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Opinions of Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Columnist: Georgina Asare Fiagbenu

If I were a participant of Springboard

Georgina Asare Fiagbenu, author Georgina Asare Fiagbenu, author

I am always excited when it is time for the Annual Springboard Roadshow. It is the biggest and longest-running motivational platform for students and emerging leaders. Its consistency cannot be questioned. It has been organized without fail for the past 12 years.

MTN has been a lead sponsor for the past 11 years, joining a year after it was started.

The roadshow normally takes place in all 10 regions and runs from January ending to March. For several years, the key note address for the last event which is held in Accra, is always given by Pastor Mensah Otabil, General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church. Called the grand convocation, it is always over-patronized and students usually troop in their numbers. Many are always eager to listen to what the Rev Minister and Church Pastor has to say.

For sure, there are always compelling and thought provoking statements that he drops and which usually sparks off some development discussions. Last year’s was an interesting one, with the Pastor doing an analysis of VUCA and what it means. The analogies and imageries that were used were interesting and in attempt to illustrate one of his thoughts the Rev Minister spoke about the pounding and eating of fufu.

That sparked off some discussion on social media. I wouldn’t want to go over it. The big deal for me and many other people, was about how we need to compete in a volatile, unpredictable/uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. He spoke about Innovation and creative thinking and fast-tracking the steps to development.

This year, I am not sure what he will speak about but I know for sure it will be socially and economically relevant and will challenge people into greatness. This is not to say that the other speakers don’t do a good job. They always do, for, the speakers are carefully selected each year. The only thing is that there is always a high point or climax to every event and Rev Otabil’s speech is always received with great anticipation.

I have always had a special interest in Springboard and so does the company I work for. The CEO of MTN Ghana, Mr Ebenezer Asante, now Vice President for South East Africa and Ghana is an avid believer of Springboard. The contribution to human development, knowledge and skills acquisition is important and that is why many people believe in it. The opportunity for networking is always there and that cannot be discounted. Hearing the life stories of the various speakers are amazing and they always come in to either validate your own story or highlight your unique belief in an issue.

This year’s Springboard roadshow is different. Instead of 10 regional events, there were four zonal ones. The idea was to leverage on the advantages of digitization and to give more people the opportunity to join the conference digitally from anywhere in the world. There is a colloquium after each event and the speakers formed a panel to enable them take questions from the participants. In this day of technology, there couldn’t have been a better way of encouraging and securing more participation. The live broadcast for the Tamale event was initially assessed by thousands of people and participants had the opportunity of sending their questions to the speakers via social media.

This year, I attended as a Speaker in Tamale where this year’s Roadshow started. Like a river that has its source from the mountain top, the excitement will flow from the north through to middle belt and land in the Central region. The last city will be Accra, which will close the roadshow with all the momentum it can gather.

For students and young people who attend the event, it is a time to not only listen to great presentations, but a time for memorable experiences called the “Wow” moments. These are the announcements, selection and presentation of special sponsored gifts that are given out.

Saturday’s “WOW” moment in Tamale saw the presentation of a brand new laptop from Ecobank, two phones, 100 cedis airtime and Mifi from MTN and a 1000 and five hundred cedis investments from First Bank and Databank respectively. The screaming, shouts, applause, drama and excitement that accompanies the “WOW” moment is unimaginable. To a student who wins a prize, this is perhaps one of the greatest moments of their lives.

In addition to the atmosphere of excitement, all three presentations from Comfort Ocran (Springboard Hostess), Gillian Hammah (Group CMO, Databank) and I were very well received. It was a good feeling to influence people positively.

I enjoyed each of the presentations. I started off the event with a presentation on Strategy whilst Comfort spoke on Technology. Gillian spoke about Wealth Creation and Rev Ocran came to wrap it up with his keynote address. With his five strategic questions and the case study of the United Airline's guitar story we all left the conference fully loaded and motivated to be the best we can be.

With the Tamale conference already behind the organizers, the stage is set for the Kumasi zone and I am confident that it will be exciting too.