Founding Partner, Chief Executive Officer, Axis Human Capital Ltd. Accra, Ghana. Age: 34

Ghanaian Esi E. Ansah, Ph.D., gives new meaning to the term “multitasking.” Since 2008, she has been running her human resources company, Axis Human Capital Ltd., while serving as an assistant professor and head of the business administration department at Ashesi University College in Labone, Ghana. “Education without transformation is a terrible waste of time and talent,” she says. “It’s not easy, but my interest and drive in these areas keep me stretching myself constantly to make sure I’m being active and effective in all my roles.”

Social entrepreneurship is one of the most effective ways to bring about social change, especially in Africa, Ansah, an amateur photographer, insists. Accordingly, her project as a 2009 fellow at the prestigious Africa Leadership Initiative involves empowering schools to become self-sustaining through entrepreneurship. Ansah graduated from Florida State University in 1999 with bachelor’s degrees in psychology, international affairs and French, all with honors. She holds a master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago, a master’s in public service management from DePaul University and a doctorate in public administration from Rutgers University. In the United States, she worked for corporate and nonprofit entities, including teaching at various colleges and universities. As a volunteer, she cared for displaced orphans in Jamaica and day care children in France, refurbished houses for the low-income elderly in Kentucky and mentored adolescents in Florida and incarcerated youth in Ghana. She serves on the boards of Women’s Trust, a microfinance, community development organization, and the Longevity Project, a health and wellness nonprofit, and oversees the Paul Ansah Memorial Foundation, which she established to honor her father’s insistence on excellence in journalism.

Ansah publishes her own poetry and articles on her blog, Drumbeats from Ogyakrom. “Beneath the educator and entrepreneur, there’s a restless literary artist busy at work,” she explains. “For me, my motivation for doing what I do is simple — I love it.”

Fun Facts
Nickname: Ogya (means “fire”)
Favorite food: Garden egg stew and boiled plantain
What actor should play you in a movie: Queen Latifah
What artist/group would you go on tour with: Ron Kenoly
Movie theater or home theater: Movie theater
Favorite sports team: Hearts of Oak (Soccer, Ghana), Sacramento Kings
Last movie: Up in the Air
List the languages you speak: English, French, TWI, GA, Fante, Akuapem