From Contracts to Concerts, are you CRAZY?
Growing up, I used to prance around the house in my father’s robe, bib and wig whilst imitating the authoritative voice I thought lawyers needed in the courtroom. My family would laugh and convince me I’d make a great lawyer one day.
I went to court a few times with my dad especially before moving to the United States for the last two years of high school and I thought The Law was a good path to follow. It combined perfectly my desire to help people out of their current situations whilst balancing my interest in meeting people from different backgrounds and learning about their journeys and choices they made to end up where they did.
I moved to the US with my brother and mother (who obtained a scholarship to pursue her Ph.D. in Memphis, Tennessee). My high school was conveniently located across the road from home and I got selected to join the school’s mock trial team. We visited the courtroom a few times and that solidified my decision to study law at the university.
I turned down a scholarship to study at a university in the US and headed to a private university in England to study Law with French. It was a great experience, the school’s location, small class sizes and truly international student body (a few close friends were from Kenya, Sri Lanka, Canada and Cambridge) made it a worthwhile experience.
Fast forward a few years, I moved back to Ghana, interned for the Legal Aid Scheme and worked for an international firm. I accepted a job with a beer company as a legal and regulatory affairs manager out of the corporate affairs department. It was a large company and my director gave me room to truly own the work I delivered on a daily basis. (I on, more than one occasion, got to make full use of the award in contract law I received at my university). The work was varied and I loved joining my colleagues in corporate affairs to their community development activities.
I was a fierce supporter of our brands and people often asked me whether I worked in marketing or corporate affairs. I laughed it off in the first year but started to take it a little more seriously in my second and third year within the company. I asked some marketing colleagues a ton of questions, started attending their events and took a keen interest in their activities. When an opportunity on the marketing team opened, I applied for the position and was offered the job! I was excited about the opportunity until a thought came to mind one day, from drafting contracts to organizing concerts, are you crazy? Are you ready for the whole mind shift that was about to occur? What if you don’t like it or can’t cut it? I moved into marketing despite all this and my new boss was supportive of me and my transition into this new world!
I first managed our smaller beer brands and was given the opportunity to express new ideas to better communicate and engage with consumers for a different consumer experience before working on our larger brands. Through my new role, I have had the opportunity to travel to 9 regions in Ghana (1 more to go), South Africa, Nigeria, and counting!
If asked if I have ever regretted taking the decision to branch out into a completely different field, my response would be no. It has been a character-building adventure that continues to mold me into the woman I am turning out to be. Despite my comfort in my role as a lawyer, I pushed myself to learn something new. My foundation keeps me grounded and provides me with a conscience when building brand plans or community activities (I hope!)
The things I believe that have helped me through my transition are:
- Belief in God
- Humility (asking for help when I simply didn’t know what was going on)
- Openness to accept instruction and criticism
- Taking time out to breathe and owning the decisions I make
While 2018 is still young, the best part of my year and something I will not forget anytime soon is meeting Bozoma “Boz” Saint John, Chief Brand Officer at Uber. When she visited a brunch I was at, she gave an inspiring interview to a room full of people and touched on issues such as:
- Embracing a sense of urgency in our lives and not taking no for an answer
- Believing in yourself and your ability to be great whilst asking for help and helping others along the way
- The need to practice fabulousness on the daily!
I can’t wait for what’s ahead!
Written By: Ewurafua Addo-Atuah, Marketing Head