which led to me expanding my work in personal development. I was asked to conduct a special group for girls in high school as they were facing self-esteem and confidence problems, fear and bullying, and struggling to overcome abuse and abandonment.

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By strengthening girls at an early age, by the time they reach young adulthood, they are more self-assured, and have better emotional intelligence and resiliency skills. They can then nurture a healthy relationship with themselves, enabling them to have healthy relations with others. In the absence of these core life management skills, women flounder, making poor career and relationship choices.’

As well as her programs, Dr Davis-DeFoe has written a rites of passage curriculum for girls called Soulful One: For Girls on the Pathway to Greatness, as well as books on leadership skills and soulful living.

‘I’m proud of the books I’ve written. When you educate and strengthen women, it uplifts the family and the community. There is something referred to as the “Girl Effect”, noted as having an economic development impact. The research states that women reinvest 90 percent of their income in the family, while men invest just 30 to 40 percent. Females nurture the next generations and if a woman’s wellness is compromised, it is extremely difficult for her to nurture her children.’

From girlhood to womanhood, Anita’s teachings and words of wisdom are here to help. The Circle of 99 Women’s Network sees women from all around the world work as solutionists to lead programs and projects uplifting women, families and communities, while A Woman’s Guide to Soulful Living: Seven Keys to Life and Work Success and Follow Her Lead: Leadership Lessons for Women as They Journey from the Backroom to the Boardroom inspire women in work to reach their potential.

And she’s pretty proud of what she’s doing for people around the world. When asked what she was most proud of in her career so far, Dr Davis-DeFoe found it difficult to answer.

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‘I am always proud of any opportunity to serve and add value to individuals and organisations. I am proud of the opportunities to conduct leadership and social entrepreneurship training in places like Nigeria, Ghana, Switzerland, Thailand and India. If forced to pick one thing, it would be writing millions in grant proposals that supported a wide range of human development and quality of life projects that help youth and families in need.’

In honour of her global human development and social entrepreneurship work, Dr Davis-DeFoe was named the first Woman Chief by the ITAM CLAN in Abwu Ibom State Nigeria in 2012 and was awarded the African Leadership Award from Voice Magazine in 2014. She wants people and organisations around the world to recognise improving access to opportunity for women is desperately needed.

‘Women face wage disparity, career advancement challenges, sexual harassment, questions about their ability to lead, and a tremendous amount of self-doubt. Women need support such as mentoring, skill building, and mastermind groups that serve as mentoring groups enabling them to gain personal confidence as they pursue their chosen career or entrepreneurial pathway. Improving access to opportunity for women is much needed as this can serve to reduce generational poverty and improve quality of life.

Today’s workplace globally requires a different organisational culture if an enterprise is to remain competitive. Gallup reports that employees are only 30 percent engaged, which is a bit scary when you think about organisational productivity and my mentor, international leadership guru John C Maxwell, states that everything starts and ends with leadership.

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Visionary leadership is a blend of solid management skills, innovative thinking, and an ability to inspire a team to be mission and goal driven with the leader equipping them to see how they each contribute to the attainment of the same. Women by nature are born with the skills to be leaders; skills that leadership coaches work to elevate in their clients. Too many women think they have to emulate the leadership style of a man to be effective. This is not the case: men tend to be transactional leaders—I pay you, so complete the task—while women are the transformative leaders.’

It makes sense then, to work on boosting women’s leadership skills and supporting women to the top. But reaching your ultimate potential is more than just being a good leader: you need to live soulfully.

‘Soulful living is living one’s life based on your own definition of success, personal fulfilment and responding to your calling.’

Dr Davis-Defoe’s top tip?

‘Work to identify your calling! Discover your personal passion and purpose, and the area that ignites your soul to work with a spirit of excellence. When you discover and recognise your gifts and talents, you will persist no matter the challenges because you enjoy what you are doing. Live authentically, live soulfully through introspection, vision, faith, courage and resiliency.’

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