SHE’S VERSATILE, SHE’S HARDWORKING, SHE’S FUN–A Peep Into The World Of The Woman With The Audacity To Dream

SHE’S VERSATILE, SHE’S HARDWORKING, SHE’S FUN–A Peep Into The World Of The Woman With The Audacity To Dream

In 1978, a freshly minted graduate entered the banking industry as a national service personnel. This fierce sprite of a woman, with an intense love for animals, had dream’t of being a veterinary doctor, but as fate would have it, it was a dream that was never to be. The world had a different role for her – to be a banker.

Several decades down the line, this woman, Mrs. Mary Brown, has risen through the ranks to become the Deputy Managing Director of Prudential Bank, a leading private bank in the country, thanks largely to her versatility, hardworking nature and most importantly, her dream to be in the top.

A product of Holy Child and the University of Ghana, she sees education as the most important tool in developing the mind; little surprise that she enrolled for an Executive MBA course even at the near-pinnacle of her career. Not to earn a promotion but, as she puts it, “to broaden my scope” and to “get something that will cement my professional experience.”

Mrs. Mary Brown entered the employ of Prudential Bank in 1996 after a long stint with Agricultural Development Bank and with a view to “…making a new start in my professional career.” Recounting her experience with ADB, she grins with nostalgia.

Her experience working as a projects officer with the bank was invaluable.It was a position which saw her traversing mostly the agricultural areas of the country and the fishing communities along the coast of the country. She says of this: “Real experiences that shaped my thoughts about society,” adding, “it was through these travels that I got the opportunity to see what life really looks like for the rural poor.”

She earned her promotions through hard work and became a senior technical head, branch manager, and the second-in-command of the foreign operations of the bank.

With these long years of banking experience behind her, Mrs. Brown resigned from ADB because she wanted to “make a new start” in her career . Then she heard of Prudential bank, a new financial entity which had taken advantage of the liberalized banking environment in the country back in the 90s and was about to commence operations.

She was recruited by the bank the very first day she walked into the offices of the bank looking for a job. She was interviewed and recruited that same day, and as she recalls “The Managing Director had no second thoughts about me.”

“Banking is Taxing”

“There are days when our management meetings start at 5 p.m and end late in the night,” states Mrs. Brown, admitting without a shred of dithering, the immense challenge that women in banking have to go through to get to where she currently is. “The higher you go, the less number of women you find in the banking industry,” she opines.

The challenges of the industry for women, ranging from discrimination against them to the invaluable time lost with the family, are discouraging enough to dissuade women from aspiring up the ladder.

However, Mrs. Brown thinks, “women need to be encouraged to aspire to higher positions,” and counsels her ilk to “try as much as possible to be versatile.” Falling short of agreeing to the common saying that women are better managers than men, she says that women are able to “rise to the task” and “ be more stable” vis-à-vis their desire to stay on the job for a longer period.

An advocate for greater education or a feminist?
A proud member and a former president of the Zonta Club (Accra West), an international group of professional women with a common belief that women should be educated, Mrs. Brown is very passionate about lifting women from the doldrums to higher heights through education. Together with members of her Zonta Club, she encourages and sponsors people, especially women to acquire education and also assign role models to young girls to look up to.

Deriving the inspiration to move on

As someone who occupies a position where she frequently rubs shoulders with men, it is little surprise that Mrs.  Brown “takes inspiration from men.” She however reserves the position of the single most influential person in her life to her mother. “She has been a real influence and an inspiration to us, teaching us to be hardworking, loving and  respectful to our neighbours,” she says fondly of her mother.

Her mother’s insistence that each and every one of them acquire good education has really had also had a tremendous impact on Mrs. Brown.

Family, Future, her Pastime

A year after starting her career life with ADB, Mrs. Brown met her husband, to whom she has been married for over thirty-two years. In a space of ten years, Mrs. Brown gave birth to two boys and a girl.

Between scouting for business for her bank and managing the monies of customers, she was actively nursing a family with all the warmth of a mother, though her daughter sometimes blurted out her frustration at her mother’s daily absence from home “Mummy why won’t you stay at home for once to bake or cook for us,” Mrs Brown recalls her daughter quizzing her. In response to which she says today “I was doing all that to get a good life for my family.”

Mrs. Brown herself, an avid swimmer and a lover of all genres of music, hardly gets time to cool off, but when she does, she loves to go to the beach and any other place where she can meet people.

Staring at the dozens of mementos on her desk at her cozy office and gazing seemingly into the future, Mrs. Mary Brown dreams of life after retirement in an institution where she can train people, especially people with an entrepreneurial spirit, empowering them to create wealth for themselves and the nation as a whole. Perhaps to her, retirement is just in the name, because with the energy in her and the love to teach even after retirement, the world is yet to see the best of her.