Vivian Acquah

Tell us about yourself and how you foster a positive impact through your career?

As a multicultural and multi-passionate human being, I aim to inspire and empower people to be their best selves. Becoming a mother encouraged me to shift from being a Finance/ IT consultant to becoming a workplace wellness & Amplify DEI* advocate. I made a commitment to my son Orlando (born in 2013) to help make the world a better place by creating thriving workplaces for EVERYONE. This is a promise not only to him and his generation but also to future generations.

*Amplify Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity is the presence of diverse  within a given setting. You can have, for example, a diversity of species within an ecosystem, a diversity of clothing brands in your closet, or a diversity of opinion or experiences.

Equity is an approach that ensures everyone has access to the same opportunities. Equity recognizes that advantages and barriers exist, and that, as a result, we all don’t all start from the same place.

Inclusion is about people with different identities feeling and/or being valued, leveraged, and welcomed within a given setting (e.g., your team, workplace, or industry).

What does workplace wellness mean to you, and how can organisations apply it?

Workplace wellness is a holistic version of sustainable employability. All the elements of well-being are connected, including physical, mental, career, social, community, and financial wellness. I also purposefully incorporate DEI into my work as a workplace wellness advocate.

In my opinion, developing and implementing clear workplace wellness strategies can help companies address challenges linked to talent retention, engagement, employer branding, diverse talent recruiting and innovation.

Being able to provide your people a range workplace wellness options can contribute to what I call a “reverse domino effect.” Instead of falling over like dominos, workplace wellness enables employees to bounce back faster, become more resilient, which in turn can boost engagement, productivity, and happiness at the individual as well as company level. 

What has been your biggest challenge in leading an impactful career?

My biggest challenge was overcoming my imposter syndrome when I was building my career as a workplace wellness advocate. I had to dismantle some internal beliefs that made me feel like an imposter, such as:

  • Feeling like a fraud
  • If I can do it, anyone can
  • I had connections that allowed me to succeed

It helped to read the book The Secret Thoughts Of Successful Women by Valerie Young and hear from others who shared their challenges with this syndrome. I am much more confident now because I know my strengths and my values. I have also found that it is important for me to surround myself with like-minded people. I need to stay connected with people, especially during challenging times, like this lockdown.

When you are dealing with imposter syndrome, it is essential to:

  • Know that you are not the only one; a lot of people have imposter syndrome.
  • Take control of your negative self-talk. This self-talk often provides seemingly rational support for irrational ideas.
  • Make a list of at least eight things that show you are just as qualified for the role you are seeking.
  • Be proud of what you have accomplished. Create a collage of your accomplishments or write them down in an accomplishment journal.
  • Remind yourself you’re good at what you do.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people and talk about the challenges you are facing.

What elements about your work get you excited and hopeful about the future?

Knowing that I am helping others with their well-being and raising awareness about the importance of DEI warms my heart. I am hopeful because I am doing my best to help make the world a better place starting from the workplace so that my son’s generation and the generations after that can bring their whole selves to the workplace.

How has the Net Impact Amsterdam community supported or inspired you to live your personal mission?

At the beginning of 2020, I attended a fantastic Net Impact event where Tim Mohin, the former Chief Executive of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), shared an inspiring story about his journey as a corporate tree hugger, changing the business from inside out. I realised that I am also a corporate tree hugger who is advocating for workplace wellness, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Net Impact is my sustainability tribe, where I have the opportunity to connect with like-minded sustainability changemakers and learn more about moving the sustainability needle. That is also why I keep sharing Net Impact with others who want to become changemakers, like my students, mentees, clients, and friends.

Where can we find more about you and your work?

Find more inspiration via the following platforms:

  • Listen to or watch episodes of Let’s Humanize The Workplace. This is an inspirational talkshow where diverse experts share insights about how employers and employees can create thriving workplaces together.
  • Connect with me via LinkedIn or Twitter
  • Check out my website, Viva la Vive

Watch Vivian’s ‘Impact From Home’ session

Workplace Wellness through Improved Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion
Moderated by: Thibaud Bastien of Triodos Investment Management