By Divine Muragijimana

It’s not everyday you meet a woman who just makes you want to become a better you. Even if you know you’re a hustler, there are people in your life that will just push you, by essentially being rock stars, to become a better and more excellent version of yourself. One of these people is Sophia Bekele, CEO of DotConnectAfrica.

As a female leader, there is no greater indication of achievement than the validation of other women who have charted paths of success. So it’s no surprise that I have become such a great fan of Sophia. To this day I have not been able to think of the right words to describe my experience with her. I met her once and it is an encounter that I will never forget.

The minute you meet her it’s hard not to be impressed by her. She is a woman who is so comfortable in her own skin that she freely extends this magnificence to others. Unlike many of our “social media made” Young African Leaders, Ms. Bekele seems to make sure that she makes a genuine connection with everyone she meets. So don’t be surprised if she asks you questions like “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” when you do have the honor of meeting her. A true champion for women in Africa, she believes that women have many gifts and talents that should be utilized. In a recent speech at the CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium, she said the following about the potential of African women:

“Women represent over 50% of the African continent and they have many gifts and talents that are not utilized, so over 50% of the continent’s talent is unaccounted for. [The rates of] women entrepreneurs are rising and statistics show that, in the next 20 years, most businesses will be owned by women. When the struggle for African freedom, identity, and self-reliance is considered, the focus is often on the brave and courageous men. Little attention is devoted to the African women who made vital contributions in the fight. Empress Taitu’s contribution to governance and nation building is unequaled from her male counterparts. I have come to know the famous name of the Capital city of Ethiopia, “Addis Ababa” – namely New Flower – was named by her. Historically African women have been the pillar of strength throughout Africa and the Diaspora. Without examining the contributions made by African women throughout the ages, the full story of the African experience and struggle cannot be told.”

Sophia lives what she preaches. A trailblazer determined to bridge the digital divide in Africa, she is changing the internet Domain Name Service space through her work with DotConnectAfrica.