She gave me wings to soar

When I first stepped into her office on the 15th of September 2010, I was timid and anxious. I had dreams and passion burning inside me, but my little experience at the time made it hard for me to represent myself in a way that would make me an asset to a potential employer.

Mrs.  Olsen was calm, direct and welcoming. Green and dusty as I was, she saw only what the most evolved leader could see- my drive and my potential. And that was a skill I came to admire her for. She had an uncanny way of making every single thing seem possible. Whenever I had a seemingly insurmountable task to complete, a few minutes in her presence would make me feel like I suddenly had all the answers. And then she’d give me even more work to do!
She was driven, fierce and feisty. She called a spade a spade. She had the work ethic that would put people half her age to shame. If we had a late night trying to meet a The Gazette deadline, you could be sure that she would be up in her office, glasses on, peering through mountains of text and spotting mistakes. She loved her product and she believed in her dream. She owned her purpose and she crafted her destiny. She lived out the very things she demanded from us: no nonsense, no excuses, strive for excellence, do more every time and pay attention.

She was kind and nurturing, but quick to whip you into shape if you crossed the line. Nothing about her dimmed with age. More than anything, one thing I will always remember her for is a compassion that very few possess: she had the kindness and the foresight to give young and inexperienced people a chance. She could see a diamond in the dark and she knew exactly where you would fit in and grow.

The legacy of News Company Botswana stretches beyond Botswana’s borders; anyone who has worked under her leadership will tell you that once you’ve worked there, the sky is the limit. That is just the kind of international-level work ethic she had. That legacy will always live on through her offspring, Shike Olsen in particular. She planted in him her open-minded and risk taking character, as well as empathy for the human condition. If it had not been for Mrs Olsen and Shike extending their arms to me when no one else in the whole wide world would, I would not be the professional that I am today. Because they believed in me, I believed in myself. Because they taught me, I now teach others. May she rest in peace as her legacy lives through us all.


Christine-Rita Abankwah