I was selected to be part of the Leadership Samoa Program 2014 intake with the objective to create a network of emerging and future leaders of Samoa. My journey, along with 15 other promising members of the 2014 class has begun. I must say, it is challenging, interesting, multi-coloured and resonating. Our first session was about- what it is to be really be a leader. Is it a special characteristic that one possesses or can everyone be a leader? The answers were different, vibrant and mostly positive. Leaders are fearless in the face of opposition, they are compassionate as well as humble, loyal, loving and so forth. There are many attributes and processes involved in leading and there are many types of leadership.
I have been a leader for as long as I can remember. In Sunday school, primary school, college, university, church, organizations and in the workplace I have held leadership positions. Most of the time I was placed there by a vote or a decision, under no fault of my own (
I try and not get noticed when a vote is up). Maybe they liked my ponytails in primary school or my skinny legs in high school, no matter the reason, responsibility is no fun but it forces you to grow! Leaders have an aura around them that is sometimes unexplainable, I don't have this aura. To me, leadership is having a few or many believing in your vision and are willing to work with you to achieve it. Sometimes, the leading vision align with the vision of many so in achieving the main vision, the vision of many follows suit. This is but one part of leadership.
One such visionary leader is our very own Prime Minister. When it was first announced that our tiny island will host the first United Nations conference to be held in the Pacific Region, bringing 3,000 delegates to Apia on the first week of September. you can almost hear the panic, heart flutters behind some of the concerns. How much will it cost? How will we do it? Do we have enough rooms? Can we even do it? This government is mad! Our Prime Minister raised his hand and said "Yes". He said that Samoa is committed to facilitating a successful outcome of the conference and will do everything to ensure the meeting is enjoyable. He hopes those visiting will get to experience the world famous Samoan and Pacific hospitality (Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi,2014)
Right now behind the scenes, our people on the committees, sub-committees and all other catalytic committees are scrambling around like ants to get things done, sorted, signed off, approved and polished. We are pressed for time as always as there is much to be done. There are only a few weeks left and we must not despair. The key to pulling this off is co-operation, communication and a lot of action towards the same direction. We may be small and scattered, working in our own little corner but together we are a thriving force. The ocean after all is made up of tiny drops of water and when it speaks, we listen.
"Many drops make a bucket, many buckets make a pond, many ponds make a lake, and many lakes make an ocean"
This conference will be showcasing our unity or lack thereof. Samoa might not have this chance again and so regardless of what we think, we should stand together with one accord to prepare ourselves. We will be exposed and the world will put us under the magnifying glass, will we not be proud Samoans when we pull it off? When we tell our children, yes we were part of that vision and for one week, the world saw Samoa. Like other leaders before us, we too must stand out and take risks!