Allure Cover: Amazons Bridging Gender Imbalance In The Boardroom
Two days ago, the world marked International Women’s Day with the theme, #BalanceforBetter.
The theme is actually a call to action, to see how women can forge a more gender balanced world.
Since Beijing in 1995, there is no denying that women have made appreciable progress and inroad into more traditional, male dominated fields of play.
The boardroom which was once “the men’s room”, is now frequently visited by women and in some cases, with the women calling the shots.
Today, Allure for lack of space, celebrates 10 corporate women for their tenacity, brilliance, doggedness and sterling leadership qualities that that have helped them rise to the peak of their careers, and fill the gender imbalance in business and administration space.
1. OSARETIN AFUSAT DEMUREN
She is the Chairperson and board of directors of Guarantee Trust Bank. Until she assumed this position in April, 2013, she worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria where she put in over 33 years meritorious service in the department of Trade and Exchange, and later in Human resources, becoming the first female director in the nation’s apex bank.
A product of the prestigious St.Maria Goretti Girls Grammar School, Benin City, Mrs Demuren holds a Master’s degree in Economics and statistics from Moscow Institute of Economics and Statistics, Moscow, and a diploma in Russian Language and Preliminary Studies from the Kiev State University, Kiev. She is also a member of many professional bodies including the Society for Human Resource Management of America, Nigerian Statistical Association, Chartered institute of Bankers and Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.
A shining light and mentor to many young women, it is instructive to note that she is the first woman to hold her current position with GT Bank.
2. IBUKUN ABIODUN AWOSIKA
She is the chairperson / Board of Directors, First Bank Plc. She is also the CEO, The Chair Centre Group. By her appointment to First Bank in 2015, she made history as the first woman to be appointed chairperson of one of the nation’s oldest banks.
Popularly referred to as “Chair Centre”, Mrs Ibukun Awosika is a graduate of Chemistry from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile -Ife. She is also an alumnae of the Global Executive MBA of IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain.
A fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and Aspen Global Leadership Network, her sterling leadership qualities of honesty and integrity has earned her a place on boards of several companies in Nigeria.
Awosika, a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, is Chairman, Board of Trustees of Women in Management, Business and Public Service.
The multiple award-winning business mogul is the recipient of the International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award (IWEC).
The little girl from Ibadan who attended Methodist Girls High school, has come full circle as an entrepreneur, stamping her feet in the sands of business times.
3. STELLA CHINYELU OKOLI (MON)
She is the founder and CEO of Emzor Pharmaceutical, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company based in Lagos.
Born in Kano in 1944, she was educated at the University of Bradford where she obtained a degree in Pharmacy in 1969. Two years later in 1971, she bagged a Master’s degree in Biopharmaceutical from University of London, Chelsea College.
After graduation, she took up employment with several top pharmaceutical companies such as Boots the Chemists Limited, Middlesex Hospital, London and Pharma-Decko.
Her journey to the top began in 1977 when she established Emzor Chemists Limited in Somolu, a surbub in Lagos. That little seed has since grown into the mighty oak now known as Emzor Pharmaceutical with over 50 products in its kitty.
She has served as Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria. The member of the Economic summit of Nigeria is currently, the Vice President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.
The native of Nnewi in Anambra State, a hard worker not daunted by life’s hard blows, is the recipient of the ECOWAS International Gold Award.
4. FUNKE OKPEKE
She is the founder and CEO of MainOne Cable Company, a Lagos- based communications services company. An Engineering graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, she also holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University.
The native of Ile-Oluji, Ondo State, began her working career in New York City after graduation, working with Verizon Communications as Executive Director. She also worked briefly with Transcorp and NITEL.
In 2005, she resumed at MTN Nigeria as Chief Technical Adviser.
In 2008, MainOne was born to address the internet connectivity problems in Nigeria. It was a tall dream, almost unattainable. However, having been raised by high achieving parents, she laid over 7,000 KM fibre optic cable from Nigeria to Portugal, a move that opened big business opportunities for MainoOne. The conducive internet space being enjoyed now is due to her effort.
5. HAJIA HADIZA BALA USMAN
Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman is the Director General, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA). Born in on January 2, 1976, She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, and a post-graduate degree in Development Studies from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.
Until her appointment as DG NPA, on July 11, 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari, Ms. Bala Usman was the chief of staff to the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai.
6 KOFO AKINKUGBE
She is the founder & CEO Secure ID, a smart card manufacturing outfit. She is also a leader in digital security. She has been globally hailed for innovative records. She runs the only smart card production company in West Africa,serving 16 countries. Secure ID is fully certified by Mastercard, Visa and Verve.
Armed with an MBA from the University of Stracthlyde, Kofo worked in the banking sector for about 12 years before venturing out to start Interface Technologies in 1997.
7. CHANTELLE ABDUL
Chantel Abdul is the Group Managing Director of Mojec International. The consummate business woman heads group of companies that are leaders in their various sectors. However, she is most associated with Mojec Meter company and Mojec Power.
The innovative serial entrepreneur, has transformed a small family venture into a world class brand. To her credit, she raised millions of dollars to build the largest state of the art Smart Meter assembly facility in Nigeria. With installed capacity of over a million meters annually, this is to realize her vision of improving the lives of Nigerians by providing power to people.
Chantelle Abdul is a recipient of several awards including the Presidential Business Council’s Global Impact Leadership Award- Outstanding Woman in Power by WAPIC.
8. MARY UDUK
She is the Ag. Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission. An astute leader and administrator, and highly experienced management professional, her career as regulator has spanned many departments. she joined SEC in 1986 as an assistant financial analyst.
To her credit, she has managed several landmark capital market projects such as mergers, acquisitions and Takeovers between 2005-2007.
Mary Uduk holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Business Administration from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She is a 2009 Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. She was also on secondment to British Columbia Securities Commission, Vancouver, Canada.
9. Bola Adesola
She is the senior Vice- Chairman, Africa of the Standard Chartered Group. She is currently responsible for supporting the execution of of the bank’s strategic intent within the Africa region.
Bola joined the bank in 2011 as the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited and grew to also head West Africa. A player in the financial sector, she has also worked First Bank of Nigeria PLC and Kakawa Discount House, Nigeria. Her career train also made a stop at Citibank both in Nigeria and Tanzania heading senior leadership positions.
The University of Burkingham trained lawyer turned banker, was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985 and has over 26 years banking experience.
Her interest in the economic growth and development of women led to her co founding the Women in Management, Business and Public Sector (WIMBIZ).
She was appointed to the UN Global Compact Board by the UN secretary General in June 2015.
10. MOSUN BELO-OLUSOGA
She is the chairman/ Board of Directors of Access Bank Plc and holds sway as a director in several other high profile companies, such as Mtn Foundation, The KRC Ltd. and Premium Pensions Ltd.
Her career in the Finance sector which spans over 30 years, began in 1980 at Coopers and Lybrand (Chartered Accountants) where she worked as a trainee accountant. She later joined Continental Merchant.
She later joined Guarantee Trust Bank as a pioneer management staff. Her career blossomed and she rose through the ranks until she retired in 2006, as Executive Director, Investment Banking.
The 1979 graduate of Economics from the University of Ibadan is also a distinguished Fellow of both the Institute of Chattered Accounts of Nigeria (ICAN), and Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
By Jemi Ekunkunbor