For the 7th consecutive in a row, Leading Ladies Africa presents its annual 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria List — in recognition and celebration of the impact and contributions Nigerian women have made in the fields of business, art, politics, sports, advocacy, medicine, media, fashion and many more sectors.
“As we continue to advocate and push for gender parity and equality, it’s also important that we do that through the lens of Diversity and Inclusion — especially as it pertains to women of African descent” says Francesca Uriri, Founder Leading Ladies Africa. It’s important to us to have a variety of voices recognized and amplified in this compilation of phenomenal women — because that is a true representation of the Leading Ladies Africa community. Whether they are activists, scientists, poets, doctors, coaches, teachers, members of the LGBTQIA community, actors, politicians, etc — every single one of them is welcome at the table, and their contributions matter. Deeply.”
On this day, as we join the entire world in celebrating International Women’s Day, we choose to seek out and celebrate the achievements of these women — (some of who have passed on), demolish stereotypes that seek to limit women, and promote gender diversity and inclusion. These women are notably making impactful contributions to their communities, changing the narrative in their space and are consistently pushing the frontiers of excellence. In no particular order, join us as we celebrate their impact and power:
Adedoyin Odunfa is the CEO, Digital Jewels Ltd. She is an IT professional with over 20 years’ experience, focused on enhancing the strategic value of IT in organizations. She has led industry initiatives to strengthen and enhance IT Governance, Risk and Compliance processes, practices and skillsets.
Over the years, Adedoyin has gained deep competencies in Business Management, Strategic Business/IT Alignment, Information Security, Information Assurance, Risk Management, Project Management and e-Business. She previously worked at the Lagos Business School and at Phillips Consulting, where she resigned as Executive Director in charge of the Information Systems and e-Business Practice in 2008 to establish Digital Jewels.
Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo is the first Nigerian female pilot at Qatar Airways and the first Nigerian female pilot to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner across the Atlantic. She started her aviation career at the US-based Sunrise Aviation Academy where she graduated in 2011.
She joined Medview Airlines in 2013 till October 2018, first as a First officer on Boeing 737 classic, and was later upgraded to Boeing 767-300ER. She joined Qatar Airways in October 2018 on the Dreamliner Boeing 787.
Ade Samuel is a celebrity stylist and she started her career by assisting fashion editors at Teen Vogue and W magazines before training with stylists Cher Coulter and Simone Harouche.
She has dressed the likes of Michael B. Jordan, Justine Skye, Yara Shahidi, Angela Rye, and Cynthia Erivo. Bringing flair to Hollywood red carpets by teaming up with designers like LaQuan Smith and Pyer Moss, Samuel is known for working with new and rising designers of colour. In 2018, she was part of Essence magazine’s iconic cover featuring Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Letitia. She was named one of “The 25 Most Powerful Stylists in Hollywood” by The Hollywood Reporter in 2019.
Aisha Salaudeen is a multimedia journalist and producer of editorial sponsorships currently based out of the CNN bureau in Lagos, Nigeria. She scripts and produces sponsored CNN TV shows such as African Voices Changemakers, Inside Africa, and Market Place Africa. She also writes feature stories from across the continent.
Her work has appeared in The Financial Times, Al Jazeera English, Okay Africa, and TRT World where she covered thorny issues like alleged police brutality, sexual abuse and surviving Boko Haram.
Aisha Yesufu is a socio-political activist and co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, launched in response to the 2014 abduction of more than 200 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria, by the militant group Boko Haram.
She was also a prominent participant in the #EndSars protests, during which saw Nigerians take to the streets to demand greater accountability from the Nigerian Police Force, beginning with the dissolution of the controversial Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) members of which have been accused of the murder, rape and robbery of civilians.
She is the founder of Citizens Hub a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to build a financially independent, active and responsible citizenry through a solutions-driven and dynamic approach.
Amin Ameen is an engineer with over ten years of experience in management. While working full time as an Engineer, Amin has been able to build, reach, and teach a community that has grown to over 30,000 ambitious creatives and professionals both on the continent and in the diaspora. With the hashtag, #EverythingNaArt, Amin has built a movement through her personal brand that turned into a call to action. A call to action that continues to fosters entrepreneurship, ingenuity, innovation, and intellectual growth.
Over the years, Amin has continued in her humanitarian pursuit of helping and connecting people to their purpose and to other people. She is an exhibitionist of beauty in Nigerian–African–art.
Amy Akudo Iheakanwa is the Creative Director of Shekudo, sustainable Women’s footwear and accessories brand founded in Sydney Australia relocating its manufacturing base across to Lagos Nigeria in 2018. Amy aims to contribute to the footwear manufacturing sector in Nigeria while shedding more light on the often overlooked artisan and craftsmanship scene.
With a major focus on sustainability and circular fashion principles, Shekudo looks to integrate some of the age-old techniques and underutilised local resources into its contemporary aesthetic, such as weaving, silver and woodwork.
Iheakanwa plans to expand her production and incorporate community through training and capacity building for destitute women with limited options and skills available to them.
Anne Adams is a clay bender and ceramic artist. She started off her artistic journey by creating functional art and 2-dimensional works on canvas. In 2020, she mastered the potter’s wheel and evolved to experimenting with clay to create works that take the form of vases, distorted figures and the feminine form.
She explored various mediums, including canvas paintings, murals and functional art. She is a member of the Female Artists Association of Nigeria and has participated in several group exhibitions in Abuja and Lagos. She won the Under 30s CEO Awards for the Category of Creativity and Innovation in 2019. She is focused on using her medium and style, to change the narrative surrounding the quality and potential of ceramic as an art form in Nigeria.
Aramide Akintimehin is the Founder and CEO of Talent Mine Academy, a school dedicated to helping out-of-school children at no cost. Aramide is a first-class graduate of Economics from Covenant University. While undergoing her undergraduate degree, she began tutoring and she has not for once relented in pursuing her dream to teach with zeal and enthusiasm.
She is a Fellow at Teach for Nigeria; a leadership program with the sole objective to transform the education system in Nigeria by equipping their fellows with leadership skills needed to influence positive changes beyond the classroom. She is the author of the ebook ‘20 lessons I learned at age 20’ and she runs a mentorship program for female teenagers known as “Lady with a Difference”.
Banke Alawaye (Posthumous recognition) – She was the Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder at aCubed Limited, a business management firm and the author of “The Warrior Within”. She was also the pioneer program manager CodeLagos – an initiative to train 1 million Lagos residents to code.
During her lifetime, she sat on the advisory board for Girl Code Academy and was also the Co-Founder, SheProfitsAfrica – a program that provides training, mentoring and connections for women entrepreneurs. She was a passionate advocate for women in technology and was recognised as Digital Frontier Woman by DecadeOfWomen – an initiative of the United Nations.
Banke was a Sickle Cell warrior, and supported the sickle cell community by volunteering, taking part in fundraising activities and speaking about her experience, as a means of inspiring others.
Beauty Kumesine is the Founding Executive Director of Blazing Heart Autism Center (BHAC), an organisation providing the highest quality therapy for autistic children as well as support for their families. She’s also a public advocate for the identification and rehabilitation of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other related developmental disorders.
Beauty spent 2 years understanding people living with ASD and qualified as a therapist in that time. Since then, she’s been a voice for kids with special needs and never ceases to advocate and drive conversations around ASD and special needs in Nigeria. She’s the organiser of PortHarcourtWalk4Autism and also plays host to seminars spreading the word about ASD.
Bodam Taiwo is the Founder of the Be-You-Ti-Ful Movement and a Coach for women through an exclusive and goal-oriented MasterMind. She’s also a Senior Marketing Executive, Event Entrepreneur, Author and Lifestyle Coach. She provides a variety of avenues and resources for equipping women to thrive, including through her book Be-You-Ti-Ful, Be-You-Ti-Ful Sessions and Hangout with Single Sisters.
A former Beauty Queen – the first Miss Malaika UK 2005, Bodam who is also known as The Etiquette Queen is a strong advocate of proper etiquette and a role model to women across different age-groups. She is the founder of a Signature Etiquette, Grooming and Hospitality Course called The Esther Curriculum. Bodam founded EBB Wedding & Events Designers Ltd – a full-service boutique planning and events design company.
Bolanle Banwo Osadolo is the Founder of Geneza Brands, a branding agency based in Lagos and also the Lead instructor at Geneza School of Design. She’s also the Founder and Lead Creative at the Female Designer Movement, an initiative she launched with a mission to train and equip women with design skillset and thereby help increase the number of women in the Nigerian Technology ecosystem.
As a brand identity designer/design advocate, she helps brands tell compelling stories via creative designs. Much of her work is centered around helping small and medium businesses create strong identities via good communication designs.
Brenda McWilson-Okorogba (Moments with Bren) is the Founder of Moments With Bren, an organization that provides a suite of helpful academic opportunities, career development tools and free resources for individuals to connect with their communities, support a culture of innovation, and promote a vision for self-determined learning that is student-centred, empathy-based, forward-thinking, and designed to meet the vast needs of today’s learners. She’s also a Learning Experience (LX) Designer, Grant Writer, Problem-Based Learning Facilitator.
Brenda purposefully creates opportunities for the growth of those around her, both personally and professionally. She has worked with students around the world throughout their career pathways and college admission with a record of $80.4 million fully-funded scholarships and tuition-fee waivers and also securing over 800 jobs for youths.
Cassandra Oma Ndulue is an entrepreneur and Founder of Ndulue Farms and Fisheries. After graduating from the university in 2011, she decided to venture into fish farming, in the process of creating jobs for people. She also went for training in the aquaculture business and started off with a few fishponds in Anambra State in 2012.
Her fish farm experienced a flood disaster in 2018 which led to a loss of over 70,000 catfishes and 110,000 juveniles with an estimated loss of over N30 million. As a resilient and determined entrepreneur, Sandra bounced back from this tragedy with no institutional support and currently operates a thriving fish farming business in Anambra.
Catherine Uju Ifejika is the first and only woman to become chair and CEO of an Upstream E&P Company in Nigeria, Brittania-U Nigeria Limited. Holding a Diploma in Law and an LLB (Hons), she is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, a fellow of the Institute of Arbitration and Conciliation and a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
She joined Brittania-U Nigeria Limited in 2007 as Chair /CEO and has since made impressive contributions to the sector. The company, through her guidance, has boasted incredible achievements, among which its Ajapa Floating Production Storage Unit produced its first oil from drilling in 17 months.
Chichi Igbo is a footballer, singer and fitness coach. Chichi started her career in 2000 with FCT Queens of Abuja. In summer 2002, she graduated with her team the Capital Queens a youth tournament in Denmark which one could win. Igbo herself was named the best player and moved a year later to Fortuna Hjørring in Denmark.
Since 2004, she has played for the Nigeria women’s national football team. She represented her country at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China.
Chief Temitope Ajayi – Popularly known as “Mama Diaspora” is the Chairman & CEO of Silicon Valley Nigerian Economic Development Inc. She is also the honourable chairman and co-founder of Global Connection for Women Foundation a U.S non-profit organization with a mission to create new opportunities for women and youth in communities around the world.
She is a US-based Nigerian business consultant who is an accountant by training, a social entrepreneur and an ardent community activist. She was the former president of All Nigerian-American Congress (ANAC). She has played a crucial role in the advocacy of the Nigerian diaspora issues and also well known for promoting women empowerment and poverty eradication in Africa through agri-business.
Chinedum Peace Babalola is a Pharmacist and Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry/Pharmacokinetics. She is the first female Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Ibadan and the incumbent Vice-Chancellor of Chrisland University, Nigeria.
She was appointed the Vice-Chancellor, Chrisland University, Abeokuta in November 2017. Her research focuses on pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, pharmaceutical analysis, pharmacogenetics and bioethics as tools for studying drug disposition in Nigerians in order to guide therapeutic optimization in Blacks.
In 2011, she led a multinational/interdisciplinary team that won a MacArthur Foundation grant (approx. $1 million) to set up a Centre for Drug Discovery, Development and Production (CDDDP), UI – first of its kind in Africa, for building capacity for Africans to make their own medicines and improve access to quality medicines.
Dame Elizabeth Anionwu is a British nurse, healthcare administrator, lecturer, and Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London. In 1979, Anionwu became the United Kingdom’s first sickle-cell and thalassemia nurse specialist and contributed to the establishment of the Brent Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Counselling centre.
In 1998, by then a Professor of Nursing, Anionwu created the Mary Seacole Centre for Nursing Practice at the University of West London. She holds a PhD, was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). She retired in 2007, and in 2016 she published her memoirs, Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union.
Damilola Bode-Ogundipe is a Fitness Communicator, Wellness Coach and Founder of The Fit Mum Hub. She is passionate about helping women live fit and healthy lives. Through her Premium Personal & Group Coaching programs, Books, Webinars e.t.c worked with over a thousand women from all over the world. She also teaches women via social media how to harness the power of Mindset, Movement & Nutrition to become the fittest, healthiest version of themselves.
Damilola Oke – Also known as Madame Modish, Damilola is a Style & Brand Consultant and Costume designer. She is the CEO of Fierce & Modish, where she provides artistic and styling services to over 200 clients; including consumers, celebrities, corporate brands and tv and film production companies. She authored the first fashion & style book in Nigeria – Modish Maxims: A Set of Style Rules.
She is the recipient of the “Stylist of the Year” Award – AFWN 2015 and has been recognized every year by different bodies. She has multiple degrees in communications and worked as a Personal shopper and Fashion stylist with global fashion stores within Scotland and in London and moved back to Nigeria to work as a Corporate Communications Executive and later, an Advertising Senior Executive till July 2013 when Fierce and Modish was birthed.
Data Oruwari is the Experience Design Director at IBM Interactive Experience. She is a Brooklyn based visual artist of Nigerian descent who is a designer and energy healing enthusiast. She is a contemporary sacred artist who creates unique iconographic representations of afro-spiritual identities. Her influences include the decorative arts, the visionary art movement, byzantine iconography, and natural law.
Dehlia Umunna became Harvard’s first Nigerian Law professor in 2015. Umunna serves as deputy director and clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Institute (CJI), where she supervises third-year law students in their representation of adult and juvenile clients in criminal and juvenile proceedings in Massachusetts Courts, including the Supreme Judicial Court.
Her teaching interest and research focus on Criminal Law, Criminal Defense and Theory, Mass Incarceration, and Race Issues. In addition to her work in academics, she also spent several years as a public defender and worked as a trial attorney. Umunna served as faculty training attorneys under the District of Columbia Criminal Justice Act.
Diamond Okoh is the CEO of HelloFounder, a platform created to help aspiring entrepreneurs to navigate launching and building new businesses and to also to achieve this goal with less risk of failure, setbacks and pain.
After launching her second business in 2016 right out of university, she hit her first million in sales within 6 months and later had shut down the business to shut down the business. She was inspired to make starting a business easier for aspiring entrepreneurs. She created a community for early-stage entrepreneurs to find information, resources, guidance that will aid them in starting their business and growing their new business.
Doyinsola Ogunye is the Chief Executive Officer of Mental and Environmental Initiative for Children (MEDIC), the founding organisation of Kids Clean Club, an environmentally and socially conscious non-governmental organization established to cater for the physical mental and environmental cleanliness of the Nigerian child and to create awareness amongst children to be socially responsible at a young age.
In May 2014 she began the 50k Tree campaign which is an on-going planting campaign in Lagos state, Endorsed by the Lagos State Government. In June 2015 she also spearheaded the creation of Nigeria’s first-ever Kids’ Garden (a haven for kids to come together and learn while they have fun); which has been a nature preservation centre where children are taught recycling, tree planting, horticulture, agriculture, aquaculture and cleanliness. Project HELP (Help Educate the Less Privileged) is another campaign she started in 2016.
Dr Abimbola Banu-Ogundere is a medical doctor and Canadian certified Montessori teacher. She is the founder and C.E.O. of Kids’ Court School, a renowned world-class elementary school in Lagos, Nigeria. Due to her enthusiasm for improving the quality of education received by the African child, in 2018, she founded the Learning As I Teach (LAIT) Foundation, a non-profit teacher training organization dedicated to improving access to quality professional and personal development for educators and parents with the ultimate goal of ensuring quality education in Nigeria and Africa.
She is the founder and director of The Knowledge Cocoon, a Coaching and Business Strategy Development Company. Abimbola is also the convener of The Connected Ladies (TCL), a platform geared towards supporting women in entrepreneurship to achieve greatness. She is an avid promoter of women in the workplace and the marketplace.
Dr Adaeze Oreh is a Family Physician, Public Health Specialist, Researcher, Health Systems and Policy Analyst and Manager. She is the Founder and CEO of Kaibeya Care Foundation, Africa – a non-profit organization she recently founded to improve health, education and empowerment of women and underserved populations in rural communities.
She’s currently the Country Head of Planning, Research and Statistics with Nigeria’s National Blood Transfusion Service. She works with health and development policymakers to create blood policies that reduce maternal mortality and reduce the transfer of infections such as HIV through unsafe blood transfusions as well as improving the distribution of safely screened blood to hard-to-reach areas especially in times of terror and conflict.
Dr Chioma Nwakanma (Dr Zobo) is a practicing medical doctor who is passionate about preventive health practice and has been an advocate using social media as a tool to influence healthy living by combating health misinformation. She started Medically Speaking using Twitter where she shares vital information educating the masses on good health and preventive practices and she has thousands of followers.
In 2017, she founded SMILE with ME foundation which educates school students, women and men on health preventive practices and held screening and testing on breast and cervical cancer during its campaigns. Her love for writing propelled her to write on medical issues addressing and correcting wrong health practice and rendering help to many through national newspapers alongside her personal platforms. She believes educating the ignorant will serve as a good way to prevent diseases such as cancers and early screening.
Dr Ijeoma Kola is a historian of public health with a special interest in the history of 20th-century urban Black health and medicine, as well as cultural understandings of health and disease within the Black diaspora.
Ijeoma is the founder and executive director of Cohort Sistas, a non-profit organization created to improve access to mentorship, resources, and community for Black women pursuing doctoral degrees. She is a seasoned beauty, fashion, and lifestyle blogger with a decade of experience blending authentic storytelling with visually appealing digital content.
Dr Khaalisha Ajala is an assistant professor of hospital medicine at Emory School of Medicine/Grady Memorial Hospital. She created HeartBeats and Hip-Hop, a non-profit organization that seeks to erase health disparities in urban communities by using the culture of hip-hop.
As an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University/Grady Memorial Hospital and a DJ, she brings both of her passions to the forefront of her work with HeartBeats and HipHop. For her creative (and life-changing) efforts, she has been awarded the 2018 Emory Division of Hospital Medicine Humanitarian Award, the 2019 Medical Education Award, and the 2020 Excellence in Humanitarian Service Award.
Dr Nneka Mobisson-Etuk is the Co-Founder and CEO of mDoc, a social enterprise that integrates proven methodologies in quality improvement and behavioural science with web and mobile-based technology to optimize the end to end care experience for people living with chronic health needs such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.
Prior to mDoc, Nneka was Executive Director for Africa at Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), a leading global health organization focused on healthcare quality improvement and building sustainable change in healthcare delivery systems in priority African countries. A pediatrician by training, Nneka was previously Vice President of Community Health and Population Health Management at the Connecticut Hospital Association, where she provided leadership to hospitals in population health management.
Dr Olutoyin Ajala is a Consultant Geriatrician currently working in the UK’s National Health Service and she has been working at the frontline of the COVID-19 response as a frontline senior Physician since March 2020.
She is also CEO of JBS Medicare Services in Nigeria, a specialist elderly medicine, nursing and therapy service, the only Geriatrician led private healthcare service in Nigeria. She is the CEO of IBS Elderly Health & Wellbeing Foundation Africa, an organization that focuses on enhancing the care and quality of life of the underprivileged elderly persons in Nigeria and Africa.
She is passionate about mentoring younger medical professionals and has participated in several mentoring schemes. She is the editor of “The Healthier Daily Digest”, a quarterly newsletter on Healthy Aging and also the convener of “The Healthier Aging Conference”, which had its first event on 1st October 2019 in Lagos.
Dr Orode Doherty is a Harvard-educated Public Health Physician and US Board Certified Pediatrician with a special focus on Children, Youth and Women. She is the Founder, Managing Director at Ingress Health Partners.
As a pioneer Pediatrician at the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment (ICAP), Columbia University, she led teams that established over 100 maternal and newborn care clinics for mothers living with HIV in several states in Nigeria, creating curricula for training health providers and tools for supervision. She pioneered the well-baby clinics at St. Nicholas hospitals in Lagos.
As Country Director for Africare Nigeria, she provided thought leadership around enhancing the capacity of women and their families to improve health and livelihoods through behaviour change, education, and enhanced access to resources and technology.
Dr Toyin Ajayi is the Chief Health Officer of Cityblock Health, a New York-based health and social services company focused on enabling a path to healthier communities through a digitally-enabled, integrated medical, behavioural health and social service delivery model for low-income Medicaid populations with complex needs.
The company, which was co-founded by Dr Toyin Ajayi, has become the latest Black-led company to achieve unicorn status — that is when a privately-owned start-up company achieves a valuation of $1 billion or more.
Prior to this, Toyin served as Chief Medical Officer of Commonwealth Care Alliance, a nationally-renowned integrated health plan, and care delivery system for individuals dually-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. In this role, she led clinical operations, spearheaded care delivery innovations and oversaw multi-disciplinary teams of clinicians, community health workers and administrators serving more than 20,000 beneficiaries across the state of Massachusetts.
Elisabeth Akinwale is a CrossFit Athlete, Social Media Celebrity, Gymnast, and CrossFit Coach. She started to take part in gymnastics at the age of 4 after she became inspired by her older sister who’d made a name for herself in the sport.
Elisabeth soon became a success in her own right, when she earned several honours as a competitive gymnast. Consequently, Elisabeth was forced to wave goodbye to gymnastics for good due to several knee injuries. During her recovery, Elisabeth turned to the weights room to gain strength in her knees. Weightlifting quickly turned into a passion for Elisabeth, leading her on the path to a full recovery.
Ever since then, Elisabeth has gone on to make her mark in CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting. As a result of her success, she’s gained the support of fans from all over the world – becoming an internet sensation and CrossFit trainer in the process
Erica Nlewedim is an actress, model and entrepreneur, who discovered her talents quite early. In 2014, she participated in the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MGBN) pageant where she quickly became a fan favourite which earned her the MBGN Miss Photogenic award, a year later, her acting career kicked off with a lead role in Secrets and Scandals.
She founded Erica Nlewedim Foundation in 2018; a non-governmental Organisation geared towards catering to underprivileged children. In December 2019, the Foundation launched its Hunger Heroes Campaign which successfully fed 1000 less privileged individuals on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria. She became a fan favourite during her Big Brother Naija (Lockdown Edition), debut where she was unafraid to be authentic, original and relatable to the millions that tuned in.
Esé Azénabor-Grembowski is a bridal designer and Creative Director at Esé Azénabor Couture. She designs for clients that love art and understand the craftsmanship that goes into each haute couture and bespoke garment. Esé Azénabor is known for her hand beading with fine crystals, stones and pearls, hand embroidery on fine French lace and tulle, her structuring with hymo, hard tulle, boning and attention to detail. The Esé Azénabor brand has produced a total of 21 different collections. She is now one of the world’s sought-after designers.
Esther Agbaje is an attorney and member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. She graduated from George Washington University, Washington D.C., with a degree in Political Science. She currently works as an attorney in Minneapolis with a focus on general civil litigation and medical malpractice.
She once served at the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Affairs Officer, charged with managing the rule of law projects in the Middle East. Her priorities as a lawmaker include affordable housing, environmental justice, police reform, public safety, and racial equality.
Ezinne Kalu-Phelps is a Nigerian-American Professional Basketball player, Model and Entrepreneur. Kalu led Nigeria to a historic place in the Quarter-Finals at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in 2018 and in 2019, she was crowned MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket.
She is also the CEO of Kalu Kosmetics, a brand that seeks to keep up with the latest cosmetic trends and create new ones, while at the same time show a strong representation of style, beauty and versatility.
Fade Ogunro is an on-air-personality, radio and TV presenter, film producer and fashion designer. She is the founder and CEO of Bookings Africa, a pan-African on-demand digital marketplace that allows professionals and service providers from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa to sell their services and skills online.
She co-founded Film Factory Productions and Executive Produced TV adverts and documentaries for multinationals such as General Electric, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Lancome and MTN. She was recently appointed as a member of the Global Campaign Board for The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, making her the first African and Nigerian woman to become part of the organization’s board.
Feyikemi Abudu – Popularly known as “FK Abudu” is an entrepreneur, screenwriter, content maker and influencer. FK Abudu is also the co-host of the Podcast channel “I Said What I Said”. She is one of the Founding members of the Feminist Coalition, an organization that champions equality for women in Nigerian society and also played a huge role in supporting the #EndSARS movement. She was at the forefront of the #EndSARS protests, providing legal, medical, and financial aid and assistance to protesters and victims of police brutality in different capacities through the group, Feminist Coalition alongside other youth movements.
Flo Ngala is a New York-based photographer with a passion for authentic image-making and photojournalism. Ngala’s innate love for creativity and her culture has always been a theme within her work.
From impactful campaigns for Nike and Facebook, to uniquely constructed self-portraits, she continuously maintains integrity and humanity in her subjects while creating what she calls “powerful moments with people”. Flo has worked for a variety of publications and commercial clients across documentary, music, portraiture and fashion.
Hassana Umoru Maina is an advocate against gender-based violence and currently a student of the Nigerian Law school. She became a strong voice in the MeToo movement in Nigeria, subsequently transitioning into North Normal, which seeks to break the culture of silence around rape and other forms of SGBV in Northern Nigeria.
During the lockdown due to COVID19 in Nigeria, she started an Instagram Live series titled ‘ABC’s of Sexual Violence’ where she hosts conversations to help people of all ages learn the basics of GBV and also discuss different and subtle ways each person may be complicit in perpetuating rape culture, by helping people understand rape, sexual violence, feminism and consent.
Imisi Owolabi is a seasoned international speaker, Minister Prophet to the Nations and an extraordinary woman of many parts. She is currently the President of Hope365 ministries a platform that daily propagates the gospel of hope and houses a portfolio of other ministry expressions. Notable expressions of Hope365 are: the every evolving WhenFriendsPray events which has held over 200 meetings in the past 15years with tremendous exponential growth in both number and territories covered.
She is also the CEO of the Imisioluwa International Ministries (IOI), an expression which incubates the renowned evangelical platform – Intercession and Revival Academy (IARA)with a mission to raise 100,000,000 intercessors for Christ through evangelism, teaching, equipping and prophetic guidance under her leadership. The Hopeline Call -Center is also a noteworthy expression under the IOI umbrella which was established to provide succor, counsel, ignite hope and encourage people in distress through prayer and counseling sessions. Other remarkable expressions of her gift and service to God are:
Rekindle Platform– Where she serves marketplace apostles (Entrepreneurs, Corporate Executives and Governmental leaders) raising kings and priests in the marketplace for Christ through discipleship, mentorship and coaching with a central theme to transform lives and nations, expand the kingdom culture and birth new policies and accelerate kingdom agenda that can shape our world.
Sarah’s shower– A community where waiting mothers encourage and love each other while conquering in the place of prayer. It is an expression of joy to help them navigate their waiting season, with the understanding that a testimony beckons.
SheIsNetwork- A platform that seeks to educate and equip women on enterprise, empowerment, discipleship, charity, ministry, and relationships.
ImisiOluwa is also a seasoned Entrepreneur and she expresses her gift as Co-Founder of the I-Nest Hub a resource center with creative ideas & spaces for work, research, events, trainings, and corporate events.
Her mandate is to raise, equip and disciple revivalists, intercessors, and transformational leaders in the 7 mountains of influence through intercession, prophetic insight, apostolic assignments, strategic sessions and teaching of the word. She has a distinct voice on all social media platforms and you can find her on Instagram hosting the popular Live session “Kini Big Deal” where she articulates and lends her voice to practical Christian living in the Generation.
ImisiOluwa is a lover of music, radio, art and media and she has authored various books including When Prayer Becomes A Lifestyle, Prayer looks good on you; Untold Stories; Life Lessons I Learnt From Swimming; and Psalms by Imisi (an audio compilation of thoughts, poems, prayers, expressions and conversations with God)
ImisiOluwa is armed with a degree in Political science from the University of Lagos, a student of the word and has been nutured under the tutelage of the diverse prophetic instituitions around the world. She is married to her best friend, Olumide Owolabi, with whom she co-pastors the Fountain of Life Church – Hope Center, Yaba.
ImisiOluwa, through speaking, transforms lives, businesses, and nations.
Ivana I. Osagie is the Founder/Convener of the Professional Women Roundtable (PWR) – a non-profit focused on building female leadership capacity and accelerating gender parity towards achieving the UN SDG5.
After a long and varied business career culminating in the C-suite, Ivana is now focused on supporting women in leadership and making workplaces more gender-sensitive. Her background includes significant strategy, corporate development, project development & project finance expertise across a number of sectors.
She sits on a number of boards and is also an angel investor. She is a member of the board of directors of Rising Tide Africa – a female angel investors’ network and a mentor/adviser to entrepreneurs and start-ups.
Jessica Anuna is the Founder and CEO of Klasha, a fast-fashion online retailer specifically designed to bring exciting and affordable fashion to millennials in Africa. Before the launch of this e-commerce platform, she had already worked for Net-A-Porter, Amazon, and started RestockChina, a product sourcing company exporting Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) to the UK and US in 2015.
Her background in e-commerce, fashion, and manufacturing came in handy with the launch of her online clothing store, which caters to women aged 18–28 in Nigeria, Ghana, Francophone countries, and additional emerging markets.
Jessica O. Matthews is the Founder & CEO of Uncharted Power, an award-winning sustainable infrastructure company. She’s also a Nigerian-American inventor, CEO and venture capitalist. Her career started at the age of 19 with her invention of the SOCCKET, an energy-generating soccer ball. At the age of 22, she founded Uncharted Power as a power solutions company before expanding to integrated infrastructure solutions.
Jessica’s research and career center around the intersection of disruptive technology, renewable energy, human behaviour, and the psychology of self-actualization. Her list of accolades includes Fortune’s Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs, Forbes 30 Under 30, Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30, and Harvard University Scientist of the Year.
Jola Ayeye is a screenwriter, storyteller and the Head of Development at Salt and Truth, a production company based in Lagos, Nigeria. She also co-hosts “I Said What I Said”, a hilarious social commentary and pop culture podcast.
Jola runs the blog “Happy Noisemaker”, a social commentary, humour and lifestyle blog where she creates amazing content that sparks joy and encourages conversations. She is one of the Founding members of the Feminist Coalition, an organization that champions equality for women in Nigerian society and also played a huge role in supporting the #EndSARS movement.
Josephine Effah-Chukwuma is the Founder and Executive Director, Project Alert, which provides medical assistance to injured female victims through public fund sourcing and also provides legal services to victims. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma is a Nigerian Development Specialist and advocates against domestic violence who founded the first battered women’s shelter in Nigeria – Sophia’s place.
Jumoke Dada is the Founder of Taeilo, a brand that makes exquisitely crafted furniture using Aso Oke and Ankara fabrics. She is a Lagos based designer and a graduate of Architecture. She is passionate about incorporating Africanism into her own style of architecture. The ‘Ikea-styled’ Taeilo brand is quickly becoming a favourite of the young, upwardly mobile groups because of its style, affordability and quality.
Dada was also featured on the Nasdaq Tower at the New York Times Square as a Milestone Maker of the Fall 2020 cohort of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial centre. By using furniture as a medium of expression and her love for Africa, she has built a platform where all Africans can shop for their furniture and lifestyle needs.
Kaosarah Abdulrasaq Adeyi-ABK is an Agropreneur, Creative Designer and SDGs Advocate. She is the executive director of ABK Farms and ABK Concept, a creative designing and printing company. She combines both apiculture with fish farming. She started a farming business because she believes that it’s a sustainable business that can contribute to the GDP of the country. She is a graduate of the University of Ilorin and has served in different capacities one of which is organizing empowerment schemes for students in the University.
Kehinde Kamson is a Nigerian entrepreneur, business leader, and philanthropist. She is best known as the Founder and CEO of Sweet Sensation Confectionery Limited – one of the strongest brands in the fast-food industry in Nigeria.
She is one of those credited with changing the competitive outlook of the Quick Service Restaurant industry in Nigeria. She is an advocate of women ‘leaning in’ and has showcased this creed through her role as a mentor for the transformative program; African Women’s Entrepreneurship Co-operative (AWEC), where she provided business guidance and mentorship to women entrepreneurs and founders across Africa.
Kikelomo Olanrewaju Atanda-Owo is a Journalist, On-Air personality and entrepreneur. She is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Z-Edge Limited. She is an Agile Marketing Communication Executive with diverse capabilities within marketing, advertising, communication, public relations and client account management. She previously served as the Vice President (CRM & ACC), Peculiar People’s Management (PPM) in Lagos.
She is also the Proprietor and Host of Real Talk With Kike, a radio and TV show and franchise from the corporate body of Z-Edge Limited. On her show,, she invites stakeholders of institutions, decision-makers of relevant industries, and government principal officers to address and proffer solutions to burning local and international issues that affect Nigerians.
Laila St. Matthew-Daniel is the founder and President of Acts Generation GBV, a non-governmental organization that combats domestic violence and child abuse in Nigeria. She is a transformational Growth & Development Strategist, Executive Coach, Emotions/Mental Health Therapist, NLP & CBT Counsellor. She is the Principal Consultant of Jacinta Lifestyle Re-engineering Firm.
She has organized various protests for the rights of women and the girl-child, some of which are the Buni Yadi Massacre of February 2014 and part of the initiating group that organized the first protest against the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by the Boko Haram sect. She has organized various sensitization seminars and workshops to empower women on the issues of self-mastery, self-awareness, and self-actualization.
Laju Iren is an author, book-writing coach, and filmmaker. She is the author of the critically acclaimed “Selfies With Bible Girls”, which retells the stories of over twenty-two female bible characters. She authored “Girl-Cyclopaedia”, a compendium of questions young ladies ask and answers they actually need, “Dating Intelligently” and Mirror, Mirror. Her recent Christian novels include Loving Amanda and Finding Miriam.
As convener of the Dauntless Conference, she teaches men and women how to live above fear and fulfil God’s purpose for their lives. She wrote, directed and produced her debut film, “Love is a Star” and also “During Ever After”. She is the Founder of the Christian Story Teller Prize, Africa’s premiere prize for Christ-centred stories.
Laju has translated her passion for writing into a superpower that teaches others to tell their own stories. Her company, Laju Iren Publishing empowers clients with the skills and resources they need to write, self-publish, and sell their own books through online courses as well as professional private coaching.
Lola Akinmade Åkerström is an award-winning Nigerian photographer and travel writer based in Stockholm, Sweden. She is the editor-in-chief for Slow Travel Stockholm. Her works have been featured in the National Geographic Traveler, BBC, and CNN, among other publications. She founded Geotraveler Media – a multimedia and travel consulting agency.
She worked as a field journalist on the web team during Eco-Challenge Expedition Race in Fiji and have volunteered as a photojournalist with the Swedish Red Cross and World Hope International, documenting their projects in countries such as Nicaragua, Sweden, and Cambodia, and C.H.I.E.F – an NGO based in Nigeria that promotes grassroots health development, HIV/AIDS awareness, and the empowerment of women.
Lola Ogunnaike is a seasoned media veteran, with a career as a writer and television correspondent, covering key events in entertainment, popular culture and politics for the New York Times, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, BET, MTV, VH1 and Al Jazeera. She’s interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama, George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Lupita Nyong’o, and Oprah Winfrey.
Lola currently hosts “Entertainment Weekly The Show,” a series that explores the biggest stories in pop culture. After nearly six years at the New York Times, she joined CNN as an entertainment correspondent for the network’s flagship show American Morning.
Lotanna Igwe-Odunze is a software engineer, artist and writer who developed a new system for Igbo writing called the Ńdébé script. Her book, Ńdébé: A Modern Igbo Writing System, is finally available for purchase after 10 years in the making. The Ńdébé Project book, YouTube channel, t-shirts and bi-monthly writing contest on Twitter gives learners a sense of pride and shared ownership in Igwe-Odunze’s mission to expand Igbo usage in the digital and global space.
Lotanna Igwe-Odunze, also known as sugabelly, is also the creator of the SexyIgbo, the easiest way to learn Igbo online, and was named in YNaija’s 2020 Power List as one of the most powerful young Nigerians in Culture for inventing the Ńdébé Script.
Mabel Segun is a Nigerian poet, playwright and writer of short stories and children’s books and is considered one of the great matriarchs of Nigerian literature. Her first book, My Father’s Daughter, has been widely used as a literature text in schools all over the world, and her books have been translated into German, Danish, Norwegian and Greek.
Segun has championed children’s literature in Nigeria through the Children’s Literature Association of Nigeria, which she founded in 1978, and the Children’s Documentation and Research Centre, which she set up in 1990 in Ibadan. She is also a fellow of the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany.
Maggie Ebunoluwa Aderin-Pocock is a British space scientist and a science educator whose acclaimed work has ranged from making novel scientific instruments to co-hosting the BBC mainstay astronomy program The Sky at Night. She is the founder of Science Innovation Ltd and has engaged over 350,000 school children both in UK inner-city schools and also around the world.
She credits her deep passion for science as the tool that allowed her to break through social mobility barriers. In 2009 Maggie Aderin-Pocock was honoured as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her work as a science communicator, breaking down complex scientific issues into simple information that everyone can understand, and for her outreach to young people.
Maiden Alex Ibru is the Chief Executive Officer of Guardian Newspapers. Before becoming the publisher of the Guardian newspaper, she was the CEO of Guardian Press Limited for 11 years.
Maiden Alex Ibru is also a director of Trinity Foundation, a philanthropic foundation that provides financial and infrastructural support to institutions and civil society organizations which promote democratic and open society principles.
Mercy Abang is an international Journalist from Nigeria and also a Media Entrepreneur. She has been a widely syndicated Journalist in Nigeria – She has worked as a freelance Journalist and Producer with Al-Jazeera Media Network She is a Television Host, Matasa Da Imani TV Debate Show from Berlin Germany, she is skilled in both Television, Print and Social media – She has founded two media companies and She is an ambassador at Host-writer – A berlin based non-profit, organization that serves as an open network to help journalists to easily collaborate across borders.
Mercy is the 2017 United Nations (Dag Hammarksjold) Journalism Fellow and the founder of NewsWireNGR. While at the United Nations, she reported activities and media briefings on world leaders at the General Assembly and followed the various proceedings at the United National Security Council.
Mercy started her career on Television with the Independent Television Abuja where she worked as a Political Correspondent for many years, Presenter and Producer at various times . She has been a media stringer and fixer with International news outlets like the BBC World Service Trust, Sunday Times of London and the Associated Press (AP) She has gone on several election observation missions on the West African sub-continent, Volunteered as a digitrends member of the African Union (AU) Communications Team. She has an interview series, “Conversations with Mercy Abang”, which has had to interview high profile guests across Nigeria on public affairs and news commentaries in the country.
In 2017, she was named the woman of the Year in Journalism. In 2012, she was named as one of 10 Young Nigerian Women to Watch.
She is from Boki, in Cross River State Nigeria, and she grew up in Abuja Nigeria, she studied Journalism, has a Post Graduate in Advertising and Public Relations and MBA with the Berlin School of Business – Mercy is versatile on issues not limited to international diplomacy, Public policy, Journalism, communications and elections.
Miss saHHara is a trans and human rights advocate, beauty queen, fashion model, singer/songwriter, and influencer who uses her various platforms to advocate for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community in Africa. In 2011, Miss saHHara was the subject of a Sky Living documentary exploring the lives of transgender women participating in beauty pageants in Thailand.
As part of her advocacy, she founded a global transgender awareness news curation organization called TransValid She is also a vocal critic of the 14 years imprisonment law of LGBTQI+ people in Nigeria. Miss saHHara is also a strong advocate for education and female empowerment and uses her experiences in media to utilize positive media campaigns for the transgender community. She hopes to further her education in Gender & Sexuality studies in the nearer future.
Morenike Olusanya is a visual artist and her favourite mode of expression is digital art. She currently works as a graphic designer and a freelance digital and traditional artist. She has, over the years, built expertise and gained recognition, both locally and internationally, as an illustrator. She graduated from the University of Lagos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Arts.
She is inspired by anything and everything African including hair, skin, fabric, and so on. She started art professionally and began her entrepreneurship journey between 2016 and 2017. Her art can be expressionist, realist, surrealist or abstract, depending on her inspiration at the particular period of time when the idea springs up and is often inspired by emotions, environment, one-minute experiences or occurrences and mostly, Africanism.
Mowalola Ogunlesi is a Nigerian-born fashion designer working and living in London. She is known for working with a wide variety of textiles such as leather and PVC to produce non-traditional silhouettes inspired by Nigerian and London youth culture.
Ogunlesi has attracted the attention of artists like Drake, Solange, Steve Lacy, Kelela and Kanye West. In October 2020, Ogunlesi was named by Elle as one of “10 Trailblazing Women Changing The Future You Need To Know”,
Mowalola designed the Nigeria national football team’s World Cup uniform for Nike in 2018. The following year, she created outfits for Skepta’s “Pure Water” music video and was one of six designers approached by British Vogue to style Barbie dolls for the brand’s 60th anniversary. On June 26, 2020, the Yeezy GAP 10-year partnership was officially announced, with Mowalola appointed by West as Design Director.
Nancy Umeh is the founder of Radiance Cookware, a safe cookware company in Nigeria and co-founder of Cium Current Nigeria, Nigeria’s leading warehousing, supermarket and shopfitting company.
When she’s not setting up warehouses and shipping out safe cookwares; she films and shares healthy family recipes on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. She has helped hundreds of families reverse picky eating, prevent and cure illnesses by sharing tips on healthy and safe cooking while using locally grown fruits, vegetables and produce. She is also a registered nurse, public health consultant (England) and a professional chef.
Nicole Asinugo is a Nigerian managing editor, storyteller, producer and screenwriter. A multidisciplinary creative, Nicole has built a career harnessing the power of storytelling, spanning the fields of advertising, editorial, film and media. She is currently working as a storyteller and content creator at Expo 2020 Dubai – a global platform for International Cooperation and Innovation that will bring together 190+ nations in October 2021.
Her debut as a screenwriter with “Living in Bondage: Breaking Free” saw her win Best Screenplay at the 2020 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. She has since written her second feature, Rattlesnake: the Ahanna Story, to critical and commercial acclaim. Having realised storytelling’s capacity to build communities of creativity and expression, she has launched two platforms: ‘The Stories We Tell’, a podcast designed to showcase African stories; and ‘The Writers Room Nigeria’ a creative community nurturing and connecting local writing talent.
Nneka Onyeali Ikpe is the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank where she has been an integral part of its transformation team in the last six years. She led the transformation of the Directorate to profitability and sustained its impressive year-on-year growth, across key performance metrics, including contributing over 28% of the Bank’s PBT, Deposits and Loans.
She is a consummate professional with over 30 years’ experience across various banks where she has held several management positions in Legal, Treasury, Investment Banking, Retail/Commercial Banking, Corporate Banking. She has been involved in the structuring of transactions in various sectors including oil & gas, manufacturing, aviation, real estate and exports. As an Executive Director at Enterprise Bank Plc, she received a formal commendation from the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) as a member of the management team that successfully turned around Enterprise Bank Plc.
Nwando Achebe is the Jack and Margaret Sweet Endowed Professor of History, is also the Faculty Excellence Advocate for the College of Social Science and is an award-winning historian, whose research interests involve the use of oral history in the study of women, gender, and sexuality in Nigeria.
Her book, The Female King won three book awards and was funded by a grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Achebe’s work has also been funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Health Organization, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. She has served as an expert consultant for “Roots” on the History Channel and has been featured in documentaries and news programming on three different continents.
Obianuju Catherine Udeh (DJ Switch) has earned her place in the hearts of Nigerians and beyond as the heroine who turned on her Instagram live video to show the world the aftermath of the horror in the form of bullets that was unleashed on unarmed peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate on Tuesday, 20th October 2020.
Prior to this time, she has been known in the entertainment industry as a Disc Jockey, songwriter, and musician. Her popularity leaped upwards in 2013 when she grabbed the whopping sum of N24 million as she emerged the first winner of the Glo X factor talent show, which also gave her a record deal with Sony Music and Peter Okoye’s P-Classic record label.
From that time until now, DJ Switch has remained a phenomenal sensation among her colleagues (both male and female) in Nigeria, across Africa and the world especially with her bravery and commitment to the physical and virtual #EndSars protests which were geared against police brutality and gun violence in Nigeria.
Olabanke Subair is the Founder of Cyrus45 Factory, an art-inclined home decor company that focuses on up-cycling waste into bespoke and ultra-modern furniture pieces while also contributing to the reduction of environmental pollution, facilitating a greener future for the next generation. The innovation to up-cycle tyres was inspired by her sister’s neighbours who were ready to dispose of 20 tyres. As a creative, with a passion for the environment, Olabanke had a light bulb moment that has birthed today a company that is creating Art& solving economic problems.
Olabanke Subair has been recognised by the BBC, Financial Times UK and Al Jazeera among many other international and local media organisations. In 2018, she was chosen to speak at the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for her innovativeness.
Olori Boye-Ajayi is the founder of the Katie Wang Company, a growing global export fashion trading company with operations in four continents. She is an International Trade Consultant, and staunch advocate for female entrepreneurs. One of her major objectives over the years is to make African indigenous products renowned by connecting and creating opportunities for local designers in the global market. She is also co-founder of Ark Coaching Company, a global firm focused on human potential and enablement across Africa.
Olori is passionate about sustainable development in Africa, she founded the ROC Girls Club to empower secondary school girls from low-income communities, aged 14–19 in Lagos. The ROC Girls Team mentors the girls on career development and personal development, helping them gain clarity about their future goals and charting a course towards achieving those goals. Olori also mentors young fashion entrepreneurs in Nigeria through “The Business Side of Fashion by Olori” community where she helps fashion entrepreneurs network, build their competence and grow their businesses to export capacity.
Oluwabukunmi Oyebisi Adeaga-Ilori – Popularly known as “Kie Kie”, Bunmi is a TV personality, content creator, model and fashion icon. As a content creator, she drops regular videos on Instagram and YouTube where she talks about life issues in a funny way. She is the brain behind Kie Kie TV on YouTube.
She is the creative director of the fashion brand, Accost Collections. The brand deals mainly in female apparels such as bridal wears and ready to rock wears. She is one of the biggest fashion stylists and has achieved fame for always wearing fashion pieces that soon become trends. She is the brand ambassador to the real estate firm, Perfection Real Estate Group.
Oluyemisi Falaye is an Entertainment Lawyer. She works with the law firm of Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun and heads the Entertainment Law Group of the firm. ‘Yemisi has over the years garnered in-depth experience in providing premium legal advice and representation to individuals and organisations in the entertainment industries in Nigeria, which include film, music, theatre, art, television, radio, publishing and digital media.
Asides from entertainment law, Yemisi also has a wide range of experience in Intellectual Property, Immigration and Company Secretarial matters in Nigeria. She focuses on the prosecution of trademark, patent, copyright and design on behalf of clients. She manages the immigration status of several expatriates in Nigeria and is involved in general corporate and commercial matters in the firm.
Osaremen Okolo was recently appointed by US President-elect Joe-Biden as a member of his Covid- 19 Response Team. She graduated with high honours from Harvard College in May 2017 where she concentrated primarily in History of Science (Medicine and Society focus) with an allied, joint concentration in African-American Studies. She also obtained a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy.
Since graduation, Osaremen has continued to explore the intersections between medicine, policy, and service through working as a health policy aide for the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Outside of all things health, you’ll often find her writing creatively, fanatically cheering on her Boston sports teams or craving Nigerian foods.
Otegha Uwagba is the founder of Women Who, where she connects and supports creative working women through various forms of content including a newsletter, website and podcast, as well as live events is the author of the Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women published in 2017 and Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods in 2020.
She is also a speaker, brand consultant and founder of Women Who, a London-based multi-media platform aimed at creative women.
Pearlena Igbokwe is the first Ibo-Nigerian/Black Woman To Head Universal Television and was named President, Universal Television in June 2016. Most recently, she was Executive Vice President, Drama Development for NBC Entertainment and prior to that, Igbokwe was Executive Vice President, Drama Programming for NBC Entertainment. In her previous role as Executive Vice President, Drama Development, she oversaw the development of all NBC dramas.
She began her career at Showtime as Manager of Direct Response, Television Marketing, where she was responsible for all media planning and spending, agency creative development, video production and telemarketing for a $13 million general and Hispanic market acquisition campaign. Igbokwe came to NBC from Showtime, where she worked closely with Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, for seven years.
Peju Ugboma is the Founder/CEO of I Luv Desserts and also runs a blog, The Service Critic where she reviews restaurants. She was the Head of Business Strategy at First Independent Global before resigning and setting up her business and wants to launch a training school for aspiring chefs, baking enthusiasts and home cooks.
In her spare time, you can find Peju an ardent Manchester United fan watching a football match or a movie, reading a book or exploring a new city. She dreams of one day launching an online desserts training school for aspiring chefs, baking enthusiasts and home cooks. Peju is also a member of the BTS welfare Hub – A platform where the less privileged in the society are taken care of. She also supports two organizations that help screen women for cancer.
Precious Gaza is an Emotional Intelligence Coach, a Sickle Cell Advocate and also the founder of ‘Train A Girl Initiative’, a nonprofit that provides learning opportunities for women and girls beyond formal education. Her vision is to democratize Emotional Intelligence (EI) as a means of igniting personal and global agency. She offers solutions-focused and results-oriented, executive coaching that revolves around organizational and professional goals to improve business results, improve business performance, elevate operational effectiveness and boost personal performance.
Precious Gaza has been instrumental in developing workshops for young adults, parents and professionals that are geared towards creating a better understanding of emotional intelligence and how to sustain all-around healthy relationships. Precious is a strong voice on social media, and has in the past year, trained, coached and taught over 600 individuals.
Regina Askia-Williams is a Nigerian-born, American-based family nurse practitioner (FNP), healthcare and educational activist, television producer, writer, and public speaker, who found fame as an actress and model. Regina Askia Williams Foundation advocates for Skills acquisition and employment drive for young people. Askia sits on the board of AfricanViews as Vice President where she hosts a radio program to highlight the health problems of African communities in the Diaspora.
She also made history by becoming the first Nigerian at Miss International in Japan, where she made an impact with the most outstanding traditional costume. Askia-Williams still works on promoting greater collaboration between Africa and its diaspora with her fashion shows as well as medical missions to Africa. She co-hosts an Internet broadcast discussion program, African Health Dialogues which covers such topics as the effectiveness of mobile medical clinics in Africa.
Rinu Oduala is a Media Strategist who rose to prominence as one of the young women who made history by pushing for the virtual and physical protests against police brutality that swept the country in October 2020. Fearless and courageous, Rinu continues to show what being a leader and visionary means.
She was also the convener of Operation Sanitise movement during the heat of the pandemic, sharing hand sanitizers to Nigerians. Rinu also joined the protest against rape, after the murder of UNIBEN student, Uwavera Omozuwa and Lagos lady, Tina Ezekwe. She was recently honoured by the United Nations with her picture being featured on the cover page of their website as an advocate of peace for the nation.
Samira Isah Madibbo founded the Village Debbo Care Initiative (VDCare) Project, which has educated more than 8000 women and young girls in the Rigasa community of Kaduna State and has enrolled over 100 girls back to school on full scholarships. The organisation has also reached out to over 20,000 people in Villages in Kaduna state, raising awareness on the importance of educating and empowering women and girls including facilitating the arrest, prosecution and conviction of sexual abuse perpetrators.
Samira is also a Kaduna State Kainuwa Gender Ambassador, a member of the United Nations Population Fund´s northern Nigeria Youth Advisory Group, and the gender coordinator of SimmonsCooper Advocacy Development (SCAD) Initiative, a community service effort of SimmonsCooper Partners. Samira has more than seven years of experience volunteering with many non-governmental organizations in the areas of women’s empowerment, child protection, gender equality, maternal health, peace, and family planning.
Sofiyat Ibrahim also known as Oddity, is a Nigerian-based American blogger, influencer and content creator. She’s popularly known for videos that focus on body positivity for women through engaging content and conversations. According to Sofiyat, the idea behind her blogging is to create a community for women to feel inspired, confident and for them to celebrate their uniqueness.
She was recently signed as an ambassador for Savage X Fenty, a global lingerie line that celebrates fearlessness, confidence and inclusivity.
Solape Hammond is the Co-Founder and CEO of Impact Hub Lagos, an innovation hub for entrepreneurs which provides workspace, offices, consulting services and capacity building programs. She is also the Special Adviser on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Investments to the Governor of Lagos State, Nigeria as well as the acting Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment.
She is a business executive with over 19 years’ experience in Management Consulting, Risk Management, Banking and Financial Advisory. She is also the Founder and CEO of Ten Talents Limited, a business advisory firm. She is passionate about social change and serves as Secretary to the Board of Trustees for the Handicapped Education Foundation (HANDEF) and is a member of the International Women’s Society (IWS), Hospitals for Humanity (HFH) and the Nigerian Leadership Initiative (NLI). She also serves as the Chairperson of KHAN Regenesis.
Tabitha Abimiku is the Founder of Virtuous Pads, a company that produces reusable, eco-friendly sanitary pads and aims to provide affordable, healthy, biodegradable and sustainable sanitary pads to young girls in low-income communities.
She is also a Medical Microbiologist with over 7 years of leadership and management, community advocacy and social intervention program. Her foundation tackles the stigmatization of menstruation and has reached over 30, 000 young girls, by empowering them not only with sanitary pads, but taught them techniques to make reusable ones.
Temitope Olagbegi is the Founder of Sixth Sense Ltd, an interior design and furniture company that specialises in the design, decoration and enhancement of living spaces. She has well over 9 years of experience in interior design, event management and contemporary furniture design.
Tope is the visionary behind the Orange Butterflies Foundation, a virtual Christian ministry designed to serve as spiritual support for today’s multi-dimensioned woman through prayers, sharing of life’s experiences and networking. She is also the convener of the TOCI movement, a group of women who desire to make an impact in every sphere of human existence, through spiritual insight, self-discipline and fostering a strong network to effect changes in their lives, families, sectors, nation and ultimately globally.
Thelma Ekiyor is the Managing Partner of SME.NG – Nigeria’s Impact Investment Platform. She has over 19 years of experience working in the development sector, as an impact investor, donor, philanthropic advisor, non-profit practitioner, and social entrepreneur.
She is the Co-Founder/Chairperson of Afrigrants Resources and also served as its pioneering CEO. At Afrigrants, she led the establishment of “Market Women’s Quick Cash” – a financial inclusion solution to provide micro-loans to women in disadvantaged communities.
She also led the conceptualization of “The Ebi Fund” – an impact fund for women entrepreneurs. She is also the Founder & Co-Convener of The Funding Space–a mentoring and access to finance platform for social entrepreneurs in Africa.
Tito Ovia is the Co-founder of Helium Health, a Nigeria-based health tech company that is building the technology infrastructure driving African healthcare. In her role as Head of Public Sector Growth at Helium Health, she is fostering public-private partnerships that accelerate Africa’s transition to technology and data-driven healthcare system.
Her work in African healthcare has helped make her a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient and a winner of the Future Africa Award for Disruption. When Tito is not working on fixing healthcare in Africa, she is occupied with Feminist Coalition, a women’s rights advocacy group that she co-founded that is promoting equality for women in the Nigerian society, with a core focus on education, financial freedom and representation in public office.
Tokunboh Ishmael is Co-founder and Managing Director of Alitheia Capital, investment management and advisory firm focused on channelling private equity investments into businesses and real estate assets to enhance access to finance, energy and housing for the excluded at the base of the economic pyramid.
Her previous roles include Managing Director of Avante Capital Ltd where she advised on a number of acquisitions in the oil and gas sector including the acquisition and financing of a government-owned refinery and led the first secondary listing of a Nigerian company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Prior to Avante, she was the Nigeria Country Partner for Aureos Capital where she successfully raised funding to complete a US$50mn fundraising exercise for the Aureos West Africa Fund and sourced private equity investments. Other previous roles include M&A banker at Salomon Smith Barney. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a member of the CFA Institute and a panellist on the TV show Dragons Den Nigeria.
Tolulope Arotile (Posthumous) was the first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigerian Airforce. Arotile was commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force as a pilot officer on 16 September 2017 and held a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the Nigerian Defence Academy. She was winged as the first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigerian Air Force on 15 October 2019 after completing her flying training in South Africa. Two years into her career, Arotile had acquired 460 hours of helicopter flight, which was an outstanding performance for a combat pilot. Arotile held a commercial pilot licence and also underwent tactical flying training on the Agusta 109 Power attack helicopter in Italy. In the fight against ISIS, she was called effective, deadly and “fearless”.
Tolulope Adeleke aka “Tolu The Midwife” is the founder of Tolu The Midwife Healthcare Solutions and The Maternity Hub Nigeria. Through both platforms, Tolu educates, informs, empowers and supports expectant parents for the transition to parenthood through childbirth classes for mums and dads. She is an internationally trained, dual-qualified, experienced and passionate healthcare professional working hard to drastically reduce Nigeria’s maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity rate.
Despite the pandemic, Tolu has continued to support pregnant women virtually and offered childbirth classes to employees of corporate organisations. Recently she created “Labour with Confidence” a preparation course to ensure all expectant parents have access to evidence-based maternal health information.
Tomie Balogun is the Founder and current CEO of Vestract, a financial education, and technology company that provides financial education to millennials in Africa through the Green Investment club (TGIC) and connects them to vetted investment opportunities through Twelvevest, a Fintech platform.
She is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and the leading expert on how to start, manage and grow investment clubs. She created the Investment Club Framework (TM) to help young working professionals take advantage of the power of money and build wealth in the process.
She has successfully facilitated the company’s educational initiatives to educate at least 50,000+ millennials online courses. TGIC has grown into a 1,600 member community of millennials who have invested-$14m in multiple business sectors. She has also implemented crucial investment interventions for businesses in core sectors such as agriculture, real estate, microcredit, and banking.
Toyin Abraham is a Nigerian film actress, filmmaker, director and producer. Over the years, Toyin Abraham has produced, directed and featured in several Nigerian films, one of which is “Fate of Alakada” a popular Nollywood movie that was acquired by Netflix. In 2020, NCDC featured Abraham in a campaign where she educates the public on how to protect themselves and prevent the spread of COVID-19. She won the Africa magic viewers’ 2020 choice Awards as the “Best Actress in a Drama”.
Tracy Batta is the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Smoothie Express, a Food and Beverage company in Nigeria. Tracy Batta was determined to live her life like a healthy fruit basket in 2014. The company has now grown to launch three modern stores with headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria. They currently employ a team of 35 while the produce comes from over 15 farms across the country. Last year, they received a loan from a women empowerment program sponsored by Access Bank. She is also a contributor to The Guardian Nigeria. She plans to grow Smoothie Express to an international brand with locations across Africa by 2025.
Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim is a Nigerian film producer, screenwriter and filmmaker, who creates works that tell the stories of Nigeria’s marginalised LGBTQ communities. In 2020 the BBC included her in its list of the 100 Women of the Year. In 2020, Ikpe-Etim, along with film producer Pamela Adie came to prominence in Nigeria due to their production of the film Ìfé. The film was Ikpe-Etim’s directorial debut and tells a love story between two women. Ìfé is not the first lesbian-themed film to be produced in Nigeria, but it is the first to show such a relationship normally, without prejudice or stereotypes.
Uyaiedu’s TEDx talk: Becoming Free of the English Box in which she questions where the desires for wanting to drop her African identity came from. In August 2017, Uyaiedu gave a talk at Eastern Mediterranean University on the importance of asking questions.
Vivian Nwakah is the CEO of Medsaf. She is a serial entrepreneur and strategist that has created and innovated around execution in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and energy space. She is an award-winning Founder having received recognition from Forbes, the British Royal Family, Women in Africa, Seedstars and many more, as a high impact entrepreneur.
She brings an innovative approach learned from earlier moments in her career. She has won a myriad of awards for being a leader in sales. She was one of the youngest in her region to manage a multimillion-dollar per year Wells Fargo Mortgage branch. Also, she led a political campaign on Chicago’s south side and gained endorsements and funding from powerful unions. She has been covered in Reuters, CNN, Forbes, Financial Times, and AFP.
Yinka Jegede-Ekpe is a Nigerian HIV/AIDS activist. After being diagnosed as HIV-positive, she became the first Nigerian woman to publicly announce her status. She experienced discrimination and set up the Nigerian Community of Women Living With HIV/AIDS organisation to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
Jegede-Ekpe became a consultant for UNICEF where the organisation later helped her to access antiretroviral drugs for her own health. In 2004, Jegede-Ekpe won a Reebok Human Rights Award for her work on HIV/AIDS awareness.
Zainab Usman is the inaugural Director of the Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Previously she was a Public Sector Specialist at the World Bank where she worked on the governance and institutions of natural resources management, energy sector reforms, service delivery as well as south-south economic relations.
Zainab has worked on policy reforms and social sustainability in Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Congo, Serbia, Tanzania, and Uzbekistan. She is also the co-author of the book, The Future of Work in Africa: Harnessing the Potential of Digital Technologies for All. She also contributed to the World Bank’s flagship report on Rethinking Power Sector Reforms in Developing Countries. Zainab has also published book chapters and research papers on energy sector reforms more broadly.
Her written and broadcast commentary has appeared in Al-Jazeera English, African Arguments, CNN and The Washington Post, among others. Zainab received her DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford, successfully defending her doctoral thesis titled, The Political Economy of Economic Diversification in Nigeria. She currently sits on the board of Premium Times in Nigeria.
Zaynab Alkali is regarded as the first woman novelist from Northern Nigeria. The Stillborn, perhaps Zaynab Alkali’s best-known work, was published to critical acclaim in 1984 and was quickly followed by The Virtuous Woman which was published by Longman, Nigeria. Zaynab Alkali’s books have been translated into many languages such as German, French, Arabic and Spanish and three of the six books have won prizes.
Zaynab Alkali has occupied various roles in the educational sector and continues to serve as the Board Chairman of various organizations such as Zayba Educational Resources Development, Keffi, Capital Science Academy, Kuje- Abuja and the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) Abuja. Ever the Educator, Zaynab is the proprietress of Zyba Model Nursery and Primary School, Keffi.