Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, HBS MBA Class of 1999, was named one of the Global Leaders for Tomorrow and was honored at the recent Davos World Economic Forum. I exchanged e-mail with Ndidi and asked her to answer some questions for our readers.
The Harbus: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
NON: My life’s goal is to create wealth on the African Continent by promoting entrepreneurship. I founded Leadership Effectiveness Accountability and Professionalism (LEAP) Africa, a consulting, training and coaching organization that is committed to building management capacity in Africa (www.leapafrica.org). Prior to establishing this organization, I served as the pioneer executive director for the FATE Foundation Nigeria, a nonprofit organization that promotes business development and entrepreneurship among Nigerian youth (www.fatefoundation.org). I also worked as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, Ford Foundation’s West Africa Office, and the Center for Middle East Competitive Strategy.
The Harbus: Who are the Global Leaders for Tomorrow?
NON: In 1992 the World Economic Forum developed a special community called “Global Leaders for Tomorrow” (GLTs). The community, through its programmes, aims to create and engage a global network of young business and non-business leaders, dedicated to working together in areas of social and environmental development and entrepreneurship.
The Global Leaders for Tomorrow represent the new generation of leaders who are “global” in terms of their accomplishments and potential.
They are young but proven leaders from business, politics, the arts and civil society. The members of the GLT community demonstrate a commitment to addressing issues beyond their immediate professional interest. GLTs are global decision-makers already holding positions of considerable influence and responsibility. Each year 100 outstanding international leaders from business and society are selected by the Forum’s Management Board.
The Harbus: What are selection criteria?
NON: There were four main criteria for this year. The candidates should:
* have been born on or after 1 January 1966
* have already achieved a position of considerable influence and responsibility
* have demonstrated leadership and commitment in addressing social issues beyond their immediate professional interest
* have demonstrated a commitment to the principles and objectives which guide the World Economic Forum
The Harbus: How did you enjoy Davos?
NON: Davos provided me with a great platform to meet amazing individuals from across the Globe. I was inspired and challenged by many of the other GLTs, specifically some of the women who have begun the process of shattering the glass ceilings in politics and business in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. I also enjoyed the opportunity to engage in debates and dialogue about the current state of our globe and important role that committed and transparent leaders in the business, nonprofit and public sectors can play in effecting positive change on society.
The Harbus: Any words of wisdom for the current generation of HBS students in this tough economic environment?
NON: 1. Find your passion and “calling in life” and pursue it with vigor…financial success will follow!
2. Consider the opportunities that exist and the impact that you can have in the “social sector.”
3. Visit the African continent, and reflect on the opportunities that exist for wealth creation in this very diverse and wonderful continent.