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At WimBiz conference, experts urge women to embrace disruptive innovations

By Tobi Awodipe
07 November 2020   |   4:14 am
Nigerian women have been urged to embrace emerging technology, disruptive innovation and reposition themselves and their businesses for greater success in light of the changing times.

Executive Council, Ngover Ihyembe-Nwankwo; Publisher, The Guardian Newspapers, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru; Chairman, Board of Trustees, Ifeyinwa Ighodalo; Chief Femi Olopade; Member, Board of Trustees, Ifeoma Idigbe; Members, Osayi Alile and Chizor Malize at the 19th annual  conference of  Wimbiz “The Shift Recalibrate” in Lagos…yesterday.  Story on Page 18   PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Nigerian women have been urged to embrace emerging technology, disruptive innovation and reposition themselves and their businesses for greater success in light of the changing times.

These and many more were the major thematic thrust of the Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WimBiz) 19th annual conference held in Lagos. The event, which held virtually yesterday had as theme, The Shift-Recalibrate, with participants from all over the world.

Notable among special guests at the event this year include publisher, The Guardian Newspapers, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who gave the keynote address, Honourable minister of women affairs and social development, Dame Pauline Tallen, Chief Executive, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Babatunde Irukera, former Minister of Communications, Omobola Johnson and Chief Femi Olopade.

Other women present included the conference chairperson and first female president of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof Ekanem Braide; Executive Director, Wimbiz, Hansatu Adegbite, Tope Iluyemi, Ronke Onadeko, Osayi Alile, Mojisola Olateru-Olagbegi, Yewande Zacchaeus and others.

In her welcome address, the chairperson WimBiz Executive Council, Ngover Ihyembe-Nwankwo observed a moment of silence for Nigerians that passed away in recent times and prayed the country emerged stronger. She stated that the goal of the conference is to motivate, strengthen and empower delegates with knowledge and tools to embrace the post pandemic realities and come out stronger.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said this year’s theme was very apt and praised women, especially in the organised private sector, who he said are breaking new grounds everyday.

The first plenary session was on ‘Leading from the heart: creating a culture of empathy and authenticity’ and had on the panel Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Suleiman Abubakar, Dame Pauline Tallen, Dr Yemi Johnson, Babatunde Irukera and was moderated by Yemisi Ayeni. Tallen pointed out that women are natural born leaders, urging them to lead by example.

“We must lead with transparency at all times and you followers will naturally follow you.”

Dr. Johnson told participants that he leads with passion and example and when his people see his passion, they want to emulate it.

Member Wimbiz, Tosin Adefeko (left); Co-Host, Tope Iluyemi; Executive Director, Wimbiz, Hansatu Adegbite; Co-Host, Oluwaseun Olaniyan and Executive Council Member, Wimbiz, Chizor Malize at the 19th annual conference of Wimbiz in Lagos…yesterday

On his part, Suleiman added, “We’re creating new cultures and traditions, but we must show empathy to all, especially older people so they don’t feel totally left out.”

In his submission, Irukera said leaders should show passion, diligence, clear mindedness and focus on institution building, adding, “If you want to be a good leader, start by being a good follower,”

The conference had five breakout sessions with different themes and local and international speakers, while participants joined virtually to learn from experts.

The second plenary session, themed, ‘Disruptive Innovation: Reposition For Success’ had on it the founding partner, Farm from a box, Brandi DeCarli, Founder, Outsource Global, Amal Hassan; President, African Finance Corporation (AFC), Samaila Zubairu (represented by Kome Johnson) and was moderated by Funmi Roberts.

Hassan revealed how she had to start her business four times and took eight years to get it off the ground.

“I didn’t study abroad; everything I knew I learnt here and on the streets. I knew what I had in mind to do, and despite several setbacks, the business took off. We performed better during this whole period and increased revenue by 25 per cent, as we were able to take outsourcing business from the regular hubs in India, Philippines and the rest. Women make up more than half of our workforce because they’re easy to train, are patient and loyal. I keep saying our people are our greatest assets and with the wonder of disruptive technology, there is nothing we cannot do.”

Female achievers awards were handed out to the founder, Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Prof Dr Oludayisi Oduntan, founder, Adolescent Health and Information Projects (AHIP), Hajiya Mairo Bello and the co-founders of Girls Power Initiative (GPI), Lady Grace Osakue and Prof Bene Madunagu.

Theresa Ikepeazu of Tess Benjamin NG won the impact investment empowerment grant, courtesy of Unilever. The conference rounded up with a debate on virtual reality with Izin Akioya, Fatima Kere Ahmed, Ruby Onwudiwe, Seyi Bella and moderated by Adenike Adeyemi, who spoke on loving or loathing virtual meetings and conferences which has become our new reality.