Shirley Tony Kum recounts tough formative years


…preaches humility and perseverance on YLeaderboard series

Shirley Tony Kum, one of Ghana’s most excelling communications gurus, has shared her challenging journey through life to becoming one of the finest corporate personalities in Ghana on another impactful episode of the Y Leaderboard Series on YFM.

In an interview with Rev. Erskine on the ‘Y Leaderboard Series’ segment of the “Myd Morning Radio Show”, she shared her life’s journey through childhood and educational uncertainties to her guiding principles, among others, to inspire the younger generation.

Shirley Tony Kum was born and raised in Lagos Town, a suburb of Takoradi in the Western Region. Regardless of her challenging background, she persevered in her pursuit of academic excellence. Her parents sacrificed their comfort in order to provide their elder child with every opportunity.

After completing her basic and junior high education at Chapel Hill Preparatory School – one of the best schools in the town, she proceeded to Mfantsiman Girls’ Senior High School – an elite school in saltpond, where she kept achieving academic excellence, striving for success.

“I must say I was the ‘booklong’ type because I knew where I was coming from. When I got to the school, I told myself I am the first born and didn’t come here to joke. I virtually went to a school with an empty chop box because could count the items inside. I literally didn’t have it,” she recounted.

Her strong and instructive formative years shaped her approach to life as she admonished the youth to be respectful and humble. The communications guru, tipping others in the industry, reiterated the importance of stakeholders in the communication cycle, citing the importance of building strong relationship with stakeholders in the attainment of overall organisational goals and objectives.

She argues no one stakeholder is more important than another, and urges communicators to identify each party’s needs and address them with equal importance. The family woman describes the family system as an enabler for a balanced life, providing stability to career men and women. She admonishes career women, especially, to ask for help when they need it and not attempt to do everything by themselves.

Being one of the very influential communicators and striving female personalities in Ghana, she acknowledged society’s gradual change in perception about the value of the ‘girl-child’ as the world marked the International Day of the Girl-Child.

“I think we’re all gradually paying extra attention to the topic of the girl-child. In the past, we all had this cultural mindset that a girl’s place is the kitchen, but that has changed due to the awareness created by lots of NGOs and institutions. I think the UNDP is also championing that. So, I’m glad that the narrative is changing,” she shared.

She believes that more work and awareness is needed to address ill perceptions of the value of women. Encouraging more women to actively partake in politics, she posits that female engagement in mainstream politics and political activities can be heightened through economic and educational empowerment.

She argues the involvement of women in politics can only have positive outcomes for the population, adding: “There is nothing wrong for a woman to aspire to a political position”.

Programmes Manager of YFM, Eddy Blay, expressed after the interview that this time with Shirley Tony Kum has been one of the motivating sessions on radio. “Every youth who listened to Shirley Tony Kum today will definitely be inspired about the fact that your background won’t stop you from being successful. For the youth, we still need to give respect and stay humble.”

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