Debra Swersky
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Journal

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Oh yeah... Rwanda!

A couple of months ago I (consciously) decided to apply to lead the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) trip for Babson’s Women’s Leadership Program (WLP) to Rwanda. I was accepted, and in just a few days myself and four undergraduate scholars will head to a convent in the Southern part of Rwanda to spend half of our time coordinating leadership trainings for a community bakery, and half of our time teaching entrepreneurship to the students at the National University of Rwanda. We’ll be gone for almost a month. (Yikes!) 

What was I thinking?

First of all, going back to Rwanda to consult and teach leadership and entrepreneurship while launching IDEA for Africa would have been a very difficult opportunity to pass by. Though not directly related to the organization, this trip is in line with its activities. IDEA for Africa is launching to build off of the work that has been done in Ghana and Rwanda to develop social and economic value for those countries through the teaching of entrepreneurship to the high school students. In Ghana we went into the high schools to teach and in Rwanda the students attended a week-long entrepreneurship summit. This trip, for me, focuses more on coaching and mentoring the four undergraduate ladies who I’ll be traveling with as we collectively train others to be leaders and recognize their entrepreneurial potential. The growth, development, and personal transformations of the students who I will be traveling with, and of the people who we will work with in Rwanda, are what makes me so excited for this trip.

But, really… gone for a month… what was I thinking?

Between the pending move, my “honeymoon that never was that is now going to be in July,” my sister’s due date, and the fact that I’m leaving my life in Boston, I’m feeling a bit pressed for time. But, a couple of months ago I knew that this would happen… so the pressure is by design. 

Parkinson’s Law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

I knew that we would be super busy coordinating logistics leading up to the move. I knew that leaving Boston was going to be tough for me. And I knew that I would be eager for the arrival of my nephew. So I planned ahead to further my work in Africa, frontload the logistics, rip off the bandaid, and do something / go somewhere really exciting while waiting for my nephew to arrive. 

Me and Parkinson’s Law, we’re like this [crossing my fingers]. One day I’ll explain how Parkinson’s Law explains why I like startups so much… 

Debra Swersky