Certified Trainer & Author
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Duncan in April, 1980, I was the second among five children. I grew up in the humble surroundings of Mamprobi – Camara – a typical communal society, where different families shared a common compound, enjoyed community work, and children playing in the rain and bathing outside was not considered strange. I was an active participant in all of these childhood frolicking and I loved every bit of these experiences. Before my teenage years, we relocated to Adenta SSNIT flats, an upper-middle class neighbourhood, where my adult life began. Mum was a frequent traveller seeking “greener pastures” to support home, and Dad, a career banker. As the first girl, the responsibility of good house-keeping and ensuring the well-being of my siblings fell squarely on my shoulders. And so, within the context of “my journey”, the call to take up leadership obligations, started early in life, as I had to play the role of a ‘surrogate mum’, in the absence of Mummy. I aspired as a young girl to read Medicine, but my dreams were dashed, as I didn't get through to medical school due to my grades in Biology. That not withstanding, when the opportunity for me to further my education, came up, I seized it and enrolled, at Greenhill College (GIMPA), to pursue a first degree in Business, as a part-time student – working during the day and attending night school. Fast-forward, today, I man one of the flagship branches of Fidelity Bank Gh. Ltd, and I also champion initiatives bordering on financial empowerment for women.
What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them? “Life is not a straight path but meandering”, my dad would always say. At any point in my life, I was faced with one obstacle or the other, I , literally, would hear these words reverberating in my mind, and the warrior within me, awoke to action. This coupled with focus, resilience and faith in God, were the key principles spurring me on to make a lasting impact on lives, in my space and making the best of all situations I found myself in . Within this context, my first major setback in life, as I can recollect, was my inability to continue to Medical School, to pursue my childhood ambition of becoming a medical doctor. As I indicated earlier, my initial grades in Biology preclude me from being shortlisted for the Biological Sciences programme at the University of Ghana. I resat the paper, and whilst awaiting the results, I was offered the opportunity to work with GCB Bank Ltd., as a temporary staff. The exposure that the world of work gave me was thrilling, to say the least. Making new friends and forging some life-long relationships, experiencing and imbibing the work ethic and values of the corporate world, were just a few of the reasons I felt inspired to stay the course. It was while working in banking that I enrolled on the Business programme at GIMPA. I found the alignment of the theoretical underpinnings of the Business Administration programme and the practical experience I was gaining in banking, quite intriguing. Eventually, I aced the Biology exam I had resat, but alas, a passion to pursue a career in banking had been ignited, and there was no turning back for me. I had brief stints with two other private institutions that were into advertising/marketing/public relations and ,ultimately, landed my dream job at Fidelity Bank Ltd, where I have been for the past eleven (11) years, striving to make a difference with each passing day.
The icing on the cake is, today, I have successfully earned a doctoral degree in Business Administration, to the glory of God. (I can’t agree with my dad more when he said, “life is not a straight path but meandering”.) Another “hurdle” I faced in my early years was having to fill in the shoes of my mother, who I mentioned had to frequently sojourn abroad to support the rest of our family. This responsibility of leadership was, virtually, thrust upon me at the tender age of about thirteen (13) years. And so, whilst my contemporaries revelled in all the fun that came with early teenage years, I had to mature before time, learning to balance tasks such as cooking for my family, shopping, looking out for the well-being of my younger siblings, especially, and my dad, among others. Undoubtedly, there were times I felt overwhelmed with the enormity of these responsibilities, but little did I know that this was to become the training ground for my future success in my career and in being an exemplary mentor for others.
Like I mentioned, early on, the words of my dad always served as a guiding light for me, therefore, I chose to focus on the silver lining in every cloud I encountered. For instance, as a young married woman, I suffered eight (8) miscarriages, including, losing a fallopian tube, and, eventually, a divorce. All these sad experiences would have broken anyone down, but as the nuggets of the book, " Attitude is Everything ", by Keith Harrel teaches, I adopted a positive mindset and focused on worrying about the things I had control over. I invested my idle time in self-tutoring and undertaking various continuous professional development courses. The more I learnt, the more I fell in love with knowledge acquisition, hence spurring me on to critical and creative thinking, and ultimately, becoming a problem-solver within my space. After this harrowing episode, I just recounted, I am happily married again, and blessed with a son – a testament of the criticality of the God-factor, in the entire scheme of human affairs. For me, community work; knowledge-sharing; helping to impact others in business management and financial management as well as philanthropy and mentoring are key areas I devote time to when I have the chance to. I feel blessed to be a positive influence on others.
What books are you currently reading? Currently, I am reading books on leadership, entrepreneurship, and parenting. Specific titles of some of the books are...
- “Think Again” by Adam Grant
- “How to Lead” by Jo Owen
- “Conscious Parenting” by Shefali Tsabary
- “The Five Love Languages of Children” by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started? I wish I had done more in the area of knowledge-acquisition, and also, learnt some skills like catering, sewing or writing. I believe there is so much we can use our time for, as young people.
What advice would you give to upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally? My advice to the young people out there, is to seek opportunities, but don't rush in getting results all in a day: great things take time if only you stay focused and believe in your passion and your God. And be intentional about your personal development as a young person, especially, in this new era of digitization. Let's remember that the world has become a global village, and so gaining global exposure and adopting international best-practices is crucial. While at this, however, let’s let's stay true to our core values and never forget our roots.