10 Best CEOs to Watch 2020
Founded by Christine Reidhead in 2019, AfrikRising is a leading non-profit that focuses on feeding the starving children of Africa. Since its inception last year, the organization has taken some long strides to achieve its goal of feeding every hungry mouth on the continent.
In this issue, we are recognizing the noble work carried out by Christine. She has led the company from the front and we wanted to know more about how she plans to achieve her goals through AfrikRising.
In conversation with Christine Reidhead, CEO of AfrikRising:
Why are you working in this industry?
I love giving back. It’s my passion in life. I feel there are so many people in this world that need help. I can honestly say that, we’ve been blessed with a good life, why not give back to help others improve their lives and accomplish their dreams?
Life is all about helping others. And, it’s so much fun! Nothing is better than seeing smiles on children’s faces as you serve them. That’s what makes it all worthwhile. There are so many things in my life that I am grateful for and feel really blessed with.
What do you hope to accomplish within the next year?
I’m hoping to start a trade school in Nigeria, Africa. This will allow Africans to help Africans. There is so much poverty, yet to attend school is very expensive. AfrikRising wants to start this school to allow students to attend a trade school at a reduced rate. Upon graduation, they have the opportunity to find work and provide for their families.
Tell us who or what has shaped who you are?
Growing up, my family was really competitive! If you wanted to survive you had to fight. This is something that has been instilled in me.
Attending high school at Benson, Arizona, and being around such a great community was also key to my development as an individual. They treated me very well throughout my childhood. I had so many people in my life I admired that helped build that foundation.
Then, becoming a mother has given me a different perspective on life. It teaches you to be unselfish and provide the unconditional love for your child. It’s a great experience to watch your children grow up and learn the lessons of life.
I currently live and work on the Navajo Nation, which has encompassed the last ten years of my life. It was a culture shock at first, but has been such a tremendous experience and has taught me to love the people, respect the people, and value their culture and traditions.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time, I’m usually hanging out with my sons, working on a new book, AfrikRising, or traveling to Mexico. I feel I always have to have a side project, aside from work, or I’d go crazy. I love working. I love progressing. I try to always do things that stretch me intellectually outside of my comfort zone, because that’s where real growth happens. You have to embrace things that scare or intimidate you and make you feel uncomfortable.
What is your greatest fear?
Probably, my greatest fear is associated with my children. I want to raise them where they become great men. Men who will become exceptional husbands and fathers. I yearn for them to be successful in life and hope they’ll have learned the love of serving and giving back.
An organization needs leaders to disrupt the status quo with innovation, but they also must be pragmatic about focus, priorities and the pace of innovation in their organization. Do you agree?
Yes, leaders need to be visionary and develop innovative projects others haven’t begun or haven’t fully achieved. Realistic priorities and focus do make for a great recipe; however, to be innovative, projects usually fall within the “think outside of the box” scenario. And, with technological advances at our fingertips, most organizations have the ability to build a firm foundation to progress technologically.
What other CEOs and Entrepreneurs do you look up to, and why?
I look up to great humanitarian leaders, such as, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela. These are people who have brought change to all nations, and humanity. They’ve dedicated their entire lives to serving and helping others. These leaders brought hope to so many people across the globe. And, have accomplished miraculous things and events that many others haven’t.
Tell us about the decisions and experiences that influenced who you are as a person.
I was an athlete growing up playing basketball, volleyball, tennis and softball. I then went on to play basketball in college. Life has its way of testing you, as a little over ten years ago, I found myself single with two young boys, with one still in diapers. I had no work experience and a two-year degree. At that moment, I decided to go back to school, against all odds, but found that it was the best decision I made. Nothing came easy for me. I’ve had to work very hard to get to where I am in life. It has been a struggle and very humbling, but I feel that this path has shaped and molded me into the person I am today. And, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Meet the Visionary
Christine Reidhead, CEO
AfrikRising is her brainchild which brought to fruition her childhood dream of helping the people in Africa. She is an entrepreneur who has dedicated her life to serving others. Under her leadership, AfrikRising has become the go-to platform for those looking to help children across Africa and address the hunger problem in the continent.
"I can honestly say that, we’ve been blessed with a good life, why not give back to help others improve their lives and accomplish their dreams?"