Too often, we let the fear of failure dictate our actions only to miss out on the thrill of achieving unimaginable success. As a result, we take safe measures and walk paths that others have paved for us. In a lot of ways, our community does not encourage risk taking; visionary thinkers are dismissed and those who have innovative ideas are discouraged from being different. Yet there are some who insist on going against the grain—who lay it all on the line in order to seize their dreams. Today’s spotlight is on such an Ethiopian who challenged conventions only to excel and open new doors for others behind her.

Meet Bofta Yimam, an Emmy Award winning journalist and a former TV anchor who beat the odds and made it big in an industry that is frequently reserved for more familiar faces. Bofta is still involved in news reporting, but she has taken her decade of experience behind the camera and in front of it to become a motivational speaker. As a life coach and a mentor, Bofta empowers young and seasoned professionals alike to think outside of their comfort zones and to chase their passions with gusto.

During the Empower the Weekend event hosted by Helen Mesfin last month, Bofta spoke of the obstacles she faced when she first made the decision to enter the news industry. There were no models to follow, brown faces in news, let alone Ethiopians, were rarer to find than water in the Sahara desert. But she did not let precedent get in her way, she made copy after copy of her video demo tape and sent it off to a countless news studios.

To their great credit, her parents did not stifle Bofta’s dreams but rather encouraged it. Instead of telling her to choose something safer or instilling fear in her spirits for the sake of family pride, her parents stood by her side. While most graduates were taking the conventional road and joining professions that paid well, Bofta stayed true to her passion and knocked on endless doors with the tenacity of our forefathers during Adwa.

Finally Bofta got her call except it was not the big stage. Her first job was at a local station deep in the south. Instead of being discouraged, she gladly took on the challenge. She drove away from home and headed towards her destiny. What many people never realize about people who make it big are the adversities they endured in the shadows long before ovations greet them. Her first salary was barely enough to pay the rent and keep food on the table. Nonetheless, instead of bemoaning her existence, Bofta kept striving to climb higher knowing that her fortunes will change.

Overcoming is nothing new for Bofta, she overcame depression as a teenager to thrive in college. She overcame biases on her way to becoming the first Ethiopian-American to win an Emmy in the news industry. Her commitment to her craft and her passion to help others succeed have been noted by many organizations, Bofta has received countless accolades for her work and her willingness to be the bridge for others who wish to follow in her footsteps. There is no greater mark of a person than one who succeeds and reaches back to lift others up, Bofta is a shining example of this devotion to service.

We select people to highlight every week for two reasons, to recognize people in our community who do amazing work with little fanfare and to also encourage others to think audaciously and follow the examples of the amazing people we recognize. Bofta was an easy choice this week, she is at once superbly talented and inspires others to think big and risk big in order to find big success.

We have an amazing wealth of talent and intellectual capital in our community, let us not dampen their hopes but inspire them to chase their dreams the way that @BoftaYimam has and continues to do to this day. #Ethiopia Click To Tweet

If you want to nominate people within our community who you believe to be highlighted for their commitment and dedication to service and excellence, please nominate them by submitting their names, pictures and why you believe they should be highlighted to info@ethiopians4cm.org. Enamesegenalen.