A list comipled By Leading Africa/Ynaija features #100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria list for 2019. For the 5th 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. The list contains 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.
Abisoye is the Founder of Pearls Africa Youth Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization aimed at educating young girls in under-served areas in Nigeria with technology skills. On November 1, 2018, Abisoye was named one of ten CNN Heroes of the year. She was also recently listed as one of BBC’s 100 Women. A Nigerian women’s rights activist, Abisoye was recognized by ONE as Woman of the Year 2018.
Abosede is the Founder of Women in Politics- a platform that engages, encourages, equips and empowers women in Nigeria to get involved and participate in Politics. She’s also the author of ‘Building a conscious Career’– a book that equips career enthusiasts with necessary knowledge and resources to build a career that not only excites and rewards, but also positively affects the lives of others. She is a tri-sector leader with over 14 years’ experience working across the non-profit, private and public sectors as a development professional. She began a career in development over a decade ago with Actionaid International Nigeria. She has led Corporate Citizenship for Samsung Electronics West Africa and now sits as Director of Strategy, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
Adaku is an experienced International Oil and Gas lawyer with over a decade of legal experience. She is currently an Energy Practice Leader at the Centurion Law Group, where she manages legal teams across Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon, Mauritius, South Sudan, and South Africa. Adaku has been named as one of the 40 Under 40 Leading Lawyers in Nigeria 2016, named a Mandela Washington Fellow for 2018 by the US State Department, made the Y-Naija Power List for 2018 as one of the ten most influential Nigerians in the corporate world, amongst countless other awards. An unflinching feminist, Adaku is a beacon of light for many women, and men who look up to her and are inspired by what she does.
Dr. Adanna Steinacker
Popularly known for the Adanna vlogs on YouTube alongside her husband – where they share on family, travel and lifestyle, Adanna is also a digital Influencer and a Motivational Speaker with a passion for female empowerment and humanitarianism. She’s the Founder and CEO of Medics Abroad, a global platform that provides a unique all-inclusive career altering work experience and humanitarian opportunities in Africa.
Adebola is the Executive Director of Ideation Hub Africa. Adebola is a seasoned development Sector Consultant, Corporate Trainer, Life Coach for Girls & Women, President- Deborah’s Initiative for women and founder of Immerse Coaching Academy. She is also a Pastor at The Baptizing Church Lekki and has mentored thousands of women through her coaching company- Immerse Coaching Company.
Ade is the CEO and Founder of Loctitude- a hair studio for people with locs and natural hair. Loctitude provides a wide range of services adapted to the care and maintenance of locs whilst also providing a wider community that addresses natural hair concerns. An Architect by training, Ade is a visionary who has put the fun back in for women who want to rock their natural hair with attitude and panache!
Adenike is a social entrepreneur and environmental educator reputed for her advocacy for the inclusion of green education and sustainability in the Nigerian academic curriculum. Adenike is also the founder of the Girl Prize, which provides financial and mentorship support for young Nigerian secondary school girls with an interest in the sciences. She is currently an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society and recently appointed as a member of the National Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Practitioners Association of Nigeria under the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
Adenike is the General Manager Sales, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea at Lufthansa. Under her watch, the brand has flourished and launched a set of innovative initiatives. A strategic Sales and Operations Manager with a deep understanding of the Sub Sahara African market environment, Adenike also shows a good understanding of European and Middle Eastern business cultures.
Adeola became a prominent media figure following an interview she co-anchored with TV Journalist- Omoyele Sowere asking former Zimbabwean president- Robert Mugabe when he was going to step down from office. Adeola is known for delivering trending geopolitical, social and economic issues that affect the daily lives of Africans living on the continent dramatically and candidly. Her satirical show- Keeping it Real With Adeola is hosted on Sahara Tv YouTube Channel.
Adesewa Hannah Ogunleyimu
Professionally known as Adesewa Josh, Adesewa is a Nigerian broadcast journalist renowned for her work in community development. She is the founder of Project Smile Africa, a community project, through which she identifies key development issues in poor communities and proffers sustainable solutions by enlisting residents who she trains as community influencers. She is also the brain behind Project Talk2urteens initiative which she founded as a response to the prevalence of teenage pregnancies in Nigeria.
Adesua is the General Counsel, GE Gas Systems & Services, Africa. She has proven experience in acting as a trusted and purpose-driven legal advisor to multinational companies operating across Africa. In her current role as GE Gas Systems and Services, she advises, structures and leads transactions across the African continent. For many women, Adesua is a great representation of what ambition, talent and hard work looks like.
Aderoju is the Founder of Dolphin Aquatic Centre and Dolphin Swim School which trains families and mostly women and children in swimming skills while also helping young athletes achieve their professional goals.She is a FINA-certified swimming instructor and Lifeguard instructor. The Dolphin Aquatic Center provides an enriched, safe, fun and diverse learning environment where women of all ages, and children can get exceptional swimming and training programs.
Amarachi is the Founder of Melanin Unscripted-a movement set to dismantle stereotypes and blur the racial lines by exposing complex identities and cultures around the world. She’s also a Nigerian-American self-taught photographer, filmmaker, writer and speaker based in Tokyo, Japan. Her brilliant directorial debut- Black in Tokyo showcases experiences of black people living in Tokyo, Japan. Her work has been featured on CNN Africa, Huffington Post and other choice media networks.
Anita Alaire Afoke Asuoha
Anita is a Standup comedian, MC/Actor/influencer, Award winning Dancer- Maltina Dance Hall S4, Glo Rock & Rule winner and Ex Glo Ambassador. Anita is a “Jill of all trades” – Entertainment related. Asides entertaining others with her dance which interestingly has a unique ring to it, she also inspires through humor. She currently uses social media- Instagram to project her skits and clips under the name ‘realwarripikin’.
As founder of ‘Investing in Women ‘initiative, Anita seeks to empower women with greater economic opportunities so that they can help build economically secure and healthier communities. She aims to achieve this through partnership and collaborations with organizations with economic empowerment for women as priority. Anita has worked for Minerva Recruitment and served as Managing Editor for Time Out Magazine Nigeria in the past.
Arikiye is the Founder of the Ariyike Arise Initiative, she is a television presenter, talk show host, model, blogger, author, trained lawyer and occasional actress. Her book: The Cost of Our Lives has garnered wide readership and endorsement from Authors, Bloggers and Social Entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Ariyike has advocated for several social causes in the past years including ‘Female Genital Mutilation Campaign’ and ‘Stand to End Rape Campaign’ an offshoot of the Stand to End Rape Foundation. She uses her social media platforms to actively call out social ills whilst giving visibility to youth cutting their teeth in entertainment industry.
Audrey is the Co- Founder of Falcon Corporation Limited, a wholly indigenous oil and gas outfit that offers a diverse portfolio of services that cut across engineering, procurement, construction and natural gas distribution, as well as in the real estate sector. Audrey also sits as Co-Founder and Member, Board of Advisors Woman Act Now (WAN) Nigeria Chapter, a non for profit set up to provide affordable mentoring and coaching to women, thereby helping them to live, learn and launch their dreams. She is also member of the International Women’s Society (IWS) a non-profit socio-philanthropic society committed to improving the lives and culture of women worldwide.
Awuneba is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. She has extensive professional experience in audit, taxation. Prior to joining Multistream Energy Limited where she serves as Executive Director, she was at Accenture where she worked for over a decade. As well as serving as ED for Multistream, she serves on the Board of University of Ibadan Research Foundation and Finance Committee of Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON), chairs the Governing Council of Grange School, Lagos and also sits on the Board of Directors and is an associate of WIMBIZ (Women in Management, Business and Public Service).
Ayo is an Award-winning Broadcaster, Media personality and Founder of The Praying Women Circle, a Christian initiative for praying women striving to grow in Christ. She won the Future Awards Africa prize in Journalism 2016. Ayo co-anchors alongside Olive Mordi on Wazobia TV. She also runs a program on Nigerian FM ‘The Woman’ which highlights issues affecting women in all spheres of life. Asides journalism, Ayo runs a blog ‘OnePlustheOne’ where she writes on faith and encourages women and men to live productive lives. Ayo currently co-anchors Smooth Breakfast Show- an energetic morning show that highlights topical issues happening around the country on Smooth FM.
Bekeme Masade Olowola (CSR in Action)
Bekeme is a social entrepreneur. She is the Chief Executive of CSR-in-Action, a social business networking platform and advisory enterprise, dedicated to corporate social responsibility, women and youth empowerment, and sustainable development in Nigeria. Bekeme is a CSR whiz and currently sits on the board of several non-profit and for-profit organizations. She is the convener of the annual Sustainability in the Extractive Industries Conference, the largest development focused gathering for extractives. She is also the producer of The Good Citizen Radio Show.
Educated at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, with a degree in political science and international relations, Bella began her climb on the corporate ladder as a sales executive at Globacom in 2004. Over a decade later, she is the Executive Director of Nigeria’s second largest Mobile Network Operator. Bella is an art enthusiast and philanthropist with over 14 years of professional experience across several industries including telecommunications.
Betty is a Nigerian journalist, author, and women and children’s rights activist. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE HOPE), a girl-child rights and development non-profit organization that engages with and fights for the rights and welfare of the most vulnerable of Nigerian children. Through CEE HOPE, Betty runs the Girl Leadership and Empowerment Club in urban slums and rural areas, The Rise-Against-Rape-and-Abuse (RARA) school outreach and advocacy programme, The Harbingers of Hope Scholarship Scheme for indigent kids in rural areas and urban slums and a host of other child-centered initiatives. Betty has a first degree and a master’s degree in Literature in English from the University of Calabar and the University of Lagos respectively. She has also authored five books, including two collections of poems (Sounds of Broken Chains, Go Tell Our King) and a biography (Mother of Multitudes).
Bibi is the co-founder and publishing director of one of Africa’s leading publishing houses, Cassava Republic Press. She is also the co-Founder of Tapestry Consulting, a boutique research and training company focused on gender, sexuality and transformational issues in Nigeria. Bibi has worked as a gender and research consultant in the public, private and development sectors for the BBC, UniFem, ActionAid, eShekels, Central Bank of Nigeria, the European Union and others. She has a Ph. D in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Warwick and has published many academic papers.
Bimbo Balogun – Co-Founder, SoFresh Neighborhood Market
Nigeria’s number one premium healthy food brand, that provides fresh, good, clean nutrition and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Together with her husband, Bimbo has redefined the way healthy and nutritive food is perceived in Nigeria. As well as run Sofreshng, Bimbo recently launched her online course “Building Great Teams” for small businesses.
Bimbo is the Founder of Traditions by Bimms, known as Bimms 24 on social media. An Aso-oke and beads merchant, Bimbo has carved a niche in producing show-stopping pieces, especially for brides. She’s the one-stop destination for bedazzled aso-oke pieces in Nigeria.
Bisola runs one of the most popular ready-to-wear fashion brands (Lady Biba) in Nigeria. Bisola believes that fashion designing is a calling and creates magic through clothes with that mindset. She is also the founder and creative director of Rookie Entrepreneur- a platform that equips Startups with resources, mentorship and viable information on building their brands and scaling their business.
Bisola is a Nigerian actress, MC, TV Presenter and Singer. In 2017, Bisola became the first runner up of Big Brother Naija. In 2018, she won the AMVCA Trailblazer Award at the 2018 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. She was also one of the contestants at MTN Project Fame West Africa in 2008 where she came 5th. From 2011-2013, Bisola was a one time TV host of Billboard Nigeria which aired on Silverbird television.
Blondie is the CEO and Founder of Africa’s leading skincare, bath and body company, BathKandy. Bath Kandy is the first handcrafted food-inspired bath and body store in Nigeria. The company creates sumptuous dessert – inspired beauty treats, utilising unconventional raw materials such as Garri and chocolate, infused into beauty and skincare products. The company also runs as a social enterprise, by focusing on sustainable environmental practices. Asides running Bath Kandy, Blondie also works as a consultant.
Bola is Partner & Head Corporate Practice, Olajide Oyewole LLP. She has over 25 years’ business experience as a corporate lawyer. She provides general corporate representation to various established and emerging businesses, including a broad pool of public companies, closely-held businesses and international subsidiaries. Bola is also the founder of Cece Yara Foundation- a child-centered non-profit organization established to prevent child sexual abuse and to provide access to care, information, protection and emergency intervention for children who have experienced sexual abuse or who are at risk.
Bukky is a marketing strategist with over eight years of professional experience. She currently sits as commercial manager for Travel Start- Africa’s leading travel company. There, she oversees local brand strategy, offline marketing and partnerships. Bukky graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Business Administration, concentration in Marketing and Finance from George Washington University; she also has an MBA from Yale School of Management.
Prior to joining Travelstart, she was the Head of Marketing for Rhythm Unplugged, a Flytime produced popular Nigerian concert.
Cherry is the Group Chief Product & Marketing Officer of Interswitch- Africa’s leading financial technology and electronic payments company. Prior to this appointment, Cherry had led Interswitch’s Marketing function as Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for creating and implementing innovative marketing strategies towards building the entire Interswitch brand portfolio, spanning both the corporate and consumer segments of the business; Verve and Quickteller brands. She is a performance-driven professional with 20+years of versatile, multi-industry functional and leadership experience. Many women in corporate Nigeria look up to and admire Cherry.
Chinwe Bode Akinwande
Chinwe is the Head of Brand Quality Assurance FBN limited and the founder of Chinwe Bode Akinwande Foundation, a Lagos faith- based NGO that supports widows and their vulnerable children. Chinwe believes that Widows deserve support and the society is ill equipped with resources and knowledge on how to appropriately respond to them. Hence, her foundation was birthed to strengthen them Economically and socially.
Chinyere With a firsthand knowledge of what it means to be poor, Chinyere Anokwuru founded Self-worth Organization for Women Development; a non- governmental organization that works with the rural and urban poor to alleviate the lowest form of poverty and create wealth through skills-acquisition, capacity building, leadership training, advocacy, gender mainstreaming and entrepreneurship training.
Cynthia is a British-Nigerian actress, singer, and songwriter. She is known for her performance as Celie in the 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple, for which she won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical as well as the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. She reprised the role of Celie on Broadway after first performing it in the 2013 Menier Chocolate Factory production in London .
Cynthia is also known for her performance as Deloris Van Cartier/Sister Mary Clarence in the UK tour of Sister Act. In 2018, she made the transition into film, starring in the dramas Widows and Bad Times at the El Royale.
Damilola is an Activist, Feminist and Founder of #MarketMatch an initiative created to curb bullying, harassment and unnecessary touching of women in the marketplace. The debut #MarketMarch at the Tejuoso market trended on social media for several days and generated the much-needed awareness and attention that harassment of women requires.
Denike Balogun – CEO, The Tea Room
Denike is a Fashion enthusiast, Event Planner & an Entrepreneur. The Tea Room has become the preferred destination for brunch events and great food. The ambience and stunning decor also make for great IG photos. Denike also runs Diamond Incorporated Events- an events management company. Her ability to run her companies while managing multiple priorities has bagged her recognition locally and internationally.
Dupe is the Group Head Marketing for UBA groups where she provides visionary leadership with the aim development and delivery of the integrated strategy for all UBA Group Bank and non-Bank subsidiaries. She is passionate about Women Affairs and empowerment, Economic Development of under-developed countries and Financial Inclusion for the disadvantaged in the society. Prior to her appointment at UBA Group, Dupe was CEO of Teragro. There, she spearheaded a partnership with Coca-Cola to produce Five Alive Pulpy Orange Juice making Teragro the sole local material source for the juice.
Eyitope is the Group Head International Banking at First Bank Nigeria. She’s a transformation expert with over 15 years of global experience across a broad range of industries. Eyitope serves in both the private and public sectors, developing growth programs and executing large-scale transformations, with a primary focus on financial services. Since joining First Bank, she has led the bank’s foray into sub-Saharan Africa, spearheading integration across six different countries and running its international banking business. She has also led a coalition of government entities, private companies, and civil society organizations to successfully implement Cashless Lagos, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s payments-transformation program. In addition to her success career-wise, Eyitope is passionate about building and empowering young people and is a strong advocate of the ability to transform societies through capacity building SME growth.
Eziaha is a Food and Fitness Coach and CEO at CoachE’Squad Ltd, where she serves Jesus and Fitness to the world. Asides helping women live optimized lives through a healthy food and fitness routine, she runs a personal Faith-based blog www.eziaha.com where she chronicles her Christian walk. She is a First-Class Graduate of Sociology, holds a UK degree in Personal Nutrition and a Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness Specialist Certification endorsed by the American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA). She is also the founder of Stayhomemomsng– an initiative setup to help stay-home-moms maximize their seasons and lead on productive lives.
Farida is a public health scientist, software developer, UI/UX designer, public speaker, trainer and tech entrepreneur with a passion for infusing health with technology. She is the Founder and CEO of OTRAC, an e-learning software for African healthcare practitioners. A strong advocate for women and girls in STEM, Farida is also the team lead for Google Women TechMakers Abuja and the co-organizer for Google Developer Group, Abuja. She’s a great example of Northern Nigerian women who are shattering stereotypes in Nigeria and the world.
Fatima Kyari Mohammed
Fatima is the Permanent Observer for the African Union. Prior to assuming her present position, she was Senior Special Advisor to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission. She has more than a decade of professional experience working with ECOWAS and its institutions in different capacities, with a focus on peace and security, regional integration and organizational development. Her corporate niche includes peace and security, conflict prevention and transformation, gender, regional integration, and socio-economic development.
Folasade Ambrose Medebem
Folashade is Director Communications, Public Affairs & Sustainable Development, Lafarge Africa. She has 23+ years senior management experience delivering world-class strategic business transformation solutions with a variety of global FSTE 100 multinationals including LafargeHolcim Plc., Diageo Plc., PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ford Motor Company, Zurich Financial Services, Learning & Skills Council UK, Nigeria Ministry of Finance and Department for International Development (DFID) UK. She also runs Women Inspiring Impact Network where she coaches women and equips them with strategies to rise in their career.
Folashade Bamisaye – Founder- My Period Kit
Folashade is a social entrepreneur who is passionate about menstrual hygiene for girls and women of reproductive age. She has close to a decades’ experience improving the psycho-social well-being of girls and women at the grassroots. She is also the founder of Young Women Arise- an organization that equips girls and women with knowledge on self-worth and esteem. Folashade believes women should be empowered to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
Funa is a creative and acquisitions executive with Netflix Original Films where she works with the world’s top global and emerging filmmakers. In this capacity, she oversees the company’s global expansion, manages the launch of film offerings across 100+ countries. Her film acquisitions expertise brought Netflix its first film nominations at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. She has held leadership and strategic positions at McKinsey & Company, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, the Obama Campaign, the Clinton Global Initiative and Goldman Sachs.
Funmi is 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)
Toni 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 is the 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 is the 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 is the head Agriculture & Health care advisory West Africa, UK Department for International trade and a consummate professional with over a decade of cross-cultural experience spanning various fields including; Policy advisory, International Trade facilitation, Investment promotion, Pan-African Media Management and International Business Development. She is also the Founder of TSCN Africa, a non profit focused on promoting social change and inclusion across Africa. She has been selected as a 2018 Global Leadership Fellow by the UK Government Diplomatic Academy.
Ife Durosinmi Etti
Ife is a sales and marketing expert 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. In 2016, she Co – Founded, Parliamo Bambini and currently sits as the Creative Director, Philos and Zoe. These startups are disrupting the baby and child industry through locally manufactured furniture and clothing for children with the aim of reducing poverty, empowering youths and promoting access to quality education in Nigeria and Africa.
Ifedayo is the 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 specializes in solid content creation and media production.
Ifeyinwa is the CEO and Director of Partnerships and Evaluation at The Tony Elumelu Foundation. In this capacity, she is responsible for forging local and international strategic partnerships to scale the $100m TEF Entrepreneurship Programme across Africa with development Organizations, Development Finance Institutions and working with the Public & Private Sector to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship in Africa. Ifeyinwa Co-Founded Sleek Studio Nigeria and was the Managing Director until she relocated to Cape Town in 2014. She founded and grew this medium scale business from a completely unknown brand, to one of the top cosmetics companies in Nigeria, with an annual turnover of N400 million within the first three years of operation.
Ivie Martins Ogbonmwan
Ivie is the Head of Human Resources at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie. Ivie has an extensive background in HR with expertise in organizational development, performance management, talent management, benefits and compensation, mediation, conflict resolution, change management, HR policies development, HR records management and employee welfare. She is also the Founder of Elite Hunters- a professional human resource consultancy Company.
Jade is an 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 Bank Online. She is also credited for directing and producing several shows including Gidi Up and The Juice.
Julia Oku Jacks
Julia 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 is a 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 Ltd, a company designed to promote public service journalism.
Kemi is the Founder of Genuine Health Africa- a health communications company that provides public relations services to health and wellness organizations in form of strategic communication solutions which includes health campaign execution, project communication strategy design and implementation, Digital media visibility including social media management & engagement alongside content management. Kemi also co-hosts and produces Health Vibes, a radio health show on Rhythm 93.7fm Lagos that creates a wide range of health-related issues and solutions.
Laja is 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 home care services to children with disabilities living at home
Lamide is an award-winning journalist and television personality with over a decade of experience in TV, in front of and behind the camera. She is currently a freelance producer & presenter, event host and moderator, and recently launched her production company – Something Special Media Productions Ltd. She worked as a news anchor on Channels TV. She has also worked as co-host and co-creator and co-producer on a show called “The Spot” on EbonyLife TV- a Pan-African Entertainment Network. In addition to this, she is a media & presentation coach, a voice-over artist specializing mostly in IVR, a content consultant, a freelance sub-editor, panel moderator/event host, and a documentary maker.
Omolola is the 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 tumors. 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 organizes early detection of cancer campaigns (breast and cervical cancer) and co-ordinates cancer survivorship services whilst helping patients raise funds for cancer therapy.
Maimuna Yaya Abubakar – Chairman, Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST)
Maimuna is contributing immensely to national building, in a few months of being in office she has pushed to commercialize 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 is chief medical officer and senior vice-president of UnitedHealthcare 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 the diaspora, a gay woman who publicly identifies with the LGBTQ Community, Margaret has risen to a senior leadership position in the Global Healthcare industry despite the peculiar challenges she has faced.
Mary 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, the same year she held her first world premiere 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 is an attorney experienced in International business and human rights, Innovative financing, Impact Investing, ESG Advisory, Private Equity & Venture Capital, FinTech, Startup advisory, and Social entrepreneurship. She is a Lawyer & Curator, of Scale My Hustle, an initiative that helps African entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses. Moe also shares a lot of useful tips on investing and startups on social media.
Munira Suleiman Tanimu
Munira is Kaduna’s Member State House of Assembly Constituency Candidate who as an entrepreneur, a politician and philanthropic Muslim woman has braced the odds against the limitations of cultural and Islamic tenets to break-even in her business and political career. Despite venturing into entrepreneurship at age 18 and several failures, Munira today, is the CEO of Green Garden Farm, a poultry farm in Kano, runs a town service transport-business, ‘MSTS ventures’ that has several inter-state buses, and cabs operating in Abuja, as well as a very big event center that brings in good returns.
Nere is a 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 maximising her knowledge with hopes to formalize 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 is the Portfolio Manager Non-Alcoholic drinks at Nigerian Breweries. As the Senior Brand Manager, Ngozi is a strategic leader with 10+ years’ progressive experience in directing portfolios of top-selling consumer goods, driving brand identity, development & revenue growth. In addition, Ngozi hosts her own video blog “The Ngee Show” which covers everyday human interest topics from hygiene, etiquette, fashion fads, music, youths and sometimes health topics. She is an avid supporter and spokesperson of women and is a member of the Planned Parenthood Federation amongst others.
Nky Iweka– the CEO, The Executive Mama Put, Pitanga
Nky 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 cookout 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 is a consummate professional with over 17 years experience within the corporate sector and has spent a good chunk of her time in senior management roles for leading global companies like Nestle Nigeria Plc, Quaker Oats, ABN AMBRO, Northern Trust Bank etc in the US. Prior to this, Nwando served as the Business Development Director for EXP- supporting fast moving consumer goods companies to develop strategies for attracting and retaining their customers and also served as the Head of Corporate Communications for the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). As a professional in the field of marketing, Nwando is definitely a force in the corporate space.
Odunayo is the 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
Ogochukwu is a brand, marketing and communications expert with over 2 decades of experience in brand communication and marketing. In 2015, she led the successful rollout 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 is the 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
Oladunni 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- Dooney’s Kitchen, 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 is the 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.
Timehin is a 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 2 million views. She is a prominent figure among Nigerian and African feminists.
Seyi is a 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
Omotayo leads with the belief that there is no magical formula for driving marketing ROI, with effectiveness and expertise that preaches change to the African economy. Over the years, Omotayo has led talented teams of professionals to simplify challenging customer experiences. She represents the belief of working your way from the bottom to the top, as she started her career with MTN as a brand specialist in 2009 to Marketing Manager in 2017 and to date as the senior manager, Youth and Teens segment.
Onyedikachi is the Founder of Postpartum Support Network – a Non-profit organizations set up to raise awareness about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders among mothers in Africa. The organization has educated thousands of mothers and have consistently helped mothers get professional help to overcome postpartum depression.
Popularly known as Ozzy on Twitter, is a Senior Communications Manager at Pagatech. She is also an Activist and Social Commentator – deeply interested in Feminism and issues that concern women and gender. As a communication expert, Oseyi puts her pen to use by actively blogging on social issues whilst overseeing communications strategy, counsel and deliverables related to executive visibility through speaker engagements, team member communications and social media optimization.
Oyinkansola Alabi- Founder, Emotions City
Oyinkan 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 thirty 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 is the 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,Taking the global standard, safety and hygiene training to the organizations in need of them and has been widely acclaimed as the first Nigerian female chef to be internationally certified.
Ronke is a Principal Consultant, DRNL Consult Ltd, 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 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. ‘To My Younger Self’ is a collection of letters from business leaders and leading professionals in Nigeria. The book has inspired the #ToMyYoungerSelf movement on social media where individuals are beginning to reflect and share letters to their younger selves.
Ms. Blac is a 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 scared, 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 preached internal beauty and encourages women to wear their self-esteem like a boss.
Simi is the 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 representative Position in Abuja -Abuja Municipal Area Council/Bwari, under APC. In addition, Simi is an experienced research and development consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting and non-profit sector.
Sinmisola is the Creative Director, Leo Burnett Lagos. All round wonder woman with 13+ years advertising experience on a plethora of brands was the first female and millennial Creative Director at Insight Public is 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 is the 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 over the years showcased her ingenuity in the tourism sector and is adjudged one of the biggest and best female pacesetters in the industry.
Tayo is the Founder of Hans and Rene- a Gelataria company. Hans & Rene 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 is the 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 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.
Teni is an 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 ends 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”
Tito is changing lives through writing, speaking, and various media platforms where shares her life-changing experiences, in hopes 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
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American novelist and creative writing coach, who writes with a drive that adapts the black heritage. Her novel, Children of Blood and Bones 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 filmmakers. 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 is the 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 3 years.
Tosin is the Founder of Greenhouse Lab and The Bloom Africa. Using the Green House lab, a three-month accelerator focused solely on early-stage, women-led technology start-ups in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as African run start-ups domiciled in the US or UK scalable products in African markets, she is equipping entrepreneurs with the skills, resources and support needed to grow their businesses. Greenhouse Lab is the first accelerator in Africa to be powered by Google. She is also a keen advocate for Women Empowerment and building communities that equip and empower women. Tosin has over 12 years’ experience in public and private sector management experience. She is Passionate about the intersections between community development and public and private investments.
Toyin is a sickle cell patient that has beaten the odds in terms of longevity and shares her experiences through writing in hopes 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.
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 colors. 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!
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
Wadi Ben-Hirki 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)
Yagazie is 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 empower, 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.
is the 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, specializing 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.