Today, Peace Hyde is a globally recognised media personality and showbiz impresario; deeply involved in social impact activities and creating sustainable structures for children’s education in Africa.
But for this beautiful, intelligent, and grounded woman, the road to success hasn’t always been smooth and easy; it has come with its own peculiar challenges of striving to remain authentic, the need to keep evolving, and the determination to stay focused on achieving ones dreams.
She speaks with Francesca Uriri on the milestones that have defined her incredible journey, and what the future holds for her.
In your own words, introduce Peace to the rest of usPeace Hyde is a TV Personality, Media entrepreneur and Forbes Africa Correspondent. I am also the founder of education advisory firm Aim Higher Consulting and its subsequent not for profit arm Aim Higher Africa which has a focus on building the next generation of entrepreneurs in Africa to bridge the gap between poverty and prosperity.
I was born and bred in the UK by Ghanaian parents before relocating to Africa two years ago and I am currently working in Nigeria and enjoying the experience immensely. I presently work with Forbes Africa as the West African Correspondent responsible for profiling the entrepreneurial success stories from the continent. I have a first class degree in Psychology and I am also a qualified teacher having obtained my qualification in the UK. I have two masters, An MA in Communication and Digital Media and a Masters in Journalism. I have a lifestyle talk show in Ghana, called Friday Night Live, which deals with everything about life, and living it, and most recently joined the cast of MTV Shuga.
You qualified as a teacher, and actually did what some would term the more “geeky” stuff for nearly 7 years lol; why did you switch to entertainment? I love teaching and to a large extent I think I will always be a teacher. My passion as a TV Presenter, Event Host and Actress is to help add value to Ghana in another way. I believe people in the media are the strongest proponents of change. It is something I have always had a passion for and Africa gave me the courage to try it. It’s been an amazing experience but I do not define myself as an entertainment entity or as solely corporate. I am everything God has given me the ability to do.
Would it be correct to say that broadcast is your preferred mode of expression? I ask this because you’re an Actress, a TV Host, and a presenter with Forbes Africa? I would not necessarily say broadcast is my preferred mode of expression. I have always had a passion for the Arts and I have been fortunate enough to have some great opportunities in broadcasting. I think I am probably slightly more popular because of my broadcast platforms as they have a wider reach than the other mediums. I am actually a Journalist working as the West African correspondent for Forbes Africa and that medium I think is increasingly becoming a favorite of mine. Listening to the inspirational entrepreneurial stories from the continent’s successful people is something that is very motivational. I believe Africa’s story needs to be told and put on the global platform to highlight some of the gems that are coming out of the continent.
You are British-Ghanaian; how easy (or challenging), is it to merge both cultures in the things that you do? I don’t think I have struggled to merge both cultures. I think my identity is somewhat an amalgamation of different experiences and upbringing that I had. Having Ghanaian parents equipped me with the skills I need to survive in Africa and being born in the UK added value in terms of instilling a perspective that although traditionally and intrinsically different from the African culture, is useful to ensure you have the skill-set to compete in the global economy. From that perspective, I believe the transition in Africa has been quite smooth.
As the West African correspondent for Forbes Africa, and a media entrepreneur? What would you say are the important things Africa should “sell” to the rest of the world?I strongly believe the next frontier of development is in Africa. Africa’s spotlight on the world stage is considerably getting closer each day with every successful story coming out of the continent. I look at success stories like Aliko Dangote, Arunma Oteh and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and see a new Africa where we are proudly exporting our heritage to the world, which is extremely important in my opinion.
Also of grave importance is the story of young millennial’s from the continent who are creating an impact by empowering communities. I believe it is time to also tell the success stories highlighting the move towards digital platforms and technological advances, which were not present on the continent a couple of years ago. The world needs to know how far Africa has come and is continuing to grow and I hope with my role with Forbes Africa, I can contribute in some small way to that global enlightenment of Africa.
Let’s talk about Aim Higher Africa, your not-for-profit organization; what’s it about? And what does it focus on?We started Aim higher Africa in Ghana about 3 years ago to tackle the problem of inefficiencies in systems and policies in education institutions. The organization was initially focused on helping private schools streamline their processes and bring them more in line with international teaching standards. Since then we have evolved as an organization. We have kept our core value proposition of education reform in schools and at the same time expanded into social initiatives that drive the wider education goals of the organization.
Today we partner with schools in Ghana and across the rest of Africa. We have created several initiatives one of which is our digital classroom, which we began with the 31st December women’s movement schools in Ghana founded by the former first lady of Ghana. The cluster of schools comprise of about 1200 learning institutions ranging from early learning centers to secondary schools.
Following this initiative, we are looking at other areas in Africa where there is a need for digital learning and that is where Nigeria comes in. Africa’s largest economy has several opportunities and it is our hope that we can bring the same level of success we had in Ghana here also.
One of our ethos is building a generation of young entrepreneurs in Africa to help close the employment deficiencies in the continent. For years the rhetoric has been marginally skewed towards a need for more jobs to be created, at Aim Higher Africa we believe the only way you can create sustainable and scalable employment opportunities is by empowering the next generation of young global leaders to create industries that make an impact.
Excellent! Why education though? Why do you think education is the best medium for you to get the message about Aim Higher Africa across?I believe education is the most important tool in fighting poverty and empowering communities. At Aim Higher Africa we have a program focused on improving the standards of education in derelict rural schools. When we began, we worked with in house teachers to provide guidelines on disciplinary, marking and testing assessment, lesson structuring, performance appraisal etc.
Today we have evolved as an organization with a more strategic focus. One of our mandates is to reach our digital transformation goal of streamlining education institutions in Africa and ensuring we reach a digital classroom in every rural community. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but we are fully committed. I believe God blesses everyone to become a blessing to others. We have grown from a portfolio from 5 schools to about 30 across Ghana and Nigeria. As Mandela put it: “education is the most powerful weapon which to can use to change the world.”
How central is your faith to who you are?
I describe myself as a faith driven person. Everything I do is based on an unshakeable faith in God and His purpose for my life. I truly believe you can achieve anything you put your mind to and I am a strong advocate in setting myself goals and targets.
You are very fashionable, any plans of becoming a fashion entrepreneur, and adding that to your already impressive profile?
I like to think my style is a reflection of a confident, modern day African woman. I believe style is personal. The key to understanding your personal style is to understand your individual beauty enough to know which looks will work for you and which ones won’t. I have always believed that we all put obstacles in our own path towards personal style. I believe if we understood why we constructed these personal and emotional obstacles, we might move beyond it to a healthier and happier perception of ourselves and ideally a better sense of self-esteem. I have not really considered a move into the fashion world although I never say no to any new challenge so who knows?
You seem to be a multi-faceted woman; Acting, TV Hosting and being an entrepreneur, how do you juggle all the roles and still maintain balance?
I have been a teacher for several years and part of the requirement of that job is being able to manage several things at the same time. I think that process has given me a lot of practice in multitasking and making the most out of my time. I believe the greatest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams. I have now embarked on a new dream and the new challenge feels remarkable. I think when you have a passion for what you do, it becomes a lot more easier to make everything fit together.
In this interview, you were very candid about your body and self-confidence issues; how did you overcome them, and what would you say to other women struggling with the same things?
I believe as women we all have things that we are not confident about and that is completely normal. It is important however to not let those insecurities become the definition of who we are. Growing up I have always had issues with weight which I spent a lot of years battling and I know how difficult that challenge can be. I made a conscious effort to lead a healthier lifestyle and take each day at a time.
Some women take extreme measures and use all sorts of devices, which might be harmful to their health all in the name of having that perfect body. It is important to embrace who we are and face challenges by seeking support form those who have overcome similar challenges before us. I believe together we can and you do not have to suffer in silence or on your own and no matter what you do, always remember to be yourself because everyone else is taken.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who consistently strived to achieve their fullest potential.
Where are your favourite travel destinations and why?
I love anywhere with amazing shopping outlets so the USA, Europe, South Africa etc. I think a good holiday is somewhere you can relax but also have a good shopping trip.
What are the next 10 years looking like for Peace?
I believe the greatest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams. I have now embarked on a new dream and the new challenge feels remarkable. I want the Peace Hyde brand to be an advocate for change across Africa. I want to change the stereotype of what it means to be an African woman in this male dominated industry.
I am a woman in process. I just try like everybody else. I try to take every conflict and every experience and learn from it. I want my experiences to shape minds and have a positive impact to the world. I want the Peace Hyde brand to motivate young women to think like the queens they are. A queen is not afraid to fail; failure is another stepping-stone to greatness.
For every one of us that succeeds it’s because there is someone there to show you the way out. I would love the Peace Hyde brand to show the way out for those who want to give up on their dreams. If I can impact just a single individual to do something positive in years from now, then I would have achieved a lot.
Words of advice for younger women intending to follow your path?
No matter what you want to do in life, always remember there are so many people that will try to discourage you and will not believe in your dream. Sometimes, those people are the ones we love and cherish the most. It is important to not let their short sightedness deter you from your vision. We all have what it takes to be great. It is something that is inherent in us.
All we need to do is to tap into that greatness and unlock our fullest potential. The only way we can make that happen is to find out what we are passionate about and pursue that passion with everything we have. Persistence always beats resistance. Nobody is going to give you a free ride so you should be prepared to work hard and as I said before no matter what you do, always be yourself because everyone else is taken.
This Interview was originally published in 2016 on Ynaija Blog
Follow peace on Twitter: @Peace_Hy and on Instagram: @Peace_Hy
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa; an initiative that seeks to effectively mentor and inspire women, with particular emphasis on the African continent.
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