In Rotary women become leaders through service – Frances Omanukwue

Rotarian Frances Omanukwue is the newly elected President, Rotary Club of Abuja Federal (RCAF). In this report, ENE OSHABA writes on the passion of the vibrant young author, event coordinator, and social entrepreneur, who has used her platform to create over 1,000 job opportunities for young women in order to make them self-reliant and independent.

The beginning

The Rotary Club of Abuja Federal was specifically set up for young professionals, and was successfully charted by the Rotary International on October 26, 2015, with 20 members. It has since had six presidents with Rotn. Frances as the 7th of the club.

Call to service

Frances had her investiture as president of the club on August 5, 2021. A position, she earned through hard work and passion to serve and impact lives in the society.

The Rotary President, through her work as an author, event coordinator and social entrepreneur uses her platform, The Pro Event Hostess Hub, to provide capacity building, soft skill acquisition, and job opportunities in the event industry for young women and girls.

As a result of what she does, over 1,000 event job opportunities have been provided for young women and beneficiaries have used funds earned to support and sponsor themselves in school, learn a trade and start a business of their own.

Inspiration

For Frances, the Rotary club was the opportunity and platform to serve; solve world problems while learning and networking with like-minded individuals; hence her decision to join.

She has served in various capacities from the the inception of the club in 2015 making her win the Rotarian of the year award two times.

Speaking on her recent investiture as the 7th president of the club, she described the opportunity to serve as an honour and means of sharpening her leadership skills more.

This is as she disclosed that as she grows in her career whenever there was a need for her to step in and drive the affairs of things even outside the club she was open to be of service.

“It is an honour to be the President RCAF. It comes with its challenges but I am excited to go on this journey as it will test and refine my leadership skills.

“I became a Rotarian in 2015 and I was among the charter members of our club (Rotary Club of Abuja Federal). Since becoming a member I have served in various roles: Chair Community Service Project (2015-2016); Club Secretary (2016-2018); Club Chair and Secretary Rotary Family Health Days (2016-2017); Director Community Service Projects (2018-2019); Polio Chair (2019-2020); and currently Membership Chair/President Elect 2020-21,” she explained.

According to her, “Handling each of these roles not only gave me the opportunity to serve and impact lives, but it also equipped me with various skills that makes me a better person each and every day, thereby preparing me for the current position I am in at the moment.”

Leadership

As women continue to canvass for more leadership positions at all levels to enable them contribute their quota in national development, Frances has rather urged them to build their capacities to make them qualify easily for positions. She, however, noted that more women than men have served as president in the club.

“There are still a lot of leadership positions that women should be allowed to handle but then again, while our society develops to that level, I will advise every woman both young and old to keep working on themselves and seek out opportunities that prepare them for such roles and not just hoping that someone will drop it on their laps.

“I was elected based on years of experience as a Rotarian and being able to deliver on assigned roles in the past “smiles”. But nevertheless, Rotary is an equal access organisation, so it does not matter if you are a man or woman, you can serve and be a president.

“It will interest you to know that in the Rotary Club of Abuja Federal history we have more women than men who have served as president of our club,” she disclosed.

Making impact

With the wealth of experience in the event industry, dealing with diverse individuals, and being able to develop a good interpersonal skill, Frances has said she intended to harmonise the club and enable them achieve their goals in this Rotary year.

“Our goal this year is to make more impact by providing scholarships for school children, equipping mothers to be able to provide for their family, reducing period poverty by providing hygiene packs for young girls in the underprivileged communities we adopted.

“We plan to achieve this by partnering with individuals and organisations that are passionate about these causes. We will be mostly ensuring that our generation understand Rotary, maximise its versed resources and make the best out of it.

“Rotarians are volunteers who use their connections and expertise to take action and solve problems in their communities and around the world,” she added.

According to her, “If today, Nigeria has been declared Polio Free, it is the hard work of Rotarians all over Nigeria who donate their time, talent and treasures to ensure the polio vaccines are administered to children all around Nigeria even in hard to reach communities.

“Apart from our polio milestone, because of Rotary, some Nigerians have been able to access scholarships to go to school in both Nigeria and abroad, have access to good, functional primary health care in their communities, access to safe and clean water, good functional toilets, and learn vocational skills just to mention a few,” she noted further.

Giving back

Having achieved a lot as a young woman, she disclosed that her secret to success is the ability of always being open minded to learn, being of service to others, seeking advice and guidance, and learning from people ahead of her such as her mentors and coaches, as well as a lot of personal development training.

She assured of supporting more young women achieve success by bringing to their awareness that they are made for more and should not allow their present situations or environments to make them settle or condition them for less.

She called on more Nigerians, especially young people, to join the Rotary club, encouraging all to see the need for humanitarian services and help less privileged people in the society.

While clearing the misconception that the organisation was a cult she said, “You cannot conclude on a group of people based on hearsay or assumptions. I would ask them to first have an open mind, research on Google about Rotary in case you are scared to visit any of our gatherings.

“If you are adventurous and bold, you can visit Rotary.org to look for Rotary Clubs near you and pay the club a visit (at least most Rotary Clubs hold their meetings at reasonable times and not late at night).

“If you are in Abuja, feel free to check us @rotabujafed and we will be glad to have you in one of our meetings, community projects or social activities. But to clear their doubts, Rotarians are volunteers who use their connections and expertise to take action and solve problems in their communities and around the world.

“It is my belief that change starts with awareness which opens your mind to seek “the how” on how to better or improve your life. Young people should understand that it starts with being clear on what they want and aspire to be in life. Then you seek out people who are living such a life and learn from them either directly or indirectly.

“Also you can join platforms that will give you the opportunity to develop yourself such as Rotary clubs or Rotaract clubs, while on these platforms be willing to be of service and open to learning.

“Most Rotarians already understand giving back to society, that is why in my inaugural speech I called on everyone, not just Rotarians, not to place emphasis on only wealth accumulation but also have a balance and avenue to give back and help the less privilege amongst us.”

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