I remember struggling to transition from where I was currently in business to a more productive and efficient system. I was also overwhelmed and unclear about my next steps. Then, I attended a conference hosted by Mrs the first female Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika. Trust me, being in the same room and learning from the wisdom of successful women will motivate you to tackle your professional journey. You don’t even have to meet them at a conference per se. If you look around, you will find women examples of excellence to take pride in and find your mojo. Below I share four of my personal favourites.
Whoever imagines what would have become of Lagos if this brave woman didn’t step up the game with her work? Thinking about Ebola is stressful enough, tbh, which is why we should constantly celebrate the excellence and sacrifice of Dr Stella Adedovoh. Despite the pressure from the Liberian government, she stood her ground and quarantined the Liberian, an act that invariably cost her own life. She did her job until the very end. She is also a reminder that the work you do every day makes a difference. Keep giving it your all.
When you think about strong Nigerian women, Ibukun Awosika comes to mind. She is the perfect combination of grit, passion, dexterity and discipline. Also, she is also a breaker of glass ceilings in male-dominated worlds. She currently sits on various boards including Cadbury Nigeria Plc and International Advisory Board of I.E.S.E Business School, Barcelona, not to mention a few. Also, she has co-founded philanthropic gestures that aid youth employment and empower women in business (WIMBIZ). One of her big values is integrity which is extremely important to me considering the corruption entrenched in Nigeria.
One minute she was gracing the big screens, the next she was winning an Oscar. Talk about symbol of grace and success. That’s what I think of when I hear Lupita Nyong’o. It may seem like she came out of nowhere but she has definitely paid her dues and worked her way up. She started off in Hollywood as a production assistant before her acting debut in a short film East River, then moved onto television series Shuga and her first feature film 12 Years A Slave where we won an Academy Award for Best Supporting actress. She is also a New York Times Bestseller for her children’s book, Sulwe.
But she is so much more than her movie portrayals. She is involved in charities that empower women like Mother Health International and has also spoken up against sexual harassment, sharing her own personal stories.
Bogolo Joy Kewendo
Bogolo Kewendo is Botswana’s Minister of Investment and Trade and she is also Botswana’s youngest minister, appointed at the age of 30. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Botswana and a Master’s degree in International Economics from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. Of course, being a young female leader in a patriarchal society has not come without its troubles. In speaking to New African Woman magazine she says “I’ve often been asked, ‘what are the disadvantages of being a young woman leader?’. Why should I give a disadvantage of being me? It is ridiculous. Nobody has asked what the disadvantages of being an old male are. And this is asked as if to imply I do not belong in this space and I strongly beg to differ,” she says pointedly, adding: “We tend to sell ourselves short as women in general. I think we have to change the narrative around young and women leaders; we need to start driving it more actively.”
She has remained unswayed by her detractors and has continued to focus on her job.
Which African women inspire you? Why not share in the comment section. Let us build a community of black women achievers.