I had just become CEO of Standard Trust Bank and one of the youngest bank CEOs in Nigeria. It was a time of fast-paced change in our industry, and reform-minded policymakers had opened up paths for consolidation and strengthening our sector. Competition was intense – but youth was not a barrier. I owed my accelerated career and successes to two things: hard work and luck, and I know firsthand how these factors are inextricable in success.
My successes – and yes failures – have always driven me to create opportunities for young people.
I believe that our young have the talent and the zeal to transform our world.
This year, the Board of Trustees of The Tony Elumelu Foundation approved the appointment of Somachi Chris-Asoluka, currently in her early 30s, as the Foundation’s CEO, making her the youngest TEF CEO so far. Somachi’s exceptional technical and leadership skills earned her this position, and she is one of the many young people at Heirs Holdings, who every day prove that the youth of Africa are talented, passionate, and hardworking, if given that chance.
A few points to highlight:
- I champion young people who are focused, hardworking, and committed to making a difference in their communities because I have seen first-hand how their drive and determination make things happen.
- More than ever, all of us who have attained success must become role models for the younger generation so that the next generation can learn from our mistakes and achieve even more than we have.
- I believe that prioritising our youth – supporting their dreams and aspirations – is how we can create a sustainable future for the world.
- The greatest success in leadership is leaving a legacy and pathway for the next generation.
- Leaders must focus on long-term goals and succession planning to build a lasting legacy and ensure that long-term success.
As you know, one of my ways of empowering the next generation is through the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. Application is now open to young African entrepreneurs on www.TEFConnect.com. This is your opportunity to impact your country and your continent.
Keep the grind on!
-Elumelu is the Chairman of United Bank for Africa