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7 Career Tips from Top 40 Alum Evelyn Ackah – Avenue Calgary

October 22, 2012 by Emily Rack

Top 40 Under 40 alumna Evelyn Ackah gave career advice to emerging professionals at a Young Women of Influence event

Evelyn Ackah speaks to Calgary’s young women about negotiating their careers.

Evelyn Ackah is a powerhouse. A business immigration lawyer,Top 40 Under 40 alumnus, half-marathon runner and adoptive single mom to two toddlers, it’s no wonder that when Calgary’s Young Women of Influence series was looking for an inspirational speaker, they went straight to her.

Young Women of Influence events are held across the country, covering topics that are pervasive amongst women everywhere such as work-life balance, personal branding and finding your passion. The organization aims to connect emerging professional women in a social environment with innovative speakers to help spark discussion.

Ackah’s speech, “Negotiating Your Career,” detailed her experience immigrating from Ghana to Vancouver as a child, her desire to seize the opportunities her parents had provided and later navigating the competitive world of law and opening her own firm. Notably, Ackah focused on the challenges of being a woman in a professional world.

“As women, we forget to be kind to other women,” she said. “We are part of a sisterhood and our success cannot be seen in isolation.”

The audience, who had moments earlier been sipping wine, eating appetizers and buzzing like a hive of bees, fell silent and began taking notes.


Some of the evening’s audience members socialize after Ackah’s speech.

Ackah broke the topic down into seven key, bite-sized pieces of advice and provided real-world tips to help her audience make the right adjustments to get ahead in their careers.

Evelyn Ackah’s Seven Tips for Negotiating Success

1. Dream big. Let people know what you want and how you’re going to get there. Vocalization reinforces your goals. Ackah says she believes we manifest what we want by speaking of it and working hard.

2. Open up to unexpected opportunities. Change is constant and it can be great. Move with it! Be flexible and adaptable.

3. Know who you are and what you want out of your career. Doing your personal work is key in helping you in your professional life. Try to develop your emotional intelligence.

4. Work hard and get to the final result. Remember: sometimes you need to move out to move up. Ackah recounts moving out of her partner-track position at a Toronto law firm in order to do what she wanted. She says it’s important to figure out your own bottom line.

5. Never underestimate the importance of relationships and community involvement. Volunteering and getting active in your community is key. No one gets ahead without the help of others.

6. Develop mentoring relationships. Seek out organic, natural mentors who provide you with respect. Although it might be difficult, it’s important to initiate these connections.

7. Be resilient. We all face professional challenges, so make sure you don’t let your setbacks define you.

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