Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has cited integrity, efficiency and hard work as the bedrock for good leadership in the workplace.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the President made these comments at a farewell reception on Thursday, June 13, for Mrs. Elva Mitchell Richardson, Deputy Minister for Administration in the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs, who is taking a year’s leave of absence to obtain a second Master’s degree, this time at the most renown institution of higher learning in the United States of America, Harvard University, which is also Madam Sirleaf’s alma mater.
President Sirleaf said she was not surprised to see Elva, who has worked with her for 15 years, become successful in her public service, having demonstrated all of the essential qualities in the performance of her duties over the years. She told Ministry of State employees and well-wishers at the reception, held at the Foreign Ministry, that she wished she could find another person like Elva, whom she described as a tested, honest and proven professional in the workplace. She challenged MOS employees to emulate Mrs. Richardson’s good examples, “because, at the end of the day, those are the things that will carry you through.”
Said President Sirleaf, fondly, to her long-time staffer: “We have come to another stage of the trajectory, and I am glad for the opportunity given you, Elva, and hope that you will make me, the Ministry of State, and Liberia proud and come back at a higher level.”
As the event got under way, members of Mrs. Richardson’s immediate staff – Mr. Shedrick Seton, Technical Assistant; Mr. Boima Hill, Assistant Chief of Office Staff/Administration; and Mr. Harry Sando, Comptroller – made remarks, describingDMA Richardson as a mentor and an inspiration, while extolling the reforms implemented during her time in the job, including an internal control mechanism which has saved the Ministry’s resources. Comptroller Sando called her his “cushion,” for having deflected criticisms that used to come his way.
The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Dr. Edward B. McClain, Jr., who, along with Elva, is a member of President Sirleaf’s original core team, recounted the working relationship with his Principal Deputy, describing her as loyal, patient and inspirational – qualities which had brought her from a noble beginning to a dependable professional. Dr. McClain particularly pointed to Mrs. Richardson’s leadership style in dealing with the President’s Young Professionals Program, which has made her a mentor to its beneficiaries.
Responding, the outgoing Deputy Minister showered praises on President Sirleaf for believing in her over the years, and noting that her achievements rested solely in the orientation from the President. “I am so enriched by the progressive professional and personal experiences that I have been honored and privileged through you tutelage,” Mrs. Richardson told the President. She promised to maintain the trust and confidence reposed in her by the President, which she said will reflect in her performance at Harvard, and she promised to return home to contribute her quota to Liberia’s reconstruction after her year of study abroad.
Mrs. Richardson praised the Departments of Legal Affairs, Public Affairs, Personnel, and the entire workforce of the Ministry for the level of cooperation accorded her during her time as the head of Administration, a comment which brought applause from employees in the jam-packed Foreign Ministry Cafeteria.
The occasion was also graced by the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Hon. Gbehzongar Findley; Liberia Maritime Authority Commissioner, Binyah Kesselly; National Security Advisor to the President, Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh; and the Legal Advisor to the President, Cllr. Seward Cooper, among others.
Other participants included Rev. Lawrence S. Bayusie, Chaplain/Ministry of State, who gave the opening prayer; Mr. John Seku, Human Resources Personnel Director, who gave the vote of thanks; and Mrs. Cleopatra Cummings Boima, who served as the Master of Ceremony. Other Ministry of State staff told jokes, sang songs and danced, as they waited for the program to begin. Mrs. Richardson also received gifts from the Ministry of State and others.
Before becoming Deputy Minister for Administration in 2012, Mrs. Richardson served as Special Assistant to President Sirleaf during her first term. Prior to her work in the public sector, she served as Personal Secretary to Madam Sirleaf while the latter was in self-imposed exile in neighboring Côte d’Ivoire.