Introduction: The Voice Business Summit and Achievers Award is the most significant annual event for Africans worldwide.
The event is evolving every year by providing a platform for various progressive individuals Africans and friends of Africa who join from all corners of the world to share and present their ideas, solutions, projects, products, or businesses to help advance the development and future significance of the African continent. After the initial few days of the business summit, an award gala event is held on the last day to celebrate the nominated individuals and entities for their contribution and scope of activity linked to Africa or their African heritage.
This year it was my pleasure to nominate Albena Jones and her company Albena International Ltd which drives and promotes African business in Bulgaria and the EU to be recognized.
Ms. Albena Jones was the first speaker and presenter at The Voice Business Summit 2022 held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre in Banjul, The Gambia. Her presentation titled Back to Basics was a powerful opening statement, with a message that humanity needs to go back to nature and back to the virtues of the past, back to the basic, simple principles of our ancient forefathers as adapt, work together in cooperation not in competition in order to succeed, survive and preserve the world we live in for the future generations.
That presentation and a live television interview by Zoom Africa TV made Albena Jones a popular figure among the delegates and the locals, everyone wanted to meet her and discuss ideas or projects, most importantly she triggered a big interest in the young generation who felt motivated and encouraged by her words for building a better Africa for all.
Albena Jones and Albena International Ltd. were recognized at the glamorous Voice Achievers Gala dinner ceremony, by being presented with the Innovation Excellence Award, for her innovative strategy to go back to basics.
Most recently in mid-September, the Voice Achievers Award Committee 2022 headed by its founder Pastor Ambassador Elvis Iruh issued a Letter of Appreciation appointing Ms. Albena A, Jones as one of their Goodwill Ambassadors, to keep prompting global activities and participation for the socio-economic standing of Africa in the World.
In this exclusive interview with Albena A. Jones, a respected motivational speaker, entrepreneur, a businesswoman of repute, Jones gives an in-depth description of her Dreams to Reality.
A-CHOICES: Congratulations on winning The Voice Achievers Award 2022
ALBENA: Thank you, it’s an honour and a pleasure!
A-CHOICES: How do you feel about winning this award?
ALBENA: I am delighted, as it’s my first award on the African continent. First I would like to thank you personally for nominating me and putting my work in the spotlight. And secondly, I would like to express my gratitude to The Voice Achievers Award Nomination Committee and management for honouring me with The Voice Achievers Award for Innovation Excellence.
A-CHOICES: As a speaker and presenter at The Voice Business Summit 2022 held in Banjul, The Gambia. Tell me more about your presentation Titled: Back to Basics?
ALBENA: Back to Basics is a COVID-19 baby.
Being a former financial analyst for Bloomberg LP. it’s in my nature to always deeply analyze matters, so after the coronavirus pandemic’s severe negative impacts on the global economy, I kept trying to find business solutions for my clients’ failing businesses. Initially, my advice was to downsize and downgrade wherever possible. But over 2021 we realized that wasn’t enough, so by analysing and investigating further I found all the solutions we need, tested by time and forgotten back in time. Ancient man survived by evolving over the centuries through simple, basic principles, which we need to implement right now in order to continue our survival.
I know that we live in a high-tech world; however, machines cannot replace the Human Factor!
People need to look back to the past and follow the laws of nature. By remembering, implementing, and combining basic principles, I devise tailor-made rescue methods for any business or problematic issue no matter how small or big. During the Voice Business Summit, I only incorporated a couple of those principles as a general illustration that the Back to Basics method works, and to my amazement judging by what followed, my presentation must have probably appealed to every soul in that conference hall.
The pandemic taught us a lesson to follow the laws of nature in every aspect by going Back to Basics, but the question is how many of us are willing to learn?
Albena International Ltd. offers a helping hand to implement this valuable life lesson together, creating much-needed solutions for your business needs now and carefully designing your future development plans, we are the innovator, re-inventing the Back to Basics principles for survival and success!
A-CHOICES: Your first impressions of The Gambia?
ALBENA: Stunning landscape, there is a spectacular view from the air before landing; you see a dark snake-shaped river with green mangrove trees all around it. It also has an impressive stretch of Atlantic coastline and serene sandy beaches.
A-CHOICES: Would you say your Gambian Experience was a truly wonderful one?
ALBENA: Indeed it was wonderful. Now I realise why they call Gambia – “The smiling coast of Africa”. Because of the positive feel due to the lovely weather and beautiful nature that surrounds you, and also because of its people! Throughout my stay, I hardly had any time to relax, but I felt energised throughout because I was constantly meeting new wonderful people, not only the fellow business summit participants, dignitaries, and officials from around the world but the lovely locals who filled my day with smiles and my heart with gladness with their kindness, willingness to help and respectful behaviour. All that made my Gambian Experience a truly wonderful one and I will definitely be going back for more.
A-CHOICES: Great Place, Great People?
ALBENA: Definitely both the place is great in terms of potential, a lot of development is needed and at the same time, this small country has a lot to offer. As we know this is the general picture for most of Africa. The Gambia is a vivid example of all that, it has God-given blessings such as the sun, the sea, fertile soil, natural resources, and an abundance of fresh fish, organic meat, and tropical fruits, which make it a Great Place.
And the hardworking, kind, mostly simple and very poor, smiling people of Gambia contribute to the beauty of the country and its general pleasant deposition, which makes them Great People.
A-CHOICES: Would you say travelling to Africa changed your life?
ALBENA: Well I have lived in Africa as a young child with my parents and then visited on occasions, but I had not been since the early 2000s. So though I promote Africa in Europe and do business with African counterparts on a regular basis, travelling to Africa now has given me a fresh personal perspective and a new more effective business approach. It has also fired me up to promote even more huge potential that the Green continent has to offer and affirmed my words that “One day Africa will feed the World”. So the answer to your question is – Yes, I think you are right, travelling to Africa has and will change my life!
A-CHOICES: Tell us more about Albena International Ltd.
ALBENA: I am often invited by Bulgarian Television to share about intercultural, diplomatic, or business experiences or events I’m organising. A few years back on one of the talk shows the TV presenter gave a lengthy intro on my activities, the countries I have lived and worked in, and so on…realising that the introduction was getting so long, to cut it short she said or as we like to call her – Albena International. That pleasantly surprised me; I loved it, as it perfectly described me, my experience, my business activities, and events, the next day I registered Albena International Ltd.
We offer a growing array of diversity to best suit your needs – business consultancy – company analysis, coaching, rescue and negotiations/ business deals mediation – EMEA/ event moderation/ training programs designed for YOU – individual or group, ranging from business English or presentation skills to international etiquette and diplomacy/ events – corporate or celebration/ intercultural activities – concerts, conventions, entrepreneurship and motivational collaborations/ team buildings/ retreats/ business familiarisation trips – national and international and more.
I have used my company as “the guinea pig” for my business strategies and especially the new Back to Basics methods, after the pandemic I have adapted and diversified activities numerous times. I’m constantly changing or adding something new to what I do. As I am the first to follow and experiment with my own ideas or business strategies, Albena International Ltd. is an example of how businesses should use the adaptation principle to succeed.
A-CHOICES: Where did your entrepreneurship begin?
ALBENA: I can not pinpoint the exact moment, but after studying and working in the UK for many years, a time came when I felt ready to break the 9-5 habit of working for someone else and I embarked on my own journey. Entrepreneurship is an adventure, being your own boss, having a business that helps others, and enjoying what you do is a blessing.
A-CHOICES: What drives you? Why do you do what you do?
ALBENA: I guess I am an old-fashioned girl and maybe a bit naive, as I still believe in the goodness of people. I am driven by positivity, giving positive output and receiving positive input! I am a people person, and that is why I do what I do, communication is my strength. In life it is vital for everyone to find their calling; I have found mine, have you?
A-CHOICES: Would you say that your passion is helping others to achieve their ultimate goals?
A-CHOICES: How would you ensure your speeches are captivating and informative?
ALBENA: Actually one of the popular courses I teach is how to be a successful presenter and I can assure you that the power to be a captivating speaker is not only in the theory you learn but it is a gift from within. As a public speaker, you always need to be well prepared and informed; here I always implement the golden rule that information is power. I also simplify and illustrate, that way I ensure my message is understood by everyone.
A-CHOICES: What are some of your biggest lessons from failure? How can people build from it, instead of letting it destroy them?
ALBENA: Failure is an opportunity, it is an opportunity to give up or an opportunity to wise up! We have all experienced failure and struggles in different shapes or forms at some point in life we have been faced with the Break me or Make my situation, as I like to call it. Don’t look at failure as a loss but as the greatest teacher that is giving you a powerful lesson that you turn into knowledge.
Author: Gbenga Teejay Okunlola