Have you ever been to an event where you were overwhelmed by the talk of a Speaker? Where you start to reconsider your outlook towards society. Where you just felt like jumping out of your seat and hug that speaker or give him/her a tap on the shoulder for delivering an impactful and life-transforming message. Where the contents of the talk inject some nitro in you and boosts your morale to make your continent a better place.
Yes!! That was how I felt when I attended the recent TEDxAccra2016 event at the National Theatre, Accra and the speaker that made me feel that way was Lucy Quist. She is the managing director of Airtel Ghana. She is a passionate believer in excellence, integrity, and generosity. Lucy Quist successfully transitioned from a core engineering background to become one of Africa’s leading telecommunications business leaders. She is also the Co-founder of Executive Women Network a non-profit organization of women in senior management and executive positions in private organizations and women entrepreneurs of well-established businesses in Ghana. Their aim is to inspire, empower and support women executives to be successful and influential both at the local and international level.
I’ve been an admirer of Lucy Quist because of her great achievements in a male dominated field. She is an attestation to the saying “What a man can do, a woman can do better”. She has proved to the whole world that the purpose of the African woman is not to be in the Kitchen but to be out there in the world and make positive changes in society with passion
Lucy Quist recounted a trip she embarked on to Dubai where she came across a waitress and they engaged in a conversation. During their conversation, the waitress asked her where she lived and she told her she lived in Ghana. The waitress didn’t really know where Ghana was so she had to describe where Ghana was in Africa. And the lady Exclaimed “ Ooh Africa” she’d loved to go on a safari there one day. Mrs. Quist remarked that “Africa is the only continent that is still talked of in the image of its resources and wildlife. A continent where its people are not viewed as their most treasured and prized assets. She added that this perception has to change. She made reference to a statement Henry Ford made i.e. “If you ask people what they wanted, they’d have said; faster horses”. Mrs. Quist added that Henry Ford was willing to believe that it was possible for everyone in his country to own a vehicle and not just a wealthy few as it was at the time and he was willing to live through and deliver on that dream. She stressed on the need for Africa to have a vision that defines it beyond its natural resources. She spoke passionately about how Ghana attained independence before Singapore but Singapore has been able to transform itself into a global powerhouse and Ghana is still struggling to develop. She attributed Singapore’s success to the power of vision.
She then went on to share an inspirational life story about two families. One family lived in the Ashanti Region and was led by a Matriarch who was a farmer. She decided to send her younger children to school because she needed the older ones on the farm. This matriarch had a son who was very bright intellectually and she believed her son could be anything he wanted to. She made sure her son attained the highest level of education and her son later grew up to become an engineer. The other family who was led by a wealthy patriarch lived in the Greater Accra Region. He too decided that his grandchildren should go to school. At a point in time, his granddaughter got tired of the routine of always walking to school and told his grandfather she wanted to quit school. His Grandfather said to her that if she doesn’t go to school who would be buying tobacco for his pipe in the near future? He convinced the Granddaughter to go back to school and she went on to become an administrator at the meteorological services department. The young engineer and young administrator met at the meteorological service department, later got married and gave birth to a number of children and one of them is Madam Lucy Quist. She revealed that none of her Grandparents ever attained formal education, they were just people who believed in the potential of members of their family and not in the wealth they have amassed through their farms. She added that, the fact that her grandparents believed in the potential of her parents which made it possible for them to give birth to her and also believe in her potential is a great inspiration to her. She also spoke about how she takes time off her heavy schedule to go out to schools and spend time with children to encourage them.
Lucy Quist concluded by saying “We can Rethink Africa and transform it, where everybody realizes their potential”. Let’s be the generation that makes it happen”.
I’ve never seen a lady speak so passionately about transforming the African Continent and believing it is possible. She has made me “Rethink” about what role I can also play in transforming the fortunes of the African Continent. I doFF my hat out to you, Madam Lucy Quist. You are an inspiration to our current generation. If it were to be a Military Parade and you being the reviewing officer, I bet I would command my contingent to give you three hearty cheers.
You are a Woman Of Substance.