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Introduction
It is a privilege to share some thoughts with you about my walk with God and his goodness in the market place. It is a mélange of walking daily in intimacy with Jesus – for it is in him i live and move and have my being – helping others grow spiritually through discipleship, maintaining a standard of excellence with integrity and living out God’s call on my life..soi take the following scriptures seriously:
1 peter5;2-3
BE SHEPHERDS OF GOD’S FLOCK THAT IS UNDER YOUR CARE, WATCHING OVER THEM – NOT BECAUSE YOU MUST, BUT BECAUSE YOU ARE WILLING, AS GOD WANTS YOU TO BE; NOT PURSUING DISHONEST GAIN, BUT EAGER TO SERVE; NOT LORDING IT OVER THOSE ENTRUSTED TO YOU, BUT BEING EXAMPLES TO THE FLOCK.
2 COR 5:20
WE ARE THEREFORE CHRIST’S AMBASSADORS, AS THOUGH GOD WERE MAKING HIS APPEAL THROUGH US. WE IMPLORE YOU ON CHRIST’S BEHALF: BE RECONCILED TO GOD.
William James, the famous philosopher and educator said: “The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” That is the stuff of LEGACY. A life more invested in giving than in getting. It is about our longing to live and love well, to make a difference, to celebrate what counts and what lasts in a world such as ours where everyone is in a hurry.
In my book “Why Are You Here?” I use the example of our late head mistress, Miss Garnet, who left her home in England at a young age in her early twenties to impact the life of the girl child, sacrificing her youth and life in the then Ghana, a malaria infested place. In my book I have asked this question… ‘WHAT MAKES PEOPLE DO SUCH CRAZY THINGS?” In those days, the missionaries who came to Ghana to evangelize and start Wesley Girls high school, carried their coffins on the same ship on which they sailed, knowing they were most probably going to die within a few weeks..well, they did, and yet they kept coming, carrying their coffins and dying. Today, several of us old girls of Wesley Girls High school are brightening our little corner where we are because of Miss Garnet’s legacy.
THIS BRINGS US TO PASSION AND PURPOSE..Why are we on this earth?
•Deena Wilson says there are 2 important days in everybody’s life- the day you are born and the day YOU DISCOVER WHY YOU WERE BORN
•The tragedy is that there are many people living and dead, who never get  to discover this second day.
••Dr. Myles Monroe defines Purpose as “the discovery of your reason for existing.”
•I have realized that it is a privilege to discover your purpose, it is also difficult.
•Everyone needs to find out why God allowed them to be born, and more importantly why we are being kept alive. The discovery of your personal purpose and its relationship to God’s universal purpose must be the basis from which you live. Are you fulfilling your life goals and making an impact in this world? Doing what you love brings that surge of energy when you wake up and prepare yourself to go to work and give of your best.It may take time and some trial and error but it is definitely worth it. Living a purpose driven life is the highest form of balance and I encourage you to go for it!

“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, then they are probably not big enough.”
This quote by Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, summarizes everything. Many of us fail to birth our dreams because understandably, we are afraid to dream in the first place. It is too hard, too tiring, too frustrating…. too complicated…It is easy to encourage people to “dream, and dream big”, but how to go about this feat, is a different kettle of fish.
Well, if I look at the way the world is today; with all the amazing things that Google, Apple and Amazon are doing, I could say my dreams could be a bit scarier. If I hadn’t come to that realization on my own, my dynamic children, whom I work with, remind me every day that you should never stop dreaming big…and the scarier your dreams, the better.
Speaking about my children, I would like to give you a little background. Thus far has the Lord brought us, and it is indeed marvelous in my sight.
A peep into the Past:
As far back as when I was a young girl I knew there was a reason why I came into this life. My mother had me in her 40s and 7 whole years after my brother who was then the 6th born. My siblings use to tease me mercilessly that I am a mistake, I came by mistake. Of course my parents were quick to assure me that, that was not the case. In those days, after the university, I did two years of National Service – one year at VRA and the other as a teacher and house mistress at Mfantsiman Girls School, Saltpond. Now, teaching those young eager minds was an amazing experience for me and the discovery of my passion in developing people. This passion is what I believe spurred me on to start a company that recruited and trained workers for corporate Ghana. I must be quick to add however, that passion is only one ingredient for starting a business. There is also the aspect of first identifying a need or an opportunity and being prepared to take the risk.
For me, the opportunity to start my business came at the tail-end of a decade of work at SGS, an Int. company. Having eventually been the HR and Training Manager of the company, I identified a need in the market for a company that recruited and trained secretarial and administrative and management staff for companies such as the one I worked for. And so in my early thirties, I decided to bite the bullet and start my own company – L’AINE Services Limited. The rest as they say is history.. for visibility, we have changed the landscape of Adabraka with our five storey building we built with a lot of woes… I ask again, WHAT MAKES PEOPLE DO SUCH CRAZY THINGS”.. I co-founded a school with no money – does it get crazier?? .I remember when we built one all purpose building which was to start the school, and we invited dignitaries to introduce the school to them, i was given the microfone to give a speech, only to burst into tears…..wow! . A life-giving legacy does not happen automatically. It takes courage and commitment to risk the consequences of a lifestyle that is deliberately chosen, rather than accepted.
The journey has not been an easy one since I started L’AINE about 24 years ago. We have had a lot of challenges and still do. The major challenge for me has been finding the right crop of staff to work with. Believe me, when I say that, the irony is not lost on me. An HR company known for Recruitment has a challenge with finding staff!!Hmm.
Another challenge we face as a business is creating the right ethical culture for conscientious productivity
let us consider a few scenarios that may be the norm in the world of work
You wake up in the morning and you realize you are running late.  You “create” a meeting with a client and pass through the clients office so your “lateness” could be converted into a business meeting

•Your office provides you with an opportunity to buy yourself lunch and the money is significant, 300ghc a day.  All that is required by the company is to submit a receipt to support your lunch.  You are happy with roasted plantain and groundnuts and therefore you make arrangement for receipts from  a caterer friend so you can use the money meant for your own lunch in a better cost effective way. After all, you do not need a 300ghc lunch.
•Salary overpayment – you alert management when you are under paid by 100ghc but quietly  go to Church and thank God for manna from heaven when you are overpaid by 2,000ghc
•Petrol coupons from office used to buy provisions at the shop instead of fuel
•Taking a day off and getting excuse duty form from the doctor as though you went to the hospital. After all you have a doctor friend or relative who will have no qualms about giving you excuse duty even when you are not ill.
LUKE: 6;45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
In Ghana we all know if a worker is sacked for wrong doing the whole village chief or your bishop will summon you and plead on his case. And if you adopt anon compromise methodology, you are labelled as unforgiving. Afterall the example to be used will be like what Paul did in respect to Onesimus.

My workers and I have made a stand to stick to integrity no matter what. Ma wiataasu..Maintaining this integrity is however not easy. Business operations in the country are governed by law and regulators. However, to be legally compliant comes with some sacrifice. We reject some clients who do not want to comply with the laws. Some are also engaged in Human Rights Abuse by making their workers work throughout the week without giving them days or hours of rest even though the law requires that one does not work for more than 12hrs in a day.   As a matter of fact, we have lost a lot of business offers by sticking to the values and principles we believe in. The good thing however is that, the Lord always vindicates us. Whilst we lose some businesses, others who believe in our integrity patronize our services.
As we all know, it is more difficult to swim against the current than with it, So if the wrong things are practiced as the norm in the country, when you do the right thing, you are the odd one out and your work may be delayed unduly. So we have signed up to Sedex and ISO quality standards and we are audited on a yearly basis for compliance. These are costly standards to maintain.
We stick to our values which we strongly believe in and the Lord justifies us.

ONE MAN NO CHOP SYNDROME

There are certain contracts you receive even when you win by tender, some people expect to be paid for giving you the opportunity to work for them. When does appreciation become bribe? These are daily battles we fight. We are guided by the operating principle – do not conform to the standards of the world…..

Sexual harassment

We are in the business of looking for jobs for people. Several times, we have had instances where our lady candidates have come to report such instances of sexual harassment. The man interviewing may have made advances on them. Hmm, the trouble wpmen go through; if you are beautiful nawahala, if you are not another wahala. Anyway, dealing with such employers as you can understand is usually dicey and yet that conversation has to be had and you can imagine how a respected big man will take a small fry like me telling him to stop harassing our candidates.

Endurance at Work

Being an SME, we can pay 75 percental of the market where salaries are concerned.We cannot always compete with the oil industry inthat regard.More jobs get started than get finished more projects are conceived than are completed – Initial enthusiasm gets drained and capital gets exhausted, energy gets dissipated, etc.

. Nehemiah’s rebuilding project was one such projects as if designed to discourage workers and deplete its resources – poor pay, long hours, constant problems, little job satisfaction etc.  How did he get the job done? – only because God empowered him and protected him. He entirely relied on God for help and strength and he was not disappointed (4:4-5, 9, 14-15).
Nehemiah also instilled in his workers, concern for the well being of the community it served more than personal interests.  More than pay and perks, Nehemiah focused his workers attention on the well being of those inspired with a cause that transcends purely personal preference endure more and are satisfied with less.  They finish the job they are given because they know that doing the will of God and providing for the needs of others.  This guilds the mundane realities of work with a glory that makes it all worthwhile.

The Individual Contract and the Christian
Life in the workplace is a challenge.

Discrimination, arbitration are but topics in today’s labour market.  What Jesus had to say about working conditions in his day is still relevant.The story of a vineyard owner who hire labourers in the morning at the going rate then hired others later in the day and promised them fair rates at noon, 3pm and 5pm.  The 5 o’clock ‘group’ were ‘paid first and were given a full day’s pay so the other assumed they would get a bonus.  When none was forthcoming, they objected.  He had paid them what he had promised to pay.  If he chose to be gracious to someone, it was his own prerogative as he was spending his own money.  Point of Story – God deals with everyone on the basis of his justice and as he chooses, he adds extra doses of kindness that are totally undeserved.  Do not compare yourself with others – each and his contract and terms of his agreement.

There have been Really low points

Competitors poaching my staff, offering them very high unsustainable salaries, not because they need them, but just to cripple my business and they take them and frustrate them so much that they eventually stop working with them after a short while.

but let me fast forward to the present.
Our faithful God has given us a lot of testimonies. That I am alive today to tell this story is in itself a powerful testimony. A few years after I started my business, I developed a condition called High Blood Pressure which I have been managing for a little over 20 years with medication.

L’AINE is the French word for ELDEST. It appears I was bound to use the French I studied in Legon and later the University of Dakar after all. The company is named the Eldest for two reasons:
1. I believed L’AINE would be the first of several companies that I would start. God being faithful, I have also been able to start a school, a publishing and marketing company, a real-estate venture and an entrepreneurship foundation.
2. I also believed that L’AINE will be the trailblazer in the industry. God still being faithful, we have achieved a number of firsts. We were the first HR company to provide outsourcing services, the first HR company to produce a human resource magazine which are distributed free, the first Company to produce locally made management training videos acted by Ghanaians to cut across cultural barriers, the first HR company to be listed on the Ghana Club 100 for several years running, the only company to do HR awards and an annual HR conference and the first HR company to launch a space rocket. I’m only kidding about the space rocket but wouldn’t that have been so cool?
{Audience laughs…hopefully} Just making sure I still have your attention

I have lost track of the number of awards we have won and keep winning. Suffice it to say within two years we won over 33 awards, locally and international ones. We celebrate 25 years of being in business next year, God willing.
Future:
The future appears to be bright now more than ever for the Ghanaian marketplace. Our developing economy is increasingly becoming attractive to foreign investors because Ghana remains a beacon of democracy in Africa. Uncertain though, as the future may seem to be, one thing that appears to be carved in stone is the global phenomenon of technology being at the forefront of corporate strategy. The sooner Ghanaian entrepreneurs embrace this concept, the bigger our businesses will grow and the faster our economy will move to a developed one. For L’AINE, we have with our new vision (since 2016) being “To lead in innovating the world of work in Africa”, is standing on three strategic pillars of PEOPLE, INNOVATION and TECHNOLOGY.
So how exactly do the 3 Pillars of People, Innovation and Technology play out in our corporate strategy? Simple…
Under PEOPLE, we say that “To lead in the world of work, we will care about our people and recognize their contribution to our success. We will support and enable them to achieve their aims in both work and life. We will develop through planning, coaching and training. We will encourage and reward high performance.”
Under INNOVATION, we state that “To lead in the world of work, we will dare to innovate and always challenge the status quo. We will constantly find new and better ways of doing our work. We will thrive on our entrepreneurial spirit and take risks. We will think differently and embrace change.”
And finally, under TECHNOLOGY, we declare that “To lead in the world of work, we will incorporate technology into our business strategies to increase business efficiency and exponential growth. We shall embrace the new era of technology and find ways of using it to improve the lives of all our stakeholders.”
So how does my story link with LEGACY as I said at the beginning? Business continuity. The headache of most successful business owners nearing retirement age. How do I keep this dream going?
I have tried to make succession planning part of our leadership process and in this area, as in all aspects of life, the room for improvement is still the biggest room.
I agreed to share my story because I believe strongly that when you are born a woman in our world, you carry an additional albatross with the effort of living – One of the reasons is because we allow ourselves to be stereotyped – it is assumed that women in general can only have certain skills – understanding financial statements is simply not in the cards, oh no! How can a woman be able to supervise the building of houses – that is a man’s job, of course… need I go on? Technology – oh that is a man’s world. No matter how many affirmative action initiatives are passed, that innate desire to go into politics, that aspiration to be president of an institution or of a country starts with OURSELVES as women and with our awareness of our selfworth. That is also why I co-founded a school only for girls – the first ever private all girls school – so that we get our young girls at an early age to become aware of their self worth and a sense of purpose – to MAKE THEIR MARK AND LEAVE A LEGACY. We send accomplished women to the school every two weeks to inspire them and to let them see that if others have been able to swim against the current, impact their societies, so can they.

There is one question that people keep asking me. Even though I have heard it so often, whenever I am asked, my reaction is always the same…i remember the last but one time, I was asked by a mature, experienced business owner. It was the morning of my last daughter’s weddingand I had just moved from the room my daughter was being dressed up to bath my three month old grand son when I caught her looking at me bath the baby… and then she asked me with obvious wonder “how do you do it?”.. The last time was a few days ago, it was my PA of a little over 3 months, a young smart national service lady . She came to me and said if I had time she wanted to ask me some questions. So I invited her to go ahead to ask … and her question was “how do you do it”?
I laughed! For me, balance is having the best of all worlds – the life of a career woman and the life of a family woman and being at peace with my God because it is in Him I live and move and have my being.
If you want all of the above, then you need Christ. PERIOD. Next, your choice of spouse is important. Many of us, due to societal pressures, we settle for any body in trousers once the biological clock ticks loudly as we grow older. Not all women want to start a family, not everyone wants to get married and have children, and not everyone wants to be CEO, Director, or Member of Parliament. And that is perfectly alright. It is up to you to decide what makes you happy, what makes you balanced and at peace within yourself, and have the courage to the take the required steps to have that. Just make sure you are making a positive difference in your world. I will pause and pay tribute to my solid Gold. The only thing I regret about our marriage is that I will not be married to him in heaven.
CONCLUSION

Wise men know that whatever their occupation, their true vocation is to build God’s Kingdom, not their own, and to exalt God with their lives rather than themselves.  Those who do so will find that they have “a never-ending share in His glory and honor” .
•I will end with the story of my father and mom … My desire is to work so hard in the Lord’s vineyard that the question will be asked, like my father did, “won’t you go beyond heaven, the way you carryon?”
•“Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor… let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eye, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”    (Mother Theresa Quotes)

AMEN

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