Thursday, April 29, 2010

Meeting Chilwa Kiliaki

Catherine’s is a volunteer with Cheetah Development since January, 2010

Preamble: Hit it out of the ballpark! That is the email salutation, I sent to Pam Saylor last evening regarding her introduction of the Bike Design Team. My note to Pam Saylor, National Sales Manager, Kurt Manufacturing said:

“Your personal touch -- showing each of your teams unique attributes-- really showed your leadership. Oh, and you are so more than 'in sales’. Thank you for this presentation and all that you do to help Tanzanian's have a better life.”

The Geography Chasm: I meet our presenter Chilwa Kiliaki only hours before her visit with a group that she wanted to meet and that wanted to meet her. She glows. Really. All five feet – and- something of her. And she wore heels. Her African dress was sky blue with a wide gold trim around the neckline; her hair, short and cared for. Lovely. I gave her a hug bending just about in-half to reach her. But the embrace was long and caring; she held my hand afterwards for a bit. Her karma is calm, serene, inviting. She is the first Tanzanian I have met; an impression I will carry in my heart for a life-time.

We traveled quickly to the Doubletree Hotel where Cheetah Board member Danita Bye hosted a welcoming event. Danita was early, asked how she could help, and even brought name tags. Don’t you just love it when important people are motivated to do whatever it takes to create success for others?

Twenty- three people attended the first ever Cheetah gathering to welcome Chilwa Kiliaki. She told her story-born in a poor village in Tanzania and working her way to become a leader of economic policies for the country of Tanzania. Today, she works in the central bank in Tanzania. Comparatively, if they had a Federal Reserve Bank in Tanzania, Mrs. Kiliaki would be one of its leaders. Clearly, a dynamic, brilliant, African leader.

Of course she had prepared remarks, written down in long-hand. Personal, potent, clear.

She captivated us.

The result? She bridged the gap in the attendee’s understanding of why Tanzania, why Cheetah for her and why Cheetah for all of us. Three of her comments stuck out for me:

“Bottom-up is the only way to get buy-in from the villages; this will reduce or eliminate corruption.”

“Cheetah went to the people and asked them what they wanted to do. This is very unique from what I have seen. Others decide what they want to do and then bring it to the people. “

“Getting buy-in first on their ideas will help to ensure long term viability,”

The Take Away: Power words were shared that day by a Powerful Person with Powerful People all motivated to change the world by helping people learn to fish.