Are You suffering from Social Anxiety? Have you imprisoned yourself due to inferiority Complex? Are You looking for ways to break free; break this chain of Fear? Do you find difficulties in choosing a career path? Whatever it is that you’re facing is never permanent. Open Up, be inspired by this interview. Today on Exclusives with SammytheAuthor, an Inspiring Ghanaian Serial Entrepreneur and a Data Scientist, Miss Bridget Boakye, shares with us, her life story and career as an Entrepreneur and Co – founder of ChaleKasa and Women’s Corner Ghana. Checkout the Interview Below.
1: For the benefit of those who might not know you, Who is Miss Bridget Boakye? (Background, Education and Career).
I am a data scientist, entrepreneur, and an author. We will talk about the data science side in subsequent questions so let me focus on the other two attributes.
On the entrepreneurial side, I am the co-founder of ChaleKasa, a bespoke events company curating experiences to connect Diasporans and Africans. Our hallmark events are The Black Gala and The Catalysts Business Symposium held during the December season in Ghana each year. I am also the co-founder of Africans on China, a consultancy and advisory connecting Africans entrepreneurs/students and institutions to China and vice-versa, and the co-founder of Women’s Corner Ghana, a platform to foster dialogue & inspire action among Ghanaian women content creators. I also advise countless technology startups in Ghana and Nigeria, with a focus on 4IR solutions.
On the writing side, I am also the author of “Should I Return”, a book of poetry exploring issues of identity and belonging, especially as it relates to Africa and the Africa Diaspora. I have written 100+ articles with more than 1 million views on platforms such as Face2FaceAfrica and TechCrunch.
2: What’s the Story behind Your personality?
I believe the personality traits that define what I do are curiosity and pro-activeness. I have always been “that person”, ie. The person to call if there is some sort of social issue. I have vivid memories from childhood of being called on when my friends are being bullied and being the only girl in my riding bikes down steep roads with a gang of boys in my neighborhood in North Kaneshie. I generally can’t stand to see issues not being addressed or to feel constrained to societal norms.
I have taken this similar approach with my career. As such, I have sought to address one social issue or the other with the work that I have done and continue to do.
3: Who is a Data Scientist?
According to practitioners, a data scientist is “an analytical data expert who has the technical skills to solve complex problems – and the curiosity to explore what problems need to be solved. They’re part mathematician, part computer scientist and part trend-spotter.” In my eyes, the discipline is really about problem solving and giving people who enjoy interdisciplinary work, a set of tools with which to do so.
4: Why Stay X Stay Home? What triggered this Idea?
StayXStayHome is a 2-day innovation conference championing innovation from home. It was a project that we initiated on the onset of large scale event cancellation during the first week of March 2020. With a successful event with 35 speakers and almost 300+ registrants now on our backs, we are looking at ways to develop useful products and opportunities for people to connect with each, innovate, and simply, move the needle on their goals.
5: What inspired your decision to write the book titled “Should I Return”? And what has been the reception so far?
My book, “Should I Return”, is a poetry book about returning to Ghana and wrestling with questions about where I belong as someone who had lived outside of the country for 15+ years, at the time of my return. Writing, and specifically writing poems, is the best way for me to process my emotions and clarify my thinking so I would do it intermittently through my 4-year journey in Ghana. Eventually, I realized my poems told a compelling story about being a “returnee” from Ghana and I decided to compile the work and share it with the world through a book.
Click on this link to purchase a copy: https://www.amazon.com/Should-I-Return-Bridget-Boakye/dp/B084DHDP1Z/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=should%20i%20return%20bridget%20boakye&iq=1580999243&sr=8-2
6: With Your kind of Love and Passion for Africa, what are some of the measures you are putting in place to help Africa so far as Education is concern?
There are a number of ways in which I try to impact education across the continent. While I’ve taught in classrooms in Ghana and held education entrepreneurs with strategy and curriculum development, one of the most profound ways I impact education at this time is through my Africans on China consultancy. There, we started a Fellowship for university students across Africa called Africans on China Campus Leaders Ambassadors Program (AoCCLAP). Through this program, select young African engage in a 6-month training program to develop their leadership skills through immersive conversations with China-Africa leaders, followed by mentorship, thoughtful-assignments and feedback/support. Today, we have 5 ambassadors across Ghana and Nigeria, and they each have an average of 20 members in their campus chapters of the program. In this way, we are able to multiply the work of developing leaders who have the training and are supported to take initiative on issues.
7: In this era of Covid-19, what are some of the things you think can help combat this epidemic. Any Upcoming Project?
I am not a healthcare professional or a government official so I don’t have any useful thoughts other than let’s listen to the doctors, scientists, and local health officials/government. I know there is a lot of false misinformation out there but I think by-and-large, I think people now know to seek verified information and understand to check their sources, etc. On the data science side, I think there are ways in which the profession lends to supporting scientists, doctors, govt’s etc such as the recent U.S. White House COVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge. For me as a writer, entrepreneur, and trained economist, I am keeping my eyes on the economic implications, impact on industry, narrative, etc.
8: What are some of the challenges you faced or still facing in your quest to Achieve Your Dreams/Goals?
I have faced many challenges in my pursuit to accomplish my goals, much like everyone else. I think the most profound ones are those that stemmed from my own self limiting beliefs. For about 7 years after I graduated from University, I panicked when I was called to lead; thinking I wasn’t qualified enough, old enough, ready enough. Now, in retrospect, I wish I never let those thoughts stop me. I am happy about finding my voice through it all though and the spirit to lead that continues to live in me.
9: Any word of advice for people aspiring to be a Data Scientist?
I imagine that a great deal of people reading this interview may not want to be data scientists but perhaps just want to do more of what they like and to succeed at that, and for that reason, I target my advice to them, first. The advice is: for those who don’t know what they want to do, take the time to discover the core of who you are – who you are outside of familial and societal influences, and use that to define and chart their career path while trying and doing different things. For those who do know what they want to do, stop standing in your own way like I did! It is such a blessing to know who you are and what you want to do so do not cower, maximize the privilege of early insight to get things done!
Finally, for those aspiring to be data scientists I say: there are so many opportunities in space as it is and continues to define the most innovative solutions in the world. I know of many communities in Ghana and across the continent who are doing incredible work in supporting current practitioners and developing future practitioners like Blossom Academy! Find a community, find opportunities to learn, go for it, then pass it on.
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