“LCI puts premium value on capacity building of members. It is a huge investment that prepares office holders to excel.” – PCC (princess) Bridget Adetope Tychus.

“LCI puts premium value on capacity building of members. It is a huge investment that prepares office holders to excel.” - PCC (princess) Bridget Adetope Tychus.
PCC (Princess) Bridget Adetope Tychus, Pmjf, Nlcf.

“LCI puts premium value on capacity building of members. It is a huge investment that prepares office holders to excel.” – PCC (princess) Bridget Adetope Tychus.

In the realm of impactful leadership, emerges a woman of steel whose journey exemplifies service and groundbreaking achievement. Having dedicated her life to various humanitarian causes, she stands as a beacon of inspiration. Breaking barriers, she is set to make history as the inaugural black woman leading several African nations as an International Director for 2024-2026 Constitutional Area 8. Recognized on the global stage, she recently received the prestigious international award as an Ambassador of Peace, a testament to her untiring efforts in fostering unity and positive change.

This woman of steel is none than Lion (Princess) Briget Adetope Tychus, a Progressive Melvin Jones Fellow, a Humanitarian Per Excellence and staunch member of Ikeja Viva L’amour Lions Club, District 404B2 Nigeria. She is a onetime District Governor, when Nigeria had a single District, the pioneer Multiple Council Chairperson of Multiple District 404 Nigeria and also, a Past Council Chairperson. Recently, Lions in Nigeria held an Extraordinary General Delegate Meeting of the Multiple District 404 Nigeria to endorse and certify the candidature of Lion Tychus as the candidate for the International Director for 2024-2026 Constitutional Area 8.

The eloquent but soft-spoken Tychus is a woman with content, an astute Project Manager and Civic Leader with extensive knowledge of humanitarian activities. If you call her a ‘solution provider’, you aren’t mincing words; little wonder she works in partnership with the Government, Corporate Bodies, Media and Community Leaders to provide solutions that deliver value to societies and also enhance Nations.

In this virtual exclusive Interview with LION BLESSING UMEBALI, publisher Brand Matters Magazine (www.brandmattersmagazine.com), PCC Princess Bridget Adetope Tychus, a trailblazer who has left an indelible mark on the global stage, speaks on topical and sundry issues. Kindly read and enjoy.

As the first Black woman being endorsed for the International Director, how do you intend to lead a constitutional capacity with influence over multiple African countries, also how do you penetrate the unique challenges and responsibilities associated with such a significant role?

I thank you most sincerely for this question, which gives me the opportunity to let the world know that I am not on this seat to fly the gender flag. Rather, I am here to work harder than ever. I am here to set standards and work with such decorum to improve on the quality of life of those we serve. In other words, deal with me from the perspective of an International Director who took office, not just to fill a quota, but as one that is poised to raise the bar of excellence. Thank God your profession is such where you talk of “gentlemen of the press. Is there gender in the bar? No, It’s your lordship, irrespective of gender. Remember also that there’s been female directors from other constitutional areas with Africa just joining the league. While we celebrate the 1st female director from Africa, which is undeniable, we must however not let this song becloud the truism that determination, hard work and success, are game cards with no gender.

The ‘B’ part of the question talks about capacity and ability to penetrate the unique challenges and responsibilities associated with being a director. Here, you will agree with me that LCI is a most structured organization guided by constitution and principles to channel pathways for the community of members, irrespective of gender, race, language or interests. You will also agree with me that LCI put premium value on capacity building of members. It is a huge investment that prepares office holders to excel. I am a beneficiary and the skills acquired over the years will readily come to play here. Administering within the confines of legality with human face, dialogue and openness are essential values that I believe will pave the way for resounding success. You will see a lot of these and much more in the coming years.

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“LCI puts premium value on capacity building of members. It is a huge investment that prepares office holders to excel.” - PCC (princess) Bridget Adetope Tychus.
PCC Tychus.

Congratulations on receiving the Ambassador of Peace Award. How do you envision leveraging this honour to promote harmony and collaboration among the diverse nations within your constitutional area of influence?

Thank you for congratulating me on the Ambassador for Peace award. It is disheartening to see chaos everywhere, starting from the nuclear family to the larger society. Let me quickly point out the fact that peace is necessarily not the absence of disharmony, but rather the ability to be tolerant of each other, dialogue, respect for diverse cultures, traditions, values and opinions. Those are the values at work and we say there is peace in that society. There will always be differences and disagreements. At this point, it is important to note the role of the principles of demand and supply, in terms of offices, positions or LCIF grants. Supplies to be shared out are never enough. Whereas every group believes that such supplies must always come their way without recourse to equity, equality, inclusion and fairness. The seed of discord is sown already.

It is extremely difficult to extricate disputes, disharmony or disagreements from day-to-day governance. Leaders must see disputes or disagreements as a way of life and must be ready to deal effectively with it, through dialogue, sincerity, compromise and love. When feuding parties see that the mediator is sincere and open, they want to listen and yield to peace moves. CA8 is in dire need of interventional moves to bring fractionalized groups together considering the palpable divisions of lion families witnessed at the recently concluded Africa Forum. You will agree with me that we are stronger together- to grow membership, to reap the dividend of diversity, support each other, or promote lionism, understanding one another leading to harmony is that cord that binds us together. I am very ready for this assignment and I believe that CA8 will come together realizing that what binds us together is greater than what tends to separate us.

Being an influential Lion leader with a humble heart sets you apart. Can you share a specific instance where your humility played a crucial role in fostering positive relationships or resolving a complex diplomatic issue in the Lions family and other parastatals?

Ummnn! Humility- it is great to be described as a humble person. Whereas there are so many things going on around me, enough to attract arrogance, but then I ask myself, what is it that you have that you wouldn’t see people who can boast of much more. So, why the display of arrogance? Show me an arrogance person and I will show you an ignoramus who has the tendency to be rude and nasty. I love it when I am quietly seated, only for people who recognizes me to effusively greet, hug, and display such affection and respect to confound empty vessels who thought they had it. Most times, a humble person always shines better and brighter than the other. Join me to always pity the arrogant ones because God detest the prideful. I will love to save specific situations you have asked for in the “B” part of your question for another day, so let me move to the next question.

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“LCI puts premium value on capacity building of members. It is a huge investment that prepares office holders to excel.” - PCC (princess) Bridget Adetope Tychus.
L-R: Past International Director, Alexis Vincent Gomes; Past International Director, Dr. Manoj Shah; Past Council Chairperson, Bridget Adetope Tychus, International Director Endorsee; International Director, Constitutional Area 8, Africa, 2022-2024 , Engr. Ahmed Salem Mostafa , and Past International Director, Hastings Chitti, all at the Africa Leadership Endorsement during the just concluded , All Africa Forum held in Accra, Ghana.

Your achievement as a trailblazer is inspiring. What advice do you have for young women aspiring to break barriers and reach leadership positions, especially in regions where gender disparities may still exist?

My advice for future leaders aspiring to break barriers and get to leadership positions will be summed up in few words, like consistency, resilience, commitment, determination, perseverance and persistency because quitters don’t win. Believe in yourself, keep adding knowledge and skills to garner more experience, and be strong enough to pick yourself up should you encounter setbacks on the way to success.

As a leader whose role will involve overseeing countries in Africa, attending Lions International Board meetings etc. How do you intend to balance the cultural diversity, social, and economic landscapes to ensure equitable development and representation for all member nations played out?

There are 54 countries in Africa with diverse cultures and socioeconomic landscapes. The strategy here is to turn challenges into opportunities. Don’t also forget that there is strength in diversity. Getting the right mix therefore is the key to success. Lion members from the French and English-speaking countries have always respected their differences and celebrated their diversities. I will try as much as possible to honor invitations from member states as approved by LCI. I have made friends across the continent as I patiently waited to assume office and I look forward to welcoming new friends into the conclave. I will be a leader who listens to the verbalized but more essentially to the unspoken word. And because I am a woman of prayers; I have implicit confidence that the bar of excellence will surely be raised.

In your role, collaboration and diplomacy are key. How will you build and maintain strong partnerships with other global leaders and organizations to address common challenges and promote shared goals as International Director, putting in mind you have 2 years to lead in this capacity?

When you talk about other global leaders, are you referring to sister humanitarian organizations? If yes, I believe that collaboration here will be “guided collaboration” to the extent that LCI regulations permit. Don’t forget that LCI and such other global organizations are in the same market to source membership. Even at that, if it is to talk about such collaborations to address common challenges and promoting shared goals, why not? Rotary International (R.I) for instance have District Governors positions like LCI, but they do not have the position of international directors. In that wise, the collaboration may be more at the District Governors’ level. Yes, you can count me in for such collaborations that will enhance the goals and objectives of LCI, but like I said earlier, guided collaboration within the confines of constitutional requirements.

How do you plan to weave elements of African leadership philosophies into your global approach, and what unique perspectives do you believe Africa brings to the international stage?

In answering this question, you must understand the global philosophy from, which Constitutional Areas are expected to draw their strength. CA8 will not rework the process. At best CA8 will ensure that round pegs are in round holes. In any society, one cannot completely eliminate the human social system but as much as possible emotions in choices to fill positions will be reduced to the barest minimum. The unique perspective I like to see CA8 bring to the international stage is membership growth in such a manner to reflect the population of the continent. Take NEPAL for example, the growth in that area has never stopped to amaze me. That is where my philosophy of stronger together comes to play. The Lions out there are watching the leadership! The leadership must drive a new agenda of togetherness. It is a Herculean task but we must start from somewhere and directors coming after me will build on the achievements in that area. Stronger together is inclusiveness, it’s appreciating the strength in diversity; it’s realizing that we have one goal and one purpose so why work at different purposes?

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Throughout your career, you’ve demonstrated a commitment to selfless service. How do you intend to encourage a culture of giving back and community engagement among the diverse members of the international community you’ll be leading?

This is a question I love to freely answer, because giving back to the community is my way of life. I was in the Red Cross from young and we were taught to help others. Growing up, the Church I attended, most especially in the USA also honed the attitude of giving to the homeless, taking care of children whose parents are incarcerated, providing food for families during thanksgiving or educational materials for the needy. Coming nearer home, LCI provided the ground for making the world better than I met it. I have gone into this background to let you know that engaging the diverse members of the continent to demonstrate commitment to selfless service should not present a problem. I earlier talked about LCI structure and part of this process will default to the Constitutional GAT and LCIF leaders; that is already a powerful team right there. LCI structure recognizes the value of team building, delegation and harnessing the fruits of common purpose and goals.

You will be colorfully decorated and as well publicly installed and presented at the next Lions International Convention in Melbourne, in few months. What’s the feeling like and, which sentence could you phrase in describing your expectations at the event?

I am still trying to wrap my head around the whole idea, International Director Endorsee to Endorsed, and by the grace of God substantive Director in Melbourne. The joyful feeling is better imagined than put in words. Remember that God fast forwarded the IDship, and all of a sudden, the mindset and tempo of preparation changed. I am learning to get used to higher traffic of mails, meeting with new people, or fraternizing with Lions across the continent and beyond. These call for a paradigm shift compelling me to wearing a completely new outlook. So, when people said Happy New Year, to me, I inwardly knew that it meant Happy New Me. I have gladly embraced that feeling and welcomed that change.

Could you genuinely discuss a few instances where the support of your hubby, played a significant role in your success and accomplishments?

My husband of nearly 47 years can be safely described as one who gave me the wings to fly. Incidentally, he became a Lion before me but here are we today. Lion Sir Owen Adesina Tychus of Lagos Eko Lions Club, does not only take the center stage of my every challenge, he ensures the children are also co-opted. Lion Tychus is a great teacher, encourager, energizer, friend, consultant and stabilizer.