Was Maiden Role Model Africa Conference a Success?
I saw the event poster on Facebook and immediately, it caught my attention, perhaps, because I am biased towards the colour red. It was indeed a great design. You see the poster and you know it is the work of someone who understands his craft to details. The relevant information stood out. The theme chosen by Invents Foundation was ‘Doing Business with Integrity’ The event was a Corporate Dialogue. The stage was set.
I arrived at the African Regent Hotel, some few minutes before 3pm, when the program was scheduled to commence. Neatly groomed ushers smiled as they welcomed guests and led you to a seat.
The Keynote Speaker, Michael Ohene Effah was already seated. He had come with his son. The Role Model/Mentor, Dr. Samuel Ofori Onwona was also seated with his daughter occupying the immediate seat to his left. The room was cosy. It smelt good and the interior was inviting. Gosh! We were at the African Regent Hotel. Oh blimey! There was a Live Jazz Band inside the conference room. I feel the goosebumps all over again.
The program commenced at 3:20pm with an opening prayer. Master of Ceremony Samuel Bartels was on point, he exuded an irresistible demeanour. Mr. Bartels seemed to just know what to say, when and how to say it. How he spiced his moderation with doses of his personal accomplishments, without appearing imposing or boastful was masterful, almost impossible to notice actually. Organizers will have a tough time replacing him as MC at their next event. I will love the see Mr. Bartels MC the next season of the Corporate Dialogue. Organizers did well to include a brief session for participants to define who a mentor was and to tell who their mentor was.
The keynote address by Michael Ohene Effah was enlightening yet sensational, and best part was the delivery. It was so artful and showed that he invested maximum time and resources in preparing it. He made reference to Alcinda Honwana, who argued that ‘most young Africans are living in a period of suspension between childhood and adulthood’. Michael then submitted that ‘mentors inspire us to be better and be our best’. In ending his speech, he had some brilliant workable recommendations for business leaders in Africa. You should contact the organizers for the video clip. He ended with ‘This is how we learn; we learn to do by doing’. What an exciting way to prepare the way for Dr. Onwona.
The Host, William Okyere-Frempong, CEO of the HuD Group had the enviable task of facilitating the discussion with Dr. Onwona. He had two things on as usual, his spectacle and his smile.
William took his seat, 45 degrees to Dr. Onwona and at earshot, allowing himself to be taken around the world as we listened to the compelling story of Dr. Onwona’s early life, career and currently his work in God’s vineyard. Dr. Onwona treated the theme of Integrity with practical examples that stole rounds of applause from the audience. The nurse cum health activist cum husband cum photographer Kobby Blay constantly stole shots. Let me confess, I stole glances at the two ladies who sat by me. It was a night of delightful stealing.
Dr. Onwona seized every opportunity to emphasize the importance of Integrity, defining it as ‘what you do when no one is watching’ and he was quick to add that a strong foundation began from Home. I later realised that both Dr. Onwona and Mr. Okyere-Frempong did not even realise the chilled glasses of juice each that was set before them. Anyway…
The Questions and Answers time was enjoyable. Dr. Onwona answered all the questions put to him genuinely. A participant, whom I believe came in late asked Dr. Onwona to give him an example of a time when he exhibited raw integrity in the face of difficulty. The rest of us knew that Dr. Onwona had done more than enough justice to this question in his earlier presentations. At some other events, the Host, Guest or a wannabe MC will throw you a glaring embarrassment, reminding you that that question had already been addressed. Neither Mr. Okyere-Frempong the Host nor Dr. Onwona took that path. Dr. Onwona still answered the question the best way he could. That, for me was a moment of truth. Come on, that is inspirational.
I have left out the Resume of the Guest in this review because I will surely run out of steam, if i attempt that arduous task. Just google him and you will find more than you need to know. Below are two things he said which I will not forget.
‘If you have a dream that looks like an achievable dream, it is not from God’
‘If God were to open up all the things to you what you should be, you would give up’
The meeting closed with Poetry by Braa Kwaku, the worshipping Poet, which came after the Convener Samuel Agyeman-Prempeh, Head of Invents had briefly introduced his team members. Mr. Agyeman-Prempeh received a standing ovation and that was phenomenal. The Author and Social Entrepreneur is one for the future, but hey; do not be deceived by his tenor voice. He is a leader. He makes things happen.
After the closing prayer came the networking session, a favourite of most participants. I made some new friends and clashed into some old friends as well. Overall, I rate the event an excellent one. And it was free too, but there were envelopes for freewill donation in support of Invents. I gladly donated some green ghana notes.
The next edition I’m told is scheduled for the 24thJanuary, 2016. I cannot wait to be there. Do keep your eye on this space. I might be doing a review of your event also.