Pearl Nkrumah is the 1st Female Executive Director for Retail & Digital Banking at Access Bank Ghana. She is an ardent fitness person with a passion for adventure. Pearl believes that one must build mental fortitude with great adventure, and this is how she has a knack for hiking. Thus, her work life is undoubtedly a success story. Outside of working hours, she spends time with young ladies and coaches them on the right paths to take. “Young ladies do not know the power they have and the opportunities they can get. Whenever I have the chance, I like to expose them to the realities of our world and how they can make a difference amidst these realities,” she says.
Pearl’s career started at Standard Chartered Bank, where she worked for fifteen (15) years. She moved to Standard Bank where she worked for nine years, rising through the ranks to become the Head of Main Market and Ecosystems, before moving into her current position at Access Bank Ghana as Executive Director, Retail Banking and Digital. Pearl has witnessed many changes in the world of work, during her over two decades career span.
There is a lot of flexibility in today’s working world, allowing people’s views to thrive, with greater opportunities for women. She shared, “I did not think I could go beyond a Branch Manager but here I am today an Executive Director. Now the playing field is broader towards everyone and once you are knowledgeable and you add value to yourself, you would earn a seat at the high table.”
One key lesson she has learnt in her professional journey is: relationships can influence one’s work. She explained, “Being visible is better than staying hidden. Yes, your work can speak for itself, but you should not sit idle –be a collaborator, be involved, be accountable.”
Pearl Nkrumah is of the view that the absence of challenges, makes life very boring. She considers challenges as a positive part of her story. According to her, challenges define and redefine life and have shaped her professional and personal growth. When she became a mother, taking time off work to deal with motherhood was challenging and affected her career. She sometimes fell short of her personal expectations. “That is one of the challenges that most women who want to advance in their career go through. But once they are relentless, and have support from their organizations, they will bounce back and enjoy the best of both worlds.”
Her Work and Leadership.
Pearl’s core responsibility is towards the digital transformation of Access Bank. This includes both retail and digital banking. She oversees all the journey points of individuals and small businesses, ensuring efficient digitalization. She works with a team of professionals who ensure that the financial needs of individuals and small businesses see exceptional end-to-end service delivery.
Her favourite part of the job is interacting with her team and creating products and solutions for customers. To make more meaningful impact, she hopes to create more opportunities and access to transact for the everyday Ghanaian. When asked what advice she will give to anyone who wants to be like her, she said: “Do not be like me; be more. The only way you can keep the wheels of the world going, is to be resilient and achieve more than you did the day before.” Pearl is a firm believer in a person finding a strategy, having values, and living by them.
From her experience, it is evidently possible to have a balance with work and life. When she is home, and on holidays, her family and friends have her full attention. When she is at work, all her focus is towards achieving the goals of her organization. Though there are overlaps sometimes, she places premium on what is of higher value, in any situation. That is how she maintains her power in business and it seems to work wonders for her!