AMANDLA! VANGUARD EDITION
Mary Concilia Anchang
Co-founder and Managing Partner, ONAMBELE-ANCHANG & ASSOCIATES LAW FIRM
Executive Chair of the African Chamber of Trade & Commerce (2015 – Present)
Arbitrator of the International Court Of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Trade & Commerce (ICC) in Paris (2006 – 2010)
My Story, Your Inspiration
A challenge I faced was when I failed the university entry exams. Determined to succeed, I relocated to the village to live with my grandmother where I passed the exams and was then admitted to reading law.
I was called to the Cameroon Bar in 1993, and, in 1994, I filed a petition against the Bangui law on Intellectual Property (IP) for accreditation of IP attorneys from member states. Upon examination, I became the first appointed IP attorney. In January 1995, I attended the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration Center launch in Geneva. After attending PIDA training from 1998 to 2001 in Paris, I participated in restructuring the ICC Cameroon Nation committee. I became the pioneer-appointed female African ICC country court member from 2006 to 2010. Having witnessed infighting in the national committee leading to its dissolution in 2014 with lessons learnt and the resolve to succeed, we created the African Chamber of Trade and Commerce (ACC) in 2015.
My advice to women in law is to acknowledge who you are, know your limitations, strengths, and the environment so you can perceptibly project your best self, and oblige people with whom you work with to align with respect. Work on your social skills, adapt, be flexible, and validate your ideas without underestimating your potential. Letting your mind sail into visionary space incites you to explore avenues that may set the pace for others to emulate. At all times, be resilient, be charitable, and make your environment comfortable for others. Challenges, humiliation, and rejection will come from unexpected quarters especially when you want to excel, but vigilance and focus must be your mantra. And the rule that doesn’t fail is, to love one another as you love yourself – this is the best form of security.