The Bridge Leadership Foundation (TBLF) on Saturday 25 July, 2020 held its tenth (10th) Annual Career Day Conference albeit virtually on the theme “The Global Economy: Adapting to the New Normal”. Occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference which usually gathers over 6,000 young people from across Nigeria in Calabar, Cross River State for a transforming experience held ONLINE. The Career Day, over the last 9 years has had over 61 speakers from across Africa and 31,300 participants addressing issues that bothers on leadership, education, youth unemployment, community development, innovation and sustainable development.
The conversations at the 10th annual career day bordered on the need for a global transformation and mind shift required for nations, businesses and individuals to function sustainably in a Post COVID-19 world. Ranging from economy, policy and politics, education, agriculture, and business growth; to finance, technology, global markets, health and the creative industry; an array of renowned thought leaders and industry experts took turns to shed light on the theme of the even, helping the online audience make sense of it all.
Speaking at the event, The founder of The Bridge Leadership Foundation, His Excellency, Senator Liyel Imoke, remarked on the importance of the foundation’s work as it continues to evolve and provide the platform for young people to actualize their potentials irrespective of the challenges, times or seasons by adapting and adjusting accordingly to the challenges of the time. He said, those who will survive this revolution are those who can adapt, adjust, rethink and redesign their approaches and ideas to the problems faced on day-to-day basis.
Prior to the founder’s remarks, Mrs Yvonne Fasinro representing the members of the Board of Trustees of the foundation in welcoming everyone to the conference, nuanced the importance of leaders to continue to build bridges that will help young people make the transition to creating better opportunities and outcomes for their lives.
The lead speaker at the event, Mrs. Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, Managing Partner, Sahel Consulting and Founder, LEAP Africa speaking on the theme of the conference hinted that our challenges are majorly health, economic, social and emotional related. She said that while COVID-19 had pushed us into the 4th economic revolution, Nigerian youths are credible and resilient and can be more productive if given the right support and accountability matrix to function. As part of her recommendations, she recommended that adult literacy training should be fast incorporated into our religious communities. Mrs. Nwuneli also called for a broad-based collaboration to empower children to read, appreciate life, have hope, and create community centers where young people can learn and get equipped.
Also, Fela Durotoye, CEO, Gemstone Group spoke on the topic leading in uncertainty. He mentioned that there is a need to find the courage to do what is necessary and build the resilience that is required to get the desired results in spite of any challenge or crisis. He also encouraged career professionals to build their capacity and possess the right work attitude that will increase the chances of keeping their jobs or works.
Discussing on the topic “New Decade, New Economy, New Solutions were Naadiya Moosaje – cofounder of women in engineering based in south Africa, Hamzat Lawal- founder of connected development and Yomi Williams – founder of Gartner Callaway Group of Companies all made remarkable contributions on skills development, policy and women inclusion, good governance and politics, and sustainable agricultural growth along the value chain respectively. The panel discussion was moderated by J.J. Omojuwa who remarked that covid-19 is fast tracking us into the future.
Other speakers at the event included His Excellency Peter Obi, Mitchel Elegbe, Tonye Cole, Alibaba, Ubong King, Thelma Ekiyor, Saudat Salami, Babajide Ipaye, and Bukky Asehinde who in honoring the foundation on her 10th Career Day celebration returned as speakers and made valuable contributions on the role of governments, businesses, youths, religious institutions, and individuals on leveraging the opportunities and gains of the covid-19 crisis to improve social and economic wellbeing of people.
The foundation’s commitment to tackle the challenges of the next decade as it continues to build generations of transformational leaders was made known in it’s plans to establish The Bridge Leadership Institute which when completed will serve as an equipped establishment with the right mix of resources to groom a cadre of young people that are ethical, equipped and competent to lead themselves and others. The Foundation called on all concerned individuals, organizations and partners to join the quest to realize this goal.
The 10th Career Day was supported by NorthWest Petroleum and Gas Company, Dangote, Lilleker, Levene Energy, Stanbic IBTC, and Ben Akak Foundation. Media partners at the event were Business Day Nigeria, Hit 95.9 FM Calabar, FAD FM Calabar, and Inspiration 92.3 FM Lagos.