Women CEOs brace to equip young professionals… As Executive Women Network is launched

The founding mothers in a pose to celebrate the launch.

The founding mothers in a pose to celebrate the launch.

Executive Women Network (EWN), a non-governmental organisation of women in senior management and executive positions in private institutions to help propel, build capacity of women to take up higher opportunities in the topmost levels of corporate governance has been launched in Accra.

The EWN was formed by six women business executives, Maidie Arkutu, Managing Director, Unilever Ghana, Freda Duplan, Managing Director, Nestle Ghana, Edith Dankwa, Chief Executive Officer, Business and Financial Times, Lucy Quist, Managing Director Airtel Ghana and Pearl Esua-Mensah, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Feniks Limited.

Speaking at the launch at a ceremony held in Accra on Tuesday, MD for Unilever Ghana Maidie Arkutu, said the purpose of the network among others was to create a community for professional women to network, dialogue and collaborate for development and self-actualisation.

“We are a force multiplier when we are together. We have the power to influence real change for women in our community, to give opportunities to future women leaders, to change the composition of boardrooms, to influence government policies and to change the landscape of what is possible for us to achieve,” she said.

She said EWN would be a home base for women to grow their professional skills and build important networks.

“More importantly EWN is committed to a progressive approach of enabling women to achieve their professional goals, preparing them to become more resilient, authentic and nurturing them to fulfill their personal dreams,” she said.

Maidie Arkutu in 2013 became the first Black African woman to hold a general management position in Unilever Africa.

In 2014, under the leadership of Maidie, Unilever Ghana grew its revenue by 26.9 per cent from GH¢323.4million to GH¢410.5 million; 2015 saw revenue increase by another 26.4 per cent, growing revenues to GH¢518.73 million.

Earnings per share for the company have increased from GH¢0.22 in 2013 to GH¢0.57 in 2015.

“The EWN will allow me to do something I love, which is working with individuals (professional women in this case) to grow, develop and achieve their full potential.  I believe we can make a significant difference to the women’s agenda in corporate Ghana and beyond,” she said.

Esther Cobber, Chief Executive of Stratcom Africa who was the guest speaker at the Venet Guest urged women not to be held back by socio-economic bottlenecks inherent in Ghana’s society.

She emphasised the need for humility, a strong belief in the grace of God, and the determination to excel.

“The entrepreneurial abilities of women in Ghana are inclined in our traditions today. Women are wired to be great entrepreneurs in all the roles they are expected to take up,” she said.

Freda Duplan, who has worked at Nestlé Ghana since the early 90s and was appointed MD last year.

Pearl Esua-Mensah, is a certified professional accountant (FCCA) with an MBA from Manchester Business School in the UK is another founding member of the Executive Women Network. Essua-Mensah , CEO Feniks Ltd, a business consultancy company. She was a former Deputy Managing Director of UT Bank.

Mrs. Edith Dankwa, CEO of B&FT, in just fifteen years, Mrs. Dankwa has succeeded in building one of the biggest media brands in  Ghana.

Lucy Quist is the first Ghanaian woman to head a mobile telecoms company in the country.

Airtel Ghana is the fourth largest mobile telecoms company in Ghana, with 4.7 million mobile voice subscribers per the National Communications Authority’s (NCA) December 2015 figures.

Patience Akyianu, a certified professional accountant and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana is the Managing Director of Barclays Bank, Ghana.

By David Adadevoh

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