Alumna Elizabeth Olympio-Emanuel Shares Lessons on Resilience at UG@75 Event

CEO of JamRock Restaurant and Grill and an Alumna, Elizabeth Olympio-Emanuel has shared her life-changing story of resilience with members of the UG community and the public, in a conversation moderated by Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Chair, UG@75 Planning Committee.

The event which was held as part of activities marking UG’s 75th Anniversary was dubbed, ‘An Evening of Relaxation and Lessons in Resilience, and was held at the Oak Plaza Hotel, where the Restaurant is located.

Elizabeth Olympio-Emanuel, Alumna

In delivering opening remarks, Prof. Clement Appah, Co-Chair of the 75th Anniversary Planning Committee, noted that the Committee carefully curated the outdoor event to introduce variety into the line-up of activities. He explained that the programme is intended to highlight Alumni who have interesting stories to share about resilience. 

Prof. Clement Appah, Co-Chair of the 75th Anniversary Planning Committee

Popularly known as ‘Eliza’, the renowned entrepreneur indicated that she wants to be remembered as a change-maker in society. She recalled her early childhood and how her parents, who were enthusiastic about education, shaped her interests in academic pursuits.

Eliza attributed her culinary prowess to her mother, who was previously in the food business. This, she believes, set the tone for a career in the hospitality industry.

She indicated that resilience was demonstrated during her time at Achimota School as a sports athlete, for which she received awards. Before beginning her tertiary education at the University of Ghana, she dabbled in modeling as a high school student.

Eliza, who aspired to be a Medical Doctor, enrolled in the Biological Sciences programme and later got accepted into the University of Ghana Medical School, but was unable to complete the programme. This did not deter her, as she used her limitation as a springboard to reapply for a new course: Linguistics and Political Science. She overcame her fears and graduated from the University of Ghana, Legon, with a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Political Science.

She also holds a Certificate in Construction Project Management from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, (GIMPA).

Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Chair, UG@75 Planning Committee in a conversation with Eliza

During the interview, she also revealed her involvement in a number of significant charity operations, as well as her passion for community development through sanitation, the protection of children from sexual harassment, and the empowerment of young girls and women. She has demonstrated public-spiritedness and leadership by engaging and rallying like-minded friends on social media to form the Coalition Against Sexual Abuse (CASA), which has raised awareness and taken timely action on child sexual abuse issues.

Social media has been one of the most powerful tools in her career development, opening doors of opportunity for her during some of her most challenging times as an entrepreneur.

She advised the youth to have multiple interests, identify what they enjoy doing, and have multiple sources of income in order to demonstrate resilience in their various walks of life.

As an entrepreneur, hospitality professional, building contractor, social activist, and philanthropist, Eliza juggles several roles. She is the co-founder of JamRock Restaurant, established in 2015, to offer a unique historical dining experience with a blend of the culinary cultures of Ghana and Jamaica, with an extra spice of Jamaican music added to give off some island vibes.

A cross-section of participants at the event

Eliza is married with five children. She is fluent in English, Ga, Dangbe, and Italian. She enjoys playing tennis, jogging, reading, traveling, exploring cuisine and fashion, and mentoring.  

In 2018, the University of Ghana's College of Humanities, Legon, honored her by inviting her to serve as the University of Ghana Undergraduate Congregation Guest Speaker for the 2017/2018 graduating class.

The event was spiced with a musical interlude by Sax & Wine and a cultural performance by the Akuma Dance & Symbols.

Mrs. Emelia Agyei-Mensah, Registrar; Mr. Charles Kofinti, Director, PDMSD; Prof. Awo Asiedu, Ag. Dean, School of Performing Arts; Prof. Adams Bodomo, Chair of African Linguistics and Literatures, University of Vienna; Prof. Kojo Ansah Koram, former Director, Noguchi; Alumni, Staff, Friends, and Students of the University of Ghana graced the occasion.