Head of Host Country Relations/Privileges and Immunities, African Development Bank (AfDB).
As head of the Host Country Relations/Privileges and Immunities team at the African Development Bank (AfDB), my job entails negotiating host country agreements, engaging with senior Government officials, members of AfDB Senior Management and staff. Frequently, I am one of only few professional women sitting at the negotiating table. This is quite challenging in Africa, particularly in diplomacy, which is male-dominated. I succeed in my work because of the resilience and confidence that I honed at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. An international student then, I became the first African student to serve as Teaching Assistant for the Legal Research and Writing course (2 years). Despite a heavy African accent and “funny” pronunciations, I effectively assisted First Year Law students in legal writing and techniques of research, thus gaining the trust and respect of faculty and students. Since then, I confront every challenge and work to overcome it. Never think you do not have a place at the table because you are a woman. You will face many setbacks because of the "old boys" network effect in the modern workplace. Nevertheless, you should "wear your pants" and stand tall, despite these challenges. The doors will open when people start appreciating your professional expertise and your resilience.