Mustapha Abdulai draws parallels between his work at The Guild for Human Services and the research he conducted for his doctoral thesis.

The director of The Guild’s 11 adult residences, Mustapha has found that his position today is surprisingly relevant to the thesis he completed for his Geneva Graduate School of Governance PhD that compared human rights in Togo and Ghana.

“The bottom line in my thesis and the mission of The Guild is that they both address issues of human rights and opportunities,” he says. “Everybody in this world, despite the situation they are born into, has the right to realize their full potential.”

A native of Ghana who speaks four languages, Mustapha started his career at The Guild in 2011 as a residential assistant at Cedar House, while pursuing a master’s degree in Peace and Coexistence Studies at Brandeis University. He left The Guild to pursue a second master’s at the University of Manitoba, then returned to The Guild in December 2013 as assistant manager at Willow House.

In his current role, he works directly with families and fellow Guild employees to ensure individuals in the adult residences are provided quality, personalized support. He is able to call upon a wealth of experience in dealing with both student-age and adult residents.

“To be effective, you really have to come to understand each individual and always be patient with them,” he says. “You build a connection and learn the best way to speak with them.”

While manager of the Framingham House in 2014, he recalls building a special relationship with a young man who had a tendency to bolt from the home. At the same time, he had a rich vocabulary and was able to communicate well.

“There were moments when I could speak to him as a fellow adult and other times I had to be firm with him,” Mustapha recalls. “In the end, we were able to help him look at the place as his home.”