Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh is the Strategic Partnership Lead of Microsoft Africa Transformation Office, and an inspiring thought leader in the technology space on the continent.
Prior to joining Microsoft, she was the Executive Director and Regional Manager for IBM North, East and West Africa, overseeing 35 countries.
She was the first woman and first African to have served in that role. She has over 20 years’ experience in sales and marketing across the financial services and technology space, handling both global and local assignments.
Before joining IBM, she worked in the UK for UBS Investment Bank and ABN AMRO Bank. She also worked in Ghana’s banking industry as the Head of Consumer Banking for GT Bank Ghana and the Head of Prestige Banking for UBA Bank Ghana.
Mrs Kyerematen-Jimoh currently serves on the board of the Bank of Ghana.
Taking her turn on the ‘Engine Room” series on Springboard, Your Virtual University, Ms Kyerematen-Jimoh shared her corporate journey and how she got to the top.
She described her corporate journey which started in the financial sector before moving into the technology space as an interesting one.
“It’s been a very interesting journey and when I look back, I feel God always had a purpose for my life and everything makes sense now.”
“Sometimes when you are going through certain things, you don’t know why, but as you progress in life, you understand that nothing happens by chance,” she noted.
Growing up in a strict home
Mrs Kyerematen-Jimoh pointed out that she grew up in a home where her mum was very strict and made sure that she embedded in her strict discipline, and she grew up knowing that she could be everything she put her mind to because she saw her mother do that.
“You can never be what you cannot see so my mum has been a great example to who I am and really influenced my life.
“My mum was the first African and woman to take over Saint Monica’s School after the whites left so I sometimes feel being the first in many things actually does not impress anyone in my home because we had a lot of that from my mother as an example,” she explained.
She said she grew up in a home where her mother was always in charge, which shaped her thinking that women could lead.
“For our youth, it is important that they see what they aspire to be because that will influence their behaviour which will create the result and the results will create who you are,” she said.
Top 15 lessons from Ms Kyerematen-Jimoh’s story
1. Pictures; I grew up watching my mother deal with the unique challenges that confronted her. It made me believe that I could break new grounds.
2. Exposure; I spent a year abroad on the AFS programme with a Belgian family. It helped me to learn French and exposed me to different cultures and outlooks.
3. Nothing happens by chance; If you truly believe there is someone greater guiding your life, in my case God, you will see things working out step by step till you reach your desired destination.
4. Twists and turns; I got married quite early to this great guy. I had my two wonderful sons while studying for my first degree in the UK. I still came out with good grades. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t work out.
5. Extracurricular activities; Going beyond the call of duty always extends you and opens doors for your career. At Saint Monica’s Primary, I learnt to lead by organising other children to sing Christmas carols.
6. Be hungry, take risks and do more; I submitted an unrequested paper while at IBM on the need for a new role liaising between the global office and continental operations. The acceptance of that paper led to my appointment to fill the role.
7. God is a big factor in my life; my mother set the pace for my spiritual life. I learnt, from her example, to kneel in prayer and bring my challenges before God.
8. The engine room; People often see the results and recognition that comes with every role or appointment; but they rarely get a glimpse into the sleepless nights and sacrifices on the journey.
9. Tip for beginners; Set your goals and relentlessly pursue them. I set a daily to-do list as well as a not-to-do list. That defines what I spend my time on.
10. Failures; I have experienced several episodes of setbacks. The most obvious one is my marriage that didn’t work out. Looking back, I could have prayed more and communicated better. I definitely learnt from it.
11. Biggest achievement; I have dedicated my life to bringing up my two boys. Jamal is an engineer in a big tech firm while Caleb is a law student specialising in tech law. They are my pride and joy.
12. Who am I? I am a passionate non-conformist and go getter who loves God, is focused, and has faith without borders.
13. Humility; I pray for humility to learn, to grow, to accept my shortfalls and try to help others. –
14 Seeking perfection; I had gone beyond my role and leveraged opportunities to create revenue for my firm, yet I felt unprepared when I was being promoted to a new role. Women often want to be 100 per cent sure, while our male counterparts may take on a role and learn on the job.
15. Message to women on International Women’s Day.
a. Build your confidence.
b. Prepare deliberately for your next big role.
c. Acquire emotional intelligence, communication and leadership skills
d. Speak up irrespective of the odds
e. It’s not enough being at the table, let your presence be felt at the table
f. Together we can break the bias