Beyond the Accolades: Emmanuel Morka’s Mission for Meaningful Success

Africa's 10 Most Inspiring Business Leaders Leading the Change in 2024

Emmanuel Morka’s ‘AFFABLE’ leadership as Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Access Bank (Ghana) PLC cultivates a welcoming and collaborative work environment. This focus on open communication drives operational excellence within the organization. His affability isn’t merely a personality trait; it’s a catalyst for success.

Emmanuel firmly believes that “success, in every leadership role, is defined by the leader.” While everyone strives for success, he views it as more than achieving metrics. It’s about nurturing people, maximizing his potential, and empowering those around him to realize theirs. Fostering a culture where everyone—himself included—pushes their boundaries leads to meeting targets, driving results across the organization, and empowering employees to excel in both their professional and personal lives.

For Emmanuel, such a feat goes beyond accolades and figures. True success is a lived experience, and he defines it primarily revolving around two principles. Firstly, the enduring impact one leaves on others is a testament to a life that aligns with one’s values. Evaluating success solely through numbers offers a limited perspective. Next, it speaks about great leaders who recognize that it’s not about them but the extraordinary team they build. Effective leadership inspires a team capable of achieving outstanding performance independently. Emmanuel is called a trailblazer in the industry for living by such profound values. Such transformative ideologies have earned him a well-deserved position among “Africa’s 10 Most Inspiring Business Leaders Leading the Change in 2024.”

Ready to level up your leadership skills? Tap into Emmanuel Morka’s winning strategies! In this cover story, we will explore his playbook for propelling Access Bank (Ghana) PLC to the forefront. Get insights on fostering innovation, upholding integrity, finding balance, and shaping a powerful vision for your team. Plus, Emmanuel shares his essential advice for aspiring leaders like you!

The Vision that Drew Emanuel to Access Bank

Emmanuel’s career path is a testament to the adage, ‘Sometimes the best path forward is a return to where you began.’ After a fulfilling stint with Access Bank (Ghana) PLC from 2004 to 2008, his ambition led him to seek new challenges and grow as a technology leader. However, the opportunity to rejoin the Access family as CIO in 2021 was too compelling to resist. Drawn by the company’s bold vision and his own desire to make an impact, Emmanuel’s belief in the bank’s mission of ‘becoming the world’s most respected African Bank’ perfectly aligns with his own. Today, he leverages his expertise to spearhead a new digital transformation era at Access Bank.

The Transformative Power of Challenges

The path to success is rarely a straight line. Challenges are inevitable, but within them lie valuable lessons. Real growth happens when we overcome obstacles and learn from our difficulties. It’s these experiences that shape our resilience. Emmanuel’s professional path is no exception. This veteran is a living testament to the power of perseverance, a reminder that the only true failure is the failure to try again. “Challenges are the whetstones that sharpen our blades of resilience,” Emmanuel explains. “They mold us, temper our mettle, and reveal our true character.”

In his view:

Growth through Adversity: Challenges aren’t setbacks but catalysts for growth. Every obstacle becomes a chance to improve.

Lessons from Roadblocks: Challenges push us to find alternative routes and develop innovative solutions we might never have considered otherwise. Emmanuel’s digital experience had its share of virtual setbacks, each strengthening his resolve and knowledge.

Access Bank (Ghana) PLC and its Services in Brief

Access Bank (Ghana) PLC is a commercial bank that delivers sustainable, profitable, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant economic growth. It offers the best-quality financial services to multinationals and domestic clients across various industry sectors, including Oil and Gas, Telecoms, Cocoa, and exports. Their commercial banking and retail divisions comprise different market segments spanning from General commerce industries and manufacturing to Fast-Moving Consumer goods, focusing on local corporates and personal and SME customers, respectively.

The bank also provides several services in the Retail space, from current accounts, savings, and investments to loans and money transfers, agency banking, and “BANCASSURANCE” products. In its corporate space, Access Bank (Ghana) PLC offers treasury services, supply chain finance, global trade services, cash management, and bonds, as well as guarantees that support businesses in the country and help build a sustainable economy.

Emmanuel’s Strategic Vision: Fueling Growth at Access Bank (Ghana) PLC

As CIO of Access Bank (Ghana) PLC, Emmanuel has become an indispensable force behind the bank’s growth, implementing a multifaceted technological strategy that addresses both present needs and future potential. Recognizing the ever-evolving threat landscape, his commitment to robust defenses has led to implementing industry-leading security practices, proactive investment in cutting-edge security solutions, and rigorous vulnerability assessments to protect the bank’s assets. This visionary executive maintains a forward-thinking approach, analyzing emerging technologies to ensure the bank is always prepared for future disruption in the financial sector.

His emphasis on open communication and collaboration bridges the gap between business and IT, fostering a unified vision where concerns are addressed and goals are aligned. This approach also extends to vendor relationships, allowing for the integration of best practices and smooth technological transitions. In close partnership with human resources, Emmanuel’s keen eye for talent drives successful talent acquisition and retention strategies in the highly competitive technology domain, ultimately empowering a team brimming with innovation. Perhaps most importantly, the well-versed CIO focuses on customer experience enhancement, ensuring that every digital transformation initiative and internal process improvement translates into a seamless and satisfying journey for the bank’s valued clients.

Formula for Innovation and Integrity 

“As a team leader, my actions speak louder than my words,” the CIO says. “I demonstrate integrity by being honest, transparent, and consistent.”

Emmanuel understands that true leadership isn’t just about directives; it’s about setting a determined example. He embodies the principles of integrity in all he does. Honesty guides his interactions, transparency defines his decision-making, and consistency ensures that his team knows they can count on his leadership.

Building on this foundation, this veteran fosters a culture where integrity thrives. He believes a truly ethical workplace starts with open doors and clear communication, encouraging team members to raise concerns, ask questions, and contribute ideas without fear of reprisal. Emanuel recognizes that his team needs to feel connected and motivated to uphold integrity, so he creates a collaborative environment where everyone shares a common purpose. This shared sense of ownership means everyone strives for excellence, not just for themselves but for the team and the organization as a whole.

To this adept professional, authenticity means leading with both strength and humility. He doesn’t shy away from owning up to mistakes, instead transforming those moments into learning opportunities for himself and his team. This demonstrates that acknowledging shortcomings is a mark of both integrity and a growth mindset.

Life Before Access Bank (Ghana) PLC

Before joining Access Bank Ghana, Emmanuel’s career journey saw him transform e-banking solutions across some of Africa’s leading financial institutions. From First Bank Nigeria Plc. and Fidelity Bank Nigeria Plc., he kept moving upward and became a part of Access Bank Nigeria Plc., ETB Nigeria Ltd., and it was followed by his role as Senior Oracle Manager at Blueprint Business Technology. Throughout this growth graph, Emanuel honed a powerful skillset that fuels his leadership as CIO today.

The Best Recognition Received as a Leader

“Authentic Respect,” Emmanuel shares. “I do not get respect from my team because of my title but because of my character, integrity, and genuine care for their well-being. The nod of approval, the unsolicited “thank you,” and their trust in my decisions.”

This perspective has earned him the respect of his team and recognition on a broader scale. This man of wisdom and humility is also a highly coveted personality to emulate. Emmanuel’s pledge to leadership excellence has been celebrated with awards like:

  • World CIO 200 Summit Forum UAE 2021-2022 (World Global CIO Africa)
  • World CIO 200 Summit Forum Thailand 2022-2023 (World Global CIO Africa)
  • Gender Mainstreaming Award-Africa Ghana 2021-2022 (Inclusive Leader)
  • Connected Banking Summit Award 2022-2023 (Best CIO of the Year)

Emmanuel on Developing Next-Generation Leaders

The visionary CIO firmly believes that the future depends on nurturing the leaders of tomorrow, and he’s passionate about making an influential impact in this area. He doesn’t just wait for leadership potential to reveal itself; he proactively plans for the future with change leadership at the forefront. He carefully identifies individuals who show the beginnings of leadership traits and openly acknowledges their potential.

He understands that true leadership extends far beyond technical skills. To Emmanuel, it encompasses strength in relationship management, a deep understanding of customer needs, and a solid grasp of business strategy and operational decision-making.

The insightful leader knows that leading by example is paramount. He aims to demonstrate integrity, resilience, and unwavering dedication – proving through his own actions that the vision is worth pursuing. It’s not just about the work itself; it’s about empowering his team to grow. He strategically delegates responsibilities, providing exposure not just to functional tasks but to senior-level experiences, fostering the development of future leaders.

Responsibilities as Chief Information Officer

As CIO of Access Bank (Ghana) PLC, Emmanuel strategically guides the bank’s technological direction. He leads the planning and updating of technology projects and their corresponding strategies, aligning them with the bank’s business goals. He also oversees IT budget planning and allocation, ensuring that resources are used effectively to meet technological needs.

Emmanuel is responsible for establishing and maintaining robust contingency and disaster recovery plans. These plans involve regular testing to protect the bank’s systems and data in case of unexpected disruptions. He is also a vital member of the vendor relationships and ensures the execution of the right governance and Level Agreements for optimal service delivery.

This inspiring leader champions business requirement analysis to promote a tech-forward environment. He constantly reviews and refines processes to stay ahead of evolving needs. Additionally, he recognizes the importance of IT awareness across the organization, leading regular training initiatives for both staff and business users.

Work-Life Balance Strategy

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance isn’t always easy, especially in a demanding leadership position. Yet this accomplished executive understands that striking this harmony is crucial to preventing burnout and sustaining peak performance. His approach isn’t about grand gestures but about establishing small, intentional practices that create a sense of control and personal space within his busy schedule.

Simple habits like taking a dedicated lunch hour or treating vacations as non-negotiable are cornerstones of Emmanuel’s philosophy. Learning to delegate effectively has also been instrumental – it empowers his team while freeing up his own time. Beyond these fundamental tactics, Emmanuel keeps his personal and professional life in check by:

  • Defining his priorities: He knows what truly matters to him, allowing him to make conscious choices about where to allocate his time and energy.
  • Setting clear boundaries: He establishes distinct divisions between work and personal life, allowing him to disconnect and recharge when needed.
  • Delegating responsibilities: He trusts his capable team, empowering them to handle tasks while creating more bandwidth for himself.

Personal Goal & Leadership Advice

Emmanuel’s journey doesn’t end with his achievements. He’s a leader who recognizes that personal evolution is a lifelong pursuit. He focuses on nurturing a growth mindset, believing his abilities can constantly be upgraded with dedication and the right strategies. This drive for continuous improvement fuels his impact as a CIO and mentor.

His message to aspiring leaders reflects this philosophy:

“Dear Aspiring Leader, embrace the Journey: Leadership is not a destination; it’s a continuous journey. Embrace the challenges, setbacks, and growth opportunities. Learn from each experience, and remember that leadership is about progress, not perfection.”

This proficient expert wants the next generation to understand that the road to leadership is paved with triumphs and setbacks. The key is seeing every challenge as a chance to learn, grow, and become a more decisive, effective leader.