Helen was born and raised in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. At the age of 17, she traveled to the United States to pursue higher education. Helen worked her way through college earning a degree in Business Management. Her professional career started in the Hospitality and Tourism industry in Washington DC. For nearly 15 years she continues to successfully broaden her experience in management and sales at various corporate organizations.
She is an active member of numerous Professional Industry associations in Tourism and Meetings industry, such as PCMA, AMPs, and ASAE volunteering at various committees and board in and around the Washington DC area.
In addition, Helen hosts a weekly Amharic talk-show on EBS (Ethiopian Broadcasting Services). The show addresses various socio-economic, health, education and family issues within the Ethiopian community. The show aims to inform, inspire, and empower Ethiopians around the world. Guests are leaders in their chosen careers, change agents in their communities, and are making positive contributions to our society. Currently in its 7th season the show is a platform where ideas, wins, and challenges can be addressed, often covering issues that have been a taboo in our community, addressing them in culturally sensitive way and becoming a trusted information source.Besides her professional accomplishment, Helen is a longtime resident of Washington DC with her husband and their two children.
Helen Mesfin in her own words
1. Being a part of the Ethiopian diaspora to me means.
Being part of the Ethiopian diaspora to me means being part of a community that aspires to achieve, to grow and to belong. It means sharing and celebrating the rich culture and diversity within our community with the world. It means showing strength and resilience against all odds as immigrants in our adopted land building a better future for the next generation. Our greater strength is our unity and our willingness to support and uplift one another, building bridges between our communities and our homeland. It’s being proud of heritage, owning who we are whatever our background or circumstances with a belief that we can do whatever we set our mind to because we can.
2. What advice would you give a younger you?
I would tell my younger self to worry less. To travel the world and be more open to experiences and adventures. Don’t let anyone else’s perception or opinion influence my choices. I would tell her to practice gratitude each day to be able to appreciate whatever experiences I may be going through. Have confidence in your abilities. Be bold to act on your dreams as big as they are, even though there is a chance you may fail, because you will get up.
3. What interest haven’t you pursued, but have always wanted to and what draws you to it?
I would love to take dance classes! Salsa, African, Hip hop, Jazz you name it I want and dream about it. I just haven’t made the time for it. Moving our bodies to a song we love is beautiful and brings joy. To me dancing represents freedom, it’s great for physical fitness and lifting your spirt. It’s a way to express myself while having fun. So, one of these days I will make my self register for a class…soon!
4. What is your message on International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month for your fellow Ethiopians and Ethiopian-Americans?
My message for my fellow Ethiopians and Ethiopian Americans is to know deep in their heart that they matter. Their thoughts, opinions, ideas and dreams matter. Everyone of us have something to contribute to our families, our community and the world at large. Believe in yourself and your abilities to pursue whatever your life goal is. In Ethiopia, small things like encouraging a daughter to find her dreams, pursue education or a skill and helping her achieve them is essential. Treating all children equal boy or a girl and helping her develop self-confidence by allowing her to make important life decisions is critical. When a woman feels safe, empowered and valued it impacts society positively.Honor yourself and treat yourself with respect and that will send a clear message for others to do the same for you. Speak up and let your voice be heard. Live your life on your terms, don’t worry about what people think or say. You have a gift, cultivate and grow it to benefit yourself and others.