"A good name is better than riches" is the adage that admonishes humanity to preserve integrity above material gain.

But in a society where some believe that every good service deserves a bribe or reward, keeping to the demands of that adage is nearly impossible. Things become even more complex when business leaders or institutions operate in highly competitive environments where the stakes are higher and every step of progress counts. Some therefore draw the conclusion that considerations other than competence and value for money determine success and opportunity in business.

However, it is heartwarming to note that there are leaders who continue to pursue strong ethical values and live beyond reproach, no matter how difficult society has made it.

Mr Kwasi Anokurang-Budu, the Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of EB-ACCION Savings and Loans Company Limited, comes across as one such person.

Mr Anokurang-Budu, who abandoned his childhood dream of becoming a medical doctor to pursue a banking career, has stated his avowed commitment to always uphold integrity and stand for what is right in the face of ant temptation to do otherwise.

Taking his turn on a Springboard, the Virtual University, on Joy FM, the Takoradi-born corporate executive said the three top values that had defines his career and success over the years were integrity, leadership by example and hard work.

"These are the virtues I have come to uphold in my personal life and I have applied them throughout my working life. Sometimes, it can be difficult because people expect you to compromise and sometimes actually try to convince you but you just have to be principled and stick to your values." Mr Anokurang-Budu said.

He was the first resource person in a new series on the weekly programme hosted by Rev. Albert Ocran of Legacy & Legacy and coordinated by a team of professionals from the management consultancy firm.

The series, dubbed 'Leaders Digest,' will feature renowned heads of institutions and people of repute in society to share with listeners the secrets of their success and distinction, their core values and the lessons learnt from their respective areas of operation.

According to Executive Producer, Mrs. Comfort Ocran, Legacy & Legacy would line up an array of notable leaders from diverse fields over the next few weeks. Once concluded, the Virtual University team would then collate and plot a graph of the most recurring virtues and attributes of leaders in the country.

This is expected to serve as a barometer for business leaders and a guide to emerging executives seeking to climb the ladder of success in their respective fields or professions.

Childhood ambitions and choices in life
Like many children grappling with the question of 'what do you want to become in future?,' the DMD of EB-ACCION, the savings and loans collaboration between the Ecobank Group, IFC and Accion, grew up wanting to become a medical doctor.

However, a few days into his science class course in high school, Mr. Anokurang-Budu requested for a change of course after realising "I was simply not cut out for that course."

"It just was not my area and I am happy I realised it early," he said, explaining that he has since not regretted taking that decision.

"My mates teased me that I was running away because the course was difficult. To make things worse, I had been appointed as the class prefect and and changing course can with serious pressure." he said, bursting into laughter.

The host, Rev. Ocran, who joined in the laughter, also recounted how he had enrolled in the law course in his first year at the University of Ghana but deserted the course just three weeks into the start of his law lectures.

Drawing from these two experiences, Mr. Anokurang-Budu advised that the youth should not be afraid to make the right choices and to make academic or career changes if they found themselves on the wrong track.

"If a course does not suit you, change it. Do not let peer pressure cause you to carry a cross you are not ready to carry," he said.

Advise to colleague leaders
Beyond advising people and other heads of institutions to uphold integrity, lead by example and work hard, the DMD of EB-ACCION said leaders needed to make their teams feel a part of the management process.

That, he said, ensures that the entire team feels a part of the system, and contribute their quota for collective success. "When you achieve success that way, everybody becomes part of it," he noted.

Alluding to his Christian faith, Mr. Anokurang-Budu submitted that he would continue to stick to his personal and professional values no matter how challenging it proved.

"The question I always ask myself is will Jesus be happy if he saw me do what I am doing? If the answer is no, then I walk away. But if it is yes, then I will persist no matter the consequences," he noted.

Touching on his mentors, Mr. Anokurang-Budu celebrated his boss, Mrs. Frances Adu-Mantey, and the Managing Director of Ecobank, Mr Samuel Ashietey Adjei for inspiration and counsel in times of difficulty.

"They epitomise the values of humility and exemplary leadership and I find myself looking up to them," he said, adding that Jesus Christ was his overall role model. GB