JOYCE R. ARYEE – A Nation’s Aunt.

After about five decades of public service and private sector leadership, it is intriguing to find a wide social spectrum—from those young enough to be her grandchildren to those old enough to be her parents—all call her “Auntie Joyce.” Everybody’s aunt. Here may be why.



Long before ‘women in leadership’ was a global mantra and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) became a do or die affair, there was Joyce Aryee. Auntie Joyce. Having blazed the trail for women in leadership in the first and last twenty years of the twenty-first and twentieth centuries respectively as a public servant and politician, business and executive leader and minister of the gospel, Rev. Dr. Joyce R. Aryee has earned herself a distinguished place in the African leadership hall of fame, with a global afterglow.



Joyce Rosalind Arye was born on 27 March, 1946 to a Fante mother from Elmina and a Ga father hailing from Anorhor in the Ghanaian capital region of Greater Accra. As the second of four children (two girls and two boys), little Joyce was raised in Ghana’s second largest city, Kumasi. In the suburb of North Suntreso where she grew up with her middle class family, Joyce would begin her early years of education at the Methodist Primary and Methodist Middle schools in the area. Joyce lost her father early—when she was barely seven years old—thus “as a single parent, her mum had to go through hell in bringing her and her siblings.”[1] Her educationist mum desperately desired to endow all her children with quality education and so she had to complement her salary with baking and trading her sizzling handiworks in order to make sure that her children successfully went through school.[2]

Soon, Ms. Aryee the tween would relocate to Accra, Ghana’s capital, to attend the prestigious Achimota School (founded as the Prince of Wales College in 1927), all seven years of secondary school, from Form One till graduation from Upper Six, with her A-Level certificate. Her life, from then onwards, would be largely an Accraian kind as she proceeded to the University of Ghana, barely 5km away in  northeasterly direction, graduating in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in English.[3]

Auntie Joyce also wields a Post-graduate Certificate in Public Administration from GIMPA, the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. GIMPA was set up to offer training for Civil and Public Servants in Public Administration and Management  hence its name. Dr. Joyce Aryee recalls, “It was a compulsory three months training in Public Administration for a Public Servant. Civil Servants (those working in the Ministries) received a Post-graduate Diploma; they were required to do a six-month training.”[4]



A String of Female Firsts and Fellowships

Madam Aryee is the Republic of Ghana’s first ever female Minister of Information in its approximately sixty-seven-year history—and there’ve been only three such females so far—with her serving the longest as well, by far. Joyce is also the first ever female CEO of a Chamber of Mines in Ghana and even across Africa. She has a strand of Fellowships adorning her Curriculum Vitae like a well-strung necklace: FIPR (Fellow of the Institute of Public Relations), FGIM (Fellow of the Ghana Institute of Marketing), FGHIE (Fellow of the Ghana Institute of Engineers, March 2010), FCIA (Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Financial and Investment Analysts, September 2011), Fellow of the Graduate School of Governance and Leadership (October 2011) and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Supply Chain Management (April 2021).

Political Office and Public Service

“Joyce Aryee” was a household name in Ghana in the 1980s when I was growing up in bustling Accra, Ghana. While nearly everyone was antsy during the heady days of the military revolution in Ghana, “Auntie Joyce” was a sight for sore eyes and dare I say a somewhat calming balm amidst a sea of macho military men and braggadocious cadres of the bloody 1981 Revolution that brought Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings to power. Rumours were rife about a supposed amorous relationship between Joyce and the thirty-something military leader of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) military junta but she kept her eye on the road, pursuing her tasks. For a dozen years she was an appointee in the PNDC government. The PNDC was the Ghanaian military government after the elected People’s National Party government was overthrown by Jerry Rawlings, the former head of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, in a coup d’état on 31 December 1981. He remained in power for a dozen years—with Joyce Aryee serving alongside all those years-–until 7 January 1993, after which he metamorphosed into a civilian to run the country as a two-term president for another eight years.

As quadruple Minister of State (called “Secretary” back then, like the United States still does today), Ms. Aryee was Minister of Information (1982-1985), Minister of Education (1985-1987), Minister of Local Government (1987-1988) and Minister of Democracy, a non-cabinet ministerial role at the National Commission for Democracy. The latter role meant she was front and centre in the democratisation process that restored multiparty democracy in Ghana, a midwife of Ghana’s Fourth Republic. From 1993 to 2001 Joyce Aryee was a Member of the National Defence Council.[5]

With the Ministry of Information being the principal organ responsible for the dissemination of Government’s development communication, Joyce’s role was to facilitate free flow of adequate, timely and reliable information and feedback between the government and the public for socioeconomic empowerment and enhanced democratic citizenship.[6] At the time, that PNDC portfolio was designated “Secretary of Information.”[7]

Joyce prides herself that in support of human capital and national development she was formulating and coordinating education policies, setting standards and monitoring and evaluating their implementation to ensure accessible quality education for all Ghanaians as Minister of Education during that volatile period of Ghana’s history where the education of the ordinary Ghanaian young person could have easily gone awry.

Ms. Aryee’s public service did not start with the politics of the military government, for prior to her appointment she had been Public Relations  Officer (PRO) of both the Ghana Standards Board and the Environmental Protection Council. She had also been an Education Officer with the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board and Test Development and Research  Officer (TEDRO) with the West African Examinations Council in the 1970s as well. At the time she was co opted into the PNDC military government she was at the Ghana Standards Board.

Business and Executive Leadership

Joyce Aryee led the Ghana Chamber of Mines for a decade (2001-2011) as Chief Executive Officer, managing a process of “integrating social responsibility and dialogue with Government to promote sustainable mining for national development.”[8] The Chamber is the main minerals industry association in Ghana “representing the collective interest of companies involved in mineral exploration, production and processing in Ghana.”[9] With that wealth of experience under her belt, Madam Aryee founded a leadership, management and communication consultancy and training outfit christened after her household name: Joyce Aryee Consult (JAC). JAC has consulted for mining companies including Keegan Resources and Pelangio Explorations.

The years of corporate leadership experience and public leadership experience, coupled with her education at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), has made her a governance attraction for many companies, local and foreign. She has served on umpteen boards including those of AEL Mining Services, International Cyanide Management Institute (ICMI), Stanbic Bank, Volta River Authority, Central University (as Pro Chancellor), Databank Ark Fund (Chair), Global Media Alliance (Chair), Newmont Gold Ghana and Newmont Golden Ridge Limited (Chair), The Roman Ridge School (Chair, Academic Board), Global Records Management Ltd. (Chair), L’ainee Services Ltd and Apex Health Limited.

Clergy and Ministry

Madam Joyce Aryee is the Founder and current Executive Director of Salt and Light Ministries, a ‘parachurch’ organisation established to raise disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ to be effective, fruitful and practical Christians.[10] The objectives of Rev. Aryee’s Salt and Light Ministries are to motivate, inspire and encourage people to live effective and productive Christian lives, to assist Christians to discern God’s purpose and will for them and their generations, to aid Christians to discover, nurture and apply their spiritual gifts to everyday situations, to provide Biblical counselling, to raise and train people to be disciples of Jesus Christ in order to fulfil the Great Commission[11] and, not surprisingly as a successful Christian in the marketplace herself, to motivate and inspire Christians to proactively bring Biblical principles and values to bear on social, political and economic activities.[12]

Dr. Aryee is regularly on air and online with words of wisdom and scriptural admonitions for all who have ears to hear. She is “passionate about the Arts and serves as Executive Chairperson of Harmonious Chorale and patron to many other choirs.”[13]

Family Hiccups

About the only thing Auntie Joyce has had to try more than once and still not hit gold is marriage. Joyce has been married twice; firstly to a medical doctor with whom she lived in Germany for a season and had a now-43-year-old son[14] and secondly to her childhood neighbour Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby.[15] Auntie Joyce is a biological grandmother of three.[16]

Cathedral Controversy

Being the celebrated colossus of a leader with a proven track record spanning half a century and with the rare ability to successfully straddle being a politician and a pulpiter, it is no wonder the current President of the Republic of Ghana appointed her to the Council to execute his vision for a National Cathedral that has become embroiled in controversy. Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee has been defending the project to the hilt,[17] a situation that some of her admirers are understandably concerned might soil her legacy if sophisticated prudence is not brought to bear. This author, a keen advocate for authentic leadership and principal at PELÉ, is one of such admirers.[18]



Awards and Honours

The Nation’s Aunt has a truckload of awards recognizing not just her personal success but her societal significance, making her arguably the most decorated female leader in Ghana’s history. Madam Aryee is a recipient of the second highest national award in Ghana known as the Companion of the Order of the Volta (CV) conferred by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana in 2006[19] for her service to the nation in the public and private sectors. She has been named on the list of 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining in the world.[20]

Achimota School, her alma mater, named their seventeenth dormitory ‘Rev. Dr. Joyce R. Aryee House’ after her, in honour of her selfless service to the nation as well as her  commitment and contribution to her former secondary school. Such dormitory naming, ranging from prominent leaders like the school’s triune co-founders (Governor Gordon Guggisberg, Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey and Rev. A.G. Fraser) to significant missionaries like David Livingston and Mary Slessor, is a “tradition of the school authorities to name dormitories after the sons and daughters of the school who [have] excelled in their fields of endeavour and had contributed immensely to the country.”[21]

She is the recipient of several awards including the African Female Business Leader of the Year (2000) by the African Leadership Centre for Economic and Leadership Development and the CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year 2007. Auntie Joyce was honoured in the mining and public service category at the maiden edition of the Women in Excellence Awards in 2011. The American Biographical Institute (ABI) nominated her as the “2011 Woman of the Year.” Again, she won an award as the Public Relations Personality of the Year 2014 by the Institute of Public Relations Ghana. She also received the Inspirational Woman Award at the Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards 2015 for creating change, paving the way for women as well as being the first female to head an African Chamber of Mines.

Even as a near-octogenarian, like the Proverbs 31 woman, her good works still follow her. His Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Life Patron of the Millennium Excellence Foundation, conferred upon Auntie Joyce, the “Millennium Prize for Leadership and Contribution to National Development” in recognition of her meritorious work in the areas of Motivation and Outstanding Clergy Policies in Ghana (July 2021). That same year, she was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ghana CEO Awards. She is an Honorary Council Member of the Ghana Association of Restructuring and Insolvency Advisors.[22] Even her love for music has not gone unrewarded. Over a decade ago she received the Honorary Award of the Year( 2012) at the Adom FM Ghana Gospel Industry Awards (GGIA) (2nd Edition).[23]

 Honorary Doctorates

Dr. Joyce Aryee wields two honorary doctorates, a Doctor of Communication Arts degree from the Central University (Honoris Causa, May 2021) to recognise her contributions in the area of communication and leadership and the other from the University of Mines and Technology (July 2009) in recognition of her immense contributions to the growth of the mining industry.

Substantial Humanitarian Boards

Apart from corporate boards, Dr. Aryee has provided deep wisdom from her gracious heart to bolster the governance of significant nonprofits like the George Benneh Foundation, Finatrade Foundation, Energy Foundation, Compassion International, Prisons Ministry of Ghana, Bible Society of Ghana (Chairman and President), The HuD Group (I’ve seen her in action there for myself), and Harmonious Chorale, a multiple award-winning non-denominational choral organisation she founded to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through chorale music. Auntie Joyce loves chorale music and it was always electrifying to see her interactions with my late grandfather, Emeritus Prof. J.H. Kwabena Nketia. In fact, Harmonious Chorale, in 2016, staged a whole night’s performance on the celebrated Ghanaian ethnomusicologist’s compositions for voice and instruments.

Growing Other Leaders

Auntie Joyce does not just stand tall like one huge Baobab tree towering over everyone else and sucking in all the air in the room. In both her personal and professional capacities, in formal, semi-formal and informal ways, she has been raising cohort after cohort of leaders for the private and public sector alike. Being a Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative (ALI) myself, I’ve personally encountered her as a Senior Mentor of ALI, a leadership formation programme birthed to develop the next generation of values-based and community-minded leaders of Africa to transition from success to significance. Beginning from Ghana and Nigeria in West Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda in East Africa and in Southern Africa, Mozambique and South Africa, ALI is part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN). Rev. Aryee has “resourced several leadership and skills development programmes, both locally and internationally.”[24]

Written Words and Said Speeches

Joyce Aryee co-authored the book The Transformed Mind with Samuel Koranteng-Pipim in 2012. They describe it as a “ provocative and inspiring volume” which speaks to issues facing Africa by Africans. “The stage is set,” the introduction audaciously declares, “The world is our audience, Africa our aisle, and Ghana our pulpit. We speak as citizens of a world to come. And we’re passionate about the issues we address, in the hope that you will be challenged to change your world.”[25] A sought-after and most eloquent public speaker, Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee addressing a graduating class at the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC) once said, “Great leaders care about the well-being of those in their charge. They do not use people simply as a means to an end. They genuinely want others to develop to their full potential.”[26] She lives this out, that’s why she’s everybody’s “Auntie Joyce.”

Mama Mining

No single female leader has influenced the mining industry in Ghana, and perhaps in Africa, like Auntie Joyce. She is “passionate about sustainable mining and has advocated strongly for responsible mining for sustainable development. She has delivered several papers in sustainable mining in various mining conferences across the globe.”[27] In 2022, she was appointed by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources of the Ghanaian government as chairperson of a five-member committee to oversee the management of funds in support of victims of the Appiatse explosion.[28] Dr. Joyce Aryee is also the First Patron Extraordinaire of AMN, Accra Mining Network, the largest amorphous extractive industry professional organisation in the world.[29] She has also participated in several mining conferences in South Africa and Canada, and as a guest speaker at the “Women in Mining Conference” in Australia.[30] Joyce is widely, very widely, travelled.



“Great leaders are needed now than ever in all sectors of the economy,”[31] Dr. Joyce Aryee believes, and one of the ways she does this is to serve as a consultant in general leadership development at PELÉ where authentic and customised relationships and resources are offered to C-level executives to grow personally, succeed professionally, and become significant societally.



Whether as Minister of the Government or Minister of the Gospel, the doubly-doctored Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee has distinguished herself, serving God and Ghana for nearly half-a-century in both the public domain and the private sector. A nation’s aunt, who was a voice of reason in Ghana’s military government days and midwifed the birth of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, it is no wonder that from those young enough to be her grandchildren to those old enough to be her parents, all call her “Auntie Joyce,” really a sign of endearment. She’s everybody’s aunt, all the people she’s served or have only heard of her—from politics to the pulpit—for nearly 50 years. Hail the colossus of women in leadership par excellence, by all standards. Give Auntie Joyce her due.


[1] “Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee – First CEO of Ghana Chamber of Mines – Today Newspaper”. Ghana Today. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 15 January, 2024.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Attah-Mensah, Samuel. “Footprints on Citi TV with Dr. Joyce Aryee”. Citi Tube. Citi Tube. Last retrieved 17 January, 2024.

[4] Personal correspondence between Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee and the author, Dr. Yaw Perbi, via WhatsApp on 23 January, 2024.

[5] Christensen, Martin K.I. (31 May 2010). “Ghana Ministers”. Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership. Martin K. I. Christensen. Last retrieved 23 January, 2024.

[6] Joyce R. Aryee. (2024). Profile: Rev. Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee. Sent to the author by Joyce Aryee on 18 January 2024. Last retrieved on 23 January, 2024.

[7] Eribo, Festus & William Jong-Ebot, Press Freedom and Communication in Africa, 1997, p. 20.

[8] Joyce R. Aryee, Joyce R. (2024). Profile: Rev. Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee. Sent to the author by Joyce Aryee on 18 January 2024. Last retrieved on 23 January, 2024.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Salt & Light Ministries. About Us. Last retrieved 23 January, 2024.

[11] Matthew 28:18-20

[12] Ibid.

[13] Aryee, Joyce R. (2024). Profile: Rev. Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee. Sent to the author by Joyce Aryee on 18 January 2024. Last retrieved on 23 January, 2024.

[14] “Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee – First CEO of Ghana Chamber of Mines – Today Newspaper”. Ghana Today. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Last retrieved 23 January, 2024.

[15] Sackitey, Gideon. Personalities | Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby. Ghanadot. Retrieved 23 January, 2024.

[16] Personal correspondence between Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee and the author, Dr. Yaw Perbi, via WhatsApp on 24 January, 2024.

[17] Anim-Appau, Felix (October 2023). National Cathedral; Project not stalled, keep contributing towards completion – Joyce Aryee urges public. Onua Online. Retrieved 23 January, 2024.

[18] Boakye, Edna Agnes (21 January, 2023). Halt National Cathedral project and audit expenditure – Dr. Perbi to gov’t. Citi News Room. Retrieved 23 January, 2024.

[19] Ghana Web. Ghana Famous People | Politics | Joyce Aryee. Last retrieved  23 January, 2024.

[20] Aryee, Joyce R. (2024). Profile: Rev. Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee. Sent to the author by Joyce Aryee on 18 January 2024. Last retrieved on 23 January, 2024.

[21] Boateng, Dennis Agyei. “Achimota School names girls’ dormitory after Rev. Joyce Aryee – Graphic Online | Ghana News”. Graphic Online. Retrieved 23 January 2024.

[22] “Governing Council”. GARIA. Retrieved 23 January 2024.

[23] MyJoyOnline (24 June 2012). Selina Boateng wins Artiste of the Year at Ghana Gospel Industry Awards”. MyJoyOnline. Retrieved 24 January, 2024.

[24] Aryee, Joyce R. (2024). Profile: Rev. Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee. Sent to the author by Joyce Aryee on 18 January 2024. Last retrieved on 23 January, 2024.

[25] Koranteng-Pipim, Samuel & Joyce R. Aryee (2012). The Transformed Mind. Eagle Online Books. Amazon.

[26] Ghana News Agency. 28 July, 2014. “Great leaders don’t use people as a means to an end.” Citionline. Last retrieved on January 21, 2024.

[27] Aryee, Joyce R. (2024). Profile: Rev. Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee. Sent to the author by Joyce Aryee on 18 January 2024.Last retrieved on 23 January, 2024.

[28] Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources. June 28, 2022. “Government Launches Apiate Support Fund.” MLNR. Last retrieved 23 January, 2024.

[29] Accra Mining Network (AMN), Since 2015 (27 July 2015). “Joyce Aryee, AMN Patron Extraordinaire”. Accra Mining. Retrieved 23 January, 2024.

[30] “Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee – First CEO of Ghana Chamber of Mines – Today Newspaper”. Ghana Today. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Last retrieved 23 January, 2024.

[31] Ghana News Agency (28 July, 2014). “Great leaders don’t use people as a means to an end.” Citionline. Last retrieved on January 21, 2024.


50 Inspiring Living Leaders

This 50 Inspiring Living Leaders series highlights current influencers who are succeeding in leadership, integrity, family or entrepreneurship in whatever field and exhibit most, if not all, of our values of PELÉ. We value people, growth, particularity, excellence, success, authenticity and significance. These stories are largely written in terms of growth, success and significance in leadership, integrity, family and  entrepreneurship. While we do our best to receive personal references about each leader, most of our research and writing is based on literature review of publicly-available information. As authorities in leadership, we are fully aware that there is no such thing as a perfect leader, and leaders may have their flaws, but we choose to celebrate these inspiring living leaders for their achievements outlined in our series. Having said that, should you happen to have any incontrovertible evidence that any of our featured leaders does not fit our bill of an authentic leader, please write to us at Our vision at PELÉ is a flourishing global ecosystem of authentic leaders characterised by healthy growth, holistic success and lasting significance.




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