Yvette Adounvo Atekpe, the Regional Managing Director of Internet Solutions Ghana, was recently recognised as one of 2017’s top 25 Ghana ICT Leaders.
She was one of only five women on that list. Still, Yvette believes there is reason to be encouraged – for the first time, a woman serves as Ghana’s Minister of Communications. Having had a career in telecommunications prior to entering politics, Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful is a vocal advocate against cultural barriers that prevent girls from contributing effectively to ICT and nation building.
Yvette is also passionate about advancing the status of women and children in society, as well as in technical and technological professions. She was a member of the Ghana Ministry of Communications Committee on promoting Girls in ICT, and she is a member of the Executive Women Network.
On having women in the C-suite
Women offer companies more than just business acumen, says Yvette. Thanks to having faith in their intuition and the ability to see the ‘bigger picture’, she believes that more balanced decision-making that serves the company comes from women being in executive positions.
Considering that women make up at least half the population, she says it’s just fair that more women are in leadership roles.
On interacting with men in the workplace
Yvette feels fortunate that her male colleagues are overwhelmingly supportive - she knows that this is not always the status quo for women who are senior executives.
In her positions as President of the Zonta Club of Accra II and the Board Chair for Zonta District 18 (Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy), Yvette counselled young Ghanaians entering the workplace to gain respect by operating with integrity, and taking pride in one’s expertise.
Women should not be pushovers, she says, their voices are too valuable to be quietened.
On balancing work and home commitments
A wife and mother of two, Yvette believes that work-life balance is a myth. However, that should not be seen as a barrier because she believes that women are inherently better able to juggle the demands of career and family.
She says that support is critical for women in leadership, in all forms – from one’s husband or partner, at the workplace, or from paid resources if that is affordable.
Also important is prioritising time for family and friends, and for oneself. Yvette explains that she occasionally turns down speaking engagements, and invitations from friends, depending on whether she needs to spend time with her husband and children or just by herself.
Ultimately, Yvette believes that women and girls in Ghana and around the world should be bold, and full of hope.
We must take a stand and be the best we can be, she says. Everything we dream of is achievable when we apply our hearts and minds.