For the past thirty-six (36) years, Dr. (Mrs.) I. Stella Agyenim-Boateng has been working in Ghana but travelled extensively across the globe, mainly as a result of the demands of her work. She is a seasoned Human Resource Professional, a C-suite transformational leader whose experience spans across many different industries/sectors in Ghana – from Education, Telecommunications, Insurance, Consultancy and Energy. She was instrumental in the successful transformation of a State-owned company to become a commercially-viable, performance-oriented and culturally agile organisation (Vodafone Ghana) and led the biggest People/Structural transformation. She has introduced significant initiatives across the various organisations in her career space.

She is the “First Ever Female Advisor to The CEO, Volta River Authority, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Human Resource Management Practitioners (CIHRMP), Fellow of Chartered Institute of Leadership & Governance (CILG), Fellow of Institute of Directors (IoD), Member of Ghana National Association of ADR Practitioners (GNAAP), Member of Executive Women’s Network (EWN), and many others. She serves on some Boards and has numerous Personal and Corporate Awards as well as Citations, to her credit.

With the professional ambition to go as far as her knowledge, skills and attitude would allow her, she has added value to herself and pursued higher learning opportunities for the benefit of herself and the people around her.

For her tertiary education, she read a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History and a Diploma in Education, obtained concurrently from the University of Cape Coast. After undertaking her two-year mandatory National Service (as was the case in the 1980s), she pursued a Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from GIMPA, and followed it up with a Post-Graduate Diploma in Public Administration, also from GIMPA.

She has three Masters Degrees to her credit ; Masters in Business Administration (Human Resource Management) from the University of Ghana, Masters in Applied Business Research from the SWISS Business School and a Professional Executive Masters in Alternative Dispute Resolution. She also has a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration from the SWISS Business School and an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from the Institut Universitaire La Grace, Benin.

Being a woman of faith, Dr. Stella likes to do the work of God when she is not in a professional setting. She likes to teach or preach the word of God, and she does this in her Church community and other Churches often. Being a voracious learner, she also spends time learning, reading and writing scripts. Besides these, she loves fashion, good music, dancing, and shopping.

She is a coach, mentor, and teacher. She is passionate about people development and works towards helping people grow in their careers and in their lives. She also has a passion for gender-related initiatives, relationship counselling, youth development, learning about other cultures and travelling.

Her National Service period as a teacher was a proud moment for her because directly she could bring knowledge to students she considered as younger siblings. That experience cemented her ideals to be there for people for as long as she has what it takes to make them have a breakthrough in their academics and the world of work.

After her National Service, she got an appointment as an Assistant Administrative Officer with the then Post and Telecommunications Corporation (P&T) but when the two entities were decoupled in later years, she remained with Ghana Telecom where she pursued her Human Resource profession. With dedication to work, right attitude upskilling and academic pursuits, she rose through the ranks to become the Director of Human Resource in Ghana Telecom. In the year 2008, when Vodafone secured 70% majority shareholding in Ghana Telecom, she became the first Human Resource Director of Vodafone Ghana, a position she held for eight years before she exited to pursue her Doctorate Degree. In that role she was responsible for all aspects of Human Resource Management, Property & Facilities Management, Health, Safety & Wellbeing, Internal Communications & Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion, Fleet Management etc. In total, Dr. Stella spent 28 years in the Telecoms sector.

After exiting Vodafone Ghana in 2016, she went into Consultancy and worked with Glico Group for two-and- a-half years as the Group Human Resource Director/Consultant looking after the end-to end HR strategies and activities for the seven companies in the Group.

After responding to a newspaper advert, followed by series of interviews, she was appointed as the Director, Human Resources, Volta River Authority (VRA) on November 1, 2018. She was later appointed as the Deputy Chief Executive (Services), VRA and now Advisor, Office of the Chief Executive, VRA.

Her career journey has spanned over many unique periods in time, within the world of work. From times when technology was either non-existent or a luxury to now when technology is a necessity and “rules the world of work”.  Throughout her career, she has experienced that the utilisation of technology has been on the ascendancy and its advancement has improved business and organisational outcomes, supported strategic management decisions, expedited project execution and business deliveries. In the various functions she has served at different stages of her career, she managed to remain relevant to her employers and the organisations, by being innovative, acquiring knowledge on or off the job, learning new ways of doing things and being exceptional at whatever she set out to do.  

Dr. Stella shared with us how she has managed to rise above challenges along her career journey. She said, “As a woman, you are sometimes faced with conscious and unconscious, visible and invisible biases”. “Personally, I have always lived with the principle that I will spend my energies to build my professional and leadership capabilities whiles delivering on my tasks without paying too much attention to some of those biases which have the tendency to distract, frustrate and destroy a woman’s career aspirations”. Dr. Stella believes that as a business professional, one needs to go through the test of time and come out strong so people will know you for what you stand for, your principles, your confidence, determination and what value you bring to the table.

She further shared: “Ability and Willingness must always go together, but Growth and Comfort cannot be bedfellows”. “If you have all the abilities, and you are the smartest person with all the skills and knowledge, but you have the wrong attitude and lack the willingness to change, you cannot go far. Similarly, if you want to grow you need to move out of your comfort zone, sacrifice and stretch yourself to accommodate new learning opportunities because comfort yields complacency and complacency can lead to extinction”.

In sharing her experience of moving into the C-Suite role as an HR Professional, she said: “Moving into the C-Suite role required adequate preparation to understand that such roles require not only subject-matter expertise (depth) but also key leadership qualities and skills (breadth) as well as readiness to sacrifice one’s comfort. As the Deputy Chief Executive, I was responsible for Human Resource Management, Real Estates & Security Services, VRA Academy, Legal  Services, Corporate Affairs & External Relations as well as oversight administrative responsibility of the VRA Schools, VRA Health Services. “What helped me to transition into that role seamlessly was my previous  experience, training and responsibilities as Human Resources Director of Vodafone Ghana, a role that encompassed most of the responsibilities as Deputy Chief Executive in VRA”.

For her, the experience as the Advisor, Office of the Chief Executive, VRA has been amazing and interesting. She finds it fulfilling because it allows her to bring on board, her experience, expertise and passion for innovation. Her advice to young women in the world of work is to: “Know what you want to be and know the strategies that can help you to get there.”

If there is anything that can be learnt from Dr. Stella’s life, we cannot miss the power of knowledge, versatility, readiness to adopt a life of learning and improve upon one’s value in order to continue to be relevant in the scheme of things so you can be adequately fulfilled. To Dr. Stella, a “Power Woman” is one who soaks knowledge, develops skills, has emotional intelligence and is able to deliver in a way that impacts and grows others. We agree with this definition of who a Powerful / Influential woman is. That is why Dr. I. Stella is one of HR Focus’ Power Women in Business!