Yaa Peprah Amekudzi has been with our organization since 2009, starting with the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership of Kraft Foods, which evolved into the Cocoa Life program we know today, in 2012.
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Tell Us a Bit About Yourself and Your Career Path
Every experience I gained over the course of my career prepared me for my position with our Cocoa Life team today. From an early age, I fancied becoming a lawyer. I would stand in front of the mirror and mimic lawyers that I had seen on TV. I would come to the defense of anyone that I felt was being dealt a bad hand. Although I was so delighted when I gained admission into the university to study law I somehow got sidetracked to believe that with my excellent grades, I should rather opt for Business Administration and that is how I ended up with Business Administration as my first degree from the University of Ghana. My career evolved from there: I started in journalism before shifting into work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). At each step, I paused to reflect on my skill set, making changes that at times put me out of my comfort zone which eventually led me to MDLZ today, where I could not be more grateful!
What Characteristics Have You Been Intentional About Developing to Become the Leader You Are Today?
I am quite intentional about my actions. Every action I take is intentional. When I allow myself to lean into any situation or issue, it is because I choose to. It helps me to stay authentic.
What Motivates You and Gives You Energy and Fulfillment?
Honestly, I do not know where my energy comes from! My fulfilment, on the other hand, is from seeing what I contribute to, grow organically. This helps me see little (microscopic) impact as well as big tangible ones.
What Are You Most Passionate About at Work?
Building Cocoa Life calls for advocacy, relationship building and networking among all stakeholders. I bring together politicians, administrators, non-governmental organizations, communities, farmers, plant breeders and many more. Achievements deriving from these conversations make me feel confident that we are on the right track for a thriving cocoa sector.
One particular aspect of our 10-year journey is the transformation taking place across the communities we work in and its rippling effect in the cocoa sector at community as well as policy levels. I am inspired by the ability of farmers and other community members to grow organically along with us. Indeed, Cocoa Life is about growing and developing together. I see how farmers are realigning their lives and seeing their farm as a business. And, I am very proud of the women of the country. Their courage to raise their voices and the knowledge that they have a strong voice as well as the economic opportunities they find for themselves are impressive.
What is the Best Advice You've Received in Your Career?
I really am hesitant about giving advice to other women because of our different realities. I hum (and when alone, sing) the song, "This Little Light of Mine, I'm Gonna Let it Shine" to myself all the time. My mother taught me the song when I must have been 4 years and it was my father who encouraged me to sing it as my mantra. The song sees me through all.
What Advice Do You Give to Others?
It is good to sometimes open the door of a room that is suffocating you, and close it firmly behind you: Oftentimes, doors leading to better fulfillment would present themselves, some open and some closed. You get to choose. And pray you choose right.