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A letter to an almost 10-year old Lucy Quist, from Lucy

Editor’s Note: Lucy Quist is the CEO of Airtel Ghana. She is the first Ghanaian woman to lead a multi-national telecommunications company and a celebrated pioneer in the industry in Africa. She is dedicated to mentoring young female professionals, and the young people of Ghana and Africa through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She launched the #EvolveWithSTEM initiative in 2015 and the Executive Women’s Network in early 2016. Read more about her and her efforts here.


Accra, Ghana

12th September, 2016

Dear Lucy,

How are you doing? It’s me, Lucy, writing to you from 2016.

Having been there I know you are excited that in 18 days you will be 10 years old. I also know that you think being born on the 30th of September is special. You are right about that. As it is the end of the third quarter of the year, you will see it quoted a lot in business and financial documents.

Congratulations on making it through your first year in Ghana. I know settling into school was tough. Moving to Ghana turned out to be a huge shock and a little disappointing. You have done well to find friends to play with.

I have the benefit of hindsight, so here goes. School is about to completely change. In this new school year, you will not only be settled but turn out to be one of the best pupils in your year. It will make you very confident about your academic ability because you worked hard. You will need that confidence for the journey ahead.

Oh, and the famine in Ghana is truly over. Don’t worry. You won’t see queues for bread again.

In fact, Ghana will keep getting better and a few years from now will become a fully democratic state. Soon there will be malls in many locations; but you won’t grow up to be a great shopper. =-P

You will be fortunate enough to have an education where many girls like you will brave being a minority and allow themselves to enjoy science and mathematics.

Remember how daddy always encouraged to you to help him with his engineering? Turns out you enjoyed it more than you realised.

You will be fortunate enough to have an education where many girls like you will brave being a minority and allow themselves to enjoy science and mathematics. And even though sometimes you are too chatty, you will solve enough problems to do well on all you exams.

You will get to do some really cool things in engineering so when you get to sixth form and the boys taunt you, ignore them and stick with it. It will be a whole lot more fun in time.

Gosh! I feel so much older than you yet I still feel like you.

People are going to meet you and believe in you. Embrace the support because they will help you on your journey to becoming a very good engineer. Being a very good engineer is going to form the basis of you becoming a great business leader. I know you like to help people. That is what your nursery teacher said about you. Well, being a great business leader is going to give you a wonderful platform to help people.

I know sometimes you wonder what the 2000’s will be like. It is a really cool era of technology and information so get ready for it. It is also when you will marry a really nice guy who also studied engineering. Your kids absolutely love the information age!

I miss being you sometimes. You are full of ideas, hopes and dreams. Nurture them no matter what happens. But for now, please enjoy being you.

With much love,



Happy birthday, Lucy!