Written by David Silverberg

It all began with her sister. When Akua Mensah's sister Esie began to win acclaim for her dance and choreography work, the marketing wheels in Akua's head began to whirl. “Her online presence needed to be cleaned up,” she remembers, “and so I rebuilt her website and added new visuals and talked to her about creating a sustainable business.”

That familial project gave rise to Mensah Management Consulting, which boasts many clients, such as those in tech and enterprise, but has also branched out to work with artists of various media. Looking at one such client, she assisted audio engineer David Strickland – who's worked with k-os, Jully Black and Kardinal Offishal – to bolster his online brand and even build relationships with art galleries to get some of his visual art displayed in exhibits.

“Sometimes I act as an agent or as a brand manager but I really have to manage everything on all fronts,” says Mensah.

Being on top of so many facets for her clients means her work hours aren't typical. “I don't believe in 9 to 5. Sometimes I have to log in on weekends to get ahead of my work..”

What she finds most gratifying about her consulting business is  “seeing this huge mountain to climb and realizing I can't tackle it all in one shot and when I take those incremental steps those small wins along the way are really fulfilling.”

She adds that project management has long appealed to her due to how problem-solving is critical to its core. “I love the whole process and working with various teams and getting to that finish line,” she adds.

Mensah cut her teeth as a project manager when she worked at XM Radio before it merged with Sirius. After running their customer service program, she enroled in the University of Toronto and came out with a degree in Project Management. 

She spent several years at Bell leading projects related to its IP telephony division, then took on work as senior business analyst at CIBC. 

Looking for some inspiration, Mensah also spent time at the Parkdale Centre for Innovation in downtown Toronto. “The Parkdale Centre is an important element in the Toronto ecosystem because it provides opportunities for professionals, entrepreneurs and students to learn essential business fundamentals in ways that create new perspectives. It also serves the local community by providing much-needed access to development programs.”

As for where she'd like to see her startup headed, she is hoping to bring her business to international shores. For example, she's working with a fashion creative agency that just built a showroom in Leslieville and “I'll be looking to expand into NYC and I want to focus on the logistical and branding aspects of this project and do everything I can do to take it international.”

Photo credit Zlatko Cetinic, Images Made Real