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Unleashing Leadership and Joy with Teocah Dove: The Four F Principles

In a world bustling with change and challenges, Teocah Arieal Ainka Dove stands as an exemplar of transformative leadership, passionately driving social change and sustainable development for over 13 years. Her multidisciplinary expertise bridges social innovation, communications, and program management, touching on diverse areas, from social development and sustainable energy to public health and poverty eradication.

Teocah’s career in the international development sector has propelled her into pivotal leadership roles spanning the Caribbean and Pacific regions. With a steadfast commitment to Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Teocah’s list of career accomplishments is extensive, including reshaping the Caribbean Development Bank’s youth development portfolio, conceptualizing the Caribbean’s first HIV/AIDS social innovation for the USAID-PEPFAR LINKAGES program, leading research and multi-platform regional campaigns for PAHO during the COVID-19 pandemic, designing circular economy interventions for the European Union sustainable waste management program in Tuvalu, and spearheading energy sector reform interventions with the USAID-ESR Project. Furthermore, she is dedicated to philanthropy and service, providing mentorship to youth and emerging entrepreneurs and serving as a patron for various charitable endeavors.

A recipient of the prestigious Chevening scholarship, Teocah’s diverse academic journey led her through esteemed institutions such as the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge. Her contributions to humanitarian causes and leadership have earned her recognition and awards from renowned institutions and leaders worldwide.

Today, we explore the Four F principles that have charted Teocah’s course to her current stature. When we mention the letter F concerning leadership, failure often springs to mind. However, Teocah challenges this conventional notion, revealing her unique formula for leadership excellence.

The “F” in Family

In the grand symphony of personal development, the family’s role is as critical as the conductor in an orchestra. Teocah attributes a significant portion of her success to the unwavering support of her extended family. Her father, mother, great-aunt, and great-grandmother each contributed in their unique way, instilling values and lessons that have profoundly shaped her character and life perspective.

Her father’s constant support established the foundation for her strong work ethic and curiosity. He invested time, resources, and care into her upbringing, providing opportunities, education, and mentorship that fostered her entrepreneurial spirit. Her mother served as an unwavering caretaker and provider, nurturing her personal growth. The daily acts of care, provision, and unconditional love displayed by her mother were powerful examples of selfless service and dedication to family.

But the story doesn’t end there. Teocah’s extended family played an equally vital role. Women like her great-grandmother imparted invaluable life lessons, teaching her the values of charity and serving others. Her grandmother’s kindness and generosity towards the community deeply impacted Teocah, inspiring her to embrace philanthropy and a strong sense of community. Furthermore, Teocah learned the importance of faith from her grandmother’s daily prayers and devotion. Her great-aunt, Catherine, served a maternal role in Teocah’s life. Catherine’s journey from Trinidad to the UK became an early inspiration for Teocah, emphasizing the values of exploration, personal growth, and investing in family and community. Most significantly, Catherine’s story of resilience and perseverance left an indelible mark on Teocah.

In her words, “My family is the bedrock of my achievements, and the lessons they’ve imparted have been the guiding stars of my life. They have shown me the way to success through their love, support, and the wisdom they shared. Family is the heart of everything.”

The “F” in Faith

Teocah’s journey is an inspiring testament to the transformative power of faith in God and the impact of a caring community. Her faith is more than a collection of blessings; it is a story of obedience to God’s will and its profound influence on her life. While she grew up in church with her great-grandmother, her relationship with God deepened within the last several years when she felt a spiritual calling and sought a deeper connection with her faith. This spiritual journey led her to Hope City TT, where she found a warm and welcoming community.

Teocah’s association with Hope City has not only strengthened her faith but also fostered profound personal growth. It stands as a testament to the power of faith and community, shaping an individual’s life and values, fostering a sense of peace, purpose, and service. As she eloquently puts it, “What I have learned is that peace is the soil from which everything grows. The soul is the foundation, the mind is the executor, and the body is the vessel.” Teocah’s understanding of faith transcends religious boundaries, emphasising that it’s a universal source of strength and grounding, accessible to all.

The “F” in Failure

“Failure is the path to wisdom,” Teocah declares. Her perspective on failure is deeply rooted in the belief that it is not the opposite of success, but an integral part of it. Teocah underscores that success and failure are intertwined, with each failure providing valuable lessons that contribute to one’s emotional, technical, and social capacity. Failures are not roadblocks but stepping stones to greater wisdom and knowledge.

The “F” in Foundation

For Teocah, leadership rests on the foundation of philanthropy, mentorship, community and wellness. Her unwavering commitment to giving back is rooted in her belief in God’s divine guidance. Over the years, she has invested in underserved young people and communities. Her philanthropic efforts span diverse initiatives, from supporting the unsheltered to providing educational opportunities. She perceives herself as a vessel, guided by a higher purpose and driven by witnessing life at the  intersection of affluence and poverty. For Teocah, philanthropy is not about accolades, but about meaningfully advancing the lives of the most at-risk and vulnerable.

Mentorship is another cornerstone of her foundation. At the tender age of 16, Teocah embarked on her mentorship journey, guided by impactful figures who recognized her potential. Mentors like Anderson Figaro, Lisa Wickham, and Dr. Henry Charles instilled valuable life lessons in her. For instance, Figaro, known for advocating truth to power, inspired her to speak her truth to power without hesitation. Wickham taught her the ABCs of entrepreneurship, emphasizing the behind-the-scenes efforts. Dr. Henry Charles honed her policy design capacity and opened the doors to her career in international consultancy, showcasing the power of mentorship in her journey. These relationships form the bedrock of Teocah’s mentorship philosophy, which she generously reciprocates to her own community, having mentored numerous youth and entrepreneurs throughout her career.

Friendship and community are the glue that holds it all together. Growing up as an only child, Teocah faced loneliness and discovered her true sense of community in the unlikeliest of places. She developed deep connections and friendships in her early adult years which allowed her to confide in and trust those who played an essential role in her personal and professional life.

Lastly, Teocah holds a profound belief in the interconnectedness of mental and physical health, emphasising the critical role of one’s soul as the starting point for overall well-being. She asserts that mental and physical health cannot be discussed in isolation from the condition of one’s soul. Turmoil within the soul can lead to various behavioural manifestations, both positive and negative, that significantly impact an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional health. She argues that inner peace and contentment in one’s soul are vital prerequisites for maintaining good mental and physical health. As she puts it, “I am a firm believer in intentional efforts to protect one’s peace. This can include various practices such as prayer, worship, and maintaining positive relationships.”

Teocah’s journey through the Four F principles exemplifies a path to leadership and life that transcends conventional expectations. Her Four Fs, spanning Family, Faith, Failure, and Foundation, underscore the multifaceted nature of true leadership. While her strong family bonds, unwavering faith, and the ability to embrace failure as a stepping stone to wisdom have been integral, it is the foundation, rooted in mentorship, community, philanthropy, and soul-nurturing practices, that forms the bedrock of her leadership journey. These principles not only set a precedent for her life but also demonstrate a profound interconnectedness, where nurturing the soul’s well-being serves as the cornerstone for harmony in both mental and physical health. Teocah Dove’s advice to accept and let go of emotional baggage resonates as a powerful lesson for all, unlocking the ultimate “F” in leadership and life – freedom. It’s the freedom to be oneself, to learn, to grow, and to serve with compassion and purpose.

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