By being open-minded and well prepared in her twenty plus years of experience as a lawyer, management consultant, and banker, Akosua Barthwell Evans has demonstrated an ability to take risks and explore new possibilities. As a divorced single mother with a six-year-old son, she changed careers mid-stream, attended Yale Law School, and was ultimately recruited by J.P. Morgan Chase. Akosua forged her way in the financial arena while being mindful that her success should not be at the price of happiness.
“There are so many opportunities in the world that I think it is wise to explore and find something that you truly love to do. I believe that people can be successful if they enjoy what they are doing,” she says.
Akosua’s biggest challenge has been trying to maintain a balance between her demanding career and raising her son. Similar to her own parents, she is very proud of the fact that she is both a role model and mentor for him. Yet with all her responsibilities, Akosua still finds time to give back to the community. She organized three different scholarship funds and also established a permanent committee at the Museum of Modern Art to encourage the appreciation of African American artists.
Akosua’s tips for balance:
Your health is a priority!
“I think it is a work in progress when you’re talking about balance. It goes back to the basics. The first basic is taking care of yourself. You are not valuable if you are not healthy—and being healthy doesn’t just mean that you don’t have a disease. It means the simple things like: Did you get enough sleep? Did you eat your breakfast? Are you exercising? Are you taking care of yourself? If you feel rested and you’re in a good frame of mind, then you’ll be much more productive.”
Give yourself time to relax.
“Do not allow yourself to always run around, frazzled, feeling like ‘I give it all to my job’ or ‘I give it all to my child.’ Ask yourself, ‘Where do I come in?’ I program an amount of time when I just relax and try to tune out the things during my day. At night, I read a magazine.”
Don’t do it alone.
“Having relationships is very important. I come from a very close-knit family. If you asked me what was my greatest challenge, it would have been being a single mother and having a demanding career. I’ve raised my son not by myself but in a village capacity. I have gotten a lot of help from my nuclear family and from close friends.”
Article by Akosua Barthwell Evans – JPMorgan Fleming – Asset Management