Since 1990 Andrea Coleman has led the development of the award winning social enterprise, Riders for Health. In collaboration with Barry Coleman, she has shaped the growth of the organisation to a position where it operates in seven countries across Africa and improves access to health care for over 21 million people.
My Definition Of Success | Success is very hard to define. You can have milestone successes but complete success would mean, for me, that the issue of well-maintained transport to enable predicable delivery of health care to rural Africa was a ‘done deal’. We are not there yet.
Has your definition of it changed over the years? My view of success has changed. At one time I thought it meant the minor victories on your path to the ultimate goal. No reason not to celebrate them but they are not success.
I Am Driven By | Injustice.
A Key Talent | First see answer to question one as I am not sure that I and Riders have yet been successful. I like people. I think it is important, when building a network on which our organization stands that you can build relationships, value the relationships and build trust with the people who support you and your work. So: build networks, be trustworthy, communicate. Remember that relationships and partnerships are not built on only thinking about what you want but about what the other person or entity wants and needs. Try to hand over what you do to people who have better qualities, skills than you have yourself. Help others succeed. That is good leadership.
The Characteristics Of Success | I believe that my stamina and persistence have been the strongest. I like to communicate and it is important to communicate. Just because something is in your own head – some knowledge, some success, some failure, some good news or bad news it doesn’t mean everyone who needs to know has access to it. Communicate it. Share it.
Principles I Live By | Be honest. It’s hard to be honest. If you have made mistakes it hard to reveal them. But people like to know that others make mistakes, have learned from them and will not make them again. I makes people trust you and that has the greatest value.
Dealing With Doubt | I doubt myself continually. But I always have conviction that the decision I am making has to be made and no one else will make it. I think self doubt is important. It keeps a check on you. If you never have self doubt you may be too confident about your actions and decisions and that can be dangerous. Negativity is bad. You just have to keep believing and keep going.
Performing At My Peak | I don’t always perform at my peak. I get tired and frustrated. Time with my family makes me get a better perspective. I go walking with my husband and that is refreshing.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | The advice I received was not to try to do Riders for Health. That it couldn’t work and that it was a waste of time. I am so glad I ignored the advice. It taught me that people who advice you are not always right. That you can make your own judgements. But ask wise people for advise and listen carefully. It may not always be right but it can help you see the strengths and weaknesses of your ideas.
The Legacy I would like to leave | I want to leave behind a sustainable contribution to resilient health systems to enable communities in Africa to have access to predictable and reliable sources of health care.