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People + Serendipity

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

Torchbearer: Rediate Tekeste. Ethiopian-American.

Torchbearer: Rediate Tekeste

Profession: Advertising & Sr. Brand Director; Founder, Ethiopia Diaspora Fellowship

"There are certain situations that you're in and it doesn't feel great. So I ask myself - why am I here and have I gotten what I need out of the situation?"

Rediate's magnetism is infectious and seeing her move up in the advertising & brand industry seems inevitable. Obviously, she knows her stuff. She's also a leader that has grasped with her own self-awareness and how it presents in the working world. And you all - That. Is. Rare.

Early in her career journey, she spent time in her home country of Ethiopia to reground herself in her culture - and those months at home were significant. So significant that she wanted to give others the opportunity to reconnect with their roots. She created the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship to connect young professionals from the Ethiopian Diaspora to Ethiopian organizations. With many of them choosing to stay in Ethiopia.

Then as a senior brand director, she has been part of launching advertising campaigns with eBay, Google, Microsoft, SheaMoisture, Tommy Hilfiger and the documentary Girl Rising. Her accomplishments give you chills; please don't let her modesty fool you!

As we know too well, doing amazing work doesn't always equal knowing that you're good at what you do. She reflects on how working in a fast paced industry doesn't give you the time to pause and reflect. Therefore it took her a few key moments to sit back and fully understand her "it" factor.

That reflection also comes with acknowledging that being a black woman in her position is rare. Like many of us, she has searched for examples of leaders to glean tips as she navigates new (sometimes very white) spaces. When she finally had the opportunity to examine her own leadership style, it shifted how she approaches work and personal life.

"You can't lead from a place of emptiness."

On This Episode

In our podcast episode we talk about:

  • If "Mad Men" is really what the advertising world looks like

  • Working with creatives - balancing client and team expectations

  • The moment she won her biggest pitch and the confidence it gave her

  • Why it's important to work through your emotions and triggers as you grow in leadership

  • Deciding how much energy to give to work

  • Giving Ethiopian-Americans an opportunity to reconnect with Ethiopia

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