Yasmin Bucknor Keteku joins Ashesi as Chief Operating Officer

July 22, 2018
We’re excited to share a new addition to Ashesi’s team, our Chief Operating Officer, Yasmin Bucknor Keteku. In addition to being passionate about impacting the lives of African youth, Yasmine brings with her a wealth of experience in Corporate Finance, Business Management, and Education. Prior to joining Ashesi, Yasmin was the Chief Operations Officer at IkamvaYouth, a South African non-profit focused on empowering disadvantaged youth through education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. She began her career in New York as an investment banker at Société-Generale, and after receiving her MBA, went on to work as a director in corporate finance at American Express.

In her role at Ashesi, Yasmin will oversee the Administration Department which comprises Human Resources, Finance, Information Technology, Logistics and Facilities, and Academic Registry

In an interview, Yasmin, who joins Ashesi’s executive team, shared why she made the move to join the Ashesi team and her how she hopes to contribute as Chief Operations Officer:

Who is Yasmin, and how would you want to be known?

I try not to take myself too seriously. Coming home to Ghana I’m reminded of the notion of hierarchy that usually comes with being in a position of influence. But I believe that I’m here to support what we’re doing [at Ashesi], offer solutions and empower people to do what they do better. And so I’d prefer to be known within that context, rather than some sort of authoritarian figure that is here to direct. That’s how I want to be known as by my colleagues and the broader Ashesi community.

Why did you choose to join the Ashesi team?

I recently moved back home (to Ghana), and so I was really looking for an opportunity to stay in the education sector because that’s what I’m passionate about. And Ashesi had always been top of mind – I’ve always been inspired by the mission of the organization; essentially to develop the next generation of African leaders who are going to change the continent and impact the world.

What inspired the journey from the US to South Africa, and finally back to Ghana?

I have been trying to move back home for a while. Family has always been a big draw for me and during my time as a student in the US, my goal had been to acquire the tools necessary to come back and do something meaningful. It became very apparent throughout my professional experience that there is a ceiling and there is so much that you can genuinely contribute to and feel passionate about. And I’ve always felt that to have that impact or relevance, it would have to be back home. So, I left the US about 6 or 7 years ago with the hope that I would somehow move back to Ghana but opportunities landed me in South Africa as part of my transition back home.

You had mentioned that it was your passion to impact the youth. So, now that you’re part of Ashesi’s team, what are your goals in that regard?

I’ve never been in the front line when it comes to supporting social initiatives. My niche is how do I leverage business and finance skills to make beautiful interventions run more efficiently. So, my goal for Ashesi is to make sure that the backend engine that is required to support Ashesi’s mission, is running to the best of its ability and supporting all the initiatives that people are taking to be able to deliver the mission.

You’re joining at the point where Ashesi has just received the Presidential Charter. What is your perspective of the university’s new phase?

It has been a long journey for Ashesi and this is a big milestone that the university has achieved and is proud of and as a spectator, it really felt memorable. In terms of what it means for Ashesi, my sense is that being recognized as a fully-fledged independent University means better flexibility and autonomy to continue to deliver Ashesi’s mission in an even better way.

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