40 Under Forty: Efua T. Dufu, MSW, LCSW, 38


Ellite Event Planning, Worcester

Lives: Worcester

Birthplace: Accra, Ghana
Colleges: Curry College, Rhode Island College

Dufu moved from her native Ghana to the United States at age 12, living in the predominantly white town of Randolph. There, she experienced prejudice for the first time because of her skin color – and she was determined to devote herself to create a safe space for women to feel empowered. At Worcester's Burncoat High School, Dufu used her talents in the arts to address social justice and celebrate diversity, winning Citizen of the Year by the Martin Luther King Business Empowerment Center. In 2008, Dufu created Ellite Event Planning, where designers, artists, poets and dancers showcase their talents. Dufu has been a supervisor at the Department of Children & Families' Worcester office since 2013, after being a DCF social worker for seven years prior. As a social worker, Dufu led cultural competence trainings and created a curriculum for working with families from West Africa. As a supervisor today, she serves on DCF's diversity team. Her work included the creation of a model for immigrant and refugee service work. 

From 40 Under Forty judge Michael Arnum: “A true renaissance woman, Efua Dufu has had a major impact on her adopted community, and she's now extending the hospitality she experienced to a new set of recent arrivals.”

Other than Massachusetts, where would you like to live? Washington, D.C. I often visited in my 20s and felt motivated to see young entrepreneurs – people of color – making great contributions to the city that looked like me.

What TV character is most like you? Olivia Pope from “Scandal.” She is confident, fearless, a risk taker, a leader, persistent, creative and, most of all, resilient.
Read about the entire 2018 Class of 40 Under Forty
Michael Alden - Ascentria Care Alliance
Che Anderson - City of Worcester
Victor M. Archila - VMA Electric Inc.
Allison Beckler, DO - YOU, Inc.
Sam Bitar - Webster Five
Mark A. Borenstein - Seder & Chandler LLP
Kate D. Campanale - Massachusetts House of Representatives
Derek Canton - paerpay
Ryan Canuel - Petricore, Inc.
Jennifer Caron - Body Therapeutics
Danielle J. Clark - Clark Career Coaching
Heidi Cooper - Cooper’s Hilltop Farm
Matthew M. Copeland, P.E. - Copeland Building Envelope Consulting
Pat Davis - The DAVIS Cos.
Efua T. Dufu, MSW, LCSW - Ellite Event Planning
Grace Elton - Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Ursula Furi-Perry, J.D. - Becker College
Jared E. Gentilucci - Nitsch Engineering
David Gilchrist, MD, MBA - UMass Memorial Health Care
Alvara Gjylapi - Santander Bank
Erica Grinkis - The GazBar Sports Grill
Meredith Harris - Marlborough Economic Development Corp.
Erin Jansky - Worcester Housing Authority
Ben Jones - Boston Scientific Corp
Alexis Kelleher - Crust Bakeshop; North Main Provisions
Bert LaValley - Sustainable Comfort, Inc.; deadhorse hill & simjang restaurants
Jennifer Leger - Fidelity Bank
Brian Lemerise - Quiet Logistics, Inc.
Tom Lubelczyk - The Worcester Jazz Collective
Laura Marotta - Creative Hub Worcester
Ryan Matson - Small Business Insurance Agency
Michael P. McDonough, CPA - McDonough, McDonough & Corsini, LLP
Madeline Mendoza - NewVue Communities
Jessica Morris - MCPHS University
Nathan Oriol - Oakdale Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Center (Oriol Health Care)
Nicholas Pelletier - Pelletier Properties at Keller Williams North Central
Courtney E. Pelley - Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
Lilian Radke - Unic Pro Inc.
Blaine Schnare - Harrington HealthCare System
Bonnie J. Walker - Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Learn how the winners were picked on our judges' page.