50 Leading African Corporate Women for 2024: Nathalie Akon Gabala, Bolaji Agbede, Almaz Negash, Fatoumata Doro, Dr. Jackie Chimhanzi, Kedest Tesfagiorgis, Uzoamaka Oshogwe, Marina Lamptey and many more take center stage!

In commemoration of Worker’s Day on May 1st and in continued advocacy for gender inclusive leadership and workplace inclusion , Leading Ladies Africa presents its definitive list of 50 Leading African Corporate Women for 2024. Now in its sixth consecutive year, the annual compendium highlights the impacts and contributions of a wide range of African female leaders and changemakers within the corporate sector. 

According to a statement from Leading Ladies Africa: “We remain committed to advocating for gender-inclusive and gender-balanced leadership within the corporate sector. Data shows that having women in decision making and senior leadership roles has tremendous value and positive impact for organizations and corporations at large. 

Through this list, we’re highlighting 50 visionary, female African leaders — cut across a broad range of sectors, industries, nationalities, and disciplines — who are shaping the world of business, impacting the economy positively, and making incredible impact. These women are at the helms of major corporations, pioneering advancements in renewable energy, leading the charge in social impact investing, driving top financial corporations, and doing so much more. They are not just keeping pace with change, they’re driving it.”

As you read about these incredible women and corporate titans, it is our hope that it inspires you to drive leadership within your different sectors, become more efficient allies, and champion gender-balanced and inclusive leadership — especially within the workplace. 

 

Abiodun Jagun

Abiodun Jagun – She is a Senior Program Officer, Inclusive Financial System at Bills and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to this role, she held the position of Program Officer focusing on Nigeria, where led projects to enhance financial services accessibility for the underprivileged.

Additionally, she served on the Board of Directors  for Communications Policy Research (South), where she contributed to training policy experts in ICT regulation across diverse regions like Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America.

Through the Smart Woman Nigeria Project,  an Initiative associated with the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology in Nigeria, she contributes to bridging the digital divide amongst Nigeria women by providing them with valuable information to support their personal and professional goals. Beyond this, she has also participated actively in driving impactful projects like the Nigeria Postal Commission Bill, National Addressing Policy, and National ICT Policy.

Abir Ibrahim

Abir Ibrahim – She is the Associate Director, Regional and Geopolitical Affairs, Africa, World Economic Forum, where she plays a key role in shaping the organization’s engagement with governments across West and Central Africa, as well as Sudan, South Sudan, Seychelles, Comoros, and Mauritius. Her work focuses on both developing effective government relations strategies and driving the region’s progress on sustainability.

Prior to joining the World Economic Forum, she served as a  Community Engagement Fellow at UNICEF USA. In this role, she actively mobilized over 55,000 stakeholders, including influencers, constituents, diaspora groups, donors, and youth, through strategic grassroots and high-level campaigns championed for the world’s most vulnerable children She has also led projects to improve education, healthcare, and livelihood opportunities in underserved communities in Sudan and Tanzania. She has garnered recognition for her works, including making the Avance Media  2023 100 Most Influential Young Africans list. Also, in 2023, she was a finalist for the Women Building Peace award organized by the United States Institute of Peace.

Almaz Negash

Almaz Negash — She is the founder of African Diaspora Network (ADN). She is a prominent trailblazer in Silicon Valley, has been recognized as one of the 12 inaugural members of President Biden’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the United States. Leveraging 25 plus years of experience in international trade, business management, and social innovation, Negash is able to build successful partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, including Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, investors, and entrepreneurs based in the USA and around the world. 

Almaz founded African Diaspora Network (ADN) to inform and engage Africans in the diaspora and facilitate direct collaboration with social entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders to invest and improve the lives of everyone on the continent. She has also been named as one of Silicon Valley 100 outstanding Women of Influence for her significant contributions to social innovation. Currently, she is fundraising and developing strategies to provide access to capital to black entrepreneurs and innovators.

Amani Terhas Boros

Amani Terhas Boros – She is the Managing Director, Head of Sustainability, State Street Bank International. For over 5 years, she has been a sustainability leader across organizations including  Thomson Reuters, and Credit Suisse(SSAF). Following this, she’s led initiatives that help people from disadvantaged backgrounds, creating a fairer future. Additionally, she fights climate change by promoting ways to reduce risks and by pushing for creative solutions.

She is also a  strong advocate for diversity and inclusion. Her work as the Head of Risk & Control, Sustainability Strategy, Advisory and Finance at Credit Suisse’s (SSAF) led to a significant diversity push. The Board of Directors, impressed by her advocacy, committed to doubling the number of Black leaders in VP-MD positions. In celebration for her impact, she was recognized by Career Masterclass as one of the top 25 Black and Ethnically diverse women advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in Corporate UK, 2023. Also, In 2019, she bagged the Women In Banking and Finance Young Professional Award.

Amina Doherty

Amina Doherty –  She is the Vice President, People, Equity and Culture at Equality Fund, where she champions strategies that promote diversity, inclusion, and a positive work culture. She was previously the Director of Tactics at the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), an international organization that supports organizations promoting women’s rights. In her role, she led development in 7 key areas- knowledge building, arts and cultural expression, solidarity and mobilization, advocacy, convening, research, and relationship building with crucial social movements.

As an activist for women’s rights, she is the Founder of Black Feminist Fund, an organization that supports black feminist movements across Africa, America and Europe through fundraising. She is currently a Board Member of  the Global Fund for Women, one of the world’s leading foundations for gender equality. As a creative, she leverages her skills  to raise awareness and inspire action for social justice issues through exhibitions, community programs, and cultural events.

Bintou Keita

Bintou Keita – She is the Assistant Secretary General  at the United Nations, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Keita’s journey in international service began in 1989 when she joined the United Nations. In over 30 years, she has built a career focused on conflict resolution. 

In 2018, she was appointed as the Deputy Joint Special Envoy for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). This role positioned her at the center of a critical peacekeeping mission in Darfur, a war-torn part of Congo. Following her dedication to service, she was  promoted in 2019  to the position of Assistant Secretary-General for Africa. During this time, she strongly believed that more women should be involved in peacekeeping missions. Having a military father who taught her about service, she understood the unique strengths women bring to peace efforts. Throughout 2023, Bintou continued to navigate the difficult situation in the DRC. She actively sought support for the mission after violence displaced many people and even visited areas hit by floods. Her achievements speak volumes as she continues to  lead the peacekeeping mission in the DRC.

Bolaji Agbede

Bolaji Agbede — She is the Acting Managing Director and Group CEO of Access Holdings. Her  appointment wasn’t just a personal achievement – it marked a significant milestone for Nigerian banking as she became the first woman to lead Access Holdings Plc. Bolaji’s career journey began at Guaranty Trust Bank in 1992. There, she steadily climbed the ladder, rising to the position of Manager by 2001.

Recognizing her expertise, Access Bank brought her on board in 2003 as an Assistant General Manager. With her commitment to excellence, she continued to drive results, eventually becoming the Group Head of Human Resources between 2010 and 2022. Her dedication was further rewarded in 2022 with an appointment as the founding Executive Director of Business Support at Access Holdings. Beyond professional titles, she has a diverse background across human resources, customer relationships, business consultancy, and banking operations itself. Also, she is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management UK and Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.

Cany Jobe

Cany Jobe – She is the Director of Exploration and Production at the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). With over 14 years of experience working on energy projects across diverse regions including West Africa, South America, and Australia,she has a deep understanding of the oil and gas sector, coupled with strong skills in policy formulation, governance, administration, and strategic planning.

At the GNPC, Jobe plays a key role in leading exploration and production activities, advising the government on oil and gas projects, negotiating with international oil companies (IOCs), and ensuring successful implementation of high-value exploration actions. Beyond her technical expertise, Jobe is a strong advocate for cleaner energy solutions. Also, for over 20 years, she has actively led youth leadership, gender and children’s advocacy, STEM and community initiatives. Cany is an alumnus of the prestigious Commonwealth Award, Australia Development Award, and Mining for Development Award. 

Esther Masese Waitutu

Esther Masese Waitutu — She is the Chief Financial Services Officer at Safaricom PLC where she is responsible for providing strategic leadership and oversight to Safaricom’s Financial Services Business. She leads financial services tribes and teams, through the development of financial products, services and solutions for consumers and enterprises.

She has over 15 years’ experience in the financial services sector. She joined Safaricom from KCB Bank Group, where she has been the Director, Corporate Banking since 2021. Prior to joining KCB, Esther was at Stanbic for 10 years, having joined the bank in 2011 as a Regional Product Head – Transactional Products and Services, East Africa. In 2017, she was promoted to Executive, Strategy Development and Enablement in the Corporate and Investment Bank before taking up the role of Country Head, Client Coverage, Stanbic Bank Zambia, in 2020.

Fatoumata Doro

Fatoumata Doro – She is the Managing Director Vlisco (Vlisco, and GTP,Woodin) cluster & Board director at Vlisco Group. She is a dedicated advocate for women’s development and an accomplished international business professional specializing in revitalizing brands and businesses. Recognized as a risk-taker, she thrives on pushing boundaries and fostering growth and transformation.

Throughout her career, she has been a trailblazer, notably as part of the first francophone African team for Procter and Gamble. She went on to become the first female African Managing Director for Arla Foods, breaking barriers as the first female MD for a textile company. She is a marketer and overall business leader. Her outstanding achievements include being nominated as CEO of the Year in 2022 and earning a spot among the top 100 women career women.

Fridah Muchina

Fridah Muchina – She is the Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Nestle where she previously served as Human Resources Director. Prior to these roles, she served as the Talent Acquisition Manager at Safaricom PLC where she mentored diverse individuals and advocated for black women in the workplace. 

At the helm of this role stands her professional journey; she intertwines passion, advocacy, and leadership. Serving as the Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Nestle, she embodies a commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace culture where every voice is heard and valued.

Iroghama Ogbeifun

Iroghama Ogbeifun — She is the Managing director at Starzs Investments Company Limited, a position she attained in 2021 after successfully leading the Company’s affairs as its Executive Director and subsequently the Chief Operating Officer, she manages its daily operations. In this position, she draws on her expertise and skills to lead strategy and policy, oversees business development, and represents and promotes the Company’s interest, amongst other roles.

She has used her platform to drive gender inclusion and representation within the industry, starting with her organization, so they are intentional about admitting female seafarers to their cadetship scheme as well as employing female officers on board their vessels. The Company presently has a female engineer and female vessel captain serving onboard. Iroghama is furthering this agenda using the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), where she is the Chairman of the Finance and Membership Committee.

Iyadunni Gbadebo

Iyadunni Gbadebo — She is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Eko Hotel and Suites, where she  contributes to the growth of the organization through developing and advancing great tourism initiatives.  One of these initiatives is the Tropical Christmas Wonderland, a yearly event that creates memorable experiences for families during Christmas, while promoting African culture and heritage 

With over 18 years of professional experience in leading business growth and marketing across diverse sectors, she drives great organizational results through her skills in strategic planning, implementation, negotiation and more. Recently, she was appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Lagos State Tourism Foundation, where will be promoting tourism development in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Dr-Jackie-Chimhanzi

Dr. Jackie Chimhanzi — She is the CEO of the African Leadership Institute, which runs the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship, in partnership with Oxford University, with the aim of nurturing a new generation of African leaders. She is driven by a desire to see a better Africa, in her lifetime. She was recognised by Forbes Africa magazine as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa – women under 45 shaping the narrative of Africa’s rising. She was, previously, the Senior Strategist of the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) and before that, as a Strategy Lead at Deloitte Consulting, she led project teams on diverse client engagements, interrogating and informing the strategies of major entities in the power, oil and gas, steel and brewery industries.

She is a member of the ONE Africa Policy Advisory Board and also serves as a non-executive board member and Audit and Risk Committee member of the AdvTech Group, a Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed entity in private education and Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

Dr Josephine Fubara

Dr Josephine Fubara – She is the Chief Science Officer at Sanofi Consumer Healthcare business, where she leads a global team responsible for managing the organization’s end-to end science agenda and operations spanning five categories covering pain care, allergy, digestive wellness, cough, cold & flu, and physical & mental wellness, representing over €5.0 billion (2022) of business. Josephine is a purpose-driven leader, building high-performing teams and delivering impactful everyday health & well-being for consumers & patients  around the world, with the goal to make self-care simple and bring health in their hands.

Currently, she is the Global Head of Therapeutics, R&D at Bayer. She and her team are responsible for developing and executing new innovations for pain, cardio, allergy, cough/cold, and digestive health which collectively is worth €2.8 billion of business. Always innovative and cross-functional, Josephine takes pride in leading a team that is committed to creating the ultimate consumer experience. A loyal champion of women, Josephine is a long-standing member of Advancing Women Executives, an organization with the mission to create equity and economic growth at work. She is focused on passing her knowledge to help and empower the next generation of women leaders.

Kedest Tesfagiorgis

Kedest Tesfagiorgis – She is the Deputy Director, Global Partnerships & Grand Challenges at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has spent 20 years addressing the biggest challenges in global health and development. Her driving passion is building relationships and organizing the worldwide collaborations that are required to make sustainable change. Kedest has partnered with scientists and science enablers on six continents to foster innovation programs that improve the daily lives of people in low-income communities. Core to her work is the conviction that the people closest to the problems that need solving should be empowered to work on them. She joined the foundation in 2007.

Kedest currently leads Grand Challenges, the foundation’s flagship innovation program, which launched in 2003. Over 20 years, Grand Challenges has supported almost 4,000 science and technology projects in 119 countries. Kedest has overseen the transition of Grand Challenges from a single foundation-funded program into a global network of programs that share the belief that innovation is the key to unlocking progress. Grand Challenges programs are currently running in North and South America, South Asia, and Africa. She also manages the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting, the world’s preeminent gathering of innovators in global health and development.

Lesego Charlie

Lesego Charlie — She is the Head of Communications, Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa. Her career experience ranges from different roles at Procter & Gamble and Liberty Life Insurance Public Company LTD. Before her current role, she led as the brand and corporate PR manager at Procter & Gamble. She contributes valuable insights to her industry. In her current role as Head of Communications, she brings on her robust skill set which extends across Shopper Marketing, Marketing Management, Brand Equity, FMCG, Marketing Communications, and more. 

Her role as head of communications, sub-Saharan Africa at Visa has led to an extension of Visa’s global flagship program, (She’s Next) to supporting women entrepreneurs in South Africa with the ABSA team. 

Mapula Bodibe

Mapula Bodibe — She is the Chief Executive Officer at MTN Rwanda where she leads a team of talented and dedicated professionals who share the vision of building leading digital solutions for Rwanda’s progress and connecting Rwandan citizens to a bright digital future as well as to contribute to the economic development of the country. 

Formerly, she served as the Chief Consumer Officer at MTN South Africa where she led the Consumer Business Unit for over 5 years. She has had an illustrious career with MTN serving in various leadership roles including the Chief Marketing Officer at MTN Uganda as well as the Executive and General Manager for the Consumer Business unit at MTN South Africa.

Marina Lamptey

Marina Lamptey — She is the Head of Diaspora Relations at Ghana Investment Promotion Center where she spearheads the facilitation of investment opportunities for individuals and businesses within the diaspora community, by coordinating and disseminating valuable information she empowers diaspora investors to explore diverse investment prospects in Ghana. From identifying potential investment areas to facilitating transactions and providing comprehensive support services, she has been committed to fostering a thriving investment ecosystem.

She is a multiple award winning international relations expert dedicated to advancing economic growth, social development, and gender equality, with expertise in promoting investment opportunities and empowering diaspora communities. deeply passionate about international human rights, trade, and investments.  She is also the founder of UMI Foundation, a non profit organization that is passionate about advocating for women and girls’ rights. 

Matrona Filippou

Matrona Filippou – She is President Global Category – Hydration, Sports, Tea and Coffee for The Coca-Cola Company. Previously, she served as franchise operations director with the Central and Eastern Europe business unit, covering 12 diverse markets across Southeast Europe. She worked closely with partners in the Coca‑Cola system to successfully drive alignment and deliver strong performance by accelerating business strategies, executing winning consumer propositions, driving new category expansion and developing talent.

She served as general manager of Stills and Venturing & Emerging Brands for Coca‑Cola’s West Africa business unit, where she spearheaded significant system investments in the stills category, including the identification and eventual acquisition of Chi Ltd. in Nigeria.

Mercy Tembon

Mercy Tembon – She is the Vice President and Corporate Secretary of The World Bank Group. In her role, her primary responsibilities are to ensure the integrity of the World Bank Group’s governance framework; facilitate effective interaction and dialogue between the Board of Governors, Boards of Executive Directors and Management of the institution; contribute to consensus building among shareholders; and provide support services to the Boards, management and other clients. She brings to this position a deep knowledge of Bank operations, a track record in promoting economic growth and social development in several countries, and a reputation for developing strong partnerships with stakeholders. 

She also brings a unique combination of leadership experiences working at the country and sector levels, coupled with extensive multicultural experience of living in different countries. In recognition of her leadership, she received the World Bank Group Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Award in 2010, and the Excellence in Leadership Award from the World Bank Group Staff Association in 2014.

Mizinga Melu

Mizinga Melu — She is the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Absa Bank Zambia Plc. Prior to this, she served as the CEO of Barclays Africa Management as well as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Bank of Commerce (Tanzania). Her vast banking experience and demonstrated competencies in strong stakeholder management, developing and retaining high performance teams, building strategic alliances and driving digitization and innovation will be a welcome addition to the Board of Trustees.

Melu’s career trajectory has been characterized by a series of remarkable achievements and strategic leadership roles. She embarked on her professional journey with Barclays Bank Zambia PLC, now rebranded as Absa Bank Zambia PLC, where she held various senior management positions across different divisions. Her exceptional performance and dedication quickly propelled her through the ranks, earning her recognition as a dynamic and visionary leader. With her extensive experience and proven track record in the banking industry, she assumed increasingly significant roles within Absa Group Limited, a pan-African financial services provider. Her ascent within the organization culminated in her appointment as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of Absa Bank Zambia PLC. In this capacity, she became the driving force behind the bank’s strategic direction, spearheading initiatives to enhance customer experience, promote financial inclusion, and drive sustainable growth.

Mumbi Keega

Mumbi Keega – She is the Public Affairs Leader for Africa & Managing Director, Dow Eastern Africa. She also doubles as  the Public Lead Affairs Officer, where she is responsible for developing and implementing integrated, multichannel and external communication strategies that promote DOW brand image and support its corporate priorities and regional objectives across South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria. She also drives initiatives that help promote positive changes among youths and build sustainable communities in Africa. 

With almost 20 years experience working in government and public affairs, she  is a passionate advocate for strategic partnerships that drive positive change. Hence, she leverages her wide network across Africa to aid business growth, sustainable socio-economic development in the society, and collaborations between organizations. She further serves as an Advisory Board Member of the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa.

Muobo Paul-Worika

Muobo Paul-Worika — She is the Director, European Head of FC Framework, International Markets, and Fraud at HSBC. Prior to her current role, she  was Senior Fraud Oversight and Reporting Manager of the organization, where she helped with analyzing regional, global risk and control data, extracting insightful trends and transforming them into intuitive and impactful management reporting packs that aided strategic decisions making. 

Muobo has also gained invaluable experience working as a consultant in top organizations– CEB, now Gartner, where she was the Senior Operations Consultant, and iProfile Limited where she was Delivery Consultant. Through her 16 years in compliance, risk, professional services, and operations, she leverages her skills in analytics, data management, and attention to detail to effectively listen, interpret, and adapt to business needs, consistently delivering valuable solutions.

Muthoni Githuku-Shongwe

Muthoni Githuku-Shongwe –   She is the Director at the  East & Southern Africa UNAIDS, where is committed to the goal of eradicating AIDS in Africa in 2030.  With over 15 years experience working at the United Nations, she has largely contributed to  Women’s Empowerment and Economic Development in Africa. She formerly served as the Representative for the United Nations Women’s South Africa Multi-Country Office. While in office, she educated women on HIV/AIDs and their reproductive health in Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

She is also the founder of  AROES , an award-winning digital platform providing  educational games that equips youths with life skills and positions and educates them human rights and social responsibilities.  By sharing her expertise on themes related to Social Innovation for the Public Good, Dr. Githuku-Shongwe has  inspired others and promoted positive change on global stages such as TEDx Soweto, PICNIC Amsterdam, Netexplo Paris, Frontiers in Development (Washington DC), and more.

Nathalie Akon Gabala

Nathalie Akon Gabala — She is the Global Director, Gender and Economic Inclusion at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) where she leads the organization’s efforts to foster sustainable economic development in developing countries by strategically allocating investments to private sector growth.

Prior to her role at IFC, Nathalie made significant contributions to the Mastercard Foundation as its Executive Director. In this role, she spearheaded the organization’s four key program areas: Gender, Entrepreneurship Development, Digital Economy, and Agrifood Systems & Climate. Nathalie was also the organization’s regional Director, overseeing the Foundation’s expansion across West, Central, and Northern Africa.  Here, she led a large team, setting strategic direction and ensuring program alignment with the Foundation’s core values. She has also served as an independent director on leading African banks and chaired the investment committee of the African Development Bank Group’s private sector facility.

Ngozi Akinyele

Ngozi Akinyele — She is the Group Executive, Chief marketing and Communications Officer at Coronation Merchant Bank where she oversees Brand, Marketing, Communications, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, across all Coronation entities in Africa. Her journey as an experienced management consultant and brand manager, has served her lead roles in her previous role with Union Bank of Nigeria as the Head Strategic brand Management of corporate communications and marketing.  

Prior to her current role, Ngozi served as the Head of Strategic Brand Management, Corporate Communications & Marketing at Union Bank of Nigeria, where she played a pivotal role in driving brand initiatives, marketing strategies, and communications efforts for over nine years. Under her leadership, the bank witnessed significant milestones, including supporting CEO transitions, launching digital sub-brands, creating innovative brand platforms, and delivering award-winning campaigns that yielded measurable brand and business outcomes. 

Beyond her professional roles, Ngozi has contributed significantly to national development as a frequent guest interviewer at “The Platform Nigeria,” engaging with eminent speakers including Prof. Yemi Osinbajo CON, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, and Prof. Anil Gupta. She was also appointed the 2024 Dean of the Future Creative Leaders Academy (FCLA) where she will lead the academy’s efforts to develop the next generation of creative leaders in Africa. Ngozi co-hosts a radio show, “Girlfriends on Radio,” aimed at empowering women, and supports small and medium fashion businesses. 

Odiri Erewa-Meggison

Odiri Erewa-Meggison — She is the External Affairs (Corporate Relations) Director at the British American Tobacco Cluster of West and Central African Markets where she is responsible for leading the external affairs and communications strategy under the company’s position within these markets. Odiri is a professional lawyer and an expert in corporate governance practices, public policy advocacy, legal compliance, and stakeholder management with experience garnered over 20 years of working across diverse sectors of the economy including oil and gas, telecommunications, and retail production. 

She is also the acting chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Export Promotion Group (MANEG), where she spearheads the association’s efforts to promote and enhance the export capabilities of Nigerian manufacturers on both domestic and international platforms. In 2023, Odiri was inducted into the Institute of Directors Nigeria (IoD Nigeria), alongside 99 others, at its 40th anniversary event. 

Opeyemi Makinwa

Opeyemi Makinwa — She is the Head of Reserve Business Operations at Diageo Nigeria — the umbrella company of renowned brands like Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, Smirnoff, among others — where she leads cross-functional teams to achieve nationwide business success in the Nigerian market. Opeyemi’s expertise lies in transforming business models and fostering strong stakeholder relationships. She was a part of Project Runway where she spearheaded a strategic initiative that not only eliminated long standing customer debt but also strengthened customer loyalty across the entire value chain. 

Opeyemi’s proven track record includes successfully restructuring business routes, streamlining trade interventions, and cultivating strong industry relationships to drive revenue growth. Beyond her strategic acumen, Opeyemi is a champion for diversity and inclusion. Her commitment extends to the broader industry, where she advocates for the inclusion of female-led businesses within the FMCG sector.

Pakinam Kafafi

Pakinam Kafafi – She is the Chief Executive Officer of TAQA Arabia, Egypt’s leading energy and utility provider that serves more than 1.7 Million customers with their daily energy needs. With nearly three decades of experience, she has been instrumental in TAQA Arabia’s success since its founding in 2006, when she joined as the company’s Strategy & Investment Executive Director. In this capacity, she oversaw the company’s growth through strategic acquisitions and diversification into power generation, distribution, and even renewable energy. 

Under her leadership as the CEO, TAQA Arabia achieved net profits of $6.3 million and secured a coveted listing on the Egyptian Exchange. The company also expanded its regional presence by launching its subsidiary, First Gas, in Saudi Arabia. Pakinam is also the co-founder of the IRENA industry decarbonization alliance, and a board member of the British Egyptian Business Association and the Arabian Cement Company, amongst others. For four consecutive years since 2020, Forbes Middle East has recognized her as one of the 100 Power Businesswomen. 

Philana Mugyenyi

Philana Mugyenyi – She is the Government Affairs Director for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) at GE HealthCare, where she oversees the organization’s initiatives to advance access to adequate, safe, and sustainable blood across the region. Before joining GE HealthCare she served as a private sector development specialist at the World Bank. Philana excels in cultivating relationships with governments, international organizations, authorities, and trade associations throughout Africa. 

She is also actively involved in various organizations, serving as a Director on the Boards of the American Chamber of Commerce Kenya and the Corporate Council on Africa. She also represents the Private Sector Constituency on the UHC2030 Task Force. Passionate about improving healthcare access across Africa, Philana co-founded the Coalition of Blood for Africa (CoBA) and chaired the Innovation Working Group. Her dedication to driving positive change extends to mentoring entrepreneurs through the Women In Africa × Deloitte Mentoring Program

Phoebe Dami-Asolo

Phoebe Dami-Asolo — She is the Senior Director of Operations, The Coca-Cola Company Nigeria and a marketing leader with expertise in brand building, brand strategy development, integrated marketing, and communications. Phoebe previously served as the Director of Franchise Operations in the India and Southwest Asia Operating Unit of The Coca-Cola Company, becoming the first black woman to hold such a role in the history of Coca-Cola India. 

Her career kicked off when she was recruited as a Young African Talent by Nigerian Breweries Ltd. There, she managed various household brands such as Amstel Malta, Fayrouz, Maltina, and Strongbow Apple Cider. Her outstanding work garnered awards such as Brand of the Year and Award for Excellent Digital Execution. Phoebe’s exceptional performance and leadership have earned her accolades, including the Future Awards Africa 2023 Prize for Professional Service and recognition as one of the top 35 under 35 individuals in the FMCG industry by Brands Communicator Magazine.

Praise Dogah Nutakor

Praise Dogah Nutakor – She is the Head of Communications and Partnerships of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Ghana, and a communications expert with over 15 years of experience in communications and partnership strategy development and implementation. Praise is widely recognized in the PR and Communications industry as Madam SDG and is known for her passionate advocacy and leadership in promoting conversations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Passionate about media capacity and youth development, she has organized various training sessions for media practitioners across the country, focusing on different SDGs areas. Notably, she recently conducted a training session in Johannesburg on data storytelling, to empower journalists to advocate more effectively on SDGs issues with evidence. Praise has conducted multinational projects, including the YouthConnekt Africa conference, which brought together over 2000 young delegates from across the continent.

Prudence Masako

Prudence Masako – She is the Country Director,  CARE Tanzania and a health professional with more than 16 years of experience. Prior to her current position, she served as the Country Representative of EngenderHealth Tanzania and has worked with several NGOs and the private sector. Prudence’s expertise transects various areas including Donor Relations, New Business Development, Government Relationships, NGOs Management, Program Evaluation and Assessment, Program Design, amongst others. 

Prudence is also passionate about transformation and is dedicated to creating opportunities for women and girls to achieve their full potential. She has collaborated with different organizations, including the government, to design end-to-end transformative programs that engage communities and create a supportive environment for women.

Queen Denchukwu

Queen Denchukwu — She is the Vice President, Diversity Equity and Inclusion at Disney where she oversees DEI, People and Culture and is focused on implementing a holistic approach that enables the conglomerate to build and sustain an inclusive culture and attract, retain and develop diverse talent across Disney Entertainment’s studios, television, ad sales and platform distribution. With a deep commitment to fostering inclusive workplace cultures, Queen holds a nuanced understanding of the immense value that diverse teams bring to organizations. Before joining Disney, she was responsible for DEI at LucasFilm where she played a pivotal role in developing and implementing the global Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging strategy across all of Lucasfilm’s studios. Prior to this role, she also worked at Autodesk and Wells Fargo. 

Queen is deeply committed to mentorship and advocacy. Through the TechWomen program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, she is a professional mentor to young women and girls in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Furthermore, Queen has served as a board liaison for the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), furthering her commitment to diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.

Queen Mokonoto

Queen Mokonoto — She is the Executive Director of United Way South Africa where she leads the organization’s initiatives to improve the health, education, and financial stability of individuals in South African communities. Queen is also a fervent advocate for human rights, social justice, and the eradication of human trafficking. She has directed several social investment initiatives that focus on addressing challenges related to education literacy, healthcare, and youth unemployment.

Before her role in United Way, Queen was the Human Resources and Transformation Director at Oracle having worked as a Human Resources professional for over 20 years across diverse industries, including Information Technology and Communication, Engineering, Production, Government, and non-profit organizations. 

 

Rabia El Alama – She is the Managing Director at American Chambers of Commerce in Morocco and is a multifaceted expert in international trade, negotiation, and strategic guidance with a remarkable 30 years of experience. Rabia has demonstrated expertise in mediation, mentoring, project management, strategy and entrepreneurship. 

She is a tireless advocate for economic opportunity and has championed the understanding of the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (US FTA) by leading over 50 workshops for Moroccan and American entrepreneurs. Rabia is also an advocate for social responsibility, particularly women’s empowerment through trade and e-commerce. Her commitment to this cause led her to launch an impactful initiative, the Women Advancement Network (WAN).

Rica Rwigamba

Rica Rwigamba — She is the Country Director of Mastercard Foundation in Ghana with over a decade’s worth of diverse experience in independent consulting, leadership roles within non-profit organizations, and entrepreneurial ventures. Previously, Rica held the position of Head of Tourism and Conservation at the Rwanda Development Board.  In this role, she led initiatives in tourism investment promotion, marketing, and stakeholder coordination. 

Rica is a passionate leader driven by a powerful combination of entrepreneurship, social impact, and a dedication to youth empowerment. She actively contributes her expertise by serving on various national and regional boards within the tourism sector.  This extensive network allows her to have a significant impact across the African region.

Sade-Morgan

Sade Morgan – She is the corporate affairs director at Nigerian Breweries. Her experiences span across several industries, and markets in Africa, the Middle East, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. She is a member of the Heineken BV Group and a corporate affairs management specialist with cross-geographical experience. Before her role as corporate affairs director for Nigerian Breweries, she led as the legal, public affairs, and communications director at Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, as well as a legal director. 

Her skills in the resolution or management of challenging business issues across diverse sectors contribute to her current role as Corporate Affairs Director of Nigerian Breweries. Under her expertise with Nigerian Breweries, the company is reorganizing its operational efficiency for future sustainable growth, and supporting the company’s employees, in order to enable a return of the business to profitability amid the persistently challenging business environment. 

Salima Amira

Salima Amira – She is the Country General Manager of Microsoft (Morocco). She has over 20 years of experience as a leader in complex and competitive environments in large international and national groups, some of which include; Territorial Manager for Morocco at IBM, which lasted over 2 years. Prior to that, she held various roles at Inwi, managing B2B business development and branch management. 

She also spent six years as a telecommunications operator, where she was sales director within the Business Unit and then director of one of the subsidiaries. Her skills and expertise contribute immensely to her new role as country director of Microsoft, as she continues to strengthen partnerships, customer success and business development to accelerate Microsoft’s plan for Morocco. 

Dr. Silpah Owich

Dr. Silpah Owich — She is the Associate Director for Women and Youth Banking at Equity Bank Limited in Kenya. She has an outstanding history with the banking sector of Kenya and also sits on the board of directors of the National Health Insurance Funds. Her skills as a policy analyst, retail and consumer banking expert, as well as a Financial Inclusion change agent, have contributed to her expertise in the finance and banking sector of Kenya. She previously led Stanbic Bank Kenya as the head of women’s banking, under which the bank signed the Women Empowerment Principles in partnership with the UN SDG goals, allowing the bank to join a global network of over 5,000 companies, including 49 companies in Kenya, that are committed to achieving gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and community. 

Under her leadership as Associate Director for Women and Youth Banking at Equity Bank, the bank was awarded Most Loved Banking Bank for the third time in a row by women in Kenya according to a survey conducted by IPSOS and BSD Group. Through her current role, Equity Bank strengthens its ‘Wings to Fly program’, to offer paid internships to university students who get Grade A- and above in KCSE before they join the university, and with Equity Bank Flagship scholarship program, orphaned and bright learners from poor families will be assisted to join universities around the globe to pursue Education. 

Sola Obagbemi

Sola Obagbemi — She is the Corporate Communications Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at Meta. She has over 14 years of experience as a Certified Public Relations & Communications professional. Before her current role, she managed communications for Anglophone West Africa at Meta, overseeing communication efforts in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone. 

Prior to that, she served as the Senior Communications Manager for Africa at Andela Inc. Earlier in her career, she spent six years as the Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Red Media Africa, leading the PR agency to secure numerous international and local projects, including several pan-African awards. Sola is also a faculty member and lecturer at ‘The Rome Business School’. 

Stephanie Vak-Stephens

Stephanie Vak-Stephens — She is the Director of International Institutions at Mastercard and a global finance professional. She has vast experience in finance, with over 12 years of financial services across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa Markets. Her transaction experience spans several industries such as oil and gas, soft commodity trading, agribusiness, manufacturing, and the assessment of risks on diverse debt financing structures and post-deal risk analysis. 

Prior to her current role as the Director of International Institutions at Mastercard, she led Standard Chartered Bank as the Associate Director, before moving to International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the Gender Finance Lead on Global Private Equity and Venture Capital Funds.  Stephanie is also a Gender Finance advocate and is actively involved in career coaching and mentorship of younger women, as well as a speaker for forums on women’s development issues. 

Temitope Oguntokun

Temitope Oguntokun — She is the Corporate Affairs and Legal Director, at International Breweries Plc. She is an excellent business leader with a distinguished career spanning over two decades. Her professional journey is marked by multifaceted expertise in various disciplines, including Corporate Affairs, Journalism, Sustainability, Reputation Management, Government Relations/Policy Advocacy, Strategic Communications, Marketing Communications, and Change Management.

Temitope is recognized for her remarkable stakeholder management skills, which she has employed in strategic advisory roles benefiting Boards, CEOs, Directors, cross-functional teams, government entities, communities, and other senior stakeholders. Her strategic projects have made significant contributions to businesses, simultaneously fostering positive impacts on society. Aside from being a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), she is also a fellow and Executive council member of the Sustainability Professionals Institute of Nigeria (SPIN) and a Member of the International Associations of Business Communicators (IABC). 

Uzoamaka Oshogwe

Uzoamaka Oshogwe — She is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Afriland Properties Plc, a leading property management, investment, and development company with a portfolio size of over N10 billion. She has held several leadership positions across renowned organizations including; UBA PLC, Ford Motors UK, J. Sainsbury’s UK, and Accenture UK. 

After joining Heir Holdings in 2013 and taking on several leadership roles in the organization, She became the CEO and managing director of UBA properties. She is a professional certified real estate manager, a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, and a RICS Accredited Civil & Commercial Mediator. Under her leadership, Afriland Properties continues to explore partnership opportunities, providing sustainable growth for organizations, and optimizing its property portfolio to improve rental yield on performing assets.

Velma (Botha) Corcoran

Velma (Botha) Corcoran — She is the regional Lead of Middle East Africa at Airbnb. She has an exceptional proven track record of international leadership for over 15 years spanning across tech, tourism, and the creative industries. Before the appointment of her current role, she led as Executive Director of Cape Town tourism for over four years, and as the Managing Director for oil research and Brand strategy consultancy. 

She is known for her excellence in building businesses and forging great engagements and revenue through technology and relationship building. Under her leadership as the Regional Lead of Middle East Africa at Airbnb, she drove impact to the South African economy, providing over 50,000 jobs from 2019 to 2022, making Airbnb a more accessible and affordable option of domestic travel to South Africans. 

Victoria Kwakwa

Victoria Kwakwa – She is the Vice President, of Eastern, and Southern Africa at the World Bank. Before her appointment in 2022, Dr. Kwakwa served as the Vice President for Corporate Strategic Initiatives, working closely with the World Bank Managing Director of Operations and other operational and corporate units on high-priority initiatives to enhance operational delivery and impact. She also served as the Vice President for East Asia Pacific from April 2016 to August 2021. 

In her previous role as Vice president of East Asia Pacific, she led the Bank’s engagement with 23 diverse clients ranging from countries on the cusp of high-income, established middle-income, to lower-middle-income countries. 

Standing as an economist and development expert with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Kwakwa currently leads the Bank’s engagement with 26 countries of which 17 qualify for IDA financing, seven for IBRD financing, and two qualify for a blend of both and oversees an active portfolio of 313 operations totaling $58 billion.

Vivian Odior

Vivian Odior — She is the Global Head of Marketing, at WhatsApp. Before she joined WhatsApp in 2020,  she remained a long-standing leader in the marketing industry, leading her to previous marketing roles like Global Marketing Director for Johnson & Johnson, as well as Marketing Director of Africa and Middle East of Johnson’s baby care brands, and senior brand manager. 

Since joining WhatsApp in 2020, Vivian has evolved the presence of the brand’s narrative with global campaigns; led the launch of the company’s first consumer marketing campaign in the U.S; secured NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo its first brand partner; and helped empower opportunity by driving expansion of WhatsApp Payments in India and Brazil. 

She has led successful campaigns for WhatsApp like Family Diary, Just Send It, One, and Doubt Delivered which have received a cumulative 200 nominations, along with winning five Cannes Lions Awards, three Pencils at the Show, three Pencils at the D&D and a Gold Clio. 

Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg

Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg — She is a senior fellow at Ford Foundation and Executive-In-Residence at Schmidt Futures, Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg holds esteemed roles in global leadership. Previously, she served as the inaugural Executive Director of the Rise program, a collaboration between Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust. Her background includes directing African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and founding Akili Dada, a Nairobi-based leadership incubator for girls and young women.

Throughout her career, Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg has received numerous accolades, including recognition from the Obama Administration as a White House Champion of Change. She has been named among the 100 Most Influential Africans, 100 Most Reputable Africans, and honored as a Ford Foundation Champion of Democracy. Other notable awards include the United Nations Intercultural Innovation Award and designation as an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow. Her dedication to empowering women and promoting leadership across Africa is evident in her past roles and ongoing contributions to global initiatives.

Yvonne Manzi Makolo

Yvonne Manzi Makolo — She is the CEO of RwandAir Ltd. Before she was appointed CEO, she had served as the Deputy CEO of Corporate Affairs for RwandAir, as well as Chief Marketing Officer of MTN Rwanda. She is also a Rwanda IT specialist and business executive. She sits as the Chair of the Board of Governors of the International Aviation International Air Transport Association (IATA). 

Yvonne Manzi is the first woman to take on the role as the 81st chair of the IATA BoG. She has served on the BoG since November 2020. She succeeds Pegasus Airlines Chairperson of the Board Mehmet Tevfik Nane who will continue to serve on the BoG. Under her leadership as CEO, RwandAir has become one of Africa’s fastest-growing airlines with a fleet of modern aircraft. She has led cultural change at the airline with a focus on inclusion and diversity and growing the number of women in under-represented roles. 

 

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