In a field dominated by men, many women have been excelling in their various roles. AirtelTigo, one of the leading telecommunications companies, recognizes and values the contributions of women to their business. In a move to embrace equity, the company is highlighting some women whose impact on the organization has been significant.
Today, we will gain insights into Evelyn Sam’s journey to AirtelTigo, her contributions to the company, how mentorship has influenced her career, and her initiatives to support other women in achieving success.
Evelyn Sam is the Chief Supply Chain Officer for AirtelTigo Ghana overseeing the overall vendor management and the supply of goods and services to the business. With her roots firmly planted in East Cantonments where she was born and raised; the third out of four children.
A proud AKORA, Evelyn attended Achimota Secondary School from Form One to Sixth Form majoring in Science and then furthered her education at the University of North London with a focus on Chemistry. Fueled by her passion, Evelyn enrolled in an MBA in Leader and Sustainability from the University of Cumbria UK.
After completing A-Levels in Ghana, Evelyn joined her siblings in the United Kingdom where her first stint in the corporate world. After 15 years, her heart yearned for the familiar sights and sounds of home, so she returned to Ghana with her family.
Evelyn is proud to be a Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply and holds a fellowship with the institute.
Evelyn Ashai Sam (nee Botchwey) is married to Mr. Robert Sam an HR Consultant and are blessed with four beautiful adult daughters. They have been her greatest inspiration and motivation to achieve all that she has accomplished in her career.
- How did you end up in your role as a Chief Supply Chain Officer?
My career in Supply Chain began in UK, where I gained valuable experience before moving on to work in Unilever Ghana for over a decade. In my role as Company Planning Manager, I was responsible for overseeing operations and ensuring the success of various projects.
In 2009, I was offered the position of General Manager of Supply Chain at MTN (Scancom Ltd), where I led a team to numerous achievements and awards until 2018.
After the merger of AirtelTigo, I was asked to join their Supply Chain Management team to share my knowledge and expertise gained over the years. I was eager to explore new opportunities and challenges outside of my previous company and joining as a direct report to the CEO was an added advantage.
- What do you think helped you get so far in your career?
My personality has played a significant role in my career success thus far. I possess a strong determination and perseverance, which allows me to overcome challenges and achieve my goals. Additionally, I prioritize continuous learning and growth, recognizing that it is essential to remain competitive and stay ahead in today’s rapidly changing business world.
- What do you see as the biggest barrier to embracing equity of women in the economy, especially in Technology/STEM (Science Technology. Engineering Mathematics) and what more needs to be done?
There are several challenges women face in their careers. One of the major challenges is the inequality in salaries compared to men in the same field. Another challenge is the scarcity of female role models who can guide and mentor them. Additionally, women have fewer opportunities compared to men, which is another obstacle they need to overcome.
- What is the most important message you want to send to young women thinking about their careers?
My advice to young women would be to approach their career choices thoughtfully. While the challenge and perceived remuneration are important factors, it’s equally crucial to find a career that one genuinely enjoys. Additionally, researching and understanding the culture of the company they wish to join is essential in making an informed decision.
- On the backdrop of 2023’s International Women’s Day theme “Embrace Equity”, do you think society is embracing equity? In your line of work, is equity something we are inching closer to?
In my opinion, there is still a lot of work to be done by society to ensure equity for all. This can include reevaluating maternity leave policies and exploring possibilities for dedicated areas to support breastfeeding mothers and after-school care.
Furthermore, it’s essential to set aside quotas for recruiting qualified women in various roles. Although we have made some progress in closing the gender gap, there’s still more that we can do to encourage young women to balance their personal and professional lives.
- At your level, what actions do you take towards gender equality in your workplace?
As part of my efforts to support and mentor young women, I provide coaching and counseling to help them realize their potential and understand that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. In addition to this, I pay close attention to their communication skills and how they carry themselves.
When I’m on the interview panel, I ensure that I give them equal and fair opportunities to showcase their skills and abilities. Moreover, I’m always eager to involve them in different projects and encourage them to speak up and share their ideas at various forums.
- What advice will you give women struggling in a male-dominated industry?
I would advise women to seek out female mentors at a senior level and to actively seek continuous guidance and support from them. It is also important for women to work closely with their male colleagues to learn from them on the job.
Additionally, I encourage women to always give their best in whatever they do, and to never settle for anything less than what they deserve. With dedication and hard work, they can achieve great things in their careers.
While I did not have female mentors, I had male mentors who provided me with guidance on public speaking, confidence, and core leadership skills, which played a significant role in my career. I strongly believe that women should support each other by sharing their experiences and offering encouragement on how to balance their personal and work lives.
- Do you feel you have achieved what you wanted to?
Having accomplished much in my career, I feel fulfilled and content with my professional journey thus far. As I near retirement, I am eager to share my knowledge and experience with younger women and offer them guidance in their own career paths. I believe that passing on lessons learned and providing support to the next generation of female leaders is crucial in advancing gender equity in the workplace.
- What positive changes have you seen regarding women in the workplace since you started your career?
I have noticed a trend of women venturing into fields that were previously male-dominated, such as IT and technology. Additionally, I have observed a growing sense of confidence among women in delivering presentations.
- What three values govern the way you live your life?
Integrity, Fairness and Godliness
The AirtelTigo International Women’s Day Profiling campaign spans over a month and is aimed at celebrating women in their respective workplaces. The campaign is designed to recognize and highlight the significant contributions made by women to the growth and success of the company. Through this campaign, AirtelTigo aims to promote gender equity and encourage women to strive for excellence in their careers. Overall, the campaign seeks to promote gender diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.