LLA Spotlight Features Lucy Quist, the first Ghanaian woman to head a multinational telecommunications



Lucy Quist is a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley serving as the Global Head of Firm Resilience. She is the author of the book, ‘The Bold New Normal’.

She is a thought leader and the first Ghanaian woman to head a multinational telecommunications company as the former CEO of Airtel Ghana. She is a co-founder of the Executive Women Network. She served as the Vice President of FIFA’s normalisation committee in Ghana.

She is a member of the boards of INSEAD, Mercy Ships and Margins ID Group. She also serves on the advisory board of Yemaachi Biotech.

Lucy is a chartered electrical and electronic engineer with a first-class honours degree from the University of East London. She is a member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (UK) and holds an MBA from INSEAD in France. She has decades of corporate experience with blue chip companies starting at Ford Motor Company. She has held senior leadership positions at Millicom, Vodafone and Airtel. Her career spans manufacturing, telecommunications, banking and automotive industries in Europe and Africa.

In this inspiring conversation she takes us through her journey!

Tell us about yourself

I am a senior global business executive with experience in the automotive industry, telecommunications and financial services. I am a chartered electrical and electronic engineer who loves technology. I am fortunate to serve on boards that make global impact.
I am passionate about the prosperous transformation of African countries. My book, The Bold New Normal, captures my vision for this passion.
The most important part of my life is being a practical christian. I am blessed to have a wonderful family and awesome friends.

Where do we start from? You’re truly a woman of impact but let’s start from your passion for inspiring young people to realize their full potential, where did this all begin?

My passion for inspiring young people to realise their potential comes from two main drivers. I was a hungry ambitious young person. This fire has never left me but I also know that many young people do not get the opportunity to fully realise their potential, leaving them feeling unfulfilled.
My second driver is linked to the first. The greatest asset of any country is its people, especially young people. If we do not support them to fully realise their potential we will miss out on their capacity to be the engine of our transformation.

So many young women see your life as an inspiration, but did you see yourself in this picture 5 years back, and what was the motivation?

5 years is an interesting timeframe. I started my career in the 1990s. I have been working a long time. The motivation we need is not for the short term but the long haul because this is a long journey. My motivation started in my childhood. It was a motivation to become a leader who positively impacts lives. My journey is far from over and I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to impact lives…more to come.

What’s your take on the inclusion of African women in global organizations?

Not sure what this question means. Global businesses by definition, play across the globe. So quite rightly we should be included. But, we should be included not just because we are African women but first for our competence and then for the fact that we offer an African perspective based on our lived experiences.

As an author, what would you say that the African writing industry is lacking generally?

Lacking? The African writing industry is vibrant making great strides. I read books from the African Writers series as a teenager. Now we have more choice and I would encourage young people to read more books from African writers.

Do you believe that the world will be a better place if women are given the opportunity to lead in the political system?

Women should stop waiting to be given permission to lead politically and go ahead and lead! Our politics needs greater balance, in gender and other aspects of diversity especially in professional and socio-economic backgrounds. That is what will create leadership that makes the world a better place.

So, whenever you’re not at a speaking engagement, saving the world, or writing a book, what else would you be doing?

Funny question! I love to spend time with my family, watch movies and listen to music. I like eating out but I have to do that in moderation.

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