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By Amy Franko

Whenever I feel a pang of doubt or fear about my leadership path or entrepreneurship, it’s an article like this one from Fast Company that jolts me out of it, and I wanted to share it with you.

Most of the stories coming out of the Middle East, and especially Afghanistan, don’t have much good news to share. This is a place with major problems such as lack of access to the basics such as electricity or the internet, the near-constant threat of civil war, a 25% adult literacy rate, and extreme poverty.

But there are other stories coming out of the country, and they’re stories of hope and leadership.

In the Heart of Afghanistan, Entrepreneurs Innovate for Peace is the story of entrepreneurs living and working across Afghanistan, who believe that the road to peace and modernity can be found in technology. These young men, and also a few young women, are starting companies in all facets of technology. Their goal is nothing short of audacious – to completely change their country.

What spoke to me the most were the young women. They’re braving their country’s cultural norms and stepping up with amazing courage to lead their own companies.

Roya Mahboob, 25, started Afghan Citadel Software two years ago. The company now has 18 full-time employees, and 11 of them are women. It’s the most profitable company to come from the country’s Herat incubator (not surprising, given the research that increasingly ties women in leadership roles to a company’s improved overall profitability.)

But it’s so much more than that. She’s a role model for women and girls who want to become leaders in a country where just a short time ago, that was unheard of.










What really hit me as I read this story is that I’ve been fortunate beyond measure in my life, and sometimes I need a little reminding.

I’ve never had to worry about the basics that I’ve come to take for granted – like electricity, personal safety, food on the table, or internet access. You’re probably much the same. But for the women leading their companies in Afghanistan, these are very real issues. And yet, every day they’re out there with courage and conviction, taking the next step.

So with everything we could possibly need, we have to ask ourselves the tough question. Are you holding yourself back from fully embracing leadership and making the right choice to move forward?

This story is a reflection of the simple truth – more women need to be leading companies in this country. I hope this truth encourages you to step up with courage into your highest level of leadership.

Visit for more information about custom training solutions and professional development services offered by Impact Instruction Group. Amy Franko also works with emerging women leaders, teaching concepts from the international best-sellers Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office and See Jane Lead to many national companies and organizations.

© 2012 Impact Instruction Group

Video © The NATO Channel

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