Leaders don’t become inspirational just by the job title. They should have the ability to push people to great heights of performance and success and to demonstrate the qualities employees will follow by choice—passion, purpose, listening, and giving meaning to their role.
Ever since Christine Reidhead was five years old, she had this dream of helping the people in Africa. She was passionate about serving others. She wanted to be a part of making this world a better place, improving children’s lives and providing them with an opportunity of a better future. This nonprofit organization, AfrikRising, provides them the platform to accomplish great things, to serve the starving African child and address the hunger in Africa. “I’m excited to guide AfrikRising to amazing heights and really make a difference in this world.”
In chat with Christine Reidhead, Founder and CEO
Q. What are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader?
I think one of the biggest values in a leader is vision. Leaders need to have the vision of where they see the organization now, and in the future whether it be within the next year, five years or ten years. Also, commitment, integrity and no sugar coating of things as you deal with tough circumstances and work through things within your organization. I feel I am knowledgeable and articulate, prompt and nonjudgmental. I know my audience and whom I’m dealing with. If the task requires a group of people, I feel I can work with just about anyone that will put forth the effort.
Q. What is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength is compassion for others in need. I am very goal driven. I set goals for myself that help me stretch my knowledge and skills that are realistic and doable. I am excellent at following through with what needs to be done, which could be considered an advantage when working with a group of people.
Q. What do you like about managing people?
I believe it is important to work through issues together as it brings out the best in everyone. I feel others have great skills and strengths that I don’t have and feel everyone on the team is a great strength to the organization. I value their skills, abilities and suggestions, and that plays out as a positive reinforcement for everyone involved.
Q. How would you go about getting cohesion among a team who disagree?
I feel the contribution of others brings strength to the organization, with like-minded people coming together, and then gradually mending those disagreements. Most of the time when there is conflict it usually involves lack of communication or misunderstanding. Most people are passionate about their opinions and feelings, but if we come together and have an open mind to see both sides, we can usually work through anything. Most of the time, most people just want to be heard and respected. And, by listening to them and respecting their input, they usually feel they are an important part of the team.
Q. How do you motivate your team?
We are all passionate about the work we do. There is no better feeling than helping those in need, so it’s important that we are all on the same page helping those all around the world. It is also a great way for the team to gain experience and develop new skills that will help them in the workforce. For many, our dealing with global issues or challenges is new, therefore, by being included we are given the opportunity to expand our own horizons.
Q. How do you get others to accept your ideas?
It’s important to remain open minded and have everyone see the big picture. We bring decisions to the board meeting and everyone has a voice. We work through our ideas and come up with projects and decisions as a group. Everyone has a say in decisions. Everyone brings something positive to the table and doesn’t get overlooked.
Q. What significant changes did you bring to the organization?
This organization was developed by several minds wanting to make a difference. What I brought to the table was my leadership and work ethic to make our vision a reality. It was a group effort from the beginning, but I had to follow through and develop the organization from scratch, which took time. I get along with pretty much everyone; I love people and care about their wellbeing. I love to be challenged, particularly, in the work I do for others. And, by being challenged, I’m pushed to doing things outside my comfort zone, which I feel is a good thing.
Q. How do you set an example to your team members?
Mainly, by my actions and work ethic. When you deal with an international organization you work a lot in the middle of the night, so sometimes you’re working around the clock. Therefore, by working at odd hours of the night, I can focus on tasks that require my immediate attention. I share a lot of what I’m working on with the team to try to get everyone’s input or feedback.
Q. How do you achieve your targets in the fast-paced environment?
By staying abreast of every aspect of my job and responsibilities. In such a small organization a lot of things don’t get done unless you do them yourself. Just buckling down and meeting all the things that need to be met. I also set strict timelines for myself, and the majority of the time the tasks get done.
Backdrop of the leader
Christine Reidhead is an avid seeker of knowledge and a zealous humanitarian who shares an incredible passion for the art of serving the community. Serving as an advocate of education, she aims to enlighten the lives of underserved communities. Christine wants to ignite a positive change among the masses through her passion for community service and the love of sharing others’ life stories.
She is a proud mother of two wonderful boys and strives to be an inspiration to all. Christine presently serves as a Business Professor, Department Chair of Business, Faculty Vice President and Project Manager funded by the Department of Transportation Grant.
She is the Founder and CEO of AfrikRising Nonprofit Organization. Christine is the author of Get That Job! ACE Your JOB Interview – Every Time! and Best Study Habits!