The role of a leader is multifaceted and encompasses a variety of responsibilities which include; vision setting, decision-making, strategic planning, and motivation.
Lilian Patrick is a role model, leader, entrepreneur, social activist, and lawyer, who has carved out a niche in the world with her captivating educational background and role of leadership which enabled her to in humanitarian activities, especially with children battling with cancer and also to improve their lives through access to information, literacy, health education, civic participation, and entrepreneurship.
In this interview with Adewale Adenrele, the Tanzanian-born social activist and lawyer shares her story while growing up and how she chose between her dream career and what life chooses for her.
Below are excerpts:
Can you tell us briefly about yourself, your family, and your educational background?
I’m Lilian Patrick, the firstborn in my family and happily married to my best friend, Uwezojoshua Marress. My educational journey began with dreams of becoming a doctor, but life had a different plan. After pursuing science in high school, I found my true calling in law during university. Post-graduation, I ventured into entrepreneurship in the food industry.
Tell us about your early childhood…were you grow up, who were the most memorable characters growing up, and what do you remember about your town/city during the time you were growing?
Growing up in Dar-es-salaam, I was surrounded by a vibrant community. The most memorable characters were my parents, whose resilience and values shaped my perspective. The town was a close-knit community, with bustling markets and the warm aroma of local cuisines lingering in the air. Those early experiences ignited my passion for entrepreneurship and community development.
As a social activist, an entrepreneur, and a lawyer. With your leadership skills and experience, can you tell us the needs in Africa, what will it take to build entrepreneurship and employment in Africa and what are you trying to do to move the needle?
Africa’s needs are diverse, but a key focus should be on fostering entrepreneurship and employment. It requires a collaborative effort, including accessible education, supportive policies, and empowering mentorship programs. I am actively involved in initiatives that provide training, mentorship, and resources to aspiring entrepreneurs, aiming to create a ripple effect of sustainable economic growth.
Discuss a time you faced adversity and how you overcame it, how you handled an unexpected situation at work or during activism, or actions you helped your team to succeed and what career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Facing adversity is inevitable. One challenging moment was starting off my salad business, I had doubts and did not know how to venture in the business with uncertainties. I tackled it by overcoming my fear and just start, turning adversity into an opportunity for growth. This experience, coupled with my proudest career accomplishment of Hameru Salads, has reinforced my belief in the power of determination and collaboration.
In tourism, we have aspects of tourism like educational tourism, religious tourism, and medical tourism which area is Tanzania’s selling point of tourism to the world, how would you educate interested students and potential tourists to visit Tanzania?
Tanzania’s unique selling point is its cultural richness and natural wonders. From the Serengeti to Zanzibar’s pristine beaches, each region offers a distinct experience. I’d highlight the cultural diversity, wildlife conservation efforts, and the warmth of Tanzanian hospitality. Through educational programs, we can showcase the historical significance, ecological importance, and the incredible adventures awaiting visitors.
African ethnic groups and tribes have customs and traditions that are unique to their culture. What do you like about African Culture?
African culture is a tapestry of traditions, colors, and stories. What I love most is the deep sense of community, the respect for elders, and the vibrant celebrations that bring people together. The richness of African art, music, and folklore reflects a heritage that deserves preservation and celebration.
In the past 20 years, the political space has achieved some of the most dramatic breakthroughs in the world. The number of female legislators on the continent has increased, would you consider yourself a politician someday?
While I am currently more focused on social activism, entrepreneurship, and law, I believe in the power of diverse voices in politics. If the opportunity arises to contribute to positive change and advocacy, I wouldn’t rule out exploring a role in politics to further serve my community and continent.
Amazing memories are unforgettable; can you share with us the most amazing memory?
One of the most amazing memories was a charity event that was held to give a hand to children who are battling cancer, where I witnessed the impact of community-led initiatives. The joy and empowerment reflected in the eyes of those we served left an indelible mark. It reinforced my commitment to creating positive change through collective efforts.
What advice would you give the younger ones?
To the younger generation, I would say: Embrace your uniqueness, stay curious, and never underestimate the power of collaboration. Pursue your passions with resilience, and remember that every challenge is an opportunity for growth. Be kind, be bold, and strive to make a positive impact on the world around you.