Fredelene Elie is a faculty member at USB Executive Development (USB-ED). Her areas of expertise include coaching, communication, diversity and entrepreneurship. She says: "My work in Africa is really my passion. I meet the most amazing people on the programmes and I am always struck by their eagerness to learn, to engage, and to improve themselves and each other."
What has been your toughest leadership challenge?
"My toughest leadership challenge has been to address an issue that was blatantly wrong and that went against my core values. I had to engage in difficult and courageous conversations about this issue at the highest levels of the organisation and not lose my cool. Despite the difficulties it brought about I had to hold everyone accountable. I was not prepared to be complicit in a matter that violated the very same values that the organisation claims to embrace."
What is the toughest leadership challenge businesses face today?
"To remain relevant and agile amidst a sea of disruptive forces, and to inspire their people to dig deep and to be their best for the world."
Who inspires you and why?
"I am inspired by anybody who perseveres and who makes it against all odds, as well as people who triumph in adversity. The current roman catholic pope, Pope Francis, is a pope of the people for the people. His humility and reconciliatory nature, and the way he reaches out to everybody, not just roman catholics, makes him a true servant leader in my opinion."
What is the most valuable teaching you have received from a student to date?
"It was more in the form of a question: 'In the age of professor Google, why should students sit in a class and listen to faculty?' This question inspired me to always bring my A-game.
What attracted you to work with USB-ED?
"I was attracted to the strong brand, quality assurance in terms of content, customisation, faculty screening, and value-add to the client."
What career advice would you give yourself looking back to when you first started out?
"I would tell my younger self to live in a parallel universe - to pursue as many things as you want. Life is not linear. Time and tide waits for no man. Fail and fall as many times as you need to, but always move forward."
What book have you read recently?
"Hit Refresh, by Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Do you have a slogan that you live by?
"'Give your best to the world', 'slay in your lane', and 'live and let live' are my favourite slogans."