Ms. Sophia Bekele Short Profile
Ms. Sophia Bekele Eshete is a widely acknowledged business leader, corporate executive, and international entrepreneur, whose wide-ranging experience spans both the public and private sectors. She is considered a thought leader in global policy, corporate governance, technology, and development issues, as well as an investor and a philanthropist.
Bekele is currently the CEO of CBSegroup, a SanFrancisco/BayArea company, and DotConnectAfrica (DCA) Group, a Pan-African organization that is championing the Internet of Things (IoT) across Africa. Through her companies, Bekele has pioneered the panAfrican “.africa” Internet Domain name and is the founder of the highly acclaimed Yes2dotAfrica Campaign. She is also the pioneer of the Women-In-Tech space in Africa through her “Miss.Africa Digital” initiative. Through its CSR program, her companies are empowering women and youth throughout Africa which has impacted 12 African countries thus far. Sophia also serves as Chair of Global Economic Development Alliance (GEDA) Investment Group based in Kenya, a pan-African initiative with interest in the strategic sector of Africa’s economy, currently heavily vested in the technology, Financial, Media, and Realty Sector.
Early in her career, as a Corporate Executive, Bekele achieved a successful track record working for different Fortune 500 Companies notably, the Bank of America, Mitsubishi Bank of California, and PriceWaterHouseCoppers, in the field of Business and Technology, Systems Security Auditing, Risk Management & Enterprise systems. She has continued to draw on this background in her current professional engagements. Bekele is a strong advocate of accountability and transparency improvements in all facets of her engagements & holding public authorities and the private sector to such high standards.
As an Entrepreneur and CEO, Bekele has founded and run various international start-ups as well as launched early-stage US companies into new markets. Her first US-based tech company CBSegroup, in coordination with local companies she sets up, was known for its impact of technology transfer to Africa, implementing successful large-scale network infrastructure projects for governments including the African Union and Ethiopian Parliament and pioneering the DNS business for the private sector in Ethiopia. CBS was also engaged in corporate governance & communications, as well as venture capital and business modeling activities where it had Clients like Intel, Fed Reserve, Genentech, and other Startups in Silicon Valley in the US.
Bekele has served on various national and international senior-level policy advisory & leadership boards, including multiple United Nations bodies, such as UNECA, UNITU, UNGAID, and the global internet regulator ICANN, where her body of work has inﬂuenced the formation of key Global and African organizations that made signiﬁcant impact on the implementation of important public policies on technology and global internet governance, including International Domain Names (IDNs. She is the co-founder and ex-board member of the San Francisco Internet Society (ISOC), an internet governance association. She has also performed high-level public engagements and policy advocacy at US Congress. She has served on Education Boards and public policy think tanks and forums in the US and Europe. In 2018 Bekele was appointed as founding advisor to the Portugal-based EurAfrican Forum that champions economic policy dialog between Europe and Africa. Bekele has also served as International Ambassador to various Intercontinental Rotary Clubs, also receiving the prestigious “Rotary Paul Harris Fellow” award for her contributions.
Bekele is regularly invited to speak on her work at many international conferences, deliver keynote speeches and moderate high-level panels. She is a published writer and commentator on industry and political media on current affairs issues of technology, Internet and good governance, business and cyber – security. Bekele maintains an active social media page commentary on “conversions that matter” covering topics on business, wellness and self development.
Bekele holds an MBA in Management of Information Systems (MIS) from Golden Gate University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Analysis & Computer Systems (BACS) from San Francisco State University. She holds various professional certifications of competency in the fields of digital & cyber security, control systems, and governance of Enterprise Systems, such as CISA, CCS and CGEIT.
With over a decade of transforming lives and business via technology in Africa and across the Globe and for leading her organization with passion and grit, Bekele has received many accolades and recognition for her work.
Sophia was dubbed 2021 Women of Inﬂuence Honoree, by Silicon Valley Business Journal, celebrating women of outstanding achievement in their industry and community. She was also honored with 2021 CEO Today Africa Awards for exceptional business leadership and growth, and for those individuals who shine as examples of excellence when faced with unprecedented challenges. Africa Link honored awarded her with the Champion of Development Award at the 2018 Solidarity Awards in Switzerland and in 2017 the program was named finalist for the ITU/UN Equals in Tech Awards. Hundreds of young women and girls’ tech initiatives have benefited in 12 African Countries from support by the Miss.Africa Digital Seed-Funding impact program. Nothing her significant contributions to the industry, in 2017, CIO East Africa named her “Industry Trailblazer” and “Internet Governance Pioneer”. In 2015, she was widely acclaimed as one of the “Two Leading ladies” in Africa’s ICT sector and “African Women to Watch” by Bloomberg TV, recognizing women as “most fearless, competitive and visionary African women of our time and “the women working hard to close the gender gap and shaping the continent’s social, political and economic landscape”. ln 2014, she was enumerated as “Top 20 Inspirational African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe” by ADIPWE for her work in technology transfer from the west. In 2013, she was named as one of the “50 African Trailblazers – a Future Made in Africa” by the NewAfrican Magazine noting all her accomplishments including initiating, organizing and leading the wildly acclaimed and successful 6-year Yes2DotAfrica multi-lingual global awareness ground and social media campaign for the “.africa” Internet domain name, which held a position of top 50 top most attractive new domains from among 1930 global domains by industry rating agency, also earning her a title “brains behind .africa’, by African media.
Bekele has traveled to over 150 countries with a historic exploratory 6 around-the-world trips. She is well known for her controversial views challenging the status quo and irregularities wherever she finds them. Along with her advocacy for work-life balance and passion for the good life, she is often referred by her peers, a.k.a #AddisHilton.