Ruth Amoah-Koomson – Sales and Service Manager, New Britain Branch
Sometimes, your life prepares you for your career as much as your education. Ruth Amoah-Koomson, Sales and Service Manager at our New Britain branch, is quite familiar with the ups and downs of life and working towards a goal – one more important than deposits and credits.
At the age of 21, Ruth remembers saying goodbye to her parents and siblings at the airport as they left Ghana for the United States. Considered a legal adult at the time, her parents were not able to claim her as a dependent on their immigration documentation, forcing her to stay behind in the west African nation.
Just like that, Ruth was left to “figure life out alone.”
She soon filed on her own to join her family, but that journey was a hardship of itself. Despite following the process, Ruth was unable to immediately travel to leave the country, further elongating her separation from her family. Although grateful for the technology that allowed them to be able to stay in touch, she says she still regrets missing out on a lot of moments with them.
While on her own, Ruth was thankful to have her job in banking and her promotion to a branch manager. The daughter of a banker, she says that in pure “daddy’s girl” fashion she took her first banking job as a teller after completing high school. Like her father, she loved the job and enjoyed the prestigious career. Her brother, who himself had become a banker in the United States, told her that when the opportunity to make the move came, it would be difficult to easily land a job in banking in the U.S.
For 24 years after her family relocated, Ruth remained in Ghana working in banking.
“It got to a point where I never thought it was going to happen,” she says. The process takes a long time due to the high demand of people waiting and any update to your application, like marriage and birth of each child, requires re-filing and restarting the process.
She’d move up in the queue, then get knocked to the bottom, she recalls.
Finally, Ruth was able to make it to the United States in 2020 with her three children. Now she only waits for her husband who remains in Ghana to join them and complete her dream.
Ruth doesn’t let her “later than expected” start in the United States hold her back. In fact, she says that working at a company like Penn Community Bank that values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) brings her a sense of purpose.
“When you feel included in your environment it brings out the best in you. If you work in a place where you feel like your opinion doesn’t matter, it holds you back. We don’t serve a small group of people, we serve everyone – and it allows our customers to feel comfortable around everyone regardless of race or ethnicity,” she says.
During Black History Month we pay tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. We celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans and commit to overcome the prejudices that still exist today. For more information about Penn Community Bank’s DE&I efforts, visit www.penncommunitybank.com.
Q&A with Ruth Amoah-Koomson
What does Black History Month mean to you? What is something you wish others knew?
A lot of people have to realize that color doesn’t matter. Colors are beautiful. Ask yourself, “How did we even get here?” It didn’t use to be like this. Our forefathers made a way for us to be here, to sit at the table and dine together. The system works better when we all work together. Remember, diversity is being invited to the party and inclusion is being invited on the dance floor.
Who is a Black historical figure that inspires you and why?
Two people come to mind. Former United Nations General Secretary Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian and is an example that you can be anything you want to be if you remain committed to it. On the other hand, Dionne Warwick made a great career for herself in a time where Blacks were being held back. She made no excuses and it really bridged the gap for us.
Do you have any advice for Black women who are interested in a career in banking?
You need to have noble character to be a banker. To be successful in this job, stay away from the negativity of life. Women bring a motherly background to banking, and that’s a good thing. In a male-dominated industry, women have the ability to understand who they are dealing with. We can better understand the problems of people that come in to speak to us, and it’s important for women to use that to our advantage.