Author: Dr. Suzy Akpene Puplampu
Reviewer: Prof. Adelaide N.A. Kastner
The year was 1973 and the month September. Guess the date? It was the 12th. She was named ‘Aku’ as she made her grand entry into this world on a Wednesday.
A-a-a-a-a-kpe-ne-e-e-e-e! Deep motherly love reverberated through the syllables of the name as Mama connected with her loving daughter.
Meaning of the name, ‘Thanks be to the Almighty God’ in the beautiful Ewe dialect.
Just applying the ‘Hook and Anchor’ theory of the author, Dr. Suzy Aku Puplampu, I started reading Woven and was hooked. It is therefore my joy to share a few nuggets from Woven with you to whet your appetite for full engagement.
Woven is motivational, sensational, truthful and captivating. Dr. Suzy Puplampu encourages her readers to hold onto their vision until it becomes a reality.
The title Woven is well-chosen because it presents snippets of Dr. Suzy Aku Puplampu’s life; from the fragile baby she was to the formidable, articulate speaker and writer she is today. These snippets are intertwined with very serious life experiences of others, global issues and guidelines for success. She admits that it takes commitment, practice and tenacity to achieve perfection, using men like Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King Jr. as examples. She passionately states that we are all storytellers. All one needs to do is to work at it.
The book is segmented into 10 parts under captivating thematic titles.
In Part One, the author gives a captivating presentation of her childhood experiences. Such a book would have been incomplete if her parents had not been given preliminary exposition. Here, with the author’s consent, we acknowledge Papa, Mr. Gad Kojo Bedzra, and Mum, Lady Veronica Mansa-Kukah.
In those early pages, under the title ‘Growing Up As Akpene’, parental love mingled with an appreciable degree of parental responsibility. It is instructive to note that the author took a holistic view of what one might consider as a tragic event or mishap in the family – Mum’s involvement in an accident, which presented travelling opportunities to her and her younger brother.
Drawing inspiration from Romans 8:28, I would state that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
In the segment on ‘My Aide, I Call Him AGE’, I deduced strong lessons on team-spirit, synergy and dedication for successful leadership. In June 2019, Dr. Suzy Puplampu was appointed the Club Growth Director for Division G, under District 94, with Toastmasters International. The appointment promoted collaboration with nine other members to form a very efficient 10-member Executive Committee for the Division, for the Toastmasters year 2019/2020.
The role engendered a steep learning curve for Dr. Suzy Puplampu in her leadership trajectory. It also connected her with the reliable Mr. Evans Adu-Gyamfi (aka AGE), who later helped knit OctaneDC together under the able leadership of the ‘Boss Lady’. The chapter expressed gratitude to AGE, the ‘engineer/initiator’ of the first story about Dr. Suzy titled ‘We’re Toastmasters’ in the Business and Financial Times (BFT) of 16th Sept. 2019. Then ‘Woven’.
My most exciting part of that chapter is what I would call ‘husband power in choosing a power photo’. The details are there for you to read. The narrative is laced with some degree of romance, making reference to ‘Yours Truly’ the ‘good Professor Bill Puplampu’.
One significant takeaway is that the people around you make you or break you.
In dissipating the stigma attached to the services of a psychotherapist, ‘Woven’ referenced the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus (624 – 546 BC) who promoted the notion that “A sound mind dwells in a sound body”. This is an encouragement for readers to never hesitate in seeking psychological help for total well-being. The world has become unbearably stressful, and one should seek help when necessary. Dr. Suzy Puplampu states: “This is not an issue of ‘You dey craze oo!’ Far from that.”
In Part Two, COVID-19 got its share of attention; and some lessons learnt from the lockdown are well-documented for posterity. The catch-phrases of self-quarantine, social-distancing and other protocols, as well as learning and teaching from home, came to the fore. My takeaways are Dr. Suzy’s three ‘Fs’ – namely freedom, family and friends, which must be guarded by a good measure of emotional intelligence.
This part brought out critical lessons about love. Managing the aftermath of divorce and the relevance of communication and love language were not overlooked. Dr. Suzy alerts would-be couples that there will be surprises – marriage is not a fairy tale.
Part Four is headed ‘Moxie’, meaning courageous spirit and determination – i.e., perseverance.
In this segment, Dr. Suzy Puplampu motivates her readers to be remarkable. The reader is inspired to eschew mediocrity and maintain the status quo in life. She recommends setting S.M.A.R.T goals, meaning the goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Her emphasis on dealing with fear to be extraordinary resonates with me.
In the writer’s exposition on ‘Millennials at Work’, her concluding advice is that for society to thrive, there should be collaboration between the millennials and older generations. I agree fully with that.
‘Interview 101’ presents an intriguing roadmap for a successful interview. The writer harnesses 20 years of experience in interview situations…a must-read for all generations. For an ineffective icebreaker, the author recommends sharing one’s personal SWOT. This would involve articulating one’s strengths and weaknesses, and demonstrating how potential opportunities would be leveraged.
My dear friend, I shall catapult us to Part Ten that captures the book’s epilogue. The author commences the segment with a chapter on breast cancer. Her poignant statement is that it is no longer a respecter of age. Cautious use of electronic devices, among others, will mitigate the incidence. Acknowledgements to Mama and a chapter on ‘Gratitude’ aptly complete the book.
Recommendations on using the book
I recommend that the book be used as follows:
- Students’ seminars to prepare them for interviews and the job market in general.
- A couple of chapters could serve as motivation for mature workers who have plateaued in career advancement, to get out of inertia.
- For premarital counselling to prepare youths for the reality that marriage is not always a bed of roses.
- To encourage married couples achieving only 20% of joy but 80% of unhappiness to explore for improvement.
- To help divorcees reinvent themselves – it is never too late to address the flaws.
- For parents, kith and kin in general, to notice early signs of depression and reach out in good time to seek appropriate medical help for the afflicted.
In conclusion, I want to thank Dr. Suzy Puplampu for sharing ‘Woven’ with us. It is a book that will inspire many. I encourage you all to read it and start your own journey of self-discovery and success. Enjoy the book! It is Woven.
Professor Adelaide Kastner – the affable academic whose journey in academia started in 1996 at the University of Ghana, Legon. Currently, she is Dean of the Central Business School (CBS), Central University. This review was originally presented at the book’s official launch on September 10, 2023.