Unilever Ghana’s Process Manager, Christabel Ofori

Unilever Ghana’s Process Manager, Christabel Ofori
6 min read

Chemical engineers are absolutely necessary in the manufacturing processes of a variety of products women use every day, including food, cosmetics, clothing, electronic goods, and medicine. Hence, who better to be involved in the production of such products than women?

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Photo Source: Daily Express, 8th April, 2014

Meet Christabel Ofori, a Ghanaian Chemical Engineer working at Unilever Ghana as the process manager for the foods factory, where she leads and manages a team of 15 operators to execute production plans and ensure that right process parameters are adhered to, so that products meet quality specifications. She is currently the only female engineering manager at the factory, and all of her operators are male.

“I feel there are more challenges with the job for female engineers than in school. There are also more opportunities for female engineers in the job market because a lot of companies are moving towards having a diversified workforce.”

Christabel, an ambitious and results-oriented young lady with lots of positive energy and a passion for excellence, had her secondary education at one of Ghana’s best female high schools, Wesley Girls’ High School, where she studied General Science. She then entered the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering.

“During my university days, I worked with a team from the University of Texas-Austin, on a community project to provide good drinking water and set up a sachet water enterprise for a small community in Ghana. I also had the opportunity to travel abroad on exchange programs, to engage in different customer service roles to broaden my horizon, and develop an appreciation of different cultures.”

After her graduation, she was awarded Best Female Chemical Engineering Graduate for the 2011 graduating year by the Unilever Ghana Foundation. She was also selected as one of 100 outstanding participants worldwide to meet and dialogue on global issues at the 8th Edition of the South American Business Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“I love Mathematics and Science. I am very adventurous, and I like to explore new opportunities and places. I love to read, listen to music, sing, travel, learn new languages and take photos. It feels good when I help people overcome challenges and solve problems.”

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Christabel Ofori (Founder & CEO of IHAV Foundation)

  • Why Engineering?

“Having studied science at school, my love for Mathematics grew, and I got to like Chemistry a lot too. However I loved to help and take care of others and so I decided to study Medicine so that I could be a doctor. Medicine was my first choice but I didn’t get into it so I settled for Chemical Engineering which was my second choice. And I am glad I did, because it entails all the subjects I love.”

  • How has the experience been so far?

“Well, it was quite an interesting journey. There were no benefits or challenges that came because I was a girl studying engineering. Most of what I encountered was faced by all engineering students; the demanding courses, the late-night studies, the Engineering Maths, the Engineering Drawing, etc. One different benefit was being part of the WInE (Women In Engineering) society and its associated exposure.

I was also elected the vice president of the Engineering Students’ Association, made of about 3000 students with about 80% being male. Another benefit was being recognized by Unilever as the best female chemical engineer for my graduating class. , i feel there are more challenges on the job for female engineers than in school. There are also more opportunities for female engineers in the job market because a lot of companies are moving towards having a diversified workforce.

  • Who are your role models? 

“The stories of young black engineers making impact inspires me to give off my best and be the best I can be in a male dominated field. My role model is my mum; she studied Mathematics, and was and IS really good at it. That grew my love for the subject.”

  • You are CEO of the IHAV Foundation. How did this begin, and what is the foundation’s goal?

“IHAV(I Have A Vision) is a non-profit organization I started, to bring young Africans together to dialogue, share ideas and collaborate to bring about changes in their communities. The goal is to see the African youth work to tackle and reduce youth unemployment whiles improving the quality of life in our communities through innovative and sustainable actions.  We do this through our annual conference that brings young visionaries together from different parts of Africa to dialogue and initiate projects that will fill a need in our communities.

IHAV is entirely integrated by young Africans aged 18 – 28 years working and contributing to the vision from their different African countries. We have so far trained and empowered over 100 young people, and reached out to 5 orphanages to give them new clothing and food items.

As a non-profit however, we require funds and support from organizations and individuals interested in developing the capabilities of the youth, to put together this life-changing conference and influence lives positively.”

  • Does “STEM” need women?

“Yes definitely. To be a good Scientist, Mathematician, Engineer or Technologist, one has to be detail-oriented, and usually women are blessed with these qualities. Women are also generally more capable to multi-task and think outside the box and these fields require such abilities. Additionally women in STEM will help to nurture more women in STEM who will join the workforce and bring new ideas and initiatives. Also, as there are more women than men, we will develop a more informed, scientifically literate citizenry.”

  • For the young girl out there, who will probably be reading this, and so badly wants to be a Chemical Engineer just like you, what do you have to say to her?

“Go for it! It will help you develop self-esteem and a sense of competence. It will also help you broaden your thinking horizon and develop your capabilities. There are a few women who pursue STEM. Be part of the few who are defying the odds.”