common good
Art of reflection
Ansa Yiadom wearing a suit outside and looking up into the sun
laurence kesterson
“Swarthmore was 2021 long before 2021 was here,” says Ansa Yiadom ’02, vice president of enterprise services within Pfizer’s Global Business Services division. He majored in economics and says he’s thankful for his “total education.”

Seeing the Bigger Picture

He’s continuing a quest to leverage lifelong learning
by Tara Smith
ansa yiadom ’02
Enterprising Leader
The career path of Ansa Yiadom ’02 appears to be a sprint straight up Pfizer’s corporate ladder — from contracts analyst to vice president of enterprise services within Pfizer’s Global Business Services (GBS) division. But a closer look shows that Yiadom pursued roles in various divisions in terms of a larger quest: to make an impact in society.

Over the years, he’s traveled, managed teams globally, and “learned the world through hard work and reflection.”

Yiadom’s focus has deep roots. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from Ghana in the 1970s. “I’m a product of generations of sacrifice,” he says, and he’s relied on a strong will, grace from a higher power, and the support of all who have been part of his journey.

Yiadom earned a master’s in public administration and continues to apply strategic intentionality to everything he does. In addition to parenting his three children with Kelly Hines Yiadom ’01, he mentors youth in the community and co-leads the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council in Pfizer’s GBS division.

When Yiadom arrived at a college where everyone was a top student and sports were not prioritized, he refined his focus on making an impact beyond himself. It was a tough but fulfilling process. Campuswide assumptions about diversity and inclusion opened Yiadom’s eyes.

“My experiences and discussions with professors and fellow students all helped sophisticate my understanding of myself and the world,” he says.

Yiadom still remembers learning in his first class with Professor Mark Kuperberg that economics is the study of allocating scarce resources among competing uses.

“In some ways, economics has nothing to do with what I’ve done at Pfizer,” he says. “But this liberal arts lens and the way I was trained to think inform so many of my choices as I lead hundreds of colleagues in different countries and manage multimillion-dollar budgets — even if I don’t express them in terms of indifference curves and production-possibility frontiers.”

Focusing on making a global impact has been key over the past year at Pfizer. “It’s been all vaccine, all the time,” Yiadom says, as colleagues across divisions work tirelessly to move the COVID-19 pandemic into the history books. “It wasn’t about Pfizer winning, but about an opportunity to save lives and restore the world to interactive living.”

In much the same way, Yiadom says, the current climate of social division offers an opportunity for us all to move beyond self and focus on ethical impact. “Swarthmore challenged me to look at the whole world and strive to make a valuable contribution,” he says. “I always think about the impact of my actions and whether or not they’re of benefit to society.”