As the youngest child of a single mother in the busy Abeka-Tesano neighborhood in Ghana’s capital city of Accra, Patience Bruce was raised by her mother and close extended family members.
“From a very young age, I cultivated the habit of learning from my older siblings and different types of teachers, and I was always interested in hearing everyone’s advice,” she said in her recent profile interview.
Her adaptive listening and learning style has been a key driver of her success as she learns quickly and knows how to teach and lead diverse teams.
“I was fortunate that my mother believed in me. She worked hard to take care of my siblings and me. No matter how busy she was — in addition to her regular job, she sometimes bought palm oil and rice at wholesale prices so we would sell them for extra money — she always sacrificed for us and found money to buy me books so I could read and succeed in school.”
Patience’s mother also instilled strong values in each of her children, such as good morals, the love of God, hard work, and empowering others. “She wanted me to not only achieve my dreams but also care for others. And if my mom could succeed by working hard, there is no excuse for me to fail.”
In school, Patience always did well until she reached advanced algebra. It was the first time she had to ask for additional help, but the review sessions turned out to be more than just math lessons; they were examples of the type of teacher Patience wanted to become.
“One math teacher, Mr. Quartey of New Life Fellowship Institute-Mallam, was always so kind and helpful, and when I asked for extra help before my B.E.C.E. exams (an important standardized test in Ghana), he took the time to make sure I understood the concepts. He never made me feel stupid, and he even helped arrange for after-school tutoring for me and a few friends — and we all did well on the final exams! I still try to model my teaching style after Mr. Quartey because of his desire to help us think beyond the results of the test and understand the material.”
Patience went on to get her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Ghana Legon and her Masters in Personnel & Development in the United Kingdom from DeMontfort University, Leicester, which led to 10 years of progressive success in the private sector.
“One of the accomplishments I’m most proud of in my professional career is developing and launching a management trainee program called U-Generation. It was designed for young banking managers who had the potential to be future company leaders at the then Union Savings and Loans Company Ltd. The CEO encouraged me to come up with the program, so I had a lot of autonomy in program creation, and it turned out to be a fruitful investment for the company.”
A decade after completing her master’s degree, Patience decided to go back to school and pursue her long-term goal of teaching.
“I never thought I would enroll as a PhD student in a supply chain department. I’ve always dealt with people management issues — but this has been helpful for my research because I get to look at the intersection between supply chains and personnel management.”
When CARISCA launched in June 2020, Patience’s skills were a perfect fit, and she was hired as the Director of Learning.
“CARISCA is a great initiative, and we [KNUST] have needed something like it for a long time. I really think that CARISCA can become the supply chain center that everyone wants to associate with for getting a degree and for academic and applied research in Ghana and across Sub-Saharan Africa. If we implement it well and keep motivation levels high, I think the future is bright!”
Patience recently celebrated turning 40, but she has no intention of slowing down. Her work ethic is not for the faint of heart: She runs her own small business, leads the learning activities for CARISCA, is a full-time PhD student in KNUST’s Supply Chain Department, and she recently published a peer-reviewed book chapter about the importance of entrepreneurial activity by women and disadvantaged groups in supply chains to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Personally, Patience believes that success could mean working in many different fields, but what matters most to her is imparting knowledge and giving back by sharing what she has learned. “I love working with people, trying to understand the issues they are facing, and seeing how best I can help.”
Despite all of her successes, Patience has never forgotten her roots, the importance of community, her mother’s sacrifices for her education, or the importance of reading.
Patience’s eleven-year-old daughter is an avid reader. “She is a complete bookworm; she can read an entire book series in a week. I don’t know how my mother kept buying all those books for me when I was growing up, but now I understand why she did — I’m proud of being able to take care of my daughter in a loving way — she is my number one priority, she is my everything.”