From the heart of Swaziland — a small African nation ruled by a monarchy — Regent University School of Business alumna Naomi Chitambira ’17 has been busy drawing together a diverse group of leaders to affect a change for more than just her own nation.
This summer, senior leaders, executives, and middle management professionals from various organizations and businesses attended The Executive Leadership Forum (TELF) in Malawi — a conference that provides attendees training on how to become better managers, team coaches, and, most importantly, leaders.
Chitambira works as a leadership consultant along with her husband. She first started hosting TELF in Swaziland in 2016.
The two-day summit includes speakers, workshops, and breakout sessions on leadership and coaching both teams and individuals.
“The most valued [aspect] of the summit is the practical application: that you don’t go motivated and only inspired, but you go equipped to apply [principles],” said Chitambira.
“Usually, we’ve got at most two speakers or three, and [for the third one] we always have a local speaker telling their story,” she said. “With the spirit of engagement, leaders share their experiences.”
TELF has also grown each year, and Chitambira hopes to expand from holding it in Swaziland and Malawi to Bostswana and Zimbabwe as well.
She considers new organizations moving into Swaziland as a gauge of the effectiveness of leaders in her nation.
Coaching different teams, regardless of their size and level of importance to an organization, Chitambira said she drums up inspiration from the simple fact that she has an opportunity to serve.
“I’m always thinking of, ‘Lord, how do I serve them the best?’” she said. “With that which is within me, can I reach out and dish it out to this team?”
Her desire to serve is a spurring motivator that lies at the heart of her vision to “develop African leadership beyond just inspiring people.”
“The drive for me to take the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership [degree program] has been bigger than what I am and what I can do,” said Chitambira. “It has always been about the African continent.”
Chitambira considers her studies at Regent as a first step in uncovering a clearer vision for her life. While working toward her degree, she started telling herself, ‘This is who you really are. You’re bigger than who you thought you were; your vision is bigger than what you thought you had.’
“I felt like I’m being transformed,” Chitambira said.
This fall, she’ll return to her studies at Regent in pursuit of a doctorate in strategic leadership.
“To me, learning has to do with application. Learning has to do with transformational change,” she said. “The marriage between knowledge and faith and transformation that we experienced as students stood out … I don’t think anything surpasses that.”