When you meet Kofi Wiafe in the office or on the basketball court, it’s clear that the success he’s had has all been on his own terms.
A self-driven individual, Kofi was feeling trapped in a decade-long comfort job in manufacturing. He explains, “I didn’t want to get stuck in a position where there was no growth and no opportunity.”
“In manufacturing,” he instructs, “you’re seeing he raw inventory and building it into a finished product.“ Kofi knew the inside of the business inside out, but outside his manufacturing position, there was more to understand about the logistics and procurement of the products being manufactured. “I wanted to be able to learn more,” he admits. So, he went to his manager with five words, “How can I move up?”
His manager suggested the Supply Chain Management program at MRU Continuing Education. He completed his certification, while working full-time, in just two years. His reason was his drive, “I wanted to keep the information fresh in my mind.”
As for the course content, Wiafe says, “the instructors were great. The information was fantastic. It was all real-world experience, which I appreciated.”
Always striving for his personal best, Wiafe admits there were some challenges along the way, “Sometimes it’s really easy to quit.” he says about the workload, “but committing yourself to a program while working full-time really shows the type of drive a person has.”
He didn’t walk through the doors of MRU without a second thought, Kofi admits to being scared initially. “Even though I knew that going back to school would be a scary thing to do, the reward that would come after was greater than the fear.” Its times like these where he assessed his motivation and decided, “I’m just going to do it… for the growth, for the career development, personal satisfaction — and it’s rewarding financially.”
Once his certification was complete, he realized that his current company couldn’t offer further growth or opportunity. He had hit his ceiling. So, despite friends and colleagues saying, “You’re crazy. Why would you leave an environment you’ve been in for ten years? You know the system, they treat you well here… why would you want to leave?” Kofi put himself in market for a new position.
Again, drive conquers fear.
“I figured if I could get into the oil and gas industry at the time where it’s down and be able to ride the wave, then in the upswing,” he planned, ”I’d be there for years and years ahead.”
Kofi was offered a job at TransCanada Pipelines. He traded in his manufacturing t-shirt and lab coat for a suit and now occupies an office in downtown Calgary.
And the rewards? “Financial benefit.” He sites first. “There’s no worrying about if I’m in the right position or if I’m making enough money to take care of my family today, tomorrow and ten years down the road.” Not one to over-indulge in luxury, he admits to some practical perks, “vacations and activities change a little bit. Instead of one week’s vacation, I can take a two week one in Mexico…or wherever.” With a smile, he also fulfils a personal victory, “It allowed me to purchase a new vehicle – a 2015. It’s dependable and reliable. I don’t have to worry about putting money into it.”
He also mentions some intangible benefits regarding his future, “Growth. There’s endless room for opportunity. “I came in as a senior Performance Management Specialist,” he states, then strategizes, “my goal is to work towards management, then director, and VP.” He lays out the game plan, “The goal was to get in the door and work my way up.” If we were to look at the running scoreboard, it’s a sure bet that he’ll achieve all of these goals.
Looking back from his high-rise office, Wiafe reflects on the achievement, “Wow I did this.” He sighs. “I made a commitment to go back to school and look for something better – and achieved that.” To others contemplating taking a big risk to break through their own personal ceiling, he has this simple advice, “You’ve got to let your fears go – and take the next steps.”
As if the time was running down on the basketball court’s shot clock, he stops reminiscing to turn his thoughts again to strategizing what’s next. With a score like Kofi Wiafe’s, you know he’ll always take the shot.
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