AMANDLA! WOMEN TO WATCH EDITION
Adelaide Benneh Prempeh
Managing Partner, B & P Associates, Ghana.
Why did you decide to study law?
I was very outspoken as a child, and considered studying law later on in my teenage years as an outlet for my personality. I had the privilege of attending a premier All Girl’s boarding school in Ghana, where the focus was to empower young women; teach them to excel and to lead positive change for the benefit of the community at large. This training served me well and shaped up my view of the law profession as a calling; a useful tool to represent the vulnerable in society; to serve as a mouthpiece for those who needed one.
What is your proudest professional moment thus far?
Setting up a law firm in 2014, following a great career at the English Bar, and running it as Managing Partner is my proudest professional achievement. I have witnessed growth to a team of 14 talented professionals, the majority of whom are women, and each of whom are a blessing.
Looking back, what is one decision/action you would have done differently?
Early in my career, I was laser focused on my own goals and career conceptions, without regard to arising opportunities. I have since learnt more willingness to explore new paths which I may cross. The approach of putting on blinders, does not always generate the greatest achievements.
Share some major professional challenges you have faced, or continue to face as a woman in law.
As a woman in law, there are occasions where I find myself investing thrice the effort to prove myself amongst male counterparts in competition. Thus, not all opportunities are as seamless as they ought to be, and require a strategic combination of originality and preparation to edge out contenders. The good news is, as times evolve many clients will look beyond your gender, or even prefer it. I am not afraid to embrace my femininity and the innate advantages it affords me toward effective people management and networking. In addition, our culture often paints a picture of an inevitably bossy female leader. It takes patience, resilience, consistency and an optimistic mindset to overcome these and other organizational challenges; but I have learnt that for every employee who is not a team player, there are ten more who are waiting to be found.
What are some practical strategies for survival in the legal profession?
I find myself in the minority as a female founder and managing partner of a law firm in Ghana. Upon reflection, my parents raised a family of 3 boys and 3 girls with a gender-blind approach; providing us equal opportunities and encouraging us equally. I, therefore, seldom consider myself as a female in a male dominated profession, but focus on seizing each opportunity to prove myself and excel in whatever I do. This mindset has always motivated and propelled me forward. When it comes to family life, I try not to focus on getting the work–life balance right, rather ensure that when I am with my family, I am totally present, spending quality time with no distractions. I am fortunate to have an incredibly supportive family network who ensure that things don’t fall apart when I am swarmed with work and responsibilities.