…Chartered Bankers President outlines plans to help them
By Frederick ASIAMAH
A female university graduate must not remain jobless until they are employed by someone. That stamping message is coming from Rev. Mrs Patricia Sappor, President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB) Ghana.
“I don’t see how a woman who has finished university can come for a job; you should be able to create a job for yourself, at least, to keep you until you get that job you are looking for,” the banker cum clergywoman told Business Day in a recent interview.
That interview was supposed to celebrate the CIB President, who is also Ecobank’s Regional Head, Marketing & Communications, Ghana and Anglophone West Africa, for being rewarded last August as the ‘Most Outstanding Professional Woman of the Year’ by the Feminine Ghana Achievement Awards.
Instead, Rev. Mrs Sappor – a banker, clergywoman, author, counsellor, wife, mother – preferred to highlight a dream she wants to achieve before she will feel fulfilled.
When Business Day posed the question, “Is there anything you want to achieve still or you have achieved all?” what followed was an outpouring of passion.
“There is something I don’t think I have achieved: my passion. What is on my heart now is when I see the young, I mean the ladies that have finished university, now they are not getting jobs to do and they are frustrated and for that matter they have become vulnerable. It grieves my heart; it really grieves my heart.
“I don’t think that should be the case. So, what I believe will give me very great fulfilment, which I’m trying to do one-on-one but I’ve not been able to really bring shape to it, is to identify the young ladies that have finished school, university – that is where my heart is even though all other woman (sic)…those that have finished university but don’t have jobs, I want to train them. I want to impact their lives. I want to teach them. I want to show them so many opportunities in life and what they can do with their own lives, what they can do with their hands because I see a lot of opportunities in Ghana… You know, for me, that is what I want to do. I believe that when I do that God will probably give me something else but this is what is on my heart; touching that segment of the women…”
She wants to go about her initiative in a manner that is not sophisticated. Such approach flows from the upbringing she received from her parents – a father who was a civil servant and a mother who was entrepreneuring.
Today, besides sitting in the cozy and beautifully-architecture edifice of Ecobank headquarters in Accra, trotting the globe to work for the bank and the CIB and spreading the Gospel of her maker, Rev. Mrs Sappor processes and bottles shito, groundnut paste and fish powder.
She revealed that she took after her mother, saying “my mother was very industrious. She did everything as a woman: she was a baker, she made batik, she made soap, she made wigs – these wigs that you see – she made bags and exported it… So, we grew up in a house where everybody was working; was generating income. My mother was an entrepreneur so everything she felt like doing she does it.”
These entrepreneuring activities of her mother, in turn, influenced her as a banker “because of the entrepreneurship of my mother, I saw a lot of money; I handled a lot of cash.”
Presently, she has her employers’ philosophy to add to her repertoire. She thinks as her employers do. Life is “not about sophistication, it’s about output, it’s about what you do…”
So, the quest to help young women become entrepreneurs will not start off as a big venture. “You see, little wins do matter. You don’t need to do 10 million. You see, if you change the life of one person you have touched so many lives. So, if I get 10, five, even one… that one will also teach someone.
“We don’t need any big win.”
She pre-empts the excuse of non-availability of capital, pointing out that you don’t need to start big. With the little money you can raise, “register your own enterprise, start small and God will bless it.”
Summing up, therefore, her response to the question: “Is there anything you want to achieve still or you have achieved all?” she stated: “So, I don’t think I’ve achieved. I believe that the road of achievement, though one is on it, there’s a lot more one can do in this area and maybe other areas God wants to do and affect people.”
Another focus of the interaction was on what women in the corporate world need to do to be relevant.
Rev. Mrs Sappor sighs heavily in response. Thereafter, she said: “this is a very interesting question. I, first of all, want to commend women for how far they have come. And for those who are coming and for those who are at the top, I know it’s not been easy… What they have to do, I think, is to position themselves…they should be ready for opportunities that will come. Also, they can be anybody so they should just believe in themselves, position themselves academically, socially for opportunities that will come. So, they have to be very bold.
“I think that is one major challenge of women. You see…just a few women want to compete; I will encourage them to compete. If it becomes necessary to compete, they should be bold enough to compete.”
If you are wondering what else Rev. Mrs Sappor can do, below is her answer to the following question: “If you’re not doing banking, if you’re not in the church, what will I find you doing?”
“I will be speaking – public speaking – or you’ll find me cooking or maybe having a restaurant or probably into food manufacturing or food processing.”