If you ask Queenie Dankwa '12, working in the construction industry had been the last thing on her mind when she was growing up.
She had always been drawn to corporate multinationals. After all, following her Business Administration degree from Ashesi and her MBA from the University of Nottingham, UK, to her, that path was the natural progression.
“After my MBA, I wanted global exposure; I felt that I had to work for a multinational and gain the experience that comes with working at that level,” she explained. “However, that dream came in a form I had not expected.”
A few months after finishing her MBA in the UK, Queenie returned home, and joined her family’s business, Rocksters Roofing Systems - planning to stay there only until she found a preferred career elsewhere. But what initially was a stop-gap measure, became an unexpected opportunity for Queenie to help a strong business adapt to a rapidly changing market.
Started over twenty years ago, Rocktsers Roofing Systems, has become a market leader in the supply of roofing solutions across the country. With her father slowing stepping back from activities at the firm, he had been seeking trusted expertise to help steer the company in his absence.
“Coming here after Ashesi was initially hard,” she said. “My dad and older brother were already doing well, and I felt my role was too limiting for me. I was only doing basic sales, and I didn’t believe I was getting a chance to apply the broad range of skills I had learned. In time, however, I realised that if I did not commit to the initial role I was given, however small I felt it was - I would not gain the trust needed to move on up within the business. I needed to prove that given the chance, I could manage more demanding and challenging tasks.”
Today, after excelling in multiple junior roles within the firm, Queenie has gained tremendous growth at Rocksters. Currently, she directs the company’s strategy, brand development and procurement. Under joint supervision with her brother, the company has expanded its corporate social responsibility activities, diversified its product lines, has a strong lead in the roofing industry in Ghana, and is also growing interests in related areas. In the past year, Rocksters has also teamed up with local communities in Ghana to provide signage for street-naming. Her ability to innovate, and wear many hats effectively in the company, is something she credits to some of her training at Ashesi.
“Ashesi taught me soft skills like being organized, resourceful, creative and dedicated,” she explained. “I do not only work as a manager, but as a leader; and in my daily tasks, I try to work in ways that will keep my team motivated. My experience at Ashesi inspired and continues to challenge me to find creative ways to keep the company growing.”
Ghana’s housing industry is a fast-growing market, and demand for high quality and affordable building materials is rising. For Queenie and her team at Rocksters, this presents an opportunity to not only supply quality solutions to the Ghanaian market, but to leverage that to also expand their reach beyond it.
“We’re learning to become flexible,” she explained. “We used to provide only roofing sheets, now our competitors do the same, though some do so at low quality. So we are growing, providing roofing trusses, joints, ceiling solutions, providing raw material - gradually becoming a one-stop shop for anything that has to do with roofing in Ghana.”
As Queenie sees it, she’s at the forefront of steering a local company into a global brand, creating the multinational experience she wanted.
“You have to create the kind of environment that you want,” she explains. “When the challenges come, they keep us on our toes. Everything we do needs to have focus. But our goal is to grow the best businesses with outstanding people, and be the preferred choice in every market we operate in; so we have started making forays beyond Ghana, and hope to provide the highest quality roofing solutions wherever we find ourselves.”