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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Isha Johansen on Disruptive Leadership at the Hogan Lovells Global Women's Executive Summit

On Friday October 7th, WCA featured Bosschique, Madame Isha Johansen, President of the Sierra Leone Football Association and Founder of the FC Johansen Premier League club, spoke at the Hogan Lovells Global Women's Executive Summit on the conference theme  for 2016 The Art of Disruptive Leadership . The summit hosted by Hogan Lovells a global law firm, meant to bring top female executives and presidents in one place to grow, thrive, network and learn from each other whilst being inspired by panels, speeches, and networking sessions by women from various arenas of work, ranging from pharmaceuticals, banking, law, philanthropy etc. 

 The  Hogans Lovells GWES Summit was the perfect way to be inspired whilst connecting with some Bosschiques and a powerful program for women in business around the world to explore challenges and issues women business leaders face and propose the way forward. WCA was in attendance at the event as a guest of Madame Isha Johansen, President of the Sierra Leone Football Association who was invited to deliver a the keynote address on the second day of the two-day global summit. 

Madame Johansen spoke on the topic "Disrupting a mans world". Isha Johansen is the first female president of a football association in Africa and second in the entire world. She has blazed the terrain since her reign of the Sierra Leone football association and her commitment strength and passion to elevating Sierra Leone in the football arena, her numerous philanthropic efforts in the community are one to celebrate as well. Madame Johansen delivered her keynote on the second day of the 2 day high profiled event, and were there to share some takeaways to WCA readers.  We share our three takeaways from  her keynote address at the event below: 

1. Be Committed! Do your work and do it well

No matter what terrain she finds herself in one of the main thing we noticed is that Madame Johansen leaves no t uncrossed and no i dotted. Precision and dedication at it's best. Ms Johansen talked about how she started up FC Johansen a football team for inner city youth in Sierra Leone and the success that came with the team. She discussed one of the key successes of her work with the team attributed to the team and "allowing young kids to dream and to have a hope in life". In 2007 with the team she decided to take the boys out of the country for an international tournament in Sweden. Her commitment to take the kids beyond their everyday world, was commendable and shared brilliantly in her keynote. Madame Johansen shared that the kids had the opportunity to go to Switzerland in 2011 and how it changed their lives for ever. Since then FC Johansen thrives as one of the first if not only to achieve so much success globally in winning international games in various young football leagues. 

2. Do the right thing even with or without applause


It goes without say that Madame Johansen has witnessed her fair share of obstacles and challenges working as a woman disrupting a man's world, in the arena of  football. She explained during her speech that when she decided to take on the role as part of the football association, she might have been a bit naive to the challenges ahead, but needless to say the President and global changer has truly superseded the expectations of her work. 

Despite all of the challenges Isha has faced her key messages remains the same stay focused on the task at hand. Ms Johansen talked during her speech about the challenges but steered clear of all of the discrimination she has faced in Sierra Leone simply because that wasn't the focus of the conference. Instead she focused on the fact that "my fight has always been about good governance and transparency in Sierra Leone". Following the recent trials she faced in Sierra Leone Isha has remained poised focused and undisturbed and setting the key leadership example that in trials and even when no one around you may be cheering you on, continue to persevere. 

This spirit is what we believe has garnered Madame Johansen the global platform, accolades and presence that she has to date. The commitment to do the right thing is what has rendered the global community to respect her work and provided platforms for speaking engagements such at Hogan Lovells and others she has been a part of.  With her commitment to do what is right by her work, Madame Johansen continues to stand out and  ranks amongst very high level global leaders and officials rendering an effortless global applause towards the work she has done. 

3. DISRUPT the mundane and create innovative paths to solve solutions 

Madame Johansen has continuously set trends in football from being the first woman in Africa to be the president of the football association to growing a global brand for herself. From features on major platforms such as the Guardian , New Africa woman magazine, the BBC and here on women change Africa, to speaking at high level Fifa events, we believe this is just be beginning for Madame Johansen and can't wait to see her next chapter unfold.  

During her keynote Madame Johansen talked about her decision to run for president of the Sierra Leone Football  Association "I threw my hat in life has never been about being a woman and feeling sorry for myself, so I went in and the men could see it coming,  I was out to disrupt it not in a negative way but I was curious about it". 

She explained during her keynote that she felt she had done something substantial and stood a chance to win particularly with her work with FC Johansen, having a winning football team for young boys, taking youth out of the country to play for the first time to European teams and  bringing boys from Norway to Sierra Leone, whilst showcasing the power of football and bringing cultures together. Johansen explains that "I saw a group of men talking and nothing tangible to show. I challenged them by saying this is my walking billboard what have you done?" She explained calmly to the audience very self affirmed  "and I won unopposed". Madame Johansen is definitely winning, soaring and disrupting the global scape and we continue to cheer on the Bosschique that she is. 

We hope you are just as inspired about Madame Johansen as we were hearing her speak on her work and her journey.

To read on our past interview of Madame Johansen and to find out more on her work click here: 
WCA's Bosschique(ism) Interview Isha Johansen

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