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August 20, 2018 Class of 2018

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

Photo | Erika Sidor Winners of the WBJ 2018 40 Under Forty award (from left): Grace Elton, Efua T. Dufu, Jennifer Leger and Ben Jones.


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.

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