Shadrack Frimpong, Founder and CEO, Cocoa360
I met Maame Afon at the Opportunity Collaboration in Mexico at a time when our organization, Cocoa360 (then Tarkwa Breman Community Alliance) was thinking of pivoting. Among many things, Maame played an informal role of advising our change in name to better position us globally. Being the intentional, and relationally-focused leader she is, Maame ensured that we developed a working relationship that emphasized the need for singular alignment in vision and values before she finally agreed to join our board of directors in 2018. Since then, she has worn many hats as a personal adviser, mentor, and occasionally, big sister! Her dedication to the concept of ‘whole leadership” was especially important in my maturity not only as a leader, but as a young Christian man. Seeking God’s face in prayer helped me, directly and indirectly, to eliminate so many distractions in my life that were holding me back from realizing God’s full potential for my life, and that of our organization. That kind of transformation – the inner one – that moves from the “internal” to affect the “external” cannot be taught in a classroom. Only a wholly-focused approach to leadership and character development, like what Maame has assisted me with, can achieve that. “An organization is only as strong as its leader’s character”, Maame would say. And indeed, this has been the case for Cocoa360. Our transition onto a stronger path of recovery was very much like “a plough splitting and breaking up a fallow ground” (Hosea 10:12). It was a painful, yet a very necessary process that we had to undergo before we could be fertile enough for fruit-bearing. With Maame’s support and guidance, both as a board member and a personal adviser, we have gone from a financially-limping organization to one that is on an upward trajectory to growth and sustenance in structure, leadership, and impact. I do not know many mentors or leaders who would wake up at 5am in the morning to get on an urgent call with you or help you prioritize your soul’s needs over that of your body – but Maame sets the standard in that aspect. I know I speak for many young leaders who have engaged with Maame and her incredible husband, Uncle Nii, when I say, they are uniquely called to transform generations!