Her story is an inspiration to young female professionals around the world, and HR Focus was privileged to sit with her and glean a thing or two from her.
She is a youthful Christian woman who enjoys having fun with her family, listening to music, reading and engaging in active sports like cycling and tennis. In her spare time, she loves to rest – in order to regain the energy that she uses up on her very active days at work and at home. Beyond this, she has a lot of pets: monkeys and tortoises, and hopes to get some peacocks, ducks, rabbits, and parrots as well. Outside of her work environment, she is passionate about hiking – and intends to climb all the beautiful mountains she can identify in Africa.
Dr. Berrard’s personal philosophy in life is that everyone has potential. She believes through prayer, help from others and conscious efforts, the hidden potential and talent in people can be unleashed for good use. This philosophy, over her years of working and dealing with others is founded on her values.
On Respect for Others, Yourself, and Integrity
Having worked across almost ten multinational companies, Dr. Berrard has had a very exciting and adventurous career. She shared with us the kind of experiences she has had and how grateful she was to have them. She said, “There are so many opportunities I have had in my career that I never thought I would have. I have sat in the room with so many high-profile people that I have been exposed to because of the kinds of work I have done and the blessing and opportunities I have been given by previous and current superiors.”
Like any great story worth reading, hers is not one without challenges. One of the main challenges that she faced came in the form of dealing with people. Specifically, people misunderstanding the company’s philosophy, ethics, and the need to drive performance to meet global standards. The challenge being that some relationships turn sour, when her ethos is to connect with and help people in any way she can. She shares, “It can be quite emotionally challenging. I have had to have tough conversations with people about how their performance is not helping the organization’s overall objective. It is an unpleasant scenario to be in.”
Being a transformational leader, Dr. Hazel’s leadership style changes based on the demands of the situation. She thrives to inspire those around her by believing in them, giving them opportunities and encouraging them to achieve their goals. Once those around her succeed, she believes in rewarding them to keep them encouraged.
On Her Appointment as the First Female CEO of Prudential Life Ghana
Dr. Hazel Berrard Amuah’s appointment as the CEO of prudential Life Ghana was both a rewarding and humbling experience for her. She was appointed the first ever woman to occupy that position! Following this feat, she said, “I am aware that there are a lot of women and HR professionals looking up to me to see how I will progress. With the help of God and the amazing team I find myself working with, I am hopeful about the future.”
Her transition into the role of CEO was from a former capacity of being an HR Director in a different organization. From overseeing the activities of a department, to overseeing different functions in a life insurance organization has been a complete and interesting shift for her. From her point of view, prayer is one of the game changing things that have influenced her career choices. As a woman of the Christian faith, even her professional steps are taken under prayerful consideration. Her family’s support and blessing has also been a critical pillar in her success. She shared with us, “My career choices and decision have not been just a singular decision but I usually discuss with my family before I embark on them. I also have a strong support network in terms of very good friends who are more than family. I bounce on these people for words of wisdom and encouragement and that has really helped me in making decisions beyond the prayer factor to get to where I am today”
Her favourite part of the job is the people she works with. She is a firm believer that people are the heart and soul of the business. Even more, she believes there is no limit to excellence, and she has made it her singular aim to improve the organization and its
people. It is for similar reasons; her love for people; that she works towards contributing her quota as an individual to support friends and loved ones who create programs to help the orphaned and disabled. She has established a Reach and Share Foundation that currently supports three main organizations: the Village of Hope, Rafiki Methodist Home, and the Leprosarium.
Dr, Berrard believes a powerful woman is a woman who is unstoppable. She said, “A powerful woman is a praying woman who empowers herself. She dares to dream and achieves them, she is humble, kind, knowledgeable and simple.” We asked her what advice she will give to any woman who wants to be like her. She said, “Don’t be like me, aim to be better than me. If you don’t have a plan, you can’t achieve anything. If you don’t have a compass, you can’t go anywhere. Consistency and discipline are the two key fundamental
points that you need to succeed. Stay true to yourself, have the right corporate ethics and also, remember that the biggest success factor is prayer and righteous living”.