What’s up everyone! Do you know what today is? A perfect day to enjoy a beautiful conversation about ‘branching out’ with Doreen Baffoe, Founder of Branchout Africa. Enjoy!
Ama Duncan (AD): Thank you so much for making the time for this interview Coach Doreen. I have heard some really interesting stories about your childhood. Please start by dropping a few here.
Doreen Baffoe (DB): Thank you Ama. I have been looking forward to this for a while. I like to think I had an amazing childhood. We didn’t have a lot but it was fun. I was about 8 when my mom first told me I am going to be the one who takes over when she was no more available. I thought it was a big thing. My youngest brother had been born and he was very beautiful. She once asked me to watch over him as she went to take a bath and I just sat by this beautiful soul; he just looked so lovely. When my mom returned, I was still sitting and staring at him. She said ‘you like him don’t you?’ ‘Yes’, I replied and she went ‘you can have him’. I learnt early to be my mom’s deputy. As early as that I learnt how to cook. I think she prepared me really early to become the successor. When I was getting married, while on campus I remember asking my mom the day before the marriage ceremony ‘how do I know if I’m ready? I was quite young. She looked at me and she said ‘you’ve been ready for a very long time.’ I have been married for 23 years. Our two children are young adults now.
AD: Aww bless your mum! So I grew up in Nigeria but you are a Ghanaian. Yes?
DB: My Father is 100% Fante and my mom is 100% Akyem. But my formative years were in Northern Nigerian so I kind of think of myself as a ‘Ghagerian’. I speak Hausa flawlessly with my siblings.
AD: Ghagerian! Haha that’s new for me. I’ve always wondered Doreen, what inspired you to name your business Branchout Africa?
DB: Almost at the peak of my career around 2012, I lost my job. and I was working in one of the big banks then and in the branch I made a decision on signing something that turned out to be fraudulent. I had actually just been promoted to the third largest branch when the incident occurred. It was like climbing up and suddenly getting pushed when you least expected it. I felt a lot of emotions at that time. My children were young and I didn’t have the luxury of being down for too long. Yet, I didn’t have the energy to pick myself up and move on. I was in a very terrible place. One morning, I had one of those conversations with God. I asked, ‘God of justice where are you?’ I opened the Bible and I was just flipping it. Somehow, I landed at Zachariah 6:12 which went like ‘…and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord’ I was like, ‘branch out! That’s what I need to do. Branch out of where I currently am and build what I think is possible’ So I got up, showered and went to register Branchout. I didn’t even read the rest of that passage. To me Branchout represented that knowledge that times are tough or taking a deliberate decision to steer up the ship, freeing yourself from that entitlement mindset and being deliberate about your growth or journey.
AD: You succeeded in giving me my signature goosebumps! It’s really such a beautiful story. Knowing the story behind Branchout makes me even love it more. Thank you for sharing. You know just like you, some of the women in our network are on the verge of branching out. Some are probably terrified. What do you have to say to such women based on your experience?
DB: Ama I keep branching out because life doesn’t stop. I keep evaluating my context and that’s where we know that coaching is important. It’s important to know your context and truth at this moment. We are similar and yet so unique. For one woman, her branch out means leaving a stable job and experimenting with something else. She may already have a support system that enables her to continue as though nothing has changed. For another woman, it’s completely different. It’s about knowing your context and having a conversation on what you are working on. In 2013, I went through coaching thinking I was doing it for Branchout so that I could coach others. The journey was so surprising for me because that was when my healing started. I learnt to confront the voices in my head, the truth that they may not go away but I can quiet them. It was an opportunity to learn about myself and what I bring to that journey and often it takes us to this deep space. For me it’s a relationship with God and prayer. It’s also managing my emotions and recently I have learnt to enjoy silence. When I was growing up, my mom used to bake to supplement the family income. She used to wake up at 4:30am and so I would follow her. Our house was built in a valley and we had a back door that had a stairway to the mountains. She would sit there for a while and I used to wonder. One morning she asked, ‘can you hear that?’ I heard nothing and she said ‘peace’. I didn’t understand that but now I do. So appreciating your context, knowing your next goal and then focusing on your brand in this branch out journey and what you bring to that space. And I know there is more but these three open the door to a wider conversation.
AD: Hmmm deep! And I love the bit about the silence. Before I let you go Doreen, please complete the following statements:
If I could advise my younger self in one short sentence I would say, ‘young Maame Ama Semenhyia; it’s okay not to know’.
I am fabulous because ‘I am Doreen Maame Ama Semenhyia Enchill. It’s embracing all of me.
I’m fabulous because I am this powerful brand to influence the world around me’.
One great book that has helped me in business is ‘Survival Tactics by Ted Sun’.
AD: Very good. Please tell us about any upcoming programs from Branchout.
DB: We are having the transitional leaders program so if you are a leader who is moving from one stage of leadership to another you can read about and register at branchoutafrica.com. You can also reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AD: Thank you so much Coach Doreen. I have had such a hearty discussion full of wisdom and yet fun.
DB: Thank you Ama, it’s been a pleasure having this conversation with you.
So many nuggets in this interview right? I loved the stories around her mom especially the silence bit. It’s only recently that I have discovered the power of silence. Tell me in the comment please, what did you learn from this conversation? And don’t forget to check out Doreen’s website and share this blog post. Have a fabulous new week!
About Doreen Baffoe
Doreen lives and breathes self leadership. She believes that once people begin to take ownership for their brands, creating a culture where people thrive and objectives are met follow naturally. In 2013, she founded Branchout Africa to bring leadership development and coaching to individuals, executives and teams seeking to work better together to achieve shared objectives.
PS: Do you need to unpack a personal life, work or business situation in order to move forward? I have cleared my calendar to have 30-minute coaching conversations. If this is what you need, call/WhatsApp +233 246 25 2330 or book here https://paystack.com/buy/discovery-call-with-ama-duncan