Tlhasana’s USA trip pays off

24 Nov 2014

Regarded as one of the most striking faces on television and radio, and considered to be one of the country’s media darlings,GaonaTlhasana has become one of the most sought after personalities. With a passion for the entertainment industry, Gaona continues with determination to make her mark in the industry that she loves.

She is a wife, radio host, television presenter and described as a vivacious entertainer.This rare jewel is showing women what it means to juggle multiple roles and how to do so successfully. Gaone is quick to point out that she owes all her success to God who gives her strength to be the best she can be.

"I am a true believer and having been raised in a Christian family has helped me deal with difficult situations with so much ease. I believe it takes a determined person to make their dreams come true and that is the words I liveby, “she says.

Gaona recently went to the United States of America (USA) as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative, Mandela Washington Fellowship which is one of President Barack Obama’s initiative to invest in the future of Africa. Being selected as one of the 15 Batswana to go can only mean one thing about the young media high flyer; that she is doing her job well.

"I was surprised when I was selected, this meant that my craft is being recognised and acknowledged. I was one of 15 Batswana, from over 500 Batswana applicants, to be selected to join a group of 500 young African leaders sent to 20 institutions across the USA," she says.

She says that she spent six weeks at Yale University where she took a leadership course focusing on business and entrepreneurship. In addition to the classes at Yale, the attendees also took part in many business workshops, networked with local and regional business leaders, and participated in community service projects where they met local residents in New Haven, Connecticut.

"We then convened in Washington, D.C. for a Summit and during the Summit, we got to interact with President Barack Obama and the first lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama," she says.She explains that her experience in the US equipped her with resources and networks to boost her chances of success.

"This I should say was a transformative experience for me and it gave me a totally different appreciation for my country and continent. I realised that we have the potential within ourselves as Africans to unlock the greatness of our continent.We have the ability to come up with local solutions to our local problems, “she says.

Being passionate as she is about women empowerment, Gaona says she also learned that as women they need to figure out what they stand for. "Women should be bold, go the extra mile and have an agenda. Now that I'm back home I'm determined to leverage the amazing experience I had in the US to make real lifelong and positive impact in the lives of young people in Botswana," she said.

Gaona further mentioned that she currently has a mentorship program specifically aimed at developing the girl child targeting girls and young ladies aged between 15 and 30.

She says that her main passion is to help develop self-awareness, and empower future mothers, wives and community leaders in the corporate, political and entrepreneurial world.

"I also give motivational talks to young ladies, both in and out of school, teen mums as well as young girls who have dropped out of school due to pregnancy and my main intention is to help them forgive themselves, get their confidence back and realise they have much more to live for and so much potential for greatness," she says.

Gaona is also part of Scoop Dee, which is a youth capacity building programme designed to cater for young people of different social and economic backgrounds as well as different academic capabilities. It is targeted at the entire youth population.

"This refers to young people between the ages of 15 and 36 who are in school, out of school, in employment or running their own businesses. Together with the other 14 members of the Mandela Washington Fellowship YALI cohort, we have got a mentorship program that we will be launching soon," she said.