#OB2022ThoughtLeadership: How two great founders did more with less in crisis


Who are we and how did we get here?

Software, the internet, and virtual conferencing made it possible for two great founders, Phyllis Kuenyehia and Geraldine Mensah-Dartey, of KonneKt World to make waves during the Corona virus pandemic. KonneKt World is a global, professional mentoring and coaching platform with personalized programmes that seeks to develop its fellows in their educational journeys, career development and management, emotional/psychological well-being and relationship building.

The pandemic provided a valuable learning opportunity for many business leaders, not excluding mentorship program directors and mentors, and one of the most notable shifts in the KonneKt World programs in the last couple of years, has been the rapid change to total “virtual life”.

The Covid-19 pandemic dramatically pivoted the priorities of KonneKt World to solving problems related to the pandemic and preparing for any in the future. It also provided a pivotal moment to turn challenges in the mentoring world into opportunities for the company. KonneKt World was presented with challenges for every single facet of their mentoring programs and for all their partners – mentees, mentors and organizations that benefitted from their programs.

These founders never lost sight of the value of mentoring even in the difficult time. They stayed positive, agile, and continuously looked for ways to be more efficient in their programs while adapting to the new world. Geraldine and Phyllis and their teams went into the pandemic doing as much research about new ways to make mentoring more effective, and with both having strong technology background, they investigated how to introduce innovation in their programs through technology, as the world evolved in the pandemic.

One thing these leaders remembered was that mentoring is not a magic wand that automatically creates success, and that effective mentoring takes effort, and creating successful mentoring relationships requires specific skills, responsiveness, and innovation. They had numerous discussions with people around this very topic: “What does mentoring look like in the “digital age” and what are the skill sets we would need to be effective?”.

During one of their long status update facetime calls very late at night, there was one question both founders wanted to resolve, “how can our mentees and mentors make it through the tough times, with the Covid-19 pandemic?” Though they both knew even before the pandemic that developing KonneKt XP, the new mentoring software would open possibilities for their programs, for their strategic partners, and create innovation in mentoring for the business world in Ghana, they were more concerned about how their mentees and mentors were going to be safe and continue to make waves in their schools and workplaces.

As the facetime meeting progressed into the early hours of the next morning (GMT), Geraldine and Phyllis both remembered another competing priority, a 3-day training scheduled for one hundred small and medium business owners on “Creating and Influencing your Company Culture” and “How to hire and retain good employees”, the hottest topics from entrepreneurial clients in the season.

An Inspiration to win in crisis – The KonneKt XP Launch

The managing partners of KonneKt World got inspired by a statement made by Adeo Ressi, CEO of VC Lab, which runs the leading venture capital accelerator and operates the Fund in a Box platform, to CNBC Make It, “Every tech entrepreneur that I know is spending time on the pandemic response, many innovations will result from this global focus.” They learned further that a time of crisis is also a time of opportunity.

They met with their product development team and revised the requirements for the mentoring software, KonneKt XP, adding features like video conferencing, to support the new world of mentee and mentor relationships, mentoring everywhere. The tool’s core competency, that was important to Geraldine, the Chief Product Officer, was the User Experience, Reporting, Technical support, and Matching Algorithm. Ease of customization of the software, to be able to license it to other organizations on a subscription basis and host it centrally, was key to the functional design.

KonneKt XP is an “on-demand” and Web-based/Web-hosted software. KonneKt XP is an innovative mentoring software that’s easy-to-use, affordable, and it’s a creative way to manage all your mentoring program’s initiatives from maximizing participant engagement to streamlining data collection, and simplifying reporting, it’s a powerful business tool. The KonneKt technical team will work with you to add custom fields unique to your organization. These custom fields are then available for reports and searching.

For mentees and mentors, it couldn’t be easier! With the iPhone and Android compatibility, mentors could enter their mentoring hours anywhere and anytime. Also available is the KonneKt XP Portal Website for access from personal computers. All your data in one place: Track mentors, mentees, matches, outcomes, contacts, volunteers, partners, donors, case management and more.

Another inspiring story for the KonneKt World “Divas” was that of Alibaba, a tech company that was transformed by the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in China. The company launched its first consumer marketplace just as people around the country were self-quarantining, so they turned to shopping online, setting the company on its path to becoming a $500 billion e-commerce giant.

KonneKt XP, a SaaS model couldn’t have entered the Ghanaian market at a better time than July, 2021, as a version V.2 of the original KonneKt XP V.1, in the pandemic to introduce a seamless mentoring experience; one of the first video conferencing mentoring solutions in the Africa, where mentors and mentees talk, share files and screens, and whiteboard ideas. Makes mentors’ and mentees’ meetings seamless, productive, and fun.

Innovation to reinvent employee engagement after the pandemic

The two Techstars, Geraldine Mensah-Dartey and Phyllis Kuenyehia, saw rapid growth in their corporate training business in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, in terms of their small to medium business clients wanting to learn more about how to become more strategic in managing their employees’ performance and engagements, in order to build a better world of work.

During one of the partners’ calibration meetings to solve the employee engagement problems of their clients, the quote;

“It’s your employees who create all the economic value for your enterprise. You need, therefore, to stage a remarkable employee experience.”- B. Joseph Pine II, internationally acclaimed co-author of The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money

 turned on the light bulb for the development of an innovative employee performance and engagement management software to support their business clients.

The goal of launching this new business software was to harmonize people, process, and technology to affect an empowered workforce. The KonneKt entrepreneurs were taught that If they wanted to stage remarkable experiences for their customers, then their employees need an experience that is equally personal, memorable, and of course engaging. KonneKt-HR was then launched in November 2021.

The partners were happy with the functionality of the HR tool and stated that KonneKt-HR is also an innovation accelerated by the pandemic that will live beyond its end. KonneKt-HR is a user-friendly interface, has personalized dashboards, employee and manager self-service and connection, smart, automated workflows, and notifications to keep employees engaged, and insightful reporting for data-driven decisions.

A special feature of KonneKt-HR measures employees’ sentiments regularly with pulse surveys which help to spot early indicators of problems. This software incorporates Employee Net Promoter Score, eNPS Surveys as a part of people strategy programs to identify employee advocates. In short, it reveals, “Who are the company’s biggest promoters.”

KonneKt World Network

Increasingly we now see distance mentoring taking place where the needs of the mentee are being met despite the geographical separation. What this does for the mentor and in part for the mentee is a deeper appreciation for effective communication.

In the constantly competitive business environment of the 21st century, the challenges facing management simply change, but never diminish. Should you be a new manager or contemplating entry to the management fraternity, dismiss any pre-formed opinions that the challenge level will ever diminish. It won’t. Reach out to the KonneKt World team to learn more about the KonneKt Accelerated Career Transformation, and enroll into one of the three verticals: Career Readiness, Career Booster or The Self-Made Entrepreneur. If you follow the skills you pick up in this program, you will find yourself in rooms you never thought you’d be in.

We have continued, throughout the global pandemic, to see how local connections and international ties have helped people in need. Work and life are not “either/or” in today’s business world – they are connected in ways we have only started to reimagine. Work anywhere programs and people changing jobs to care for family are just two recent changes.

Social networks and professional networks can do remarkable things together. How will you connect and effectively balance life goals, work demands and personal links? It can be easier, and faster, with support from the Konnekt World network and we look forward to aiding in your success.

>>>Phyllis Kuenyehia and Geraldine Mensah-Dartey are co-founders of KonneKt World, a technology platform that facilitates the organization, delivery of effective training, coaching, mentoring programs. They launched the venture to improve business ties, careers for individuals and organizations in Ghana and globally.

Phyllis is a Human Capital and Organizational Development Consultant. Her background is in investment banking and technology in the USA with an MBA in International Business & Finance from Point Park University-USA. She is known to be “The KonneKtor”, which is using experiential learning methods to connect solutions to organizations and people.

Geraldine is a Data Scientist specializing in Business Analytics and Data Strategy in the USA. Geraldine is a Chemical Engineer by training, with an MBA from University of Leicester, UK, and Business Analytics from Harvard Business School, USA. Geraldine has a passion for mentoring young professionals and entrepreneurs to find solid footing in the ever-evolving analytics landscape.


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