#CareerConversations: “It’s either the best or nothing. Do you! You are not to prove a point to anyone.”– Elizabeth Ameke, a Baobab Platform Mentor with the MasterCard Foundation and former Safety Officer with PassionAir.

Elizabeth Ameke

Elizabeth is a Baobab Platform Mentor with the MasterCard Foundation and former Safety Officer with PassionAir. She’s experienced in Safety Management Systems for Airlines, Emergency Response Plan, Quality Management Systems and Aviation Internal Auditing.

She served as the Pre-College Initiative Deputy Chairperson for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) – KNUST Chapter, Editorial Board Committee Deputy Chairperson for the Ghana Engineering Students Association (GESA) and Women’s Commissioner for the Association of Aerospace Engineering Students (AAES).

Miss Ameke is a scholarship recipient of the Women In Engineering, Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE) Brilliant Girls’ Tertiary Fund and a beneficiary of the Akua Kuenyehia Foundation. She is a Kectil Colleague who participated in the 2018 Kectil Leadership Program for Youth in developing countries.

She is the founder of Eliza Events, an event planning company in Ghana and holds a certificate in Event Planning, Marketing & Management.

Elizabeth continues to be recognized as a strong advocate for children and is an avid mentor for Girls in STEM. She initiated a podcast -What’s Your Story?- which features remarkable women making strides in various STEM fields.

She is currently the Finance Coordinator for the STEM4AFRICA project in collaboration with 1billionAfrica sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK with the aim of introducing 1,000 students in Hwidiem, a district in the Ahafo Region of Ghana to practical STEM activities using one of the world’s most innovative tools.

She is the co-founder of GleeChild Initiative. As Executive Director of the NGO, she looks forward to GleeChild Initiative realizing its vision of eliminating child poverty and for its impact to be felt across the African continent.

With a genuinely demonstrated passion for the development of her country and her personal growth through all her experiences, she strives to be the best possible version of herself as she works to inspire others to do same.

Leading Ladies Africa: What has been the Highlight for you since you started your career?

Elizabeth Ameke: There have been lots of great moments for me (graduating from engineering school with a  summa cum laude in Aerospace Engineering, having to be on the Sankofa Mentorship Team  as the finance coordinator for the STEM4Africa Project, co-founding GleeChild Initiative- a  non-profit organization for orphans and deprived children, owning Eliza Events, hosting a  STEM Podcast, being a former Safety Officer with PassionAir – a domestic airline in Ghana,  being a mentor on the Baobab Platform,…)  

Having said that, I guess these experiences with GleeChild Initiative and STEM Advocacy  have been the highlight for me. I enjoy working with the NGO in providing the basic needs  of over 400 vulnerable children in deprived communities in Ghana and Kenya and still  counting. All through my journey of STEM Advocacy, it has been a great joy to see younger  girls being inspired by my story of hard work and persistence and to see them take up and  succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics careers under my mentorship.  I recall my little sister walking up to me one morning and being like, “ Lizzy, I just spoke to  my classmate who mentioned that you were featured on her school’s (Aburi Girls’ Senior High  School) noticeboard as one of the women making strides in Science, Technology, Engineering  in Ghana and this inspired lots of girls in her school and more motivating to her since she  knew you in person. She wants me to tell you, you are doing amazing.” It was an emotional  moment for me, upon hearing this, I must say. Getting to know your works are bearing fruits,  really good fruits at that. I look forward to having the opportunity and bigger platforms than  I already have to inspire the younger generation to go all out and be the very best version of  themselves in whatever field they find themselves in. 

Leading Ladies Africa: Can you describe a typical day at your job?

Elizabeth Ameke: My job as an Aviation Safety Officer evolves around safety policy and objectives, safety  risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion. This entails planning,  Implementation, and coordination of the airline’s safety program to ensure compliance with  required regulations, procedures, and policies in aviation. All I do is identify safety and  environmental risks and put in necessary measures to mitigate them (reduce them to the barest  minimum) or eliminate those risks if possible. 

At the beginning of each day, I evaluate reported safety hazards and incidents, evaluate the  risks caused by these hazards/incidents, and run investigations if need be to verify the causes  of these hazards/incidents. As soon as that is done action plans are raised with the concerned  department and the necessary follow-ups are done to mitigate the risk posed or prevent a  recurrence. During a workday, I promote safety and security awareness by serving as the  safety champion of the Safety Department of the airline and participating in Safety Action  Group meetings. To promote safety in the organization, I put together and distribute safety  literature, newsletters, and reports. 

Leading Ladies Africa: Do you have mentors? Who are they and how important is mentorship to you?

Elizabeth Ameke: I’m glad to say I am a product of great mentorship. I’ve been fortunate to have experienced  female engineers and mentors guide me in every step of my engineering. Kudos to the Akua  Kuenyehia Foundation, for the various mentorship programs held for beneficiaries including  myself all through Senior High School to date. And also to the Women In Engineering  (WiNE) of the Ghana Institution of Engineering for seasoned female engineers who have been  amazing mentors to me. Mentorship to me is very important in the life of every individual. I am of this view because it provides the necessary guidance needed and prevents one from  repeating the mistakes of those who have gone ahead of you. There is another school of  thought that argues that everyone has a different journey and different survival measures  which may not necessarily need the experiences of others. But then, you’d agree with me that,  any step you take or any journey you decide to embark on, others have been there before. So  why not reach out to those who are ready to serve as bridges over which you are invited to  cross while being inspired to create your own. 

One woman who made me perceive life from a whole new angle – her words have been my  everyday mantra – Is Her Excellency Prof. Judge Rtd. Akua Kuenyehia – is a Ghanaian  academic and lawyer who served as a judge of the International Criminal Court from 2003 to  2015. She also serves as First Vice-President of the Courts and was one of the three female  African judges at the ICC. Mummy as we affectionately call her made me realize that my  dreams are valid and that anything I put my mind to is possible as a child of God. All I needed  was a positive mindset, the willingness to work at my dream every day, and the desire to  positively impact society. 

Leading Ladies Africa: Have you at any point failed at something? How did you handle it?

Elizabeth Ameke:  Hmmm… Failures!!! Yes, I’ve had bad days and weeks, as a student, as a mentor, as an  engineer, and as a humanitarian where nothing seemed to go right. There have been times  when I failed to achieve something I worked so hard at that I found it so hard to cope. Those  times when all necessary plans and resources needed for the realization of a project have been  tirelessly put together but in the long run, the project still fails. 100 percent energy, zero results  where I had nothing to show for work done in weeks and at times months. Very heartbreaking  moments but thanks to my pillow for absorbing all the tears at night and for making me feel  better the next morning because dealing with failure can be depressing if you’ve not mastered the  art of bouncing back. 

One thing I do anytime I fail at something is to, in the first instance, accept that I failed and  allow myself to grieve over it for a short moment, and trust me, it hurts. But then again, I do  not dwell so much on it, I go back to the drawing board to correct mistakes made, and then  boom!!! I bounce back. Because after all, even though I might have fallen many times, what matters  is how quickly I was able to rise, clean the dust off my shirt, and give it another try till I get  the expected results. And trust me, Girl…. There’s nothing as fulfilling as trying over and over  again till you get to that ‘eureka’ moment when you finally get it. 

Leading Ladies Africa: What is the best piece of professional advice you have received, and why?

Elizabeth Ameke: “It’s either the best or nothing. Do you! You are not to prove a point to anyone.” That is  all that there is to it for me, working in a male-dominated field. It has always been me going all out, being the best version of myself, and not feeling pressured or intimated. With me being a perfectionist, this has always worked for me though it has its downside of  me getting exhausted most of the time. I’ve long believed in giving life my very best shot cos  for all you know, I might just have today to make that impact I’ve always longed for.

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