Africa: Nigeria’s 100 most inspiring women in 2019
This week we continue the list of our annual #100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria list for 2019. For the fifth consecutive year, the list features 100 Nigerian women drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds and sectors who are deliberately impacting their world and local communities through the power and strength of their ideas and achievements. Women who are making great strides in the world of Business, Politics, Advocacy, Governance and Enterprise. “It’s perhaps our most diverse list yet,” says Francesca Uriri, Founder, Leading Ladies Africa.
Funmi Oyatogun- A travel experience designer and founder of TVP Adventures- a one-stop-shop for exciting travel experiences across Africa. Through TVP Adventures, Funmi plans and creates bespoke trips on social media where she has a huge following. But beyond that, Funmi also creates immensely useful travel infographics and materials that are useful for travelers, tourists, and those looking to learn about new places in the world.
Gbemi Adefuye (Toni Tones) is a Nigerian actor, photographer, singer, and radio host. She recently starred in Kemi Adetiba’s ‘King of Boys,’ where she gave a stellar and critically acclaimed performance as the younger Eniola Salami. Gbemi studied Marketing and Economics at the University of Lancaster in the UK, and then returned to Nigeria in 2009 to explore her ambition for show business. She does photography work both behind and in front of the camera. She has appeared as an actor in the Web TV series “Gidi-culture” and in several films including “It’s Her Day” in 2016.
Glory Osei- Founder of Femfunds, a growing organization with a goal of providing women in Nigeria with interest free loans and free skill acquisition. She is also the CEO and Co-founder of Divergent Enterprise, Land Lagos and PorkMoney.com. Glory is also a travel blogger who chronicles her travel escapades formerly under the name Nigerian Abroad on her social media page.
Habiba Ali- Managing Director and CEO of Sosai Renewable Energies Company, one of the largest distributors of renewable energy in Nigeria. Sosai Renewable Energies provides renewable energy products like solar lamps, water purifiers and solar panels, as well as energy consulting services to help bring clean, renewable energy solutions to Nigeria’s budding communities. Habiba also co-founded the Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) and is a member of the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air and the Nigerian Energy Network.
Ibijoke Faborode – Head of Agritech and Healthcare Advisory, West Africa with UK Department for International Trade. There, she leads on International trade facilitation and investment advisory between the UK and 6 principal West African markets. She is an astute professional, gender advocate and change-maker; with a decade of cross-geographical experience spanning various fields including Agribusiness consultancy, Policy Advisory, International Trade Facilitation, Investment Promotion, Pan-African Media Management and International Business Development.
In 2017, she led the very first bi-lateral agri-focused dialogue between the UK and Nigeria in London, which attracted over 100 delegates from Nigeria including the Agric Minister, eight State Governors and multilateral bodies such as the Africa Development Bank in a bid to promote opportunities in Nigeria’s growing agric space. She also currently co-chairs the Women’s Network at the High Commission. Prior to this, she worked with The Africa Report, Groupe Jeune Africa: a Paris-based pan-African media group as Regional Business Development Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa.Her passion for driving social change and touching lives led to the recent creation of The Social Change Network (TSCN), Africa – a non-partisan, non-profit civic engagement organization focused on promoting social change and inclusion across Africa.
Ife Durosinmi Etti – Author, Entrepreneur and young global leader with over 10 years of management and leadership experience working in the fashion, marketing and manufacturing industries. She holds a first degree in Biochemistry and an MBA in Global Business. Prior to moving back to Nigeria in 2012, she worked with Arcadia Group Plc, a British multinational retailing company headquartered in London and Aspire Acquisitions. She later joined Nigeria Breweries (Heineken Operating Company in Nigeria) as a Young African Talent (YAT) and transitioned to their Corporate Communications Department as Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Support Manager where she successfully managed various corporate social responsibility and sustainability projects.
Ifedayo is also an associate member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). With her passion for women and children, she launched Parliamo Bambini and Philos and Zoe, startups disrupting the baby and child industry through locally manufactured furniture and clothing for children with the aim of reducing poverty, empowering the youth and promoting access to quality education in Nigeria and Africa. She is also very passionate about women and youth contributing to national development, so she launched a platform called the AGS Tribe to democratise opportunities for entrepreneurs across Africa and the AGS Enterprise Challenge, to empower female entrepreneurs through funding, mentorship and training.
Ife Diary of a Naija Girl – Editor of Diary of a Naija Girl- a personal website that houses her contemplations on various issues including lifestyle and social commentary. She is also the Executive Director and founder of DANG Network- a revolutionary storytelling company that specialises in solid content creation and media production.
Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu- Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation effective from April 1st 2019. She started at the foundation as the Director of Partnerships and Evaluation and continues to facilitate local and international strategic partnerships to scale amongst others the Flagship $100m TEF Entrepreneurship Programme across Africa working in tandem with Development Organizations, Development Finance Institutions as well as other Public & Private Sector stakeholders to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship in Africa.
Ifeyinwa holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Wales, Cardiff and is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. She holds a post- graduate degree in Business and Executive Coaching from the Integral Africa Institute, Cape Town. She possesses significant expertise in youth entrepreneurship development and has recorded great achievements in negotiating and closing partnerships between the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and global partners including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the German development agency – Deutsche Gesellschaft für InternationaleZusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).
Ivie Martins Ogbonmwan serves as the Human Resources Manager, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie Law firm. Prior to her current role, she was responsible for strategies to attract, develop, and retain talent for ACT Foundation. Ivie was also an experienced analyst with OutsideIn HR, a management consulting firm which focuses on human resource business partnering, global talent development, and organizational effectiveness. In the course of her HR career, she successfully managed the overall provision of Human Resources services, policies, and programs and has helped various organisations boost overall performance through effective HR, strategy building, fair and coherent compensation & benefits, and employee engagement.
Jade Osiberu- Award-winner producer, screenwriter and director. If you have watched Isoken and Ndani Tv’s SkinnyGirl in Transit then you should know that the directorial credit for those commercially successful productions is Jade Osiberu. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer and Systems Engineering from the University of Manchester, but after a brief stint as a Software Engineer at Neptune Software, she returned to her true passion and went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Media and Communications. Prior to launching into independent filmmaking, she was on the Digital Marketing team at GTBank and there, she created Ndani TV- a first of its kind content marketing project that solidified the bank’s position as one of the most innovative Nigerian Banks Online. She is also credited for directing and producing several shows including Gidi Up and The Juice.
Julia Oku Jacks is the CEO of Tree Water Limited, a leadership, learning and dream releasing organization. An alumnus of the University of Calabar, the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and the Lagos Business School, Julia lectured in the University of Calabar and is the co-founder of SO&U Saatchi, a leading advertising and marketing communication agency. She has also worked in international philanthropy through the Ford Foundation Office for West Africa.
Alongside 13 intrepid women and one man, Julia co-founded WIMBIZ, an organization, which has evolved into a game changing catalyst, making space for the presence and voices of women to be felt and heard in the corporate, entrepreneurial and public service spaces in Nigeria.
Kadaria Ahmed- Nigerian journalist, media entrepreneur, and television host. She started her career at the BBC in London and has worked in print, radio, television, online and social media platforms. In 2017, she launched a new show called The Core on Channels TV. Kadaria has an M.A. in Television from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Bayero University Kano. She is also a Chevening Scholar. In the build up to the February 2019 general elections, she moderated the town hall meetings for presidential candidates and their deputies, specifically that of President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Professor Yemi Osibanjo. Kadaria is currently a member of the judging panel of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism and sits on the Board of Trustees of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism and the Promasidor Quill awards. In 2017, she founded Daria Media Limited, a company designed to promote public service journalism.
Kemi Olawoye- Award-winning media personality and entrepreneur passionate about improving health outcomes in Nigeria. With a focus on journalism and the role of media, Kemi’s work was borne out of her desire to address the problem of poor health literacy and health- seeking behaviour among Nigerians. She is the co-host and producer of Health Vibes, a 45minutes health show on Silverbird’s radio, Rhythm 93.7fm Lagos and the host of HealthXtra, a health, wellness and lifestyle show on Silverbird Television. She is also the Founder/CEO of GHA, a Health Communications Company focused on providing public relations services to health and wellness organizations. In just a few months of operation, GHA has worked with numerous clients including The Eko Hospital, Exquisite Magazine and Wellpath Physiotherapy.
Beyond working with its clients, GHA embarks on bi-monthly community outreaches to disadvantaged communities to provide free medical checkup, assessment and education. These outreaches allow for early detection and prevention of disease as well as prompt intervention in form of referrals to healthcare institutions when needed. Through these outreaches, Kemi and her team has reached over 1000people in the Mushin, Surulere and Oniru communities. She graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy degree from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos and has practiced in the field of health journalism for 7 years working with different media organizations including Nigezie TV and Unilag 103.1fm. She has been recognized by WIMBIZ (Impact Investment Competition winner 2018), Her Network (Nominee, Woman of the Future 2017), Benola Cerebral Palsy, Young Physiotherapist Group among others for her contribution and impact in healthcare.
Kemi also sits on the board of non-governmental organizations including Neuromuscular Support Group Nigeria and hold certificates on Healthcare management and Health Financing from the World Bank Group.Laja Adedoyin- The brain behind Hearts of Gold Children hospice. After 25 fulfilling years of operating facilities that took care of people with various types of disabilities in the United Kingdom, Laja relocated to Nigeria in 2003 and established the first hospice in Nigeria – Hearts of Gold, a home for the care and management of children with mental and extreme physical disabilities which also offers homecare services to children with disabilities living at home.
Lamide Akintobi- Award winning journalist and television personality with several years of experience in front of and behind the camera. She graduated from Texas A&M University – Commerce with a B.A in Broadcast Journalism and Spanish, and has an M.A in International Journalism from City University, London, where she was a British Council Chevening Scholar. She has worked as a news anchor, producer and reporter at Channels TV and TVC News, Nigeria. She joined Ebonylife TV as a Presenter/Producer in 2013, and worked with the channel on a freelance basis from 2016-2018. At ELTV, she co-created, co-presented and produced one of its highest rated shows “The Spot.”
She has also presented and co-produced the news show EL Now, “With Mikel,” a docu-reality show on Nigerian football player Mikel Obi, a documentary on Rwanda focusing on tourism and life post-genocide, and anchored/participated in Political specials, interviewing former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, President Buhari as well as Lai Mohammed and Babatunde Fashola.
As a freelancer, Lamide produced, presented and co-wrote two seasons of the talk show “Classic Moments: True Stories” on Ebonylife TV. She also worked with CNN in 2018, producing features for African Voices, Inside Africa, Marketplace Africa and the Profit Point, and was the Season 2 presenter for the interview show “Church Culture” produced by Red Media for Channels Television. Lamide has also served as a producer/co-ordinator on independent documentaries and as a project/content acquisition manager for TV channels.
Omolola Salako: Founder of Oncopadi Digital Cancer Clinic, an App that connects cancer patients with real time specialists. She is an expert in radiation oncology, specializing in the economics of cancer and other solid adult tumours. As the Founder and CEO of Oncopadi.com, she is adapting technology to meet the needs of Cancer patients. The Oncopadi is Africa’s first digital oncology clinic that offers information, navigation and online medical consultations to cancer patients. Lola also runs Sebeccly Cancer Care, an initiative that organises early detection cancer campaigns (breast and cervical cancer) and co-ordinates cancer survivorship services whilst helping patients raise funds for cancer therapy.
Maimuna Yaya Abubakar – Chairman of Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) who is contributing immensely to nation-building. In a few months of being in office she has pushed to commercialise NIPOST, and is constantly making moves to revamp and restructure the system for the benefit of all. In addition, Maimuna Yaya is providing visibility for Northerners in the fashion industry and changing the perceptions of the society about northern women and their creative capabilities as publisher, Tozali magazine and TozaliTV, a northern fashion magazine notable for promoting African Fashion and Culture.
Margaret Mary-Wilson- Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice-President of United Healthcare Global in the US, she has practiced medicine and worked in healthcare in Europe, Africa, North and South America from a frontline clinical role, to various regional and national medical roles, to a senior leadership role changing the global healthcare model and currently controls clinical governance of a high-performing, high-reliability health care benefits and clinical care delivery business in an organization with 65,000 employees, and more than 7 million individual medical members worldwide. Also as a Nigerian in Diaspora, a gay woman who publicly identifies with the LGBTQ Community, Margaret has risen to senior leadership position in the Global Healthcare industry despite the peculiar challenges she has faced.
Mary Njoku – is an actress, producer, entrepreneur and the CEO of Rok Studios, a film production studio in Nigeria that delivers content showcasing the origins of Nollywood in the UK, on DSTV, a network airing across Africa and globally. With over a decade of input in the movie industry, In 2015, Njoku became Chief Content Officer at IROKO Partners, same year she held her first world premier for her film Thy Will Be Done at the BFI IMAX London, the first ever Nollywood film premiere in IMAX. In 2013, Njoku launched a $2 million investment vehicle for Lagos-based Internet start-ups called Spark to support Nigerian Technology and Internet Entrepreneurs.
Maya Horgan Famodu– Founder, Ingressive capital and partner, Ingressive is a breath of fresh air in the world of Tech. As a venture capital investor and entrepreneur, she founded Ingressive Capital, a $5 Million venture fund focused on early stage African tech and is also concerned with raising funds for tech startups and connecting them to possible clients and investors. A Fellow of the Forbes Africa under 30 African tech entrepreneurs, ecosystem architect tech investors and the Africa entrepreneur ecosystem. She is a Nigerian-American committed to promoting entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa by working with new generation African innovators and supporting their pursuit to scale.
Modupe Odele – International Attorney and Business Consultant who is focused on Startup advisory and Impact Investing. She is the Impact Investing and Social Enterprise Lead of a boutique Consulting firm with offices in London, the UAE and the United States. She also runs a social enterprise called “Scale My Hustle” which is focused on providing resources to enable entrepreneur’s better structure their business.
Moe has a Master’s degree from Columbia University where she graduated as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, a David Leebron Human Rights Fellow, a Salzburg Lloyd N. Cutler International Law Fellow and a recipient of a fellowship from the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. Moe has since worked in the United States, the United Kingdom and Kenya. She has also advised startups across five continents and worked on startup investment deals cumulating to over 20 million dollars. Moe is passionate about gender equality and is a strong advocate for access to finance for women run businesses.
Munira Suleiman Tanimu -Kaduna’s Member State House of Assembly Constituency Candidate and CEO of Green Garden Farm, a poultry farm in Kano. Munira is one, who has proven that women can influence social change, bring economic development and increase political value by inclusion in politics, if educated. Munira has refused to allow her gender deter her from reaching unimaginable heights.
She has toed the path of the great and proven to all that an educated northern woman wields tremendous strength to stir change and bring value to the nation.She reflects this in her academic pursuits, shattering the glass ceilings that have deterred women from the north from pursuing academic goals; bagging a degree in Sociology, a diploma in Educational Management and a Certification in Leadership management, Women in Leadership and Managing Government’s Relations. Each from prestigious institutions; University of Abuja, Bayero University, Kano, Lagos Business School, and Harvard University, respectively. With her recent project; “Books over Trays”, which she embarked upon through her NGO, Green Heart Impact Foundation, to liberate the girl-child from illiteracy, she has empowered 64 girls academically, including their mothers; establishing businesses to sustain their families.
Nere Teriba –Gold Refiner & Vice Chairman/ MD Kain Smith Trade & Co Ltd that recently acquired the license to refine gold locally, hence at 36 years, once it kicks off mid this year, Nene will be the first and youngest Nigerian to refine gold locally. Passionate about the Mining, Consulting, Mineral Concession Management & Minerals Trading industry, Nere as an Entrepreneur, Mediator & Strategist, had worked for sustainable community solutions in several countries and is maximizing her knowledge with hopes to formalise artisanal mining and reduce illegal mining in Nigeria. Using her company, Nere created a mobile solution- Zokia system, a mobile platform to register and bank artisanal miners.
Ngozi Nkwoji- Portfolio Manager for Non Alcoholic brands at Nigerian Breweries Plc, is a strategic leader with 13+ years progressive experience in directing portfolios of top-selling consumer goods, driving brand identity & revenue growth and niche development. She has a proven track record of leading teams through complex global campaigns by leveraging nuanced skills in project management, research, strategic partnerships, risk management and continual process improvement.
Ngozi is renowned for continuously growing products and brands via marketing, brand management, decisive business strategy, public engagement, and cultivating industry relations. She also possesses superb interpersonal abilities, and is skilled at communicating, influencing, negotiating, facilitating, presenting & getting others excited about implementing new ideas. From advertising communication with superstars like Jidenna, to family dance shows, to planning international football trophy tours and executing movie reality shows, the consumer is kept at the center of it all. Ngozi takes her passion for development and entertainment beyond the 9-5 borders. She hosts her own video blog “The Ngee Show” which covers everyday human interest topics from hygiene, etiquette, fashion fads & music to even the youth and technology.
Nky Iweka– CEO, The Executive Mama Put and recently, “Pitanga” is a British Nigerian who used to work as a management consultant in a consulting firm before she quit to follow her passion for Nigerian food. In her quest to introduce Nigerian food to the world, she started a Nigerian cook out where she cooks food and introduces them to different people from different backgrounds. Nky opened Pitanga (named after a small cherry fruit found in Nigeria) in West London, with a vision to serve ‘nostalgic Nigerian food’ and the restaurant was the culmination of a passion for cooking and years of research into West African recipes and ingredients.
Nwando Ajene – is a marketing professional with over 17 years experience in Brand and Marketing strategy across developed and emerging markets. Nwando is currently the Category and Marketing Manager Culinary at Nestle Nigeria responsible for Strategic business planning and brand Communications for Maggi seasoning. Prior to her role at Nestle, she served as the Head of Corporate Communications for the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE). Nwando also worked as the Business Development Director for EXP supporting Telco’s and CPG companies to develop brand strategies in Africa. Mrs. Ajene has spent over a decade in a range of roles for leading global companies including ABN AMBRO, Quaker Oats, and Northern Trust Bank in the United States.
Mrs. Ajene holds a degree from the University Of Chicago, Graham School of General Studies in Integrated Marketing Communication. She received her Bachelors of Commerce in Marketing Degree from DePaul University in Chicago. She currently serves on the board of the Lagos Food Bank Initiative.
Odunayo Eweniyi – Co-Founder of Piggy Vest (formerly Piggy bank ng) the largest online savings & investing platform in Nigeria and also the Co- Founder, Push CV.com, an online connect platform for job seekers and employers with the largest pool of pre-screened candidates in Africa. Odunayo is a tech professional, and Computer Engineering graduate from Covenant University, driven by a need to use technology to solve social economic problems. Her expertise includes Social Media, Marketing, sales, content and product management, and business development.
Ogochukwu Ekezie- Ekaidem – Head, Corporate Communications and Marketing, Union Bank is a brand, marketing and communications expert with over two decades of experience in brand communication and marketing. In 2015, she led the successful roll-out of Union Bank’s award-winning identity, which to date has garnered several accolades including Marketing Works Awards for Brand Evolution of the Year and Iconic Brand of the Year in 2017. She continues to work diligently to reposition the brand with innovative ideas. In addition, to rebuilding the Union Bank brand, she is also deeply committed to driving Union Bank towards activism that enables the average Nigerian.
Okwui Okpokwasili – Winner of the 2018 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award. She is an artist, performer, choreographer, and writer. An Igbo-Nigerian American artist, performer, choreographer, and writer with works that relate to historical events in Nigeria relating to subjects of cultural and historical memory and how the Western imagination perceives of African bodies. Okpokwasili has been awarded several Bessie Awards for her performances, including performances of works she has written and developed herself. In 2018, she was named a MacArthur Fellow, a highly prestigious ‘genius award’ that allows recipients the freedom to further develop their talent.
Oladunni Obata –CEO, Dooneys Kitchen, graduated with a degree in the sciences from the University of Lagos, one would expect that she would build a career in that field. Well, Oladunni dashed those expectations and ventured into food business. The beautiful thing about Oladunni is, she does food really differently! Through her business, she is redefining and promoting Nigerian food, giving Nigerian food the identity that it deserves. She believes that for too long, Nigerian food has hidden under the umbrella term “African food”, in a bid to change that, she is tweaking the conventional Nigerian staples and creating new recipes to change the global narrative of Nigerian Cuisines.
Olamide Agunloye– Creative Director and Founder of “Iconola” the first ready-to-wear clothing brand for women in Nigeria. She has a BSc in Human Ecology and a Major in Product Development and Evaluation in Clothing and Textile Sciences. A self-trained pattern maker with a keen sense of quality and detail, Olamide is all about creating affordable flattering pieces for the everyday woman! She recently shared her heartbreaking but inspiring story of surviving domestic abuse on DANG Network’s series on that subject.
Olutimehin Adegbeye –Nigerian writer, editor and activist. Her work concentrates on questions of gender, sexuality, poverty and feminism. She regularly writes about politics, gender and other social issues on ThisIsAfrica. Her writing has been published in different languages, notably English, Japanese and Norwegian. Adegbeye was one of the speakers at TEDXLagos 2017 and was picked as a speaker for TEDGlobal in 2017. In what was one of the most moving talks of TEDGlobal 2017, on who gets to belong to communities, Adegbeye made a case for why cities must have consciences. This talk has garnered over two million views. She is a prominent figure among Nigerian and African feminists.
Oluwaseyi Banigbe – Multi-sector Entrepreneur, and also the host Host – ‘Binging with the Gamechangers.’ A trained lawyer with an MBA from the Imperial College, London, Seyi is also the CEO of Bland 2 Glam a jewellery and accessory brand – with a host of celebrity women as clients. She’s passionate about Nigerian women being financially empowered alongside living their dreams, and initially worked in several corporate capacities before venturing into the entrepreneurial world full-time.
Omotayo George– Senior Marketing Manager, Youth & Teens, MTN Nigeria, has over 14 years experience across Telco, Aviation and Brand Management. She is a qualified and experienced Marketing Professional. Tayo is a certified marketer with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK, having bagged both a Diploma in Professional Marketing and a CAM Diploma in Marketing Communications from the institute, with extensive trainings from the Lagos Business School and University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School. She is passionate about coaching and mentoring young people into their full potential and is a strong believer in the principle of ‘how you do you anything, is how you do everything’.
Onyedikachi Ekwerike- Founder of Postpartum Support Network, an NGO set up to raise awareness about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders among mothers in Africa. The organisation has educated thousands of mothers and have consistently helped mothers get professional help to overcome postpartum depression.
Oseyi Etomi– Popularly known as Ozzy on Twitter, is a Senior Corporate Communications Manager at Paga, Nigeria’s leading mobile money company. There, she develops and executes the strategy for the company’s communication, public relations, partnerships, sponsorship and oversees all stakeholder events. She is a writer, and design consultant. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Temple University and a degree in design from Parsons, the New School for Design in New York City. She is also an established writer who covers a range of topics about gender, feminism and culture, with published work in publications such as The Huffington Post, Genevieve Magazine, True Africa Magazine & Bella Naija. She was named one of Medium/s top 10 writers in 2017. She is a passionate feminist and an advocate for women and children’s rights in Nigeria.
Oyinkansola Alabi– Founder, Emotions City, is one of Nigeria’s most-sought-after high impact trainers. She has trained tens of thousands of executives who desired to achieve a high level of Emotional Intelligence and for close to a decade, has helped hopeless, depressed, suicidal souls, discerning individuals and executives across 30 states in Nigeria and in six different countries get clarity, increase productivity and profitability. In her LLA interview, she affirms that an important objective of hers is to “take people from a state of pain to a state of deep peace.”
Renee Chuks– Executive Director, Umami Centre for Culinary Artspace (UCCA). With over 7 years of experience in executive chef capacity with some of the best resorts and restaurants in Lagos, Chef Renee’s passion for excellence and quality culinary education in Nigeria is taking a global standard that is beneficial to Africa. She is changing the narrative of lack of proper culinary education in Nigeria with the UCCA Lagos by the crop of students she is equipping with knowledge and skills that puts them at par with other culinarians across the world and graduating. She also consults for hotels and restaurants across the country and has been widely acclaimed as the first Nigerian female chef to be internationally certified.
Ronke Onadeko – Principal Consultant, DRNL Consult Limited, a seasoned professional in the public and private sector, considered as one of the go-to persons in the Nigerian oil and gas sector and is a sought-after international speaker and panelist on energy related topics and entrepreneurship. As a Chevening Scholar and an Archbishop Bishop Tutu Leadership Fellow, she recently published her debut book, To My Younger Self, to share valuable lessons and insights in life, career and business with the younger generation. The book is a collection of letters from business leaders and leading professionals in Nigeria, which has inspired the #ToMyYoungerSelf movement on social media where individuals are beginning to reflect and share letters to their younger selves.
Shalom Blac- Body Positivity Advocate and Vlogger. Shalom consistently proves that when life knocks you down you dust yourself and rise back up. After surviving a life altering incident at a young age that left her scarred, Shalom now runs a YouTube channel that showcases different makeup tutorials, this especially for people who have scars. Shalom, is a makeup artist with a difference as she preaches internal beauty and encourages women to wear their self-esteem like a boss.
Simi Fajemirokun – Founder of Read to Succeed Africa- an NGO bridging literacy gap in public schools through consistent advocacy. Committed to improving the state of public education in Nigeria, Simi recently contested for House of Representatives Position in Abuja -Abuja Municipal Area Council/Bwari, under APC. In addition, she is an experienced research and development consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting and non-profit sector.
Sinmisola Hughes-Obisesan- Creative Director, Leo Burnett Lagos. All round wonder woman with 13+ years advertising experience on a plethora of brands, she was the first female and millennial Creative Director at Insight Publicis and also stands as the second female Creative Director in the history of advertising in Nigeria. Her superpower lies in her ability to create award-winning, impactful campaigns for local and international brands that connect with today’s digital consumer needs.
Some of these notable campaigns include: The famous Pepsi Long Throat campaign, Pepsi No Shakin Carry Go campaign, Star, Gulder Max, Peak Milk and most recently the current Heineken Campaign featuring Jidenna.
Stella Fubara-Obinwa- Director, International Operations for Dubai Tourism. Stella is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of Dubai’s tourism sector within Africa with over two decades of impressive executive management. She is responsible for the operations of Dubai Tourism in Africa in line with the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub. Stella has been adjudged one of the biggest and best female pacesetters in the industry.
Tayo Bolodeoku- Founder of Hans and Rene- a Gelataria company. The company has become a household name when it comes to gelato and ice-cream. With seven outlets in Lagos, the company continues to expand. Tayo bagged a certification from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in London, which makes her a qualified pastry chef. She also attended Caprigiani Gelato University in Italy, has an MBA from Webster University, London and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Sunderland.
Temitope Jemerigbe- Chief Executive Officer of DKK Nigeria- an Integrated Marketing Communications company based in Lagos, Nigeria. Under Temitope’s leadership, DKK has grown in revenue exponentially, which has also resulted in a remarkable growth in the company’s profile and equity.
With over 20 years of practice in Marketing Communications, she has built a strong reputation as a well-rounded professional, driven absolutely by a mission to seek out uncharted territories. She’s also an Executive Director and mentor at Lighthouse Network – a women empowerment platform.
Teniola Apata– Award-winning musician, songwriter, singer, drummer and rapper who came into prominence after the release of her single, Fargin, which addresses social ills. On social media, her skits and short videos are entertaining as they are inspiring. By the end of 2018, Teni was on numerous end-of-year lists including the Top 10 Nigerian breakout acts of 2018 as a promising young artist to watch out for. At LLA, we love Teni because she’s a living, breathing, wonderful example of how women can succeed in the entertainment industry especially, by breaking through and overcoming stereotypes.
Tito Bez-Idakula– Founder of “My LightHouse” is changing lives through writing, speaking, and various media platforms where shares her life-changing experiences, in hope to provide healing and encourage others to seek God deeper in order to live their best lives. She is also the author of Royalty Book, where she shared candidly about losing her first child after giving birth, and the after-effect in a bid to educate, help and inspire countless women with similar experience.
Tomi Adeyemi– Author, Children of Blood and Bones is a Nigerian-American novelist and creative writing coach, who writes with a drive that adapts the black heritage. Her novel is a young-adult (YA) African fantasy novel, a groundbreaking sci-fi genre that portrays African science in a new light. The film adaptation rights to the book was purchased by globally-recognised film makers. In addition, Tomi runs a blog and teaches creative writing to her subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.
Tomilayo Aluko – Principal Brand Consultant, The Bbccompany- a boutique brand Communication Company that provides consulting services for existing companies who want to transition from being just businesses to becoming revered brands. She is also the Head of Customer Experience for Wholesale Banking at Access Bank PLC and is known to be a strategic manager and that grew from being a brand manager in DDB Lagos, a full-service Integrated Advertising and Communications Agency where she was responsible for lots of campaigns and sponsorship of major projects such as FIFA 2010, Project Fame, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire etc. to Regional Marketing Manager West Africa for three years.
Tosin Durotoye –Currently the Founder and CEO of The Red Kite Group – a full service boutique consulting firm offering corporate management services for private, governmental and non-profit entities for over 8 years. Most recently, Tosin served as the Director of GreenHouse Lab where she led the establishment of the first female-focused tech accelerator program in Nigeria and the only “Powered by Google” accelerator program in Africa. Before joining GreenHouse Lab, Tosin worked as the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Framework – an edutech company focused on affordable housing and based in Boston, USA.
Tosin has more than 14 years of experience in both the public and private sectors. She served for eight years at NeighborWorks America – an NGO founded by the United States Congress. In her role, she managed training programs and special projects for over 250 network organizations and managed grants totaling over $10M. Tosin is also the Founder of The Bloom Africa, an initiative that curates engagements and spaces for ambitious African women to connect, speak, learn and grow within Nigeria and across Africa and the Diaspora.
Toyin Adesola-A sickle cell patient who has beaten the odds in terms of longevity and shares her experiences through writing in hope to empower others, too. She is the founder of Sickle Cell Advocacy Management- an initiative that allows her help people with chronic illness or health limitations to become exceptional, so they can become driven, more productive and achieve their dreams. She is also a Wellness Coach, Consultant at Better You Wellness Academy, Author & Speaker.
Uju Udoka – In what some might consider an unusual profession in these climes, Uju, popularly known as “The Lady Painter,’ is taking the art of painting and beautifying homes to another level. In her LLA interview, she said she’s not just focused on making homes beautiful, but also values making lives beautiful. She enjoys bringing walls to life through paint and imaginative use of colours. With a love for painting walls, making spaces beautiful, inviting, warm and cozy, Uju is creating a legacy and disrupting the status quo. Go girl!
Ukinebo Dare-Passionate about people development, Ukinebo trains unemployed youths and connects them to job opportunities. She has over eight years of experience in youth development and job creation. She’s the current Head, Edo State Skills Development Agency (EdoJobs). She designed the PSENSE Employability Curriculum, which has achieved an 87% record employment rate and is endorsed by the National Universities Commission in Nigeria for implementation by higher institutions.
Wadi Ben-Hirki – Founder, Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation, started her foundation at the age of 17, to help disadvantaged kids in northern Nigeria and impact the lives of the less privileged, marginalized and disadvantaged through humanitarianism and activism. Mostly focused in Northern Nigeria, due to the high rates of insurgency, illiteracy and poverty rates in that part of the country, she has continued despite challenges such as insufficient funds and inaccessibility of some victims, to reach out to women in these groups.
Yagazie Eguare (Gazmadu)- The talent behind many Bella Naija Wedding pictures. She is an award-winning wedding storyteller; and is the head photographer and CEO of Gazmadu studios- a wedding and portrait photography company that is committed to photographing beauty in the everyday woman. Yagazie helps other women create images that empowers, transforms and change the way they see themselves. She recently did a very successful partnership with Lady Biba to photograph corporate/professional women in a bid to encourage and empower more female bosses to own their stories (failures); she also mentors upcoming female photographers.
Yemi Chukwurah – Managing Director, Seams and Stitches Limited, with a plethora of blue-chip clients and multinationals. She has proven experience of working in a marketing communication industry, specialising in corporate uniform, merchandising items/ corporate gifts. Her expertise spans across negotiation, business planning, customer service, strategic planning, business development, procurement and sourcing. Yemi is also a very strong mentor to many younger women in business.
By Francesca Uriri