Amma Marfo ’07

Major: Communication Studies

Hometown: Boston, MA

Comic greats like Steve Martin, Garry Shandling and Nora Ephron will tell you all of life is material. Even the bits that seem anything but. Amma Marfo ’07 understands this.

Post-surgery, Amma Marfo’s father lay in his hospital bed, his cancerous prostate removed. His doctors talked postoperative care to his worried family. His was the biggest prostate removed that day, they said. As if it were a competition.

“See, I told you I felt skinnier,” Marfo’s dad told her mother.

Such moments confirm for Marfo that she made the right decision two years ago when she left her position as the assistant director of student activities, involvement and assessment at Emmanuel College in Boston, Mass. to start her speaking and consulting business. Areas of expertise: creativity, conducting and navigating tough conversations, developing and articulating career skills, and empowering student activists, among others. The former communication studies major has given a TED talk, “Lessons in Laughter,” and has written for national publications such as Business Insider, most recently on how introverts should approach job hunting.

Whatever form Marfo’s work takes, the one constant is humor. “Maybe a situation isn’t funny but you can attack it with a sense of humor,” said Marfo, who, after URI, found her first job search so stressful that her hair began falling out. “I realized I didn’t have time to feel anxious when I was laughing.

“Find those moments when you can laugh, when it is the hardest thing in the world to do and, I promise you, you’re gonna be better for it.”

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