Raised by his brother who was a motorcycle taxi driver, Lepilali struggled to complete primary school because he could not afford the school fees. Lepilali was later awarded an Asante Africa Foundation Scholarship, allowing him to finish secondary school at the top of his class. Soon after, he attended the Leadership Incubator and was inspired. He shares his experience on how it has changed his perspective on his future.
What does being a leader mean to you?
Being a leader means having a dream, goals and plans toward achieving them. Afterward, one can direct or guide others within the community to achieve their own dreams and goals. But being a leader doesn’t always mean being a head of something, like a President, minister, Captain, headmaster/headmistress, etc, it also means the good actions one takes within their community. I believe if you can think critically upon a problem within the community and come up with a good solution instead of running away from it, then you are a leader. Because of this, anyone anywhere can become a leader.
An important component of the Leadership Incubator is the concept of ‘Paying it Forward’. What do you think about that idea?
I think it is important to pay it forward because it will make great positive changes within the community. For example, after I attended my first leadership Incubator by Asante Africa Foundation, I went back to my school and shared what I learned with 5 of my best friends. And as time went, I increased the number of students I shared with to 3 per weekend. By the time the end of term exams came about, I had shared with almost 100 students and for the next two terms I shared my knowledge with 150 new students, making a total of 250! Then I realized and saw some positive changes from the students day to day.
Secondly, paying it forward will improve one’s experience and become more confident. Another wonderful example is that before I attended the Leadership Incubator, I did not know what to do or what I wanted to become, and I had very little confidence in myself. But after receiving leadership training, participating in the workshops at the Leadership Incubator and as I started to pay it forward, I realized that I had become more and more confident. So as you pay it forward you will become very confident and clear about your goals. Last but not least as you pay it forward you will receive as much back, because paying it forward is giving help and as much as you give help you will receive as much help.
How has participating in the Leadership Incubator changed your outlook?
Before I participated in the leadership Incubator, I was not sure about what I wanted to become. I had a dream that kept on changing day to day; initially I wanted to become a pilot but that dream was not from my heart, it was just because I had heard that as a pilot I would be paid a lot and so I would become rich. Another dream that I had was to become a judge, but also this was not from my heart. Still, another dream was to be a doctor, this is likely to come from my heart but I was not sure if I could become a doctor. So my brain was always confused. But after my first Leadership Incubator experience, I was no longer confused. After the second leadership Incubator, I began sharing with my friends about my dreams. Hence, I believe participating in Leadership Incubator made my dreams clear and visible, it made me confident and made me know my strengths and weaknesses. I also improved my academic performance because I got encouragement and advice from career and entrepreneurial speakers at one of the workshops.
From the Leadership Incubator I learned about how to overcome challenges or obstacles along my path. Participating in the Leadership Incubator changed and widened my perspective on my goals and dreams.