Launch of CEO Forum for Oikocredit Partners in Africa
Ging Ledesma, Director of Social Performance and Innovation at Oikocredit
CEOs with a dedication to continuous improvement, a passion for people and an appreciation of the extraordinary challenges of our time, came together online last week to launch Oikocredit’s forum for CEOs in Africa. The launch of this programme comes at a time when it is becoming evident that the situation brought on by Covid-19 is not something that will be resolved in a matter of a few months.
Ging Ledesma, Director of Social Performance Innovation, opened the forum by talking about the rationale for this initiative which has been spearheaded by Oikocredit’s team in Africa: “From the early days of the Covid crisis, Oikocredit has acted to support its partners”. Ging went on to say: “All of us are doing our best to deal with the pandemic and its impact on our operations. The restrictions that we are facing can easily make us feel isolated and alone. For many CEOs these days, it is particularly ‘lonely at the top’ and by bringing the CEOs of our partners together, we hope they have the possibility to reach out to a group of their peers for solidarity and support.”
Feedback from participants at the first session has been positive. “I am thankful for this opportunity which can help us grow in our leadership journey during these exceptional times,” shares one participant. “As leaders, we need to motivate and keep our people hopeful, we need to be visible, keep them engaged and fully informed,” shares another participant. Such a challenge can be draining on a personal level as one struggles to deal with the shock, the fear and the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. According to another participant, “The forum provides an opportunity to show vulnerability, learn and get support from others who find themselves facing the challenge of leadership at this time”.
Beyond the personal support that the forum could provide, participants also saw that the forum had: “The potential to have a stronger voice together, to influence policy and push for industry-led solutions. We need to be inclusive, to be able to win as a team, and harness our voices as a sector rather than as individual institutions”.
The partner CEO forum is a step towards building this vision of solidarity.