Leading Ladies Africa – 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria 2018
Leading Ladies Africa presents its annual #100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria list for 2018. Now in its 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.
Additional list was provided by Nigeria Women Annual: 100 Leading Women in Nigeria.
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.
Angela received her Law (Commercial) degree from the University of Westminster and Masters of Law (Commercial & Corporate) from Queen Mary University of London UK. She started Idu Chambers in 2012, a Law firm that specializes in Corporate and Secretarial practice and offered free legal consultation every Friday as her pro bono service to the public due to the lack of information she saw which caused many to suffer mishap especially in their work place. She was very much interested in making legal consultation easy for many to have access to and preaching the message of people knowing their rights and showing how their right were equally protected under the law. An avid Entrepreneur, Angela’s passion for creating solutions to existing problems has led to the establishment of several successful businesses and concepts such as Kidz.com. Angela AKA Jela is a Radio talk show host and producer at WE FM 106.3 Abuja, where she anchors the popular shows Jela’s Clinic and The Conversation. Jela’s Clinic which she co-owns with WE FM 106.3 is her brain child where she seats with different experts in various fields to listen to her audience call LIVE asking questions relating to any aspect of their lives in which they need help with. Her team then diagnose the situation of the caller by asking further questions for clarification so they can deliberate and offer medication. Medication is in form of advice, suggestions, getting the caller to change their perspective and where the team cannot handle the matter, the clinic refers the caller to an expert off air.
Dame Winifred Akpani
Mrs. Akpani has 27 years’ post graduation experience starting in 1987 as a Trainee Accountant in Oni Lasebikan & Co. (now Ernst & Young, Osindero) an Accounting Firm. Thereafter, she moved to Arthur Andersen & Co. (now KPMG Professional Services), where she qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1990. She left practice in 1992 as an Audit Senior and joined Flame Petroleum & Gas Company Limited, a start – up Oil Marketing Company as Financial Controller. She rose through management and became an Executive Director in 1997. In her quest for self-fulfillment, she left the Company in 1998 to found Northwest Petroleum & Gas Company Limited and assumed the position of Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer. Mrs. Akpani is also a Director of Millennium Oil and Gas Company Limited, Operator of Oza Marginal field and Northwest Energy Nigeria Limited, a Company in the exploration and production sector. She is also a Director of Fleet Travels and Tours Nigeria Limited, a First Class Travel Agency, and has substantial interests in the Banking industry.
Ejindu, Princess Fifi Ekanem
She is featured in the 2018 edition of the Famous African Women Architects published by People Maven. Fifi, as she is popularly known, is one of the most celebrated Architects and businesswomen in Nigeria. Educated at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA; Pratt Institute School of Architecture, New York, U.S.A; Queens College, Yaba, Lagos, Senior Staff Primary School, University of Ibadan, she is the Chairperson of StarCrest Group of Companies; CEO, Building Support Systems; Executive Director, Delmar Group of Companies, Principal Partner of StarCrest Associates, an Architectural Firm, 1995 till date. Fifi worked at a private firm, Grant Associates in New York, USA. She is the first black African woman to graduate with a B. Arch from the prestigious Pratt Institute School of Architecture, New York. She holds the title of Her Highness Obonganwan King James. Recipient, African Achievers African Arts and Fashion Lifetime Achievement award, 2013. Appearing on CNN’s African Voices in 2013, Princess Fifi has been ranked as one of the African female pioneers in the fields of Architecture and Business. She has been inducted into the Global Women Leaders Hall of Fame – African Charter, as one of Africa’s top 20 Women of Influence in 2013. She has also received a commendation from the American state of Georgia House of Representatives for her achievements and has been awarded African Female Economic Champion 2013, She is also a winner of 2014 African Child Nobel Prize and has been named as one of the 2015 Top Twenty Inspirational Women by the African Diaspora Professional Women In Europe (ADIPWE) 2015.
Fatima Bello Raji
A creative and result-oriented Legal and Humanitarian Practitioner with 12 years post-call to bar experience both in Private and Public Prosecution/Defense, Fatima is engaged in providing pro-bono legal services to women and children whose rights have been violated in Adamawa State, under the umbrella of the INGO International Federation of Women Lawyers, commonly known as FIDA-Adamawa State Branch that advocates for Women and child rights both civil and criminal. She is the liaison person and representative for a substantial number of persons of concern to UNHCR in court as relates to Sexual and Gender Based Violence cases. Contributed tremendously to strengthening the referral mechanism (SOP) developed by UNFPA in collaboration with all stakeholders on response to cases of SGBV in Adamawa state.
A front-liner and supporter on sensitization on the Gender and Equal opportunity Bill for a Law, Violence against Persons Position Law and the Proposed Childs Rights Law in five LGA s in Adamawa state with the support of UNWomen, British Council and UNICEF, she has accessed support of the detention facilities (prisons and the remand homes) from UNHCR in Yola in terms of access to justice and distribution of non-food items to 800 inmates at the prison and 20 remanded children at the remand home, Yola.
Hannatu Ahmed Yaro
Hannatu is an International Development Consultant specializing in Gender, and Social Inclusion Education and Child Protection. Other areas are Governance, Impact Evaluation, Peace and Security, Capacity Building, Conflict Sensitivity/Mitigation, Gender Based Violence/ Violence Against Women and Child Protection, Education and Security, Strategic Planning, Community Development, Participatory Development, Monitoring and Evaluation.
She works as a consultant for International Organizations in various development programs and strategies to reduce poverty, promote peace and security through good governance. Recent Organizations worked for include: UNICEF, European Union, Canadian University Services Overseas (CUSO), DFID-CBDD, ESSPIN UNFPA. She has also consulted for BS Europe, DFID, MASDAR, SDDirect, EUROPAID and Canadian Climate Change and IFAD. An alumnus of the University of East Anglia, the United Kingdom and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, Hannatu holds a Masters Degree in Gender Analysis and Rural Development.
Hilda Pwaleri Makonto
The story of Mrs. Hilda Pwaleri Makonto, mni is an inspiring one. She turned her misery to an opportunity to impact the world. In October 1994, her husband, Mr. Markson Makonto, passed on abruptly in a ghastly motor accident leaving her a widow to cater for 6 children with the first child in SS2 and the last Nursery 1. The challenges faced as a young widow made her to accomplish a lot particularly her passion as a philanthropist in the society with challenged women. She pioneered the Adamawa State Widows Association as the President, ensuring that the right and privileges of widows and their children are protected. As the President of the Adamawa State Widows Association that she holds so dearly, Mrs Hilda Makonto dedicates most of her time, resources and engaging widows of all backgrounds towards channeling their energies into self-development. She is also involved in various capacity building programmes in promoting Peace and Security of women and their children’s interest in both Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations including the United Nations as UN Women Lead Mentor in Adamawa State Nigeria. A seasoned Civil Servant and an alumnus of the prestigious National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) and Royal Institute of Personnel Management, United Kingdom, Makanto is leading the advocacy for men who are 40 and above to write their wills as a way of protecting their wives and children.
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.
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 28- man team, consisting of eight Managers and 20 junior staff.
Maya Horgan Famodu
Maya Horgan Famodu is an ecosystem architect, driving growth and development in Sub-Saharan based start-up 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 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 flavours of Africa and Asia. She is the founder of HSE Café, a cosy 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!
Ngozi Atta’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 17 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.
Obioma is the Founder and Board Chair of Partnership Opportunities for Women Empowerment Realization (POWER) is a woman of many parts. She is an attorney, a seasoned administrator, a serial entrepreneur, a child rights crusader, a women’s empowerment facilitator and development activist. She is one of the few wives of public officers who have continued to run the initiatives they set up while in office. POWER, the NGO she founded is one of the leading groups intervening in child and maternal health issues as well as economic empowerment of women. She was educated at the Federal Government College, Enugu, and the famous University of Nigeria where she bagged honours degree in Law, and the Nigerian Law School, Lagos for her B.L.
Mrs. Liyel-Imoke, who is also the wife of the former Governor of Cross River, has a rich career spanning brokerage and retailing through oil and gas to finance and investment, and of course, philanthropy.
She has through POWER dedicated her life to working towards the improvement of the livelihood of the people of Cross River State, especially the women whom she sees as the key to family growth and development.
Through POWER, women’s lives have been totally transformed. Scores of women across the state have their businesses enhanced through the micro credit facility POWER is facilitating. She is a strong advocate of women working in partnership to help one another tackle the problems that darken their lives – poverty, neglect, domestic violence, illiteracy, discrimination, inequality, malnutrition, disease.
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 WTEC
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
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.
Prof Fatima Binta Sawa
Prof Sawa is The Provost, Federal College of Horticulture, Dadin Kowa, Gombe State.
She is an epitome of hard work, diligence, honesty, dedication, loyalty, innovation, perseverance, discipline, team building, focus, patience and efficient resource management. She is result oriented and fair, responsive, responsible, friendly, reliable and can work under pressure and odds to achieve optimum results. Prof Sawa who is currently in her third year serving as Provost of the College, has also served in various capacities of different institutions and establishments.
She has made tremendous contributions to the development of the society in many ways, especially in the fields of education, agriculture, research, and human development. The people in local communities especially women, widows and youth have also benefited from her generosity and community services. Over 3000 women and youth have been trained and empowered through various entrepreneurial and agricultural and skill acquisition programs piloted by Prof. Sawa in various communities. She has served as head, official and member of numerous national and international committees set up to bring growth and development in different fields of life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 consumers. 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.