Lynda Aphing-Kouassi: A profound business leader

Admired Women

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Lynda Aphing-Kouassi, Founder & Director of KAIZENE, is known for her dynamic and impactful leadership and her strong commitment to assisting organisations in getting the best out of their human capital. A visionary thinker, Lynda is not only determined to achieve great outcomes for her organization but to achieve them with absolute certainty and fine precision. Lynda, a Stanford School of Business graduate, is relentlessly working to streamline business processes to make business more successful as KAIZENE drives transformation in the African continent.

In an interview with Aspioneer, Lynda shared her journey, and how she plans to bring in a diversity of thought and bridge the skills gaps that many organizations face. Below are the key highlights.

"I see myself as a woman who knows what she wants and gives herself the means to achieve it. For me, the most important values or skills are perseverance, determination, and humility".

Aspioneer (A): Thank you for doing this with us, Lynda. Could you tell us a bit about Kaizene, its mission, and its global presence?

Lynda Aphing-Kouassi (L): “KAIZENE was founded in 2015 and specializes in capacity building, coaching, and organization of institutional conferences and support for SMEs. Kaizene International defines itself as a catalyst, allowing public and private companies to optimize their human capital, and improve their services and quality approach. We attach great importance to human capital, support for VSEs and SMEs, and women’s empowerment. Our mission is to ensure the full success of people and companies through capacity building, support, and building a bold African elite in the pursuit of excellence. KAIZENE has offices in Côte d’Ivoire (Abidjan Marcory zone 4) and the United Kingdom (London Pall Mall Piccadilly).”

(A): What is KAIZENE’s chief motive? What, according to you, makes it different than the other organizations in the market?

(L): “KAIZENE wants to be a catalyst for performance at the service of companies. We want to contribute to the evolution of the African continent and, above all, provide value-added services. We have a dream that is quite big and about which we are convinced and for which we work every day. Our philosophy is that knowledge is power, and we thrive in training people to give them power through knowledge and self-confidence. Additionally, through our accelerator, we empower women in the agriculture field. We organize institutional conferences, we link Africa, and we create partnerships. This is how we develop ourselves and become more competitive and knowledgeable.The difference between us and other entities is the alignment of training with soft and technical skills, the ability to train in English and in French, and we cater to the board of directors, executive committees, and middle officers. Our company offers training, SME implementation, and advisory services through the Accelerator and conference organization.”

(A): What’s your take on the business environment in Africa?

(L): “The business environment in Africa is very dense and you have to know how to adapt to offer a better service. We are seeing the changes in the world and the changes in consumer needs, to which we must quickly adapt and create services that respond to these needs. We see this as a highlight because it makes us constantly improve ourselves and improve our services, and at the end of the day, our slogan is continuous improvement. Like everyone, COVID has been the real test for any entity, but at the same time, it was a test of resilience and I am happy we managed to grow our business during and after this period, which showed us that we should constantly adapt our services and be ready to make changes.”

(A): As a woman, what has been your journey in the business world? What, according to you, should one do to make it big?

(L): “In my career as a woman, I recognize that I have been in rather challenging situations, but I have always been able to stand my ground through my work and my quest for excellence. Knowing our talents and having self-confidence allows us to be proud of who we are and where we are without feeling out of place. We all have something to bring to the table. We should therefore see challenges as opportunities and know that everything is possible if you truly put your mind to it, train yourself, read, accept criticism, and believe in yourself. In my case, I am determined to succeed, which is from the get-go, and I give myself the tools to do so. I believe that nothing is too big and I arm myself with my first value, which is my faith, to get to excellence and be successful. If along the way I face hurdles, I embrace them and learn from them to get better.”

Lynda Aphing-Kouassi
Lynda Aphing-Kouassi

(A): How do you see yourself as a leader? What’s your take on the gender bias in the industry and what according to you is the real challenge for the women in the industry?

(L): “I see myself as a woman who knows what she wants and gives herself the means to achieve it. For me, the most important values or skills are perseverance, determination, and humility. Without perseverance, we cannot achieve our real goals. As a woman leader, I learned to be more assertive and to put forward my ideas. A good lesson in our journey is the power of a great network. Leveraging that network pushes us to success.

Women are their biggest challenge. I believe we can do anything we put our mind to. We just need to have confidence and faith in the process. I mentor a large number of women, and it is exhilarating.”

(A): How important is it to be authentic on the journey to success?

(L): “Authenticity is key and allow you to always bring the best and respond adequately to the needs of the market. Being authentic is being true to yourself and willing to inspire others to get better always. By being myself and true to myself, everything comes at the right time, creating a great network and also helping with personal capacity building. I also took on more responsibilities in social clubs and non-for-profit organizations and applied for the company’s board of Directors.

(A): How do you unwind? What will be your legacy, and what advice would you give to any women leaders in the industry?

(L): “I spend time with my family and friends, travel, and mostly have my prayer sessions with my group of friends, sisters. To other women leaders, I would recommend documenting yourselves, training yourselves, and building and leveraging your network. Listen only to your dreams; they will always guide you to the right place if you are willing to work hard to make them a reality. For my legacy, I have only one message: believe in yourself and make sure you do it with dexterity and seriousness. Whatever obstacles may arise, stay determined, and stay the course. Don’t be scared to create your doors when it feels like they are being shut in front of you. By this, I mean fight, be determined, and persevere. As for me, I will continue to develop KAIZENE, I will form new partnerships, and I will train more people to become the leaders of tomorrow.”

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