The first alumnus of the week we are highlighting in this new series is Rabison Shumba, an author, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. Rabison travelled to the United States in September 2011 on an International Visiting Leaders Program (IVLP). At the time, he was coordinating the Greatness Factory Trust, a youth mentorship organization.
The exchange visit took Rabison to Washington DC, New York, Utah (Salt Lake City), Oklahoma (Tulsa) and Illinois (Chicago). In Washington DC, he spent time at the State Department where he says he was amazed at the extent of the U.S. diplomacy operation across the globe, and particularly the African continent. Other institutions he visited included the Tulsa Global Alliance (a volunteering organization), Junior Achievement (a youth development group); Coalition for the American Dream, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; NorthPark University, Bair Consulting, and The Building Community Institute headed by Dr. Clifton Taulbert. “All these institutions built my leadership capacity and Dr. Taulbert has continued to be a mentor to me in my writing to this day,” he says.
The visit to the United States, says Shumba, enabled him to learn “how the various races and cultures work together. I learned mostly to put the communities and constituencies we serve ahead of ourselves.”
“I believe the exchange experience – interchanging with Government officials, the business community, church and various civic organizations – helped build me into the leader I am today” says the motivational speaker.
Through the visit Shumba also had a chance to showcase Zimbabwean cultural heritage and display the peaceful, open minded, and industrious traits of many Zimbabweans while doing so. “I think one of the most puzzling stories for people was my experience running an organization in a nation with record hyper-inflation while striving to keep a balance between making the enterprise profitable and keeping employees happy,” he says.
Flagging the high literacy levels in his home country, Rabison had a chance to speak at a number of platforms and to inspire those he interfaced with to consider Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans in a new light.
Since his return to the country, Shumba has started several mentorship programs; recruited and worked with hundreds of young people. He has written books on leadership, personal success, inspiration and motivation that have impacted thousands of people; young and old. He has conducted roadshows, workshops and seminars in schools, universities and rural communities. He also sits on a number of nonprofit boards. If asked about his contributions, Shumba would highlight his implementation of structured systems of governance in his own organization and his work to heighten the use of social media in building up the Zim economy – both efforts he attributes to his valuable exchange.
Shumba says he would like to return to the United States one day and is keen to visit the Silicon Valley to study how technology can drive economies. “I am interested in mobile applications as well as social media platforms in as far as they can generate revenue for businesses as well as enhance youth engagement across the globe on matters that will take Africa and the world into the next phase of democracy and good governance.” In the meantime, the embassy would like to applaud Shumba’s efforts and impact in Zimbabwe.