Alumni from the past cohorts were elected this year to be a part of Women LEAD’s Nepal Board.
On October 31, 2015, alumni from each of Women LEAD’s past four cohorts packed a small hall in the Leadership Development Training Academy (LDTA). Despite the ongoing petrol crisis currently affecting Nepal, more than 35 girls from across the Kathmandu Valley arrived in their most professional looking attire for the day.
The event? Women LEAD’s 3rd Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Women LEAD’s AGM is a yearly meeting in which all of Women LEAD’s general members gather to hear and approve the organization’s financial reports and organizational updates that have occurred in the past year. Women LEAD’s co-founder and Director of International Operations, Claire Naylor, also presents important updates from the previous year.
This year, however, included a special twist that only happens once every two years. This year the AGM was tasked with electing a new Nepal board. The Nepal Board, which serves for a two-year term, is an integral part of Women LEAD’s success. During their term, the seven board members have a major say in the direction and growth of the organization in Nepal, hold significant fiduciary responsibilities, and act as representatives in the community.
Women LEAD is unique compared to other youth-focused organizations in that it includes a participant-led board in Nepal. We also have professionals from various backgrounds serving on our board of directors in the U.S. who continue to strengthen our organization with their expertise and guidance. Each board member in Nepal is mentored by their counterpart in the U.S., in line with Women LEAD’s emphasis on the importance of mentoring.
Being elected to the Nepal board is no easy feat. All candidates running for a position on the board needed to participate in a two-hour Question and Answer panel and discuss why they believed they were the best candidate for the position. Each candidate gave one-minute opening and closing statements in front of their colleagues and answered question after question in an attempt to court their vote. To present their best pitch on the election day, each candidate attended a mandatory three hour election training and prepared extensively for the main event.
Samikshya, a 2010 alumni who ran for vice president, reflected on her experience. “This was a new experience for me… I felt good that day that everyone’s eyes were on us. Everyone was listening attentively while we were answering the questions,” she said. “I learned about the election process [by running for the Board]. I had to prepare myself mentally first to run, but asking for votes was fun.”
Ultimately, the candidates’ hard work and dedication to the board elections made it easier for general members to decide who would be the best individuals to represent them for the next two years.
“I had someone in mind that I was thinking about voting for, but after hearing the Question and Answer Panel it became more clear to me who the best candidate for me was,” says Pratibha, a 2013 alumni and general member. “The candidates spoke their mind [during the debate] and it became easier to choose which candidate I believed would be the best for Women LEAD.”
The 2015 AGM elected seven individuals to serve on the Board: Aishwarya (2011 LEADer and Mentor) as President; Rajina (2010 LEADer and Mentor) as Vice President; Sophiya (2011 Intern and Mentor) as Secretary; Anoushka (2013 LEADer and Mentor); Rasina (2010 LEADer and Mentor) as Treasurer; and Sujata (2012 LEADer and Mentor) and Praju (2013 LEADer and Mentor) as Members of the Board.
With the AGM behind them, the newly-elected board is looking to the future of their roles—and the organization.
“I am proud to declare that I was elected as Treasurer of [the Nepal Board], says Rasina. “Now it’s time to fulfill these responsibilities with passion and dedication.”
Rajina, who joined Women LEAD’s pilot program in 2010, is excited about what the next five years hold in store for the organization.
“I am a part of the 2010 batch [of LEADers]… and so much has changed up until now. Today we have our first batch of managers, engineers, and other young professionals. In the next 5 years I want Women LEAD to expand and reach more people. I want to see LEADers expand Women LEAD in their own definitions, in their own sectors.”