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Meet Dr. Samuel Ticha
Nanoseconds to Live ...
All that I am today was triggered by my mother. She passed away too soon. I was only 15 months old. Despite growing up in a close-knit Bantu community in Africa, feelings of motherlessness endured in me. However, amidst this backdrop, my last name, Ticha, which is often pronounced as "teacher," held significant meaning for me. Part of my community-centered culture includes the fact that children are also commonly referred to by their last names rather than their first names. Thus, I was known as Ticha, rather than Samuel, a name that instilled in me a sense of pride, importance, and belonging. This moniker became my personal source of happiness and popularity, as it bore a resemblance to the role of a teacher.
The realization struck me like a lightning bolt—by embracing the role of a teacher, I could find solace in my motherless existence. Driven by this revelation, I embarked on a transformative journey to transform the world through the power of lifelong education, ensuring that neither I nor any other child would ever feel abandoned. However, destiny had other plans for me, leading me down unexpected paths through coaching and mentorship partnerships with esteemed global organizations, AEISEC.org and JCI.cc, both spanning 133+ countries on all continents. Luckily, in the end, both I and my mentees mutually transformed each other.
For me, the initial transformation came from the immense joy I felt mentoring and coaching youth leaders across continents. Irrespective of their backgrounds, whether motherless or not, I felt an unparalleled sense of fulfillment, as if I were the king among Bantu kings. The mystical aroma of the room in Stockholm, Sweden, where my transformative coaching and mentorship journey began, lingers in my memory to this day. The exceptional joy I experienced was further magnified when I received the highest global award from both partner organizations; honors that instilled within me a profound sense of purpose and significance. These highest awards were a second transformation for me. The amalgamation of joy and significance fueled my determination to work even harder.
In the midst of this extraordinary journey, fate placed me in the midst of a harrowing event—an African airport engulfed in political turmoil, where gunshots echoed like popping corn. The suddenness, smoke, sounds, and smells of gunfire were overwhelming, and it felt like I had mere nanoseconds to live! Just when it seemed like my time was up, one of my mentees miraculously emerged from the thick, suffocating smoke in a bulletproof van, saving my life. Later that day, my mentee revealed how I represented not just a miraculous transformation in his life but also the life of his entire family. This unforgettable event represented my third and most powerful transformation - It represented a mutual transformation, both for my mentees and for me. It was a second chance at life both for me and my mentee. This unforgettable incident reinforced my unwavering commitment to not only being a lifelong transformative educator but also a humble and dedicated lifelong learner.
Part of my lifelong learning includes the exploration of” what I don’t know but don’t know I don’t know.” In this light, I recently took advantage of my delightful US citizenship to pursue continuous growth. I undertook a multidisciplinary Chief Learning Officer Executive Masters (M.S.Ed) and a Chief Learning Officer Executive Doctorate (EdD) program at the esteemed University of Pennsylvania. Both of my degrees centered around the profound concept of presence. Using Ivey League rigorous research methods, I uncovered that presence had always been the secret ingredient fueling my personal and professional life, and it will continue to do so. With leader-follower dynamics as the foundation of all organizations, I delved into exploring leader-follower presence in the M.S.Ed program. Considering the fact that most of my mentees have been board directors and recognizing the critical role of boards in shaping decisions that impact various stakeholders in society, I further explored the realm of board presence in my EdD program. This profound exploration not only expanded my knowledge but also provided some sort of crystal-clear GPS for both my personal and professional life. The new knowledge and GPS represent a fourth transformation in me.
From a knowledge standpoint for instance, my transformational leadership style led me to venture into challenges and projects that others deemed insurmountable, garnering numerous accolades at various levels. This transformational spirit led me to pursue an extensive range of certifications, tackle projects of diverse types and sizes, and maintain a multidisciplinary educational focus. Though I wasn't always aware of it, my underlying emphasis on presence was deeply intertwined with my journey. Another example is that it took this dual degree program for me to uncover the secret to my happiness-centered success. Fortunately, I can now confidently proclaim that it lies in the embodied practice of presence. Whether in my professional endeavors or personal relationships, I have learned to infuse every aspect of my life with a profound sense of presence. It has become the cornerstone of my achievements and the source of my fulfillment.
Speaking about happiness-centered success, I also uncovered that my Bantu heritage unconsciously guided me to towards prioritizing community success over individual success. This stands in stark contrast to many fellow transformational leaders who happen to prioritize individual success over community success, even if our long-term goals may be similar. This observation may be linked to the fact that the Bantu people make up over 30% of the 1.2 billion African population, yet only a few Bantus share in the $2.4 trillion owned by African high-net-worth individuals. Now that I am also become an American, it is worth noting that the Bantu population, exceeding 400 million, surpasses the population of 332 million Americans. So even though only a handful of Bantus share in the $2.4 trillion owned by African high-net-worth individuals, American high-net-wealth individuals share an astounding $ 68.8 trillion. What I want to emphasize here is that my journey toward individual success is not separate from my commitment to being happiness-centered and community-centered. The two are intertwined and mutually reinforcing. My Bantu heritage has instilled in me the understanding that true success is achieved when the well-being of both individuals and the community is prioritized. Now, you may wonder how I finance my philanthropic leadership development endeavors around the world. The answer is simple - I do so by establishing local, national, and global transformational partnerships based on win-win principles.
These transformational partnerships involve major corporations, governments, universities, chambers of commerce, individuals, the United Nations system, and hopefully, individuals like yourself someday.
Through these partnerships, I aim to create meaningful and sustainable change on a global scale. By leveraging collective resources, knowledge, and expertise, we can address societal challenges and uplift communities together. My transformational leadership style focuses on fostering collaboration and empowering others to become agents of change. Together, we can strive for a world where individual success and community well-being go hand in hand, creating a harmonious and prosperous future for all. I call this sustainable presence through the power of transformation education.
Despite uncovering such a sense of fulfillment, I still wanted a simple name that represents my newly uncovered crystal-clear presence-centered GPS to my life. Prior to enrolling in the esteemed dual-degree Chief Learning Officer executive program at the University of Pennsylvania, I had already embraced the practice of presence without fully understanding its essence. When I finally grasped its significance, I sought a first name that would instantly encapsulate the highest level of presence, similar to how my cherished moniker, Ticha, propelled me towards becoming a transformational, ward-winning global executive coach and mentor. The name Om resonated deeply, as it embodied the desired state of presence I aspired to achieve. Om to me represented a crystal-clear GPS for my personal and executive presence. So, after changing my first name to Om during the exploration process, I eventually reverted to my original first name, Samuel, as it turns out that Om and Ticha share the same meaning – Another pleasant surprise, which implies that I had been Om all along! So, I remain Ticha for life but do not mind if I am referred to as Om.
In culmination, my journey has been shaped by my Bantu heritage and the profound cumulative influence of my mom; my transformative, global award-winning coaching and mentorship experience; my mentees, and finally by the University of Pennsylvania’s Chief Learning Officer executive doctorate. My multidisciplinary experiences, education, research, certifications, teaching, passion, and purpose revolve around the wisdom of presence. The lessons I have learned about the power of presence have guided me, albeit unconsciously at times, on a path of personal and professional growth. Today, I am privileged to continue to share the wisdom of presence with audiences worldwide, hoping to inspire and empower individuals, teams, organizations, and society to embrace the practice of presence in their own personal and professional lives. From leader-follower presence through executive presence, to board presence, entrepreneurial presence, and societal presence, I strive to embody and inspire the transformative power of presence.
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