Richard Kwarteng Ahenkorah: the man on a career development mission

For the over 100,000 graduates that are churned out from our universities and other institutions of higher learning annually, it is a given that a sizable chunk do not know where they are heading to. When they do land themselves in corporate environments, most either follow the crowd or remain stagnant for years.

Even though several career development books have been written to help navigate the stormy waters of the corporate environment, none has captured it better than the about-to-be-released book, ‘Your Journey to the Top: Proven Best Approach to Accelerate Your Career Progression’.

Authored by Richard Kwarteng Ahenkorah –the business executive, corporate trainer, coach, speaker and Chief Executive Officer of AllTime Finance, a leading finance house in the country–the 150-page book focuses on career progression, leadership development and building self.

Who is Richard Kwarteng Ahenkorah?

As a corporate trainer, a coach and a speaker with passion for strategy, governance and a commitment to developing the next generation, Richard speaks on various platforms addressing central issues distressing potential leaders in their workplaces and how they shape their careers.

The crust of his message has always been the growth of an employee’s potential by nurturing talents towards the transformation of self and the preparation for leadership development and higher assignments.

Richard always believes that the workplace in particular and the world in general present a lot of opportunities but people are not ready to go through the process. His messages bring hope and a new angle to learning. He believes we start dying the very day we stop learning.

As a lecturer in Strategic Leadership at the Accra Business School on the Spintex Road, his experiences in building his career stems from a lot of sacrifices, commitment, dedication and above all, discipline.

His book ‘Your Journey to the Top’ is not about his experiences. “It’s about your experiences,” he says. This has been his standpoint. He believes that after reading his book, you’ll see yourself changing your behaviours to impact others. He mentions that employee leadership gap seems to be widening due to the negative ‘spread-effect’. “Leaders must raise Leaders. This is the times we are in,” he believes.

Richard is a task master and a people person. This is a character of a competent leader. His leadership style seeks to bring out the best in teams. His favourite lines are ‘keep your eye on the ball, ‘ego be’, Bless God and awesome’. These lines keep things in the loop for him.

Not too much a leftist, but he believes that the workplace is in constant crises and things must constantly change. He exerts positive energy, believes in the hot-stove and praises where and when it’s due.

Growing Up

He was born as the second among six children and raised in Tema to the late George Kwarteng and Madam Elizabeth Nuamah.  He believes in breaking free. He attended Mark International and Christian Mission Schools in Tema where he developed as a child through teenage to adulthood.

Before dad and mum left the shores of Ghana, he was enrolled into a boarding school at Akim-Oda in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Hecta International School was a good environment to develop. Growing up, Richard likes to read everything. From writings on shops to inscriptions on buses and ‘boneshakers’, by following Dad’s instruction, ‘Read everything’. It was one of the reasons why I liked to literally ‘read’ Mathematics as I read novels.

Boyhood

“I remember the Community One library in Tema like yesterday, where I play, learn with friends and when I get exhausted I get into the Akodzo or the Twedaase Parks just to get myself dirty either by playing football or some Tema chilinchikaalokoto style crowning it with some occasional ‘wild boy’ Tema kids fights. It’s still fresh in my mind,” Richard says.

“It was fun growing up until mum and dad left the shores of Ghana. But there were some upsides,” he notes.

At age 12, he was admitted to St. Peter’s Boys Secondary School where his thinking, intelligence, intrapersonal and interpersonal skills were formed in building good morals for adolescence between 1989 and 1994.

Richard furthered his Advanced Level education at the Oda Senior High School. A fast learner and a self-motivating person always ready to learn, he has a can do attitude, which he professionally couches it as a ‘can-do-itude’ and he is always willing to carry people along by giving a helping hand.

Hobbies

He likes to listen to music, the arts, things abstract and read and write. Despite all these, he always likes to take a walk in the mind or the beach in the evenings and early mornings.

“The body must be sound and the mind must be right,” he echoes. His favourite sport has always been football. He played colts football as a ‘Tema Boy’ but he couldn’t tow that path because that space appeared a bit rough for him at that time. But he didn’t quit playing, anyway. He played football at secondary school level and it wasn’t a surprise to have been the Sports Prefect during his Advanced Level years.

Richard likes to dance too. He says “a dancing man, is a happy man.” But he was quick to say that, there must be a reason to dance. “Although I’ve always loved my life, I had to kill some part of me so I could live a true life. Do you know we live a lie? he asks.

“As a matter of urgency, I buried my life (the one I loved so much) just to have a new life because I always believed I am that seed which has to go under to come out fresh and green.”

Education & Work

Richard graduated from the Australian Institute of Business- AIB- with an MBA. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)-Ghana. He is an alumnus of Leeds University, in United Kingdom, where he studied for his MA in Communications Studies. He obtained his BA Hons in Art from KNUST and a Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising from the College of Professional Management in UK.  He is an Associate member of CIM, UK.

His working experience of 15 years spans across Business Development, Credit Administration, Retail, SME Banking, Branch and Portfolio Management, Credit and Advisory Services, Change Management, Communications, Talent Development, Capacity Planning and Strategic Management.

His most recent experience was with FirsTrust Savings & Loans where he was the Deputy Managing Director and previously the Chief Operating Officer. Richard joined FirsTrust from Beige Capital Savings & Loans where he was the Head of Region, Ashanti prior to his promotion as the Chief Business Officer. He was with Bank of Africa and part of the change process during the change management from Amalgamated Bank as the Head of Human Resources.

He also served in roles as a Cluster Head in the Sales Coordination Department for upcountry branches: Tamale, Kumasi, Takoradi and also Ashaiman and Tema, having successfully graduated as a Branch Manager and a Business Development Officer during his banking years with Amalgamated Bank, now Bank of Africa. Richard has exceptional skills and a track record in nurturing and developing businesses.

He started his career as a Sales Advisor and also a customer service executive at River Island and Tradex in Leeds, UK. Richard Kwarteng Ahenkorah is currently the Managing Director of AllTime Finance Limited.

Family

Richard is married to Sarah, with three children, Keithania, Drusilla and Rain. He met his wife when studying for his first degree at the KNUST in 2001. “I’m not your everyday Library kind of guy, he said. But one lecturer, Mr. Omari, gave the class an assignment that you just have to use the library. Interestingly, you need to queue for the book at the library. This is how I got into the college library where I met two pretty ladies, apparently twins, then the Kakra caught my eye,” he narrates.

Through her, he mentions that God has been a light for the family and her presence has inspired him a lot. “Sarah taught me many things and I thank God I have such an adorable, beautiful wife of substance looking after me and my happy kids,” he says.

About the book

Your Journey to the Top: Proven Best Approach to Accelerate Your Career Progression’ is all about preparing yourself for the opportunity before it arrives.

“The book is the map you need before you enter the woods. The woods are cluttered, scary, and unfamiliar, with obstacles and traps. These are the reasons why you need the headlight to give you one clear and positive signal without blurs,” he opines.

See clearly, tread cautiously, speak assertively, present yourself confidently with Your Journey To The Top’. It’s not difficult as they say but it’s also not easy as you think (p.42). Prepare yourself for bigger opportunities with Your Journey To The Top.

Well reviewed by some of the biggest names in business, human resources and development, the book captures the best leadership development literatures intended to challenge the reader on the inside and also prepare him or her for any leadership assignment on the outside. It delivers the best solution to leadership challenges and crisis particularly for those climbing the career ladder.