Audrey Mate: Program Manager, Africa, Village Capital
Learning about leadership in student-run organizations, the importance of including peer support during startup accelerators, and working with a management coach to navigate a promotion
In this episode of The Everyday Leader podcast, CoffeeChat founder Chris Suzdak interviews Audrey Mate, a Program Manager for Africa at Village Capital, a global organization that supports entrepreneurs with equity-free grants. Audrey's story is an inspiration to aspiring leaders in Africa and beyond. She shares her experiences in leadership, peer support, and coaching, highlighting the vital role that mentorship and support play in developing leadership skills.
Audrey's journey began when she was 14 years old, and she was appointed as a head girl at her primary school. Her role involved overseeing students from the youngest grade to the most senior and ensuring they performed well academically and in sporting events. Audrey's experience shaped her leadership journey and helped her recognize her potential as a leader. She later joined AIESEC, one of the largest student-run organization, which helped her tap into her leadership potential and become a well-rounded leader. AIESEC's premise was that everyone is a leader and that individuals need to tap into their potential to become great leaders.
Audrey's journey into entrepreneurship began when she joined Village Capital as a Program Associate. She worked on an Agriculture Africa program, where she supported nine startups from across the region. Village Capital's accelerator programs provide equity-free grants and enable entrepreneurs to build social, human, and financial capital while improving their investment readiness. Audrey enjoyed seeing the connections between entrepreneurs and their knowledge-sharing, which helped them learn from each other and improve their investment readiness.
Audrey's transition from a Program Associate to a Program Manager was challenging, as she had to shift her mindset from being inward-looking to outward-looking. She had to learn to manage a team, prioritize tasks, and align herself with the bigger picture. Audrey credits her supportive manager and engaging with a management coach from CoffeeChat as helpful in navigating the promotion. Her coach helped her think through management, executive thinking, and managing the team's personal goals, personal career goals, and the bigger picture.
Audrey's story highlights the importance of mentorship and support in developing leadership skills. It shows that leadership can be learned and developed through practice, peer-to-peer learning, and support from mentors and coaches. Audrey's experiences demonstrate that entrepreneurship can be lonely, and peer-to-peer learning is a crucial way to support entrepreneurs.
In conclusion, Audrey's story emphasizes the importance of mentorship, peer support, and coaching in developing leadership skills. Her journey into entrepreneurship and leadership demonstrates that anyone can become a leader with the right mindset, tools, and support. Village Capital's equity-free grants, accelerator programs, and peer-to-peer learning provide a platform for entrepreneurs to tap into their potential and become well-rounded leaders. Audrey's journey is an inspiration to aspiring leaders seeking to make a difference in their communities and achieve their career goals.