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Ed’s note: Raising the bar for leadership archetypes

What do you want your legacy to be? The answer to this question is the driving force for many in leadership positions.

Among the famous legacy-makers is the late civil rights activist Dr Maya Angelou whose memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings changed the literary world and opened doors for African American authors and women.

Her prominence became worldwide, and people turned to her words for guidance such as when she said: “Together, we may be able to plan a less painful future. Separate, we can only anticipate further ruptures and deeper loneliness.” She was not to know how apt these words would be today.

It seems that planning for a “less painful future” together is at the heart of the leaders featured in the 2021 African Power & Energy Elites publication, perhaps due to the pandemic. These profiled personalities openly share their stories, challenges and hopes for the future.  

Among the profiled leaders is Joan Chahenza, a renewable energy finance professional at KenGen in Kenya, who wants her legacy to be to positively impact people’s lives, especially those who are less privileged, to be her legacy.

From her interview, it is clear that Chahenza has a solid plan. She wants to make a lasting change in Africa’s energy landscape by creating progressive policies that create stable regulatory frameworks, facilitating financial flows into energy infrastructure development.

My takeaway from her story is that your talent can get you to places of pre-eminence, but your character will keep you rooted in that position.

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Another personality that stands out for me is Adedoyin Adele-Fadipe, the CEO of Central Electric & Utilities Ltd in Nigeria. It can’t be easy keeping a utility financially stable during the pandemic as electricity usage is down and non-payment on the rise.

This CEO connects with other leaders to learn about the trends they follow to understand their perspective; showing that planning the future does not mean limiting your views to within your organisation.

Adele-Fadipe wants her legacy to be that the team’s work impacted communities, however remote, to the extent that lives transformed for the better.

She points out that this rapid innovation era offers us the ability to explore solutions that enhance and optimise assets – irrespective of challenges.

There are many more interviews and project profiles to read in this year’s African Power & Energy Elites, such as the one from Conlog.

I was drawn to the quote from the metering firm’s CEO, Logan Moodley, as it speaks to your standing in the industry and not your job title. He said: “The team’s curiosity drives innovation, and as a Conlogian, you are surrounded by experienced and well-respected engineers.” 

In the vein of Dr Angelou’s message of creating a future together, Moodley explains that Conlog’s knowledge pool includes every client the business has served or continues to serve globally.

What an inspirational leadership legacy this is to aspire to! I’ve bookmarked the publication to read through all the articles and I can recommend you do the same.

The 2022 nominations are now open to all projects and leaders in the African power and energy value chain at both regional and global levels in several categories. Don’t delay in reading this year’s features and filling out your nomination form.

Until next week.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
Nicolette is the Editor of ESI Africa print journal, ESI-Africa.com and the annual African Power & Energy Elites. She is passionate about placing African countries on the international stage and is driven by the motto "The only way to predict the future is to create it". Join her in creating a sustainable future through articles and multimedia content.