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June 8, 2015

Leadership picks: Olivia Kirtley, IFAC

By Loukia Gyftopoulou

The news through the eyes of industry leaders. The Accountant asked the heads of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) to select some news stories that caught their eye last month. These were their picks:


Influenced by the female presence in last month’s Africa Congress of Accountans, Olivia Kirtley picked the inspirational life story of a young Massai woman who received a Toronto Women of Distinction award for bringing education for girls to her native Kenyan village of Loodariak.

"During a recent visit to Mauritius for the Africa Congress of Accountants, I had the opportunity to meet with women leaders of the profession throughout Africa to discuss solutions for benefiting from the entire talent pool – both men and women – so the story of Teriano Lesancha resonated deeply," Kirtley said.

Teriano’s life journey is laid down in a Huffington Post article by Anne Theriault, who explains how the young Kenyan woman managed to break through her village’s traditional boundaries, escape an arranged marriage, get an education and start a fund to help other girls do the same.

Teriano was accepted in Toronto’s Ryerson University to their School of Social Work’s four-year degree program, becoming the first person in Loodariak to have received higher education.

To that end, Ryerson University’s president, Sheldon Levy, organised a special convocation for Teriano in her native village, which gained national media attention and was attended by several important dignitaries, including Kenya’s Minister of Education.

The Huffington Post article goes on to explain that during the event Teriano’s father gifted a cow to Sheldon Levy who gifted it back to the community, asking that it be used to help support education for girls.

Teriano’s father and several other elders followed suit, donating a total of sixteen cows that were used to start the Loodariak Ekiteng (Cow) Youth Education Fund, which has since awarded scholarships to over one hundred and fifty girls.

"There are multiple lessons to be learned from Teriano’s story," Kirtley said.

"Diversity and inclusion, quite simply, makes for better business strategies and success. Perhaps the next generation of truly brilliant leadership in science, medicine, business, art, or politics is being overlooked because she didn’t have access to an education and literacy.

"Supporting our peers in developing countries is essential. And we must not only have great intentions, we must act intentionally," she said.

Olivia Kirtley’s picks This Maasai Woman Is Changing the Future for Girls Like HerHuffington Post By Anne Theriault

Read also:Fayez Choudhury’s picksSal Khan: An educational entrepreneur Campden FBBy Bruce Love

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