Addis Ababa University, MBA (Business Administration)
Addis Ababa University, BSc in Business Education
Academy of Management (Member)
ACBP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs) Mentor, Evaluator and Chair
Quality Matters Peer Reviewer
Business and Accounting Faculty*, Inver Hills Community College (IHCC), 2011 – Present.
*Assumed the Accounting Faculty position (at IHCC) in addition to Business starting from Summer 2017.
Part-time Accounting and Business Faculty, University of Phoenix, 2008 – 2011
Lecturer and Department Chairman, Unity University College, 1999 – 2002
Lecturer, Addis Ababa University, 1999 – 2003
Why do you want to serve on the TRA Board of Trustees? What do you believe are the biggest issues facing
the teacher pension system?
I want to serve on the Board of Trustees because I am avid supporter of TRA and would like to contribute to its success. I believe, my credentials in the education and finance industry would enable me to successfully promote the growth and success of TRA. My responsibilities in the financial industry include, working as a Banker, Financial Consultant, Financial Educator and Business Training Consultant. I believe my experience in the education and finance industry will help me add value in the effort to maintain and improve our pension system. I think the biggest issues facing the teacher pension system are the following:
- Maintaining the Financial Viability of the Plan: Ensuring the financial sustainability of the defined benefit plan is an important issue facing the teacher pension system. I believe the TRA Board decision on the sustainability plan was a wise move. The shared sacrifice approach through increasing contribution on both sides along with the cost of living adjustment with the interest of educators in mind will keep the plan solvent and sustainable. This approach will strengthen the system and will increase confidence on the future of the defined benefit plan.
- The Pressure to shift the Defined Benefit Plan to Defined Contribution Plan: There is a strong opposition and attack by some legislators on the defined benefit plan with the ultimate goal of shifting it to the defined contribution plan. As we all know there are well funded special interest groups who would like to profit from converting the defined benefit plans into defined contribution plans, where the employees and future retirees will be made to carry all of the investment risks and burdens while special interest groups reap the returns.
- Public Relation and Awareness: The attack on public pensions by some legislators, media and the misinformed public in general is one of the biggest issues facing the teacher pension system. The lack of information is not limited to the public at large but also among TRA members. Most of my colleagues who are TRA members don’t know a lot about the fund and don’t understand the full benefit of the pension system. Last year, I participated in a session facilitated by TRA for colleagues nearing retirement, even though I am more than 20 years away from retirement. The facilitator posed a question about the contribution of members towards the fund. Almost all of the participants were between two to four years of retirement but did not even know what percentage of their salary they are contributing towards the TRA pension fund. I was stunned by the response, only one participant responded correctly. This demonstrates how ill equipped we are to defend and preserve the public pension system.
- Capturing Educators in the TRA System: We need to make sure members are engaged and informed about retirement issues and benefits of the pension system so that they can educate and recruit the new members. It is crucial to capture all educators in the TRA system because the number of participants in the system matters. This is particularly important in the advent of Janus Case.