Akua was born in the United States, but grew up in Cote d’Ivoire, her father is from Ghana, her mother is from the U.S., and she went to high school in Tunisia. It’s this rich and diverse background that first inspired Akua to become a certified coach and strategic advisor to people and companies around the world — and start her own mentoring service.
Yet despite her background in team building and leadership from working at a tech startup, Akua lacked natural self-confidence — and her introverted personality often made things challenging.
Then, while giving a presentation for Women Will — a gender equality program run by Google — Akua was introduced to #IamRemarkable: a Google initiative encouraging women and underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements. “During the workshop, it was interesting to compare myself to other people around the world,” explains Akua. “Whether it’s imposter syndrome or self-promotion, you recognise that you aren’t the only one struggling with whatever issue you are facing. Having the group conversation really does help normalise not only the issue, but the idea of talking about it,” she adds.
Being in a space where team members engage in conversations they wouldn't normally have, allows them to go beyond the superficial and become more understanding.
This was an immediate fit for Akua. She saw the opportunity to strengthen her own business skills, and help her clients on the same journey. She decided to become a facilitator for the initiative. During the train-the-trainer session, Akua studied how other facilitators run their workshops. She learned new skills to become a better coach herself, and now feels comfortable as a facilitator, and able to inspire others to take action.
Her #IamRemarkable workshops have been hugely successful. According to Akua, entrepreneurs especially value the opportunity and space to engage in conversations they perhaps wouldn’t normally have had. “Many entrepreneurs have struggled with imposter syndrome at some point in time,” says Akua. “A lot of people think they’re suffering on their own, but having the chance to be part of the workshops definitely helps.”
Akua also believes the program helps people see beyond their own roles, and become better at supporting others they work with. “Being in a space where team members engage in conversations they wouldn't normally have, allows them to go beyond the superficial and become more understanding.”
I’m walking the talk and I’m practicing what I preach
#IamRemarkable has also helped Akua grow her coaching and mentoring business, by using the workshops to introduce herself to new organisations. It gives them a chance to see her facilitation skills, create safe spaces, and see what she can do. “I’m improving my coaching skills, I’m having an impact, and I’m creating something globally that other people can get involved in,” says Akua.
Taking part in #IamRemarkable has had a positive impact on Akua’s own personal journey, too. She’s become a lot more comfortable talking about her achievements, and having conversations with her clients — and herself — during those moments when she traditionally might not have put herself forward. “I’m walking the talk and I’m practicing what I preach,” says Akua. “I’ve learned a lot from #IamRemarkable, and that’s what keeps me excited.”