Leadership • Advocacy • Education
“The biggest problem in Africa today is not AIDS, poverty, disease, education, or urbanization; the biggest problem is LEADERSHIP. When moral leaders with integrity and justice arise, then Africa’s problems will be solved.”
Dr Douglas Carew, the late Vice-Chancellor Africa International University.
Suzanne F. Stevens, President & Founder of Ignite Excellence Inc., was among a group of businesswomen who heard this message when she spent two months working with women leaders in Nairobi, Kenya, in January 2007.
In addition to being affected by the harsh realities of life in Africa, Suzanne heard the cry from many of the leaders of tomorrow – the Africa International University students. They needed to learn how to develop persuasive presentation skills in order to raise funds and influence positive change. As a result, Suzanne has travelled to Kenya on extended visits donating time and training the Ignite Excellence Presentation Excellence Program. She shares her skills required to influence leaders, communities, students, and the government ultimately elevate their communities, country, and continent.
Suzanne has coached many post-graduate students to raise both awareness and funds for a variety of initiatives. The initiatives close to their hearts include:
- Teaching people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo how to farm
- Getting commercial sex workers off the streets
- Bringing other leaders to their schools
- Improving the school system
- Feeding their families nutritiously
- Educating orphans
- Lobbying to build homes
- Taking responsibility for Africa and its actions
- Creating awareness of injustices
- Eliminating political up-rising
The list goes on…
Many of these initiatives are being led by women.
These issues, along with the realization that one of the best investments in Africa is investing in Women as Leaders, were the catalyst for creating the YouMeWe Foundation fund (previously Ignite Excellence Foundation fund). This fund was created in April 2008, in collaboration with the Tides Canada Foundation (now MakeWay Foundation), to fund the development of women leaders here in Canada, as well as in developing countries.
On Canadian soil, the Ignite Excellence Foundation has previously donated to the Frontier College Foundation‘s Women in University – Mentoring Through Literacy Program. This program supports the training and mentoring of 100 female university students, recruited from 30 universities across Canada, as Volunteer Literacy Tutors to help improve reading and writing skills of children in low-income communities across the country.
The Foundation’s initiatives include:
All funds donated to the foundation go to:
- Providing Tertiary scholarships to women in Africa – YouMeWe foundation (previously the Ignite Excellence Foundation) along with key members of the community/or university select a woman in financial need who has the desire and ability to fill a social gap where her goal is either to provide economic empowerment to members of society or social activism promoting one of the thirty human rights. The foundation’s goal is to invest in conscious leaders, who have demonstrated leadership in some capacity and who can envision creating a plan that will cause a positive ripple effect to hundreds or thousands.
- How to qualify for scholarships? Prospective recipients need to fill out an extensive application form and be interviewed prior to selection. There are many other criteria considered in the selection process.
- Recipients: As of 2016, YouMeWe foundation (previously the Ignite Excellence Foundation) has funded 26 girls through higher education. Some Scholarship recipients
Investing in a woman’s education in Africa is the best opportunity to mobilize the community, country and continent.
Previously funded initiatives:
- Improving literacy in Canada
Other initiatives supporting the vision, but funded by the Suzanne F Stevens and Michael K Gingerich, founders of the YouMeWe Foundation Fund.
- Educating future leaders – Wisdom Exchange TV, a web-enable platform where women leaders all over Africa share their successes, challenges, and strategies for the benefit of other African women to learn, lead and succeed. Being watched in 77 countries, half of which are African.
- Providing leadership training & Inspiration– Suzanne F. Stevens is the founder of YouMeWe Social Impact Group, a social enterprise working with small businesses on how to make their contribution count for them, their organization, and the community. Suzanne empowers leaders to gain support, inspire, and act to fill social, cultural, and environmental gaps. The reward? Attracting, engaging, and retaining colleagues, customers, and collaborators. Suzanne has worked with various organizations on five continents to provide her intellectual property in person or through her online training (igniteU.ca). Keynote Speaking & training
- YouMeWe – Make Your Contributions Count for you, your company, your community – Suzanne F. Stevens has been inspired by the pioneering African women she has interviewed for WisdomExchangeTv.com. She along with her partner (Michael Gingerich) are working with organizations to attract, recruit, and inspire multi-generational workforces by participating in the youmewe movement and incorporating the values associated with it. To find out more visit: www.YouMeWeMovement.com or www.youmewe.ca
Book now Available: Make your contribution count for you, me, we.
An evolutionary journey inspired by the wisdom of pioneering African women.
Make your contribution count imports pioneering African women’s guidance to navigate how the West can integrate African cultural ethos, where we takes precedence over me. Pioneers who have endured many unimaginable circumstances harness their feminine energy to transform how to lead, contribute, consume, and structure organizations to have a social impact in their communities and beyond—sustainably.
Be transported through 17 African countries and 70 interviews along with the author, Suzanne F. Stevens, and her husband, Michael K. Gingerich as they backpack through a timely social evolution. Through real-life adventures, international research findings, practical strategies, and reflective questions, the author will take you on a journey to live your most meaningful life.
Donating – Donating will mobilize future women leaders across the African continent, and have a positive influence on social injustice.