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WiLS 2019: What next for women in leadership


Dr Siju Iluyomade

She (name withheld) is a most accomplished professional. She had stepped into this big corporate to seek sponsorship for her organization. The Chief Executive of the company took one look at the delightful lady and then shocked her. Hear him, “You don’t need sponsorship. What you need is a trip to Dubai. I will take you to Dubai”.

Then the lady staggered him with her pungent response. “I am a taker of people to Dubai. So you can’t take me to Dubai….”.

Welcome to the world of Women in Leadership Series, WILS, an organization founded and convened by the accomplished Women’s right and gender equality advocate, Dr Siju Iluyomade. WILS is a platform for leading and accomplished women in different fields to come together to share their experiences.


Through this engagement, Dr Siju says, “every woman would see the bigger picture and understand how pivotal they are to the future of our society and our nation”. She adds, “Our objective is to challenge more women to take on positions of responsibility in line with scriptural principles and ensure we impact our homes, businesses and society positively in our growing our nation”. And come, Tuesday, June 25th, 2019, at Eko Hotels and Suites, from 10.00am, Handmaidens WiLS annual event will be re-enacted once again.

WILS which holds every year is an altruistic quest by the organisers to enlighten and empower women. This means that these leading women who champion this cause can actually do with some form of sponsorship or partnership. And that was why the lady in this narrative visited the corporate organization. And her response to the Chief. Executive illuminates the quality of women in the Handmaiden’s WILS.

Take for instance, the Convener, Dr. Iluyomade, is a lawyer by Profession with over 30 years post call experience and has been in legal practice with her husband Idowu Iluyomade since 1987, as a Founding Partner in their firm, Iluyomade and Co. The Handmaiden’s WiLS also boasts of heads of blue chip companies, intelligentsia, and business magnates.


The evocative story WiLS dates back to 2016. Spurred by the visioner, Dr Iluyomade, the women gathered for the maiden edition of WiLS with the former Minister of Communications, Mrs Mobola Johnson as the Keynote Speaker while Dr Iluyomade led a team of formidable panelists for the critical conversations on the promises and possibilities that women hold in a society and why they must take their place of impact in the nation.

The grand success of the inaugural edition would draw 1,400 women to Eko Hotels for the second rendezvous in 2017. This time it was the accomplished Vice Chairman of Channels Media Group, Mrs Olusola Momoh that would serve as Keynote Speaker. The talking point was Leading Women in Challenging Times.

This turned out a seminal discourse as Dr Iluyomade led a sharp-witted, piercing and analytical panel of leading women in industry, business and professional practice to dissect the subject matter and to share their thoughts on nigglings issues affecting women and the society in general.

As Dr Iluyomade, the Founder and Chief Host leads another eminent gathering of women to Eko Hotels and Suites from 10.00am on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, it promises to be yet another creative, innovative and visionary session as these astute and profound women cast their light on the theme of Leading Women, Building Legacies. And the Keynote Speaker is Nigeria’s illustrious export to United State, the renowned Hematology Oncologist, Walter Palmer Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, Olufunmilayo Olopade. The panelists are not any less in stature and accomplishments. They include Bolanle Austen-Peters, TY Bello, Kofo Akinkugbe, Prof Sade Ogunsola, Prof Enase Okonedo, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Funke Buckuor-Obruthe, Dorothy Atake and Cicilia Akintomide. The Special Guests of Honour are Her Excellencies Mrs Betsy Obaseki, First Lady, Edo State, and Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, First Lady, Ogun State.

Importantly, this splendid occasion is evocative of Arise Women’s Conference, also founded and convened by Dr Iluyomade. Here, like the Arise Women’s culture of empowerment, she makes skill acquisition and empowerment of hundreds of women part and parcel of WiLS enactment every year so that WiLS is not just seen as a theatre of intellectual discourse. And she brilliantly accomplishes this laudable vision through an ingenious partnership with Arise Women every year and exactly on the same day and time with the WiLS event. Therefore as leading women engage in well researched, highbrow talks on critical issues, some other women are elsewhere acquiring skills and being empowered.

No question, this women rights and gender equality advocate, a rare humanitarian and author, Dr Siju Iluyomade, through WiLS is opening a new and significant channels of conversation and empowerment for women.


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Siju Iluyomade
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