Sola Sobowale, Ibidunni Ighodalo, Nkechi Eze…Here are Nigeria’s Most Inspiring Women in 2018
Leading Ladies Africa presents it’s annual #100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria list for 2018. Now in it’s 4th year, the list features 100 Nigerian women drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds and sectors who are impacting the world and their local communities with the power and strength of their ideas and achievements. Contained in the list below are change makers, innovators and female leaders who are breaking boundaries and pushing the limits to what women all over the world can achieve.
Aishetu is the General Manager and Division Head, Investment Banking West Africa at Rand Merchant Bank, She is passionate about global finance and demonstrable development impact. She worked closely with President Obasanjo and his economic team of cabinet ministers in crafting the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, which drove several successful reforms including the $18 billion Paris Club debt write-off. While working with the World Bank in Washington, DC, she focused on financing businesses in the manufacturing, infrastructure, and service sectors in the Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and Eastern Africa. Regions. Aishetu is also the Founder of African HerStory a video series where she showcases the essence of an African woman’s life.
Aramide is a media entrepreneur and the Founder of Naija Startups – a virtual accelerator with a base of over 50,000 members of the startup and entrepreneur community in Africa. With a vision to facilitate small business growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, Aramide has collaborated with organisations such as Google and Facebook to deliver digital marketing training to millions of entrepreneurs in Africa. We love her because she effortlessly fuses technology, marketing and strategy.
Ameera Abraham is a Beautypreneur – CEO and Spa Director of both the Nail Bar Abuja and Amali Cosmetics, a premium professional nail care brand, Executive Chair (Nigeria) for the Spa and Wellness Association of Africa and an activist for women and children’s rights, as well as a philanthropist. She has a BA in Politics and International Relations from Royal Holloway, University of London, a CIDESCO Diploma in Spa Management and she is also a qualified aesthetician.
Anike is the Founder Mamalette, a platform that helps, encourages and connects Nigerian mothers. Since it was launched, Mamalette has no doubt become the go-to place for Nigerian mothers to find help and information to navigate motherhood successfully. Anike has gone further to host events offline for the over 70,000 women on the platform and constantly seeks to bring Nigerian mothers closer.
Anne Marie Imafidon
She is an ICT prodigy and the Co-Founder of STEMettes, an award-winning social initiative inspiring and promoting the next generation of young women in the STEM sectors. For five years, the organization has reached over 17,500 girls across Europe.
Ayisha is a lawyer, development consultant and communication strategist with 18 years’ experience in the public and private sectors. She is an advocate for women’s rights in Nigeria and is a director on the board of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund. Ayisha is a regular commentator on radio and television and has been involved in numerous campaigns to improve social justice for women and girls and governance in Nigeria. An Eisenhower Fellow and the Board Chair of OSIWA, an advocacy and grant-making foundation, Ayisha recently released her book, ‘Love Does Not Win Election’, where she documents her experience with politics in Nigeria.
Aisha is the Team Lead at Women Founder’s Group (WFG) and the Co-Founder of Startup Kano, an organization aimed at creating an ecosystem for creative and innovative entrepreneurs in Northern Nigeria. WFG organizes an annual conference for female entrepreneurs in the North which is exclusively attended and curated by women with the aim of bringing together bright minds to deliver talks that are idea motivated and on a wide range of subjects, to foster learning, inspiration and to provoke conversations that matter among women entrepreneurs in the Northern ecosystem
Writer and Editor. Her book, Stay With Me, in less than one year of being published, has been named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times and a Best Book of the Year by The Guardian, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications
Lawyer, Solicitor of the Nigerian Supreme Court, certified personal nutritionist and weight loss expert. She is the founder of ASKDAMZ , a weight management, health and wellness company, committed to helping women live healthy lives. She recently launched a sneaker line.
Bella Rose Okojie
Bella is unarguably a bundle of talents. As the host of the morning show on City 105.1fm she does an amazing job but that’s not all. She is an actor, voice over artist, content developer and YouTuber. Her other page, Notbellarose also tackles serious and societal issues with a sprinkle of laugher.
Binta Max Gbinijie
Binta is the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic Trustees Limited. With few women in the C-Suite in Nigeria, Binta is a bright beacon of light. She is a highly desired public speaker in her sphere of influence with a passion for young adults and in empowering the less privileged. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Arts, a Master’s in Business Administration (Management) and a Master’s in International Law & Diplomacy. She is also an associate of WIMBIZ and a HCIB of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Nigeria.
Co-host on Moments on Ebony Life who recently repositioned as Documentary and filmmaker, Executive Producer and Founder God’s Wives Foundation, an NGO that helps and empowers widows. As an Executive producer she co-founded Sage & Walls, a multimedia production company and began producing and hosting “On the Carpet with Bolinto.”
Bunmi is the Head of Brand, Reputation & Digital Skills at Google Africa. One of her major milestones is leading the Google team to teach millions of Africans digital skills. She is a marketing and strategy professional with over 15 years of experience in N. America, Asia and Africa/ Bunmi has founded and co-founded a number of companies including The Keyline Group in Chicago, an advisory firm that provided business consulting services to SMEs in Africa and Fezah, a live music app developed in Uganda.
Bukky Shonibare is the Group CEO for the 555 Group which includes the 555 consulting firm that caters to HR solutions and consultancy. She has years of experience in the HR consulting field, and possesses a certificate in Journalism and Creative Writing from the London School of Journalism, as well as certificates in Entrepreneurial Management, and Social Sector Management from the Pan African University in Nigeria. Bukky Shonibare has been one of the constant voices to the Bring Back Our Girls campaign when the Chibok girls were abducted. She, along with other advocates, have also visited the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps in Yola. Their tenacity, selflessness, and love for other people has helped the girls not to be forgotten.
Bukola is a lawyer, President of Sickle Cell Aid Foundation (SCAF), a non-governmental organisation established to raise awareness about sickle cell disease and related health conditions. She is also the Founder of Haima Health Initiative, (HHI) a platform to link patients to blood donors and to encourage the culture of voluntary blood donations in young people. Although she lives with SCD, Bukola has found life, purpose and support and she is helping others find the same.
She is a journalist and radio broadcaster under BBC News. For 15 years, she has presented BBC Network Africa, a breakfast programme broadcast every weekday airing African news, sport, music and features. Bola also presents and produces the African news and current affairs programme, Focus on Africa. She co-produced The Story of Africa, a 21-part narrative history of the continent broadcast on BBC World Service.
Bukky is the founder of Bellafricana, an initiative with a focus on Made-in-Nigeria Non-oil products development where customers and suppliers engage and transact to bridge the buyer-seller gap and create a wider outreach for Nigerian (African) products locally & globally.
Chika has businesses in the agricultural and health sector and is also the founder of caregiving organization, Greymate Care. Greymate Care is a safe platform for people to look for caregivers for their elderly family members.
Chiamaka is the Chief Executive Officer of Social Prefect Tours, a travel brand which organises group tours, school excursions, corporate retreats, holiday packages and also offer tour guide services within Africa, especially in Nigeria to educate people about the beauty within. The brand has also organised tours to Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic. She also worked with South African Tourism for Indaba 2017, and the Bauchi State Government for the Explore Bauchi campaign.
Community Lead, Social Engagement – Africa & MENA, World Economic Forum’s Global Leadership Fellow and an Associate Member of Nigerian Leadership Initiative. She is passionate about impacting the global narrative with the power of stories founded on the humanist African philosophy of Ubuntu — ‘I am because you are. You are because we are’ — celebrating our shared humanity.
Because of her amazing work, Chidiogo was named as one of the ‘100 most influential Young Africans’ by Africa Youth Awards. She was Founder & Director of the Cultural Diplomacy in Africa Program of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin.
Chinwe is a seasoned Economist with a focus on sub- Saharan Africa. Currently, she works in the 5macroeconomic and fixed income research unit at FBN Capital. (The Investment & Asset Management arm of FBN Holdings). Chinwe has published over 150 economic notes and co-authored multiple macroeconomic and fixed income reports.
Damilola is clearly passionate about media and the African landscape. She was the Editor in Chief at Zikoko.com and she successfully transformed it into a leading youth oriented publication in Nigeria. In 2016, she set up Konbini in September 2016 and has successfully integrated the company into the minds of Nigerian millennials making it one of the most influential media players in the country.
Dolapo ‘LowlaDee’ Adeleke
Award winning screenwriter, Producer, Director and Editor. Dolapo is the Founder and Creative Director of Doreen Media Africa, a Pan African Production Company established with its subsidiaries (LowlaDee Signature Films & LowlaDeeTV) to entertain and inspire the modern African through the art of storytelling. She has been nominated for and won awards for her short film, Brave, and Web series, This Is It.
Dr. Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri
Dr Maymunah is the Medical Director of Pinnacle Medical Services, a health and wellness centre which deals specifically with psychological, behavioural, and mental health related issues. She has facilitated the development of “School Based Mental Health Programmes” in nursery, primary and secondary schools across the Lagos metropolis as part of her community mental health advocacy activities. She is also involved in “Counselling Skills Training in Adolescent Sexuality and Reproductive Health” in secondary schools. Dr Maymunah is the Founder of “SPEAKOUT INITIATIVE”, an NGO geared towards creating awareness on psychological and mental health related problems in Nigeria and beyond.
Dr. Nini Iyizoba
She is a Medical Doctor, Advocate for women’s health and an Entrepreneur. Dr Nini believes in preventative healthcare and strives to Inform and empower people by providing them with Health, Wellness and Medical Information to help them live their best life. Her foundation, Dr. Nini Women’s Health Awareness Foundation was created out of love for other women and through the Foundation, she constantly helps women to have access to better health care and medical information necessary to live a good life.
CEO of Oleander House features in the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30. Her company’s first product in the market, Flat Tummy Tea was widely accepted and since that time, the company has grown into owning an online health shop with a wide range of products.
Eloho is a finance professional who is passionate about Nigerian entrepreneurs in the media and technology industry. She worked as Head of Corporate Development for First Bank and led the bank’s first international acquisition (Banque Internationale de Crédit). She is currently the Managing Director of Endeavor Nigeria, a platform that supports and mentors high-impact entrepreneurs.
Enuma Okoro is a writer, speaker and strategic communications consultant. She is an award-winning author of four non-fiction books. She employs her diverse global and cultural experience to write and speak on numerous issues and topics based off of four key areas: Africa and African Diasporas, Identity and Belonging, Culture and Narratives, and Spiritual formation, growth and holistic wellness. A widely sought after speaker, has been listed as one of seven top Young Influencers of the next generation by Catalyst, a US based organization. In June, 2012 Okoro had the honor of being the first woman of African descent to speak at the historic American Church in Paris. Her work has been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America and NPR, in The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, Quartz Africa, CNN Africa, The UK Guardian, Guardian Nigeria, AfroElle Magazine, Aeon, Catapult, The Michael Eric Dyson Show, The Huffington Post, amongst others.
As founder of My World of Bags and FemiHandbags, she creates beautiful leather masterpieces with ethnic infusions that have graced international runways. She is also the brain behind the Lagos Leather Fair a purely private initiative designed to promote Nigerian leather designers, bring together the major players along the leather value chain and attempt to unlock the massive potential within this niche industry.
Femi Oyedipe founded LoshesChocolate in 2015. LoshesChocolate produces chocolates from cocoa beans sourced from various locations in Nigeria. The company boasts of its premium quality chocolates handcrafted from a single source of cocoa to the finished products. Femi’s vision is to promote indigenous chocolate production in Nigeria, and her goal is to showcase Nigeria as a chocolate country.
She is the founder of MerDroits Limited, an organization that launched the Safe Box which sells condoms online and STI test kits that helps people know their status from the comfort of their home. Florida counsels her clients through WhatsApp, and helps to keep their information and identity protected. She was nominated in 2017 for the 120 under 40 New Generation of Family Planning Leaders.
Founder, Timabee, luxury handbag company. In 3 years of starting the business, Timabee has won a best fashion brand of the year award. She is also the co- founder of Signature Boutique in Canada, a multi-brand boutique that aims to showcase the works of African based designers to the world. She received the WEF “Iconic Woman” award in 2017
Folawe is dedicated to making the educational sector in Nigeria a better place for children to learn. She is a partner CEO at “Teach For All” and is also a member of Association of Private Educators in Nigeria (APEN). Her goal is to ensure that marginalized children have access to good education. She was named among the 100 most influential young Nigerians, an honor that recognizes her experience and commitment to social development
Foluso Gbadamosi is the Director, Business Process & Technology, Prime Atlantic Group and Co-Founder at 8191 Solutions which provides technology solutions to SMEs.
Her career spans over 13 years in the Telecommunications, IT and FMCG industries. The early part of her career was in the United States with Eli Lilly & Company – a global pharmaceutical company, and EMW Inc. – a telecommunications company. In 2006, she moved back to Nigeria and joined Procter & Gamble where she was IT Client & Site Services Manager. Prior to joining IGI in 2015, she served as Director of Operations, Monarch Communications Ltd. where she restructured the organization and later prepared it for the sale of its 3.5GHz spectrum to Swift Networks Ltd.
Foluso is a technology advocate and views technology as a catalyst for personal and national development. She is very supportive of tech startups and companies. Foluso holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters degree in Information Systems Technology from George Washington University. She holds a Certificate from the Yale CEO College, and a Board Ready Certificate from the IE Business School. She is also a Wimbiz Associate.
Funke is one woman flying the Nigerian flag high in the UK. She is a multi-award winning lawyer, public speaker, TV contributor, diversity leader, General Counsel and Head of Financial Compliance at Roche, making her the most senior lawyer in the world’s largest biotech firm. Funke constantly visits schools and universities to help inspire the next generation. She is currently the most influential black lawyer in Great Britain and was conferred the title of Member of the Order of the British Empire.
Funke was a Deputy Editor with Business Day before she started The Luxury Reporter, a company that reports exclusively on the Nigerian and global luxury market. The Luxury Reporter is the go to website for details on latest trends in the luxury industry and promotes local luxury brands excellently. The Luxury Reporter has recorded a number of successes including attracting close to 3 million views in its first year and launching an app on Google Play.
Funmi Babington Ashaye.
One of Nigeria’s leading risk underwriters, Funmi Babington-Ashaye, Managing Director/ CEO is the Risk Analyst Insurance Brokers Limited. She is also a former Managing Director/ Chief Executive of Cornerstone Insurance Plc and NICON Insurance Plc. During her tenure as the Managing Director / Chief Executive of Cornerstone Insurance, she introduced several innovations among which is Saturday Insurance, the first in the Nigeria insurance industry and she grew the turnover of the company by 80 percent within one year and successfully recapitalized the company. She is currently the President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria. She is also a Fellow of Chartered Insurance Brokers and Institute of Directors, Nigeria and the Author of ‘Insurance in Practice: All You Need to Know about Insurance in Nigeria’ a book aimed at demystifying the world of insurance,
Halima Dangote is currently the Executive Director of Dangote Industries. Her passion for the less privileged led her to build a N7 billion state-of-the-art operating theatre and diagnostic centre at the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital in Kano. This is in addition to several other projects that have been beneficial to the less privileged. At a time when more women are leading global businesses, Halima is right up there leading the charge.
Hannah Oyebanjo is the Principal Partner at REDWOOD CONSULTING; a marketing advisory outfit. She is also the Marketing Director, Colgate Palmolive and has led the company’s regional and local efforts within the region. The immediate past Marketing Director of GlaxoSmithKline, Hannah is a tutor for TMF, a local representative of Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK. She is also a motivational speaker, an author, a columnist and serves as faculty to some management, marketing and business training institutes. She is also the Founder of Predictable Future Foundation, a multi award winner at various levels spanning academics, business and social basis.
She is the founder of SheWrites Woman (SWW) an NGO and a movement of love, hope and support for women with mental illness. SWW has the first 24/7 mental illness helpline in Nigeria that helps people better understand the illness and provides professional help. Hauwa is a recipient of The Queen’s Young Leaders award.
Hajara is a multi-passionate entrepreneur with several successful businesses under her belt. She is the CEO of Tes Amour and Owambe Candles which are brands that specialize in the creation of candles and African scents. She also runs a Digital Marketing Company, Arial View, with offices in Lagos and Kenya. In 2017, Arial View already worked with the Red Cross to send clothes and provisions to IDP Camps in Adamawa and Maiduguri.
Hauwa Saidu Mohammed
She is the CEO of Jaaruma Empire limited. A graduate of ABU Zaria and Istanbul Kultur University Turkey, Hauwa has grown the Jaaruma Empire to include Jaaruma Dresses, Jaaruma Hair Extensions, and Jaaruma Therapy. She is also a Sex Therapist who specializes in helping women to solve the sex-related issues they may have in marriage. She runs a Vlog where she discusses controversial topics and aims to change the perception people have about women from the North.
Ibidunni Ighodalo, is the CEO of Elizabeth R, an event planning company known for creating exquisite and upscale events that bring unforgettable memories. After dealing with emotion and physical struggle that comes with trying to conceive a child after several years of marriage, Ibidunni made a commitment to help couples struggling with infertility issues.She launched the Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation (IIF) to raise awareness on issues pertaining to infertility and to provide grants for couples that require fertility treatments such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intrauterine Insemination. The foundation also partners with highly reputable fertility clinics in Nigeria and with other donors to provide couples with the financial and material support they require during the treatments. She organised the first Parent-In-Waiting conference in 2017 where 10 couples were given grants to cover the cost of fertility treatments.
Ijeoma has been lauded as one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s greatest contemporary poets. Her poetry gives form to the ephemeral vastness of concepts such as “love” and “womanhood.” Ijeoma weaves her unique narrative into complex and intensely emotional subjects, including migration, displacement, depression, the lives of women, and loss. Her debut poetry collection, Questions for Ada, embodies the pain, passion, and power that Ijeoma brings to her work. Her short stories and poems have appeared in various publications, including The Stockholm Review of Literature, The Wildness, The Rising Phoenix Review and The MacGuffin.
After quitting her job as an investment banker, Ini made a decision to pursue her passion for acting by attending the New York Film Academy where she attained the skills of becoming a professional actress. This move has indeed paid off as Ini has become one of the most sought-after actresses in the country. Her first debut in Nollywood was the role of Feyisayo Pepple in the acclaimed T.V. series, “Taste of Love.” Since then, she has been featured in several movies including It’s Her Day, North East and Skinny Girl in Transit. Aside from her acting skills, Ini is also known for her impeccable style and love for fashion.
An award winning media entrepreneur, Kemi is one woman who uses whatever platform is available and necessary to inspire and educate. She began her career as a Senior Features Writer and Correspondent at Business Day and hosted her weekly women column, Leading Woman, in the same newspaper. With this column she inspired other women by featuring women in various disciplines, ideological leanings and strong academic excellence. She initiated the first edition of the Inspiring Women Conference Series, entitled ‘Our Success, The Untold Stories’. When she wanted to reach more women she moved to radio and started Inspiring Woman with Kemi. She has produced and directed a documentary on people living with HIV/AIDS. Kemi was previously the Editor Off-Duty Magazine, and is now the editor, Women’s Hub in the Business Day Newspaper.
She is a specialist Obstetrician and Gynecologist with a medical background that extends to Public Health. A qualified and experienced specialist since 2002. A member of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and the American Medical Association; she’s also a board member on non-government organisations. She’s a strong advocate of gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls and she’s the founder of The Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF).
Kemi Lewis is a Lawyer turned Natural Hairstylist and the Lead Stylist/Creative Director of Nigeria’s pioneer Natural Hair salon – KLS Natural Beauty Bar. She is described as the queen of natural hair. Kemi loves the fact that more ladies are embracing and wearing their natural hair with confidence. Because she desires to see many women excel in natural hair, she trains stylists and salons in natural hair practices using Design Essentials’ products.
Talented Singer –Songwriter, Pianist and Film Composer. She’s also a music entrepreneur and the founder of the blog called amusicianinlagos.com – an online resource for local and diasporan artists who are trying to navigate the Nigerian Music industry.
A survivor of the Sosoliso plane crash, she’s a first class graduate of the University of Saint Thomas, in Texas, USA. She was also inducted into 6 academic honor societies due her extra-ordinary brilliance, including the International Economics Honour Society. She came into limelight when she went for the audition of America’s got talent. She currently uses her story of survival and recovery as a burn patient to inspire people around the world to live their best lives.
Kelechi is a Medical Doctor, Chief Strategist, Healthertainer Consults LTD and the President of HEAL for Africa Initiative. She currently works as a physician at the Kogi State Government House Clinic, Lokoja. Kelechi is a humanitarian, a public and mental health advocate and she hosts regular health talks online and offline. Her advocacy is focused mainly on public and mental health awareness. Using her brand ‘The Healthertainer’, Kelechi promotes total health and wellness across all social media platforms and she uses her platform to educate, inspire and mentor..
She is the President of My Extensionz, a leading retailer of unique and versatile virgin hair products. She is also the CEO of My Lash Extensionz, My Celebrity Teeth, HerBlings, & Taste My Fashion. She runs a Youtube vlog with almost 10,000 user subscriptions where she shares beauty tips, tutorial, DIYs and product reviews. She particularly tailors her content for the dark skin girl whether she is looking for that extra touch of glam look or just in need of help with a messy hair.
Poet, Author, Director of Ake Festival, If you have heard about Ake Festival then you have seen a trace of Lola. Having attended many literacy festivals abroad, Lola decided to create one for Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Since its inception, Ake Festival has been able to connect more young people to African literature by de-emphasising profit-making and focusing more on true art. Shoneyin is also the director of Book Buzz Foundation, Nigeria- a non-governmental organization that promotes literacy. Her debut novel, the Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s wives has been translated in different languages.
Lolade is the Founder of Namaste Organics, a proudly Nigerian natural skin and hair care brand created in 2010. The brand which currently has an impressive product line of Shea Body Butter, African Black Soap, Oils and Scrubs sources most of all its ingredients locally in order to support local businesses, traders and manufacturers.
She’s the Editor-in-Chief Jobmag Publication and Founder of the JobMag Centre, Yaba, Lagos. Jobmag is a walk-in job centre where job-seekers can walk in from the streets, and at little or no cost, get the help they require to find jobs. At present, she works with over 30 staff, and over 5,000 young Nigerians have come in contact with Maureen’s organisation. The centre helps young people find jobs by training them in skills, such as computer literacy and social media, providing them with career counselling, and matching them with recruiters and job postings.
Mayowa emerged winner of the Elite Model Look Nigeria 2014 female category when she was 16. Vogue named the 5 foot-11-inch tall model among the 15 new faces that ruled Fall 2016. Back in 2016, she became the first Nigerian model to grace a Dolce & Gabbana campaign, and she has walked runways for the likes of Hermes, Dior, Prada and Balmain. Nicholas has also ripped runways for international designers Hermes, Calvin Klein, Prada, Miu Miu, Dior and Kenzo. The Nigerian model has become the new face of Calvin Klein underwear.
Morayo Afolabi Brown
She’s the producer and host of the popular show ‘Your View’. She brings women of different tribes, religion, and walks of life to talk about pressing issues in Nigeria as well as proffer solutions to them. She was appointed and an active member of Hi-Media’s five member EXCO. She successfully acquired and launched multiple brand news channels, Hi-Nolly Yoruba and 4 Real TV and provided exemplary leadership to a twenty-eight (28) man team, consisting of eight (8) Managers and twenty (20) junior staff.
Maya Horgan Famodu
Maya Horgan Famodu is an ecosystem architect, driving growth and development in Sub-Saharan based startup ecosystems. She is Founder of Ingressive, an investment group that backs top African tech, and leads investment tourism “Tour of Tech” to the continent. She’s brought companies including Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Techstars to Nigeria to meet local tech ecosystem, then invest in deals. Their last event convened over 150+ global investors and tech leaders, many of whom went on to invest in or officially advise companies they met that week in Lagos.
Morenike Olaosebikan is the founder of Ribbon Rouge, a charitable organization advocating for social justice through the Arts for zero HIV. Morenike’s experience with Tuberculosis in 2002 exposed her to the plight of HIV/AIDS patients in Nigeria. Having undergone nine excruciating months of chemotherapy treatment at a clinic that also treated HIV patients, she saw how poorly HIV patients were treated. From the lack of treatment to stigmatization and painful deaths, Nike felt they deserved better than they got in Nigeria’s poor health system. Morenike decided to do something more optimistic for people living with the deadly virus. Ribbon Rouge Foundation is committed to raising the voices of people affected by HIV. They believe in the liberating power of the arts to promote self-expression, build community and facilitate positive social change.
She is a basketballer, a sports activist for women and the founder of Hope 4 Girls Africa – through which she is working to impart her can-do spirit to a whole new generation of African women, helping them build confidence and identity through the power of sports. She was member of the Nigeria women’s national basketball team at the 2004 Summer Olympics and 2006 Commonwealth Games She is also the manager at the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Ndidi Nnoli Edozien
She is a Nigerian social entrepreneur and corporate sustainability and responsibility (CSR) expert and Bottom of the Pyramid empowerment advocate. She is also the Founder and President of the Growing Businesses Foundation; Nigeria’s largest Bottom of the Pyramid platform which has been managing CSR Projects for multinational corporations. Her status as a social entrepreneur has been recognized by the Bertelsmann AG to whom she is affiliated as a Reinhard Mohn Fellow. At the Africa Conference on Women in Governance, Business and Community Leadership and Women of Influence Awards in London 2010, she received the African Star Excellence Award in Business Development. A member of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Nnoli-Edozien has contributed to policy reforms in Nigeria through her work with government ministries and agencies. Nnoli-Edozien currently serves as a board member of the United World Colleges National Committee in Nigeria and is responsible for Alumni, fundraising and student selection.
Nkem is a foodie and the brain behind Food Fashion Fusion, a gourmet food business with the goal of making every day food an extraordinary experience. After working in various organizations; from law firms, various private sector companies, to foreign and local NGOs, Nkem was inspired to launch Food Fashion Fusion at the pinnacle of her career in order to follow her passion and also revolutionise how people interact with food. In 2018, mouth-watering and tastefully plated recipes from Food Fashion Fusion were featured in the romance movie Royal Hibiscus Hotel.
Nkesi Enyioha is a seasoned Chef with nearly a decade experience in offering private culinary and catering services. An alumnus of the Ashburton Cookery School in the United Kingdom, Chef Nskesi is widely admired for her fusion of European techniques with the bold flavors of Africa and Asia. She is the founder of HSE Café, a cozy restaurant serving gourmet cuisine to a cosmopolitan audience of consumers, in the heart of Lekki, Lagos. She also has a cooking show ‘Chef Nkechi’s Kitchen’ on YouTube.
She is the founder and CEO of Nuts About Cakes. Established in 2010, she has been making mouth-watering and delectable baked custom cakes, pastries and bread till date. She has a degree in Political Sociology from the University of Reading and a Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Nottingham. Nike is also one of the first beneficiaries of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), and it’s very clear that she has put the resources to good work!
Queen Jaga as she is fondly called, Ngozy’s journey to becoming one of Nigeria’s top Beauty experts and Makeup Instructor crystalised when she trained at House of Tara in 2007, and in 2010 she left Visafone (a telecomms company) to set up Jagabeauty Studio.
Her passion for impacting young ladies has given birth to a support group called Girls of Destiny, where ladies are mentored into finding their voice and assignment in Life.
Ngozi Princewill Utchay
She is a speaker, an author, image advisor and trainer with a keen desire to help executives, rising professionals, women and entrepreneurs optimise their image and presence through etiquette, image consulting and personal branding. She is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Artelier Lifestyle Consultants. An African art collector, award-winning amateur artist and avid reader, Ngozi is widely travelled and speaks six languages, with plans to learn Mandarin. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Prime Group (which includes the Prime Chinese Restaurant) for the past seventeen years.
Nkechi, fondly called Ink, grew the Bella Naija Weddings brand to become the best in Africa with over two million followers. She is the initiator of the famous bridal event, BBN Wonderland with Baileys Nigeria, which is highly anticipated event every year for those about to get married. Currently, Nkechi heads AsoEbiBella, a community with an aim to connect users from all over the world through the celebration of cultures with endless seasonal styles and trends, daily doses of inspiration and sheer creativity.
Obianuju is an internationally acclaimed pro-life speaker and strategist. She is the Founder and President of Culture of Life Africa, an initiative dedicated to the promotion and defence of the African values of the sanctity of life, beauty of marriage, blessings of motherhood and the dignity of family life. Culture of Life Africa has organized and facilitated many major pro-life conferences and March for Life rallies in Africa.
Oluwaseun Owoshobi Ayodeji
She is the founder of Stand To End Rape Initiative (S.T.E.R), an NGO geared towards helping rape victims overcome their hurts and helping them to speak up. She was awarded The Future of Women Award. After surviving rape in 2011, Oluwaseun was inspired to work to achieve a different future for women. In 2013, she started an online platform on social media as a means to help survivors speak out. This was born out of the need to help those who have been violated with opportunities for justice and psychological and social support.
Oluwatoyin is the queen behind the famous August secrets foods. Popularly called the specialist of picky eaters, she helps mothers feed their children with healthier meals and delicious recipes through her posts, book and range of baby food products. In 2017, she won the Bell-Africana award for the Most Innovative Company in Nigeria.
Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi
Oreoluwa Lesi is a Nigerian entrepreneur and UK -trained economist and IT expert. She is the founder and executive director of Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC), a non-profit organisation that empowers women and girls socially and economically through education in Information technology. W.TEC was established in the year 2008. She is a fellow of Ashoka and a recipient of ABIE Award Winners, Change Agent. In the UK, she worked with Lonadek Oil and Gas Consultancy where she managed CSR Initiative-2020. She is also the CEO of Patabah Books, one of the leading bookstores in Nigeria.
She is a Nigerian Television host, Radio Personality, Writer, Actress and Lawyer. She started out her career with a University law degree and thereafter proceeded to the Nigerian Law School for her Bachelor in Law degree. In 2011, she emerged the winner of Delta Talent Quest Acting Reality TV organized by the then Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, Richard Mofe-Damijo on behalf of the Delta State Government. presenter on Wazobia Max. She is currently a show anchor on the show ‘Hello Nigeria’ which airs every weekday on Wazobia max from 12noon-1pm, an On Air Personality on 99.3 Nigeria Info FM where she anchors the Sunday Night Show with Olive from 9pm-1am
Pamela Adie is a Senior Campaigns Manager at All Out, a global LGBT advocacy organisation. She is also a writer and an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexual) Rights Activist. Through her boldness, she has encouraged other members of the LGBT communities to come out of the closet and speak up.
Peju Alatise is a Nigerian artist, poet, published author and a fellow at the National Museum of African Art, part of the Smithsonian Institution. Her work was exhibited at Venice Biennale’s 57th edition, themed Viva Arte Viva (Long Live Art). She was one of three Nigerian artists at the Biennale. They were the first Nigerians to appear at the art exhibition. Her work was a group of life size figures based on the life of a servant girl. She is also the winner of the 2017 FMB Art prize.
Polly Alakija is a British muralist, artist and children’s book author. Most of her works focus on Nigerian themed concepts. She was an artist in residence for the 2015 Cheltenham Jazz Festival and had a solo exhibition at the Quintessence Gallery, Ikoyi also in 2015. She actively involves herself in community art related projects and has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in the UK, France, South Africa and Nigeria. She is most famous for creating stunning art on unusual objects ranging from molues to docked ferrys – but her mural of Nigerian women on the pillars of one of Lagos’ most iconic bridges is bound to immortalize her contribution to the Nigerian art scene.
Foremost weight loss and healthy living consultant, Remi Owadokun made history when her book ‘How I lost 40kg: The Journey That Changed My Life’ became the No. 1 spot of Amazon Bestseller’s list. In 2015, she launched The Phat Gals’ Series, an online animated series aimed at spreading health consciousness. Today, she’s not only famous for teaching people all over the world the same technique but also for her do-it-yourself book that is making waves internationally
She is the Founder of ‘Alara’, a concept store in the heart of Victoria Island that seeks to redefine luxury fashion for Nigerians. Alongside this, Folawiyo looks to champion Nigerian design, stocking the work of Maki Oh, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi and Tiffany Amber. Alara, meaning ‘wondrous performer’ in Yoruba, has the potential to be a beacon for other fashion retailers and a centre for gravity for global luxury brands already beginning to cluster around a nascent fashion district in Lagos.
Ronke Bamisedun is a PR consultant and Founder, BWL Agency, a Lagos-based strategic brand development and communications company, with experience covering music, fashion and consumer goods. With an undergraduate degree in Media and Communications (Public Relations) from Birmingham City University and a Chartered Institute of Public Relations Diploma in Public Affairs, she began her career in the music PR where she had the opportunity to work with some of London’s biggest music agencies, iconic designer Diane Von Furstenberg as well as retail giants Selfridges and Matches fashion
Ruona Agbroko Meyer – BBC Pidgin
Ruona Agbroko-Meyer is a Senior Broadcast Journalist at BBC Pidgin Service. A journalist with extensive work across print, wire service, online and financial news publications, her work has been published in The Financial Times, Reuters, The Mail and Guardian South Africa and NEXT newspapers, Nigeria. Winning Reuters’ Niall Fitzgerald Prize For A Young Journalist in 2010, Ruona studied at Wits University South Africa, where she blogged for the journalism department and bagged a postgraduate honours degree with a distinction. Ruona was also commissioned to write a piece on die findings of her final project (on journalists’ use of FOI legislation) in journalism.co.za.
She is the creative Director of TUBO – an emerging Nigerian designer, best known for her creativity in redesigning the traditional African bridal outfits, wedding dresses and chic prêt-à-porter fashion clothing. As an MBA student, she interned at Ecoluxe Fashion, London, a U.K. Based eco-fashion exhibition and promotion company where she helped take advantage of the 230,000 clicks on the company’s website to create an online boutique in order to sell the company’s ethical products. In 2016, she released the debut collection of her brand, titled “Lé première by TUBO”, which gained her local and international recognition and invitations from international platforms like Africa Fashion Week London, Aim Higher Africa, and nationwide press features on the pages of national papers and magazines like ThisDay Style, Genevieve Magazine, amongst others.
Serah Makka Ugbabe
Serah is a development professional who is passionate about social equity and justice. She is currently the Nigeria Country Director for ONE Campaign. Serah began her career with the Fate Foundation USA, supporting the first Nigerian non-profit organization focused on entrepreneurship training to create employment.
In 2006, Serah’s passion for social justice and girls’ empowerment led her to an assignment to teach girls English in Kabul, Afghanistan. Upon returning to Nigeria, Serah worked at the Tony Elumelu Foundation providing technical support to the Office of the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She was nominated by the Young People in International Affairs as one of the top 35 Under 35 Young African Leaders in International Affairs.
Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, Akuoma Omeoga (Bobsled Team)
These three ladies made history as Nigeria’s first women’s bobsled team. Seun, Ngozi and Akuoma are established athletes and are engaged in many hustles. Ngozi has background work experience in the mortgage industry and is now a full-time student pursuing a Doctoral degree. Akuoma is the brakeman for the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team and also works as a healthcare recruiter. Seun is the driver of the team and is currently a chiropractic student.
She is a Nigerian skeleton racer who competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics. She is Nigeria and Africa’s first female skeleton athlete, as well as the first black female athlete in the sport of skeleton. She won the UK Scholar Athlete of the Year, 2003 Indoor Southeastern Triple Jump Champion. She also won National finals Olympic Trials Finalist 2004 & 2008 (Triple Jump), 4 Time NCAA all American in the Triple Jump and Academic All-American Olympic finals 20th (Pyeongchang 2018). She has made history as the first Nigerian, and African as a whole to compete as a skeleton racer.
Who can forget the epic character in The Wedding Party that had us reeling with laughter from start to finish? That character, Tinuade Coker, was played by veteran actress Sola Sobowale. Always one to get immersed into the role and bring every character to life with unrivalled finesse, Sola Sobowale will always remain a delight to viewers. The roles she played in Village Headmaster, Mirror In The Sun, the infamous Yoruba movie, Asewo To Re Mecca, including the popular role of Toyin Tomato in Super Story are not to be forgotten quickly. After being absent from the Nollywood scene for some years, she returned with a powerful performance in The Wedding Party, as well as featuring in Africa Magic’s comedy series, Hustle.
Taba Peterside is an accomplished financial services professional with experience across five countries, spanning commercial and investment banking, development finance, and financial sector regulation and research. She is a Director of Keyside Resources and Investment, which manages a portfolio of investments and strategic partnerships in diverse sectors integral to Africa’s infrastructure, such as renewable energy and telecommunciations. Between 2008 and 2015, she was a General Manager at The Nigerian Stock Exchange where she was responsible for bringing new companies to list and for strengthening the exchange’s interface with listed companies. Taba is an active mentor to younger career women.
Tope Oshin is a Nigerian television and film director, producer and casting director. In 2015 Pulse Magazine named her as one of “9 Nigerian female movie directors you should know” in the Nollywood film industry. In 2015, Oshin produced the romantic film Fifty. The film broke box office records upon release in the December, taking N20 million in the first weekend. In 2016, she directed the documentary, Amaka’s Kin: The Women Of Nollywood, as a memorial to prominent filmmaker Amaka Igwe, who died in 2014. The documentary addresses issues facing female directors working in Nollywood in a male-dominated industry. Tope has cast for several film and television projects including the MTV Staying Alive Foundation drama series Shuga.
Thursdaline took self-defence to another level when she started teaching Taekwondo to women as a way of fighting domestic violence and abuse. She is Nigeria’s youngest Taekwondo fighter and referee. Not only does Thursdaline teach women how to protect themselves, she goes to secondary schools across the country to teach gender equality.
She is a Nigerian chef who established the first Culinary School in Nigeria. She officially began working in the culinary arts in 1999 when she started a grill house at Ibadan Golf Club named Tees Hot Bites. Four years later, in 2003, she opened up a Nigerian restaurant called Matchsticks Concepts while she was a food columnist for Genevieve Magazine. In 2015, Alile launched her restaurant called Tarragon, which originally started out as a dinner club. She also organised the African Young Chefs Competition ‘AYCC’, a platform for young African chefs with a focus on African indigenous cuisine on an international scale.
Toyin is the founder of Olori Cosmetics, an African organic affordable beauty brand that produces hair, bath and body products. Toyin is one of the pioneers of organic beauty products made with African ingredients. For over a decade, she gained experience in the international beauty industry working as a Senior Executive for L’Oreal, a leading beauty brand, and managing multiple beauty brands across Africa and the Middle East. She developed a passion for blending natural products from her grandfather, Jacob Sogboyega Odulate – the inventor of the Nigerian household remedy Alabukun Powder.
Toyosi is an award winning journalist and a woman of many firsts. She is the first female Editor in the 45-year history of Punch Newspaper and she became the first woman to head BBC’s West African Region when she was appointed as the Head of Language Services for BBC West Africa. She is a fellow of the Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative and sits on the board of the World Editors Forum. In her career which has spanned 14 years, Toyosi has won over 30 awards, including CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year Awards, Knight International Journalism Award, Nigerian Academy of Science Journalist of the Year and the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence (DAME).
Founder of asktoks.com, Ms Bakare is a UK trained Behaviour Analyst who has over a decade of experience in the field of developmental psychology. She is a specialist consultant, providing Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) services to children with developmental disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Her commitment to bridging knowledge gaps through advocacy and education; and to addressing the lack of treatment options in under-serviced areas, is evident in her current work in Nigeria. She strongly believes in education that acknowledges multiple intelligences and the potential for all children, no matter their ability, to lead full and meaningful lives.
Chef and CEO of Tokunbo’s Kitchen, a private chef and supper club service that allows people from different cultures to experience and enjoy authentic Nigerian food. Since the launch of her business, Tokunbo’s Kitchen, two years ago Tokunbo Koiki has fed over 5000 people having successfully operated at 6 street food festivals, hosted 9 pop-up and supper club events and completed 3 in-house chef residencies. In 2017 the business hosted an on-going residency at a Boutique hotel in North London with 80 – 100 covers per service, serving Nigerian Food to a demographic that had never tasted many of the dishes that were on the menu.
Tolu is an ordained Pastor at the Fountain of Life Church as well as the Founder of the Real Talk Women Initiative, an online women prayer fellowship with over 41,000 followers. She is a fiery preacher, a gifted Psalmist and a music minister. She is a widely sought-after conference speaker.
Recognized as one of Nigeria’s leading Business coaches and Brand strategist. To boost the competitiveness of small businesses, Tricia launched TriciaBiz in April 2017 where she hopes to translate her recorded success working with multi-nationals to MSMEs (Micro small and medium enterprises). Her focus is on working with high performing individuals interested in starting a business or growing existing businesses into profitable and sustainable brands.
Timipre Wolo is the CEO of TFN Energy Limited and the Founder of the Centre for Gender Equality, Education and Empowerment (CGEEE), an NGO which she set up in response to the high level of illiteracy and poverty amongst women and girls in rural areas across Africa. Timipre championed several youth empowerment initiatives including the PTDF Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme; Special Training and Educational Scheme; and an educational collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). These initiatives led to the award of scholarships to about 400 disadvantaged youths from the Niger delta and across Nigeria, to study at various institutions overseas.
A graduate of Computer and Electrical Engineering from the University of Lagos, Dr. Unoma Ndili Okorafor is the brain behind Working to Advance African Women (WAAW). Passionate about the promotion of female education, Dr. Unoma Okorafor founded WAAW in 2007 while she was a PhD student. WAAW foundation currently runs 13 STEM outreach and mentoring programs in 8 different African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Malawi, Togo and South Africa; and is hoping to expand it to more countries to impact on more girls. WAAW Foundation works with over 110 university fellows in the 13 STEM cells, reaching over 6000 public school student each year. Dr. Unoma is especially focused focuses on girls in poverty-affected areas with a goal to ultimately increase the pipeline of African girls entering STEM related careers.
Viola Ogbunude is the founder of Body Organics, a store retailing organic skincare products for all skin types and tones. The main idea behind the products retailed by the store is the promotion of healthy and clear skin. Body Organics has grown from a small business into a successful brand with stores in Lekki and Abuja, A Lifestyle and Wellness Magazine and franchise deals in the works for Accra, Port Harcourt and Calabar.
Victoria Ibiwoye is the Executive Director at One African Children – a non-profit organization through which she leads over a hundred youths in volunteering for the past three years in Nigeria, Cameroon, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. She is an advocate of Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and the regional focal point of the United Nations Major Group on Children and Youth (UNMGCY) for West and Central Africa. In October 2015, Victoria was a participant at the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum – the largest global youth gathering since the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in Paris, France.
CEO of D and P Travels, a full service travel company that provides travel solutions to consumer. The brand stands out as being responsive and innovative in meeting the needs of every busy Nigeria. Wonu has also successfully formed partnerships with travel organizations in key destinations across sub-saharan Africa.