A Year of Gratitude, Growth, and Surprises: Reflecting on 2023

Abraham Akpan
4 min readDec 31, 2023

The year 2023 has been nothing short of a remarkable journey, filled with challenges, triumphs, and unexpected blessings. As I sit down to reflect on the past 12 months, a wave of gratitude washes over me, for I am still standing despite the hurdles life threw my way.

The journey began with a divine message echoing in my mind — “With your five loaves of bread and two fishes, you shall feed nations.” No elaborate sentences or complex agendas, just a simple yet profound sentence that set the tone for the year ahead. I grappled with the magnitude of its meaning, attempting to envision the manifestation that awaited me.

Tech4Dev Triumphs

A significant source of gratitude lies in my incredible team at Tech4Dev. Leading a core team of 13 individuals and a faculty of 200 instructors, presented its own set of challenges. At the start of the year, I shared my vision through an email, outlining our journey for the year. Looking back at our impact report now, I am astounded by the strides we made, entering new countries and reaching over half a million Africans in a single year. Witnessing team members securing prestigious fellowships across Africa was a sweet testament to our collective efforts. The Women Techsters Initiative is currently Africa’s largest Women in Tech Program and this year we reached over 100,000 Women and Girls in fifteen countries across Africa.

At the orientation of the Women Techsters Fellowship Class of 2024

Milestone Achievement

Two years ago, I embarked on a personal quest — pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Juggling a demanding 9–5 job and the rigours of academia tested my resilience. Moments of doubt crept in, yet with unwavering support from my managers, Damilola Teidi-Ayoola and Diwura Oladepo, I emerged with distinction. My research on the impact of digital financing on smallholders promises insights for the future, eagerly awaited in publication.

In another milestone, I also got to attend the Lagos Business School for a certificate program for Senior Executives in the Non-profit space.

At Lagos Business School

Global Recognition

The year also unfolded on a global stage, with invitations to speak at various prestigious events.

Sometime this year, I attended an event where I was one of the guest speakers at a closed-door, invite-only event and as I made my way into the hall. I met someone in the Tech industry (I am trying not to be petty when I describe this experience) who stopped me as I walked through the door and asked me- Are you meant to be here? (now that I think about it, I am laughing my guts out) to which I responded confidently, “I am meant to be here!” The laughter that followed now brings a smile to my face. Gratitude extends to those who entrusted me and my brand to represent on various local and international platforms.

Mentors and Classroom

This year, one thing I was intentional about doing was giving back in the best way I knew how and I was glad to support 10 founders as a mentor during the GET accelerated Cohort 2. I also had the opportunity to teach Human Centre Design to students at the University of Lagos (I loved doing this and I can’t wait till I become a visiting professor!)

With other coaches in the Academy

The Art of Showing Up In 2023

I discovered the power of showing up, even on the toughest days. A candid snapshot captures a moment of resilience, sleeping in a hospital lobby for three days, yet waking up each morning with a determined spirit. Life’s storms revealed an inner strength I never knew existed. Support from newfound brothers, reminiscent of my father’s close-knit friendships, added a layer of warmth to my private world.

In the closing week of 2023, my family welcomed a new member — a bouncing baby boy! While details remain private, I share this moment of joy with those close to me.

Anticipating the Future

As the year draws to a close, I stand on the brink of new possibilities. Stay tuned for exciting announcements in the coming year as I navigate uncharted territories. In the coming weeks, I will be announcing a new initiative that will herald my focus for the year 2024.

In essence, 2023 was a tapestry woven with threads of gratitude, growth, and unexpected joy. As I turn the page to a new chapter, I carry these experiences as badges of resilience and optimism, ready to embrace whatever the future holds.

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Abraham Akpan

Human Capital Development|Innovation|Programmes| Mandela Washington Fellow