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Opinions of Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Columnist: Maxwell Adombila Akalaare

Just dare to dream and be different

To say that the Springboard Roadshow, an annual nationwide career and personal development tour, has impacted positively on the lives of the nation’s youth is an understatement.

It is, in fact, a critical component of the national developmental effort to empower a new crop of emerging leaders and youth in the areas of entrepreneurship, savings and investment culture and emerging technology as economic enablers.

Underpinning all these will be the continuous emphasis on strong values in the quest to raise values-based leaders committed to building a good society.

The Springboard Roadshow is the brainchild of executive coaches Rev. Albert Ocran and Mrs Comfort Ocran. Over the past nine editions, the roadshow has grown to become the nation's biggest career and personal development platform.

Students, young entrepreneurs and graduates across all regions of Ghana participate in the annual event which involves career guidance, one-on-one mentoring and training workshops. Millions are reached indirectly through related technological, media and social interventions birthed out of the roadshow.

This year marks the 10th edition of the roadshow, which will be on the theme: “A Decade of Transforming Lives,” showcasing the success stories of some of the alumni of the roadshow over the years.

The 2016 edition, which will be a reunion of alumni, is expected to start from Sunyani on 27th January and end with the Grand Finale in Takoradi on March 9, 2016. The National Convocation is slated for Accra on February 27, 2016.

Among the many lives the roadshow had touched were Mrs Petra Aba Asamoah, the General manager of Delta Airlines' GSA, and Mr Joe Adams, a sanitary products distributor in the country.

To mark the maiden edition of a new series, 'Dare to Dream,' on the weekly motivational talk show on Joy FM, the two shared their life-changing experiences on how the Springboard Roadshow set them on a path to achieving their dreams after inspiring them to their current positions in life.

Petra's rise

Mrs Asamoah rose from the position of a national service person in a company where she joined as a front executive and rose to become General Manager, with oversight responsibilities over sales and ticketing reservations of the company’s operations in Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire.

While emphasising that hard work and commitment to pursue her goals played a key role in her successful rise, she said her decision to imbibe and work with an inspiration she got from one of the messages from the Springboard Roadshow played a significant role.

She recounted in 2008 when she attended the second edition, under the theme: 'Making Every Day Count,' where the various speakers charged them to take concrete decisions and actions that would make meaningful impacts on their lives in the years ahead.

For someone who had just been moved to sales and ticketing reservation, an area she had virtually no experience in, Mrs Asamoah said the charge at the seminar to strive for excellence in every endeavour was profound.

Mrs Asamoah then recommitted to hard work and excellence, believing that only such tenets would get her to excel in life and in her career.

"I am sure what followed next is now there for everyone to see and I am even striving harder to succeed," she said on the show.

Beyond the seminar, she said she also bought books written by Rev. Albert and Mrs Ocran, and other authors, which, altogether, helped to develop her for the tasks ahead.

Financial freedom

Prior to 2014, when Mr Adams came into contact with the Springboard Roadshow, he said although he knew the direction he wanted to go in life, he realised he lacked a certain spark.

That spark came when he encountered the roadshow, where the Chairman of investment advisory firm, Omega Capital, Mr Kwesi Amonoo-Neizer, recounted how he gained financial freedom after returning from abroad to set up his own businesses.

Inspired by that life story, Adams – then a national service graduate – set out on the path of entrepreneurship, with a goal to being financially independent.

He took to the distribution of baby diapers, tissues and other sanitary products, while keeping in touch with his mentors through reading of their books and listening to their coaches.

Although he said he has not gotten to his destination yet, he said he had, within the short period, accumulated some funds, which he would not have been able to achieve if he stayed as an employee.

He thus charged the youth to take their future into their own hands by putting into action whatever they dreamt about and aspired to do.