In honor of Black History Month, I had the privilege of interviewing Gloria Mensah, the inspiring Executive Director of GK Folks Foundation—a non-profit organization in Utah dedicated to creating scholarship opportunities for African students and refugees. Gloria's journey is a testament to resilience, compassion and a commitment to empowering African communities. Here, she shares her personal and professional milestones, the challenges she faced and her vision for the future.
Meet: Gloria Mensah
Gloria is the driving force behind the GK Folks Foundation. This non-profit organization provides scholarship opportunities and essential resources for African students and refugees in Utah. Beyond education, the foundation empowers women to become community leaders, fostering confidence, voice projection and cultural pride. Many beneficiaries have started their own nonprofits or assumed critical leadership roles—a testament to Gloria's impactful initiatives.
Key Milestones in Gloria's Journey
Her journey is marked by pivotal milestones, shaping her into the successful Executive Director she is today. Embracing failure, navigating financial challenges and the profound influence of her marriage have all contributed to her personal and professional growth. These experiences equipped her with resilience, adaptability and a strategic mindset—essential qualities for a leader in the non-profit sector.
Overcoming Challenges with Grace
Reflecting on the challenges faced, Gloria addresses issues like a lack of support, financial constraints and ungratefulness from beneficiaries. Through community engagement, diversifying funding sources and setting clear expectations, she navigated these challenges effectively. Gloria's approach emphasizes the importance of cultural sensitivity, transparency and a focus on the positive impact of her foundation's work.
The Influence of Gloria’s Mother
Gloria's mother emerges as a profound influence, instilling service, dedication, compassion, resilience and effective role balancing values. These lessons from her mother form the bedrock of Gloria's character, leadership style and approach to her role at GK Folks Foundation.
Diversity and Inclusion
She believes diversity and inclusion are essential: they bring varied perspectives and experiences, enriching decision-making and creativity. She cites:
“In my work, they guide me towards understanding and catering to diverse needs, ensuring that solutions are equitable and accessible to all. This approach fosters a more inclusive and well-rounded perspective in problem-solving and innovation."
Valuable Lessons for Success
Gloria imparts valuable lessons learned—dedication, passion, consistency and hard work. These elements, she believes, are fundamental for any business or endeavor to succeed. They have shaped her approach and contributed to the success of the GK Folks Foundation.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Drawing from her experiences, Gloria offers advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. Starting with a clear vision, embracing learning and adaptability, understanding the audience, building a strong network and persevering through challenges are crucial for success.
Future Vision for GK Folks Foundation
Looking ahead, Gloria outlines her objectives as the Executive Director of the GK Folks Foundation. These include raising funds through diversified strategies, expanding programs and services, enhancing community engagement and building a stronger team. A detailed strategic plan, regular evaluation and adaptability form the pillars of her approach to achieving these goals.
Gloria Mensah's journey is a testament to the transformative power of dedication, compassion and hard work. As the Executive Director of GK Folks Foundation, she continues to uplift African communities, leaving an indelible mark on Utah’s non-profit leadership landscape.