Welcome to my blog! Last month, I spoke at the Webster University (Ghana Campus) Open House event and thought the content I shared will be useful to the fabulous audience I serve. And so I asked permission to share here. Enjoy.
Thank you very much Webster University for inviting me again. Dr. Felix Danso and Dr. Angela Gyamera, it’s a pleasure for me to share this stage with you. For the potential students here, I congratulate you all. This is my second time on your platform and I’ve had the opportunity to engage with some of the students as well. I can say you’re in good company for you to even decide to be a part of this institution. Their class sizes, lecturer to student ratio, curriculum and extra-curricular activities are very impressive, I must confess.
A bit about me
I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I liked reading as a child so I would hear people tell me, you should be a lawyer. I’m sure at some point in time someone may have said I should be a doctor too because I was book smart. I remember also battling a lot with low self-esteem because I had a very strong poverty mind-set. We lived in Komenda – a small town along the coast of Ghana. I thought we were poor, I thought I wasn’t good enough, beautiful enough, slim enough (Haha), just to mention a few. And as if that wasn’t enough, for a long time I also didn’t have a boyfriend (ouch). This made me think of myself as someone who didn’t belong. I was just all over the place without particularly knowing what to do. Thank God, I was book smart! From Senior Secondary School, I did well with my grades and was admitted into the University. They gave me some courses and I was like, hey let’s just do this. I didn’t know what I was going to be so it didn’t really matter what I studied (reminds me of the conversation between Alice and Chesire cat in Wonderland!). My courses included Economics and Psychology so I studied both until I finished. I was not having any particular direction, always feeling like I needed someone or something to validate me.
By God’s grace I completed University, travelled abroad, got a really nice job as a Training Manager when I returned home, got married, had kids, you know… I was ‘living the life’. In spite of all these, I did not feel fulfilled. I still felt there was something missing, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I remember visiting my former school, Archbishop Porter Girls one time and interacting with my former English teacher who was now the Headmistress. When I mentioned my maiden name she said ‘Ama Mbir, you used to write so well’ and asked ‘do you still write?’. I responded that I had stopped writing. On my way I reminisced how I loved writing and reading when I was younger. This was when I decided to start writing again. This jolted me into a state that I loved and enjoyed being in. Writing about women who inspired me really gingered me. I loved sharing inspirational stories about fabulous women. Little did I know that this was all I needed to be jolted into what I call my Ministry now. This is how The Fabulous Woman Network started. I didn’t even at that time think there was anything about me worth celebrating. It was just about celebrating, developing and inspiring other people.
Fast forward to today, after discovering my first love which was reading and writing, I have founded The Fabulous Woman Network which is an international community of women who through businesses are creating wealth and impacting people and I’m loving that. Through my ministry, I have discovered what my purpose is. It is to serve others; to help others to develop. I started with corporate training for other businesses too, training their staff on soft skills such as customer service and offering leadership training to their management teams. Soon I became a writer too (now with 3 books) and now I do business coaching for new women in business. I definitely know my purpose is to serve others and help others develop but I don’t have a full picture of what my concrete bigger vision is. I keep discovering more as time goes on and that’s fine with me.
If you’re not sure of what you want to be or which program to study, just know that it’s okay and with time you’ll discover that. I do know that some of us are born ready with an idea of who we want to be already in mind while setting a course for ourselves. That is wonderful, but not everyone has it all laid out too. Even though you may not know what opportunities lie ahead of you, you have to be prepared. I’m going to share a few tips on how you can prepare as you’re going into school, developing yourself, looking to come out and have a career, etc.
Ask questions. Pay attention to the things you’re seeing around you. As a child I always liked to be curious and asked questions and I sometimes got into trouble for asking questions. I still love to ask questions anyway. It is a major way to get a lot of doors opened for you as an individual. For instance, in University I was in the Mass Choir and during one of our rehearsals, I saw one of our members wearing a pullover and on it was written Camp Joy. I was curious and went over to ask the lady about it. As soon as she mentioned the US in her response, I knew that was somewhere I wanted to be. That very summer was my first time in the US working with this Camp Joy and it was such a beautiful experience! At that time, I didn’t know how that experience was going to play into my future but I realized that my experience during Camp Joy was very valuable to me as I grew.
Be willing to be mentored
A mentor advises and inspires you. The best part about mentorship is that sometimes you don’t even need to know them in person. You can get mentored through books or attend events and get mentored by wonderful people. Be curious and be willing to learn from these people. Some of the mistakes our mentors have had, we don’t need to make them again. Let’s be willing to learn as much from them as we can. The first time I made real money in business, it was because I sat at the feet of a mentor who advised me and thank God I ran with it. Mentorship has been a real game changer for me.
Recently, I was having a conversation with a lady about my age and she’s been trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. I suggested to her to volunteer for different things; this is a good way to figure out what you are passionate about. When I was on Campus, I engaged in a lot of volunteering. I remember Volta Hall’s Girl @ Job where we would distribute fliers at fuel filling stations, wash cars and pump fuel as we solicited funds for our hall activities. There was a time I even washed an aeroplane! (Hehe) I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be but I wanted to explore different things and these are some of the advantages of volunteering. It gives you an array of experiences to find what works best for you.
Networking is about connecting with other people. In your student community it would mean connecting with fellow students, your lecturers, other staff, etc. I want to encourage you to network especially with your peers, even people you consider to be ‘below’ you. When I was on Campus, I had a short, ‘annoying’ friend. He used to annoy me because he was all over me, always talking and asking questions. Confession: I never knew this short boy would grow up to become a big corporate giant. Now when I need him, I have to go through a series of people to get to him! hehe. Never look down on anyone.
You’re on campus and you’re young. Have fun. Enjoy your time on campus. Webster University is even giving you an opportunity to go to other countries and learn from them. Don’t take the exposure you’re going to get from there for granted. Take up a lot of extra-curricular activities. When I was in school, I learnt how to dance Salsa and totally enjoyed it. You will discover a lot about yourself in the process, create connections and make lasting memories which are priceless. Take advantage of these things.
In summary, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up but with each new day I’m still discovering. If this is you, just keep going on and don’t stop learning and discovering. Definitely be curious, willing to be mentored, volunteer, network and have fun. I’ll love to follow up on your progress and see how you are doing. Let’s connect on LinkedIn and I wish you the very best.
Ama xx PS: Our Virtual Women Leaders Retreat starts on Saturday 28th August. Check out full details here https://youtu.be/cb7lVQC57tw
Photo Credit: Vera Obeng Photography