Please tell us about yourself.
I’m a butterfly in motion. For close to 30 years, I have evolved from a banker to a business consultant, entrepreneur, media leader, talk show host, corporate trainer, and certified high-performance coach. Today, I have consolidated those experiences and now function in the roles of entrepreneur, business leader, speaker, and coach. Most importantly, I’m still learning and evolving.
Can you tell us about your background and experience in the financial services industry?
My journey in the financial services industry was a great combination of challenges and fun. I was recruited right out of university into a retail bank in New York, which was being prepared for a merger. So, I had the privilege of experiencing both traditional retail and business banking, as well as gaining insight into investment banking transactions. This sparked my interest in the first few years.
After that, I had the unique opportunity to return home to Ghana at the beginning of its financial markets revolution. The Ghana Stock Exchange was just starting, new financial services companies were being established, the government was divesting its interest in companies, and times were exciting. I took on the role of heading the Trading and Research unit of one of the primary players in financial services in Ghana, Strategic African Securities. In this role, I was part of a team that executed many significant transactions in listings, private placements, acquisitions, and more.
I then ventured out on my own to become a partner of a boutique investment banking firm, Faith Brothers, and later started my consulting firm, Business Linkages International. So, I expanded from financial services to international trade consulting, which included consulting for the World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), among others.
What do you see as the biggest challenges or trends in the financial services industry today as an African woman?
While this is a broad subject, I enjoy exploring it because I have realized that all the challenges or trends within the financial services industry, when it comes to women, are opportunities.
As a coach, I will narrow it down to two influences: behaviour and engagement. Our behaviour, driven by our own childhood socialization and self-perceptions, has shaped our mindset around finances, which in turn affects our engagement with it. This leads to limited financial inclusion, economic empowerment, formal structures, and gender gaps. The exciting news is that all the research metrics are now pointing to growth.
Women have been uniting in advocacy from the local to the global perspective for many years, leading to interventions by multinational agencies and established private sector giants. And this is just the beginning. It can only get better.
Can you provide some insights into effective financial planning strategies that female individuals and businesses can implement?
Just as I mentioned earlier regarding challenges, strategic thinking precedes strategic planning when it comes to our finances. My key insights, through the lens of coaching, are as follows:
- Create a self-awareness exercise when it comes to finances. What is the truth about yourself or your business when it comes to money? Don’t be emotional; simply be truthful.
- Develop a growth mindset about money: Be adaptable, see the glass half full, start where you are with what you have, and keep growing.
- Simplify your understanding: Educate yourself about money in the simplest way you can. Learn like a child and build over time; you are your own best asset. No one will do it for you.
- Increase your digital insight: Digital is here to stay. Engage and explore until you find the tools that work for you.
- Trust the process and enjoy the ride. Finance is an adventure, just like anything in life. Don’t seek to control it; seek to empower yourself and lead it.
Can you tell us about your journey as a global speaker? How did you get started in this field?
I never set out to be a speaker; public speaking was one of my biggest weaknesses. I set out to intentionally develop myself after many blunders in my grooming and life skills, and through that process, I learned to master key topics in my area of specialization. That mastery then threw me into the spotlight, and I developed confidence over time. Since then, I have always believed in the adage that ’’your strength is hidden in your weakness’’.
What topics do you specialize in as a global speaker, and why did you choose them?
My journey in speaking followed my career evolution. I started speaking in financial services, then expanded to wellness and grooming, and later to lifestyle and relationships. Today, I speak about human (soft) skills, communication, high performance, leadership, and strategy.
Could you share some memorable experiences or challenges you’ve faced while speaking at international events?
This would be a book! There are too many to count. They range from miscommunication in date and time, which I found out only two hours before the event, and I still had to make it to deliver, to situations where I had to speak without a microphone in the middle of a crowded room, to emotionally moving an audience of both men and women to tears, to hearing the depth of stories from another continent linked to my delivery, to the many varied standing ovations. I am grateful for these lasting memories and privileged for the continued opportunities.
What are your future goals and aspirations as a global speaker?
Being a multi-passionate expert in several topics, my goal is to add value to the most meaningful conversations and platforms in the world. I aim to be of service every single time and leave a legacy that lives beyond my time, with a memory that lasts a lifetime. Through my journey, many more African speakers will take the global stage and continue to shine the light on our continent and its people brightly and significantly.