Of the many remarkable moments in Aysha Kuhlor’s life, one of the biggest arrived in 1994.
She went to a party in New York City a week before she was planning to go back to London, where she had a job and was in nursing school. She met a man named Francis. They were married six weeks later.
As to why she agreed to stay in the United States and get married, “I think it was all the promises,” Kuhlor says, laughing.
As a result, instead of finishing her nursing degree at the London Royal College of Nursing, she finished her nursing degree at Norwalk Community College School of Nursing in Connecticut and began work at St. Vincent’s Hospital in 2000. Today, she is the director of clinical services at St. Mary Home in Connecticut, which is part of the Mercy Community. She is also vice president of the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long-Term Care. The Kuhlors live in Wallingford with their two daughters, Denisha, 16, and Vanessa, 15, as well as Kuhlor’s mother, Agatha.
Before London, Kuhlor grew up in Ghana as part of an extended family that totaled 21 children. She speaks French, along with several other languages. Her mother and grandmother pushed for her to have opportunities, she said, so Kuhlor attended the University of Ghana, from which she graduated in 1990 with a degree in public relations.
“My mom only had a high school diploma and had ambition for me to get my college degree,” the 44-year-old explains. “I would say my mother has been my biggest role model, as well as being my biggest fan. She used all her resources to just make sure that I had the right education. She would say, ‘Give back and you’ll get your reward.’”
Kuhlor says she always tells her daughters to have the three values of “faith, consistency and hard work.” They are traits that were instilled in her, she says.“I saw my mom and grandmother take every goal they had in life and make them happen,” she says. “Every month I have a goal in life. My kids say ‘Mom, you’re unstoppable.’ My hope in doing that is to instill in them what my mom instilled in me.”
In her spare time, Kuhlor enjoys travel, having been to every state except Idaho. She also loves to exercise — “anything extreme” — including kickboxing, martial arts and swimming.
Regardless of a task’s difficulty, “I say I will get to the point where I want to be,” she says.
That drive is part of what makes Kuhlor widely recognized as an outstanding leader, says Bill Fiocchetta, the CEO and president of Mercy Community Health.
“She’s a ‘nurse’s nurse,’” he says. “She has a way of inspiring people by holding them accountable to high standards of quality care.”
Kuhlor says she wants to make more people aware of the value of NADONA, and tries to inspire her teams in resident care.
“It’s extremely busy but I have a good group and a supportive team that helps me through my day,” she says. “I love coming to work. I really love what I do and I get great satisfaction from my job. ”
Spoken like a daughter who made her mother proud.
Starts four-year degree at University of Ghana
Appears in a commercial for Barcelona Olympics called “Give Ghana Gold”
Emigrates to the U.S.
Completes nursing degree at Norwalk Community College
Becomes director of clinical services at Haven Health Care
Receives Quality of Excellence Award from Catholic Health East
Earns National Nurse Administrator of the Year Award for the Eastern Region from NADONA
Begins term as vice president of NADONA