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Women who made impact in 2019

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PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Top bankers, finance experts, businesswomen, medical practitioners, politicians, lawyers, technology experts, media entrepreneurs, gender experts, PR practitioners, actors, chefs, athletes, activists, “first ladies”, reality stars and more… they all graced our Guardian Woman covers this year, amazons all, to raise the bar and standards for fellow women to follow. And, as the year 2019 comes to a close, we want to celebrate all our amazing cover subjects, who have not only excelled in their various callings, but are also impacting other women and girls.

As they pursue their various goals, careers and professions, contributing their own quota to national development, they also endeavour to bring up and nurture a younger generation of women and men, too, through their various foundations, programmes and NGOs.

These women, drawn from all walks of life, have inspired us, advised us, shared their lives with us, their success stories and failures, business, career and life-tips were also given to readers. They are also helping to elevate other women and educate young girls, especially the less-privileged ones. Giving inspirational and motivational words to positively influence other women, especially those starting out in their careers into taking positive actions that would enhance their status, we have put together some of the quotes we loved best from our amazing women. Here is hoping they inspire you even more to take that bold step today:

• “Find your niche, stick to it and persevere.”
Mojisola Ogunsanya aka “CEO of everything making money” who started a couple of businesses that packed up, eventually found her calling in the restaurant business. She spoke on rising up, no matter how many times you might have failed.

• “I think there is a space for men as allies in feminist conversations,” Sierra-Leonean activist and social entrepreneur, Moiyattu Banya-Keister on the importance of including men in feminism.

• “In PR industry, once you know your worth, gender becomes secondary-” Mariam Mohammed, CEO, Maktoub Strategic Public Relations/Publishing on how competence will speak for you above all things.

• “I would like to see more women becoming high-impact entrepreneurs, leading more impactful companies,” says Fintech expert, Eloho Gihan-Mbelu.

• “We should allow women explore their passion at a young age” Ihuoma Nwigwe, founder and CEO of Selfitness, on the need for women pursue their passions from when they are young, no matter what the passions may be.

• “We have to improve the lives of women, with more women empowered, we could make a great change,” Chioma Ude, Executive Director of AFRIFF on how re-telling the stories of African women and girls can empower and uplift them.

•“The cost of cancer treatment is killing most women,” Eno Essien and Nnenna Obasi bravely shared their personal stories of overcoming cancer in October, the breast cancer awareness month.

•“Understanding the needs of women in farming will help in guiding them to succeed,” Lola Masha, Executive Director for Corporate Services at Babban Gona Farmer Services, a social impact organization focused on supporting small farmers especially women farmers to increase their yields.

• “Women should endeavour to work extra hard, society doesn’t always give us equal chance,” Adetola Juyitan, National President of Junior Chambers International (JCI), on how women need to work twice as hard to earn chances and opportunities that come easier to men.

•“Women don’t have any issues with leadership, the rest of the world does” Co-founder of SLAY Festival on how women are breaking new grounds everyday despite so many obstacles.

•“As women, we usually put others’ interest, well-being before ours” Osas Ighodaro on why more women should put their interests, health and wellbeing forward so they can live longer, richer and more fulfilling lives.

•“There are vast opportunities across all spectrums of media for female creatives” Ibironke Shileola, Managing Director/CEO of Micromedia Marketing Limited, on how more female creatives can thrive in the media and the opportunities that abound within it.

•“The more women are at the top, the more women are motivated to get there” Patricia Obozuwa, Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer for GE Africa, on why we need to encourage more women to rise to the highest peak of their careers.

•“I have a positive spirit, I always see light at the end of the tunnel” Lara Rawa on being a female mixologist in a male-dominated industry and how she doesn’t allow this deter her from putting in her best always.

•“I’m a firm believer in starting small and dreaming very big” Peju Ugboma, CEO, I luv desserts talks about dumping Microbiology for dessert making, turning a huge business mistake into a best seller and things women-owned businesses must do and avoid to stay successful.

•“The search for childcare for my first child and realising there were no good ones available led me down this path, and I have no regrets whatsoever” Childcare expert, Itoro Ugorji, on dumping banking for childcare.

•“I always consider how to turn challenges of being the only female in the room to an advantage,” Temitope Iluyemi, Director, Global Government Relations for Africa at P&G.

•“It’s time to break stereotypes and encourage girls to be anything they want to be” IT Expert, Nkemdilim Begho, on how to draw more women and girls towards a career in STEM and allowing them express themselves whichever way they want.

•“We need to place a premium on the education sector” Adeyoyin Adesina, experienced educator and CEO of Corona Schools’ Trust Council, wants the government to improve education in the country, particularly girl child education.


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