Ibukunoluwa Abiodun Awosika (born Bilkisu Abiodun Motunrayo Omobolanle Adekola on December 24, 1962) is an entrepreneur, business executive, as well as an ordained Pastor.
She is a graduate of Chemistry from University of Ife, Nigeria; an alumnae of the Chief Executive Programme of Lagos Business School; the Global Executive MBA of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain; and Global CEO Programme of Wharton, IESE and C.E.I.B.S Business Schools.
Influencer, business leader, campaigner, Co-Author of “Net Positive: how courageous companies thrive by giving more than they take”, recently published October 2021.
Paul Polman works to accelerate action by business to tackle climate change and inequality. A leading proponent that business should be a force for good, Paul has been described by the Financial Times as “a standout CEO of the past decade”.
As CEO of Unilever (2009-2019), he demonstrated that a long-term, multi-stakeholder model goes hand-in-hand with excellent financial performance. Paul was a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel which developed the Sustainable Development Goals and which he continues to champion, working with global organizations and across industry to advance the 2030 development agenda.
Paul’s new book, “Net Positive”, is a call to arms to courageous business leaders, setting out how to build net positive companies which profit by fixing the world’s problems rather than creating them. He Chairs IMAGINE, a social venture dedicated to systems change, and Saïd Business School, and he is Vice-Chair of the UN Global Compact as well as a B Team Leader. Paul is Honorary Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, which he led for two years.
Freda is an experienced business leader who has successfully led and transformed organizations and teams in her career span of over 40 years. Her leadership style has always been to inspire young talent to dream bigger, act boldly and be decisive. She has been a front-runner to support women talent and this was the driving force for her choice to be a founding member of the Executive Women Network (EWN). Leading business transformation whiles helping teams and organization through change journey is her area of expertise as well as domain of passion.
She was the first African woman to be appointed as CEO in Zone Asia, Africa and Oceania in the Nestlé Group. Currently she is Board Chairperson of Zenith Bank Ghana, Independent Board Member of ZEN Petroleum, Independent Director Daystar Power Group, Board Chairperson DTRT Apparel (Mauritius) Limited and Consultant to Nestlé Zone (AOA) Management & Market Heads on Global Diversity, Inclusion & Youth Initiative.
Zambian national with extensive experience in development finance, is an independent consultant focused on accelerating impact-driven transformational economic development in emerging markets, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.
With over 30 years’ experience in global emerging markets development finance, Dolika has held senior positions with the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), the UK government’s development finance arm (CDC Group Plc) and the FCDO/BMZ/African Union’s African Risk Capacity Insurance Company (ARC Ltd).
Since 2015, Dolika elevated her role from operational/executive to strategic board responsibilities, advising and serving on various boards that encompass the strategic pillars of climate, development, impactful, inclusive (of gender) and infrastructure finance. In each of these strategic global issues, Dolika has been a proponent of women AND business. In her words, “On the corporate and national balance sheets, women are an asset; not an asset class.”
Dolika currently serves on the boards of CARE International, USA, CDC Group Plc, the UK’s development finance institution and Harith General Partners, South Africa, manager of panAfrican infrastructure funds. She is also a member of the Transformation Leadership Panel (TLP), established by the Africa Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), Ghana and the Global Steering Group on Impact Investment, UK (GSG-II).
She lives her passion for education, women and the sciences through trustee roles on the Education Outcomes Fund (EOF) initiative, UK, Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA), UK and Time & Tide Safaris Foundation, Zambia and Madagascar.
Dolika is the Founder of 2 scholarship programs in Zambia; the Dolika Banda:ALU STEMz Scholarship and the Evolvin’ Women Dubai:Zambia Scholarship.
Yewande is the Founder and Chairman of Eventful Ltd, a leading events planning and consulting company in Nigeria. She studied Law at University of Lagos and thereafter obtained an LL.M from Cambridge University, England. After a successful career in law and banking Yewande established her own business, Eventful Ltd in 2002. She retired March 2021 after 19 years of leading the company and handed over to a successor who is poised to take the company to a higher level.
Eventful is the pioneer and a market leader in the events and venue management and consulting business in Nigeria.
Yewande is passionate about redefining the events and entertainment landscape of Nigeria. She is the convener of The Food Souk, a world class food and beverage fair, The Beauty Souk, a niche fair for beauty enthusiasts, The Fashion Souk, a fashion fair showcasing the value chain of the Nigerian fashion business. These fairs have become annual landmark events on the Lagos social calendar.
Yewande is a founding Trustee and a past Chairperson of Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ), an organization established with the objective of being the catalyst that elevates the profile of women in management, business and the public sector.
She is the author of four inspirational books, God’s Waiting Room 1, 2, 3 and 4 which were written as a result of her personal testimony and to encourage couples experiencing delay in childbearing. She has recently executive produced a movie THE WAIT inspired by her books.
Yewande is the proud 2011 recipient of the prestigious International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award, an initiative of the Chambers of Commerce of Manhattan, Barcelona and India. She is a 2015 recipient of THISDAY Newspapers Gamechanger award for being the pioneer and gamechanger in the event planning industry in Nigeria.
She serves on several boards and non-profit organizations as a non-executive director and chairman.
Dr. Omobola Johnson is Senior Partner of TLcom Capital, a venture capital firm with focus on deal flow generation, investment, and value generation in technology companies in sub-saharan Africa.
Before joining TLcom, Omobola was Minister of Communication Technology, Nigeria from 2011 to 2015, focusing on the launch and execution of the National Broadband Plan, and the support of the Nigerian technology industry, including the pioneering involvement of the government in a local VC fund and a network of start-up incubators. Prior to serving in the
Nigerian government, she gained over 25 years of consulting experience with Accenture including five years as Country Managing Director, working with companies in a variety of industries, transforming them into more competitive and dynamic organizations.
Omobola serves on the Board of a number of leading Nigerian and multi-national corporations including MTN Nigeria and is Board Chair Guinness Nigeria plc. She also is the Founding Chairperson and Trustee, Women in Management and Business.
Omobola has a Bachelor's in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Manchester; a Master's in Digital Electronics from King's College, London and a Doctorate in Business Administration from the School of Management of Cranfield University. She is
the recipient of the Distinguished Alumna award from Cranfield University and the Lagos Business School.
Esther Akinnukawe is the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of MTN Nigeria Communications PLC, a multinational corporation and Nigeria’s leading telecommunications brand. As CHRO and business leader, Esther has pioneered diverse best-in-class HR Transformational strategies for business performance optimization and sustainability. Under her leadership, MTN Nigeria received the prestigious Investors in People (IiP) Platinum accreditation and 2020 Employer of the Year award - Platinum 250+ Category in addition to other industry leading local and global awards. In 2021, Esther was recognized by Global Group Media via the NBC Washington post as one of 31 women making impact in Africa.
Esther is a credible business leader with expertise in HR and almost 30 years industry experience spanning consulting services, education, banking and telecommunications. She commenced her professional career with Andersen Consulting (which later became Accenture) and served on the Faculty of the Lagos Business School.
Esther is an alumna of Obafemi Awolowo University, holds an Executive MBA degree from IESE Business School, Spain, is a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (MCIPM) and a professional member of Institute of Directors (IOD). In addition to her current role in MTN, Esther serves on the board of EDFIN Microfinance Bank as an Independent Non-Executive Director.
Esther’s mission is to pursue a life of impact and significance, influencing others to become the best they can be, while enjoying the ride. She actively contributes to actualizing this mission through life and professional mentoring support for diverse groups of people.
Esther facilitates human resources, leadership and faith workshops and enjoys reading, listening to music, and exploring new places. She is happily married and blessed with two lovely children.
Pearl Esua-Mensah is an experienced world-class business leader with a demonstrated history of over 20 years’ global experience in several sectors including Banking and Finance, IT and Media and public sector. She has experience in mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, total business reorganizations, strategy development and implementation, project management and development of operational systems.
She holds a BSc in Business Administration from the University of Ghana, Legon and an MBA from the Manchester Business School. She is also a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA).
Pearl Esua – Mensah is the first Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Deposit Protection Corporation (GDPC). Prior to being appointed Chief Executive Officer of GDPC, she was Founder and Managing Consultant of Feniks Ltd (a business consulting firm), Group Chief Executive Officer of Media General Ltd: a group of media organizations in Ghana from September 2017 to September 2018 and Deputy Managing Director of UT Bank Ghana until June 2015. Other appointments include Group Financial Accountant for Parity Group PLC and Group Reporting Accountant for Kantar Group both in the United Kingdom.
She currently chairs the Ashesi University Board, having served on the Board since 2014 and headed the Board's Finance Committee till she became its chairperson in 2017. She is also a member of the National Financial Stability Council.
Pearl Esua – Mensah is a co – founder and a past Chairperson of the Executive Women Network(EWN), a not–for-profit organization for the empowerment and development of women executives and entrepreneurs, as well as an Executive Member of the Ghana chapter of the International Women’s Forum (IWF).
Pearl Esua -Mensah is an avid supporter of several youth empowerment initiatives and serves as a mentor to many young people. She also supports several Charities particularly the JBA Foundation, a Christian non-governmental organization established to solely advocate and stand in the gap for women and children who need physical and emotional assistance for their development.
She is married with two children.
011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist, social worker and women’s rights advocate. She is Founder and President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, based in Monrovia.
Leymah is best known for leading a nonviolent movement that brought together Christian and Muslim women to play a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s devastating, fourteen-year civil war in 2003. This historic achievement paved the way for the election of Africa’s first female head of state, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. It also marked the vanguard of a new wave of women emerging worldwide as essential and uniquely effective participants in brokering lasting peace and security.
Leymah was seventeen years old when the Liberian civil war started and turned her, in her own words, “from a child into an adult in a matter of hours.” While the conflict raged, she became a young mother and eventually trained as a social worker and trauma counselor, working with ex-child soldiers. She came to believe in women’s responsibility to the next generation to work proactively to restore peace, and she became a founding member and Liberia Coordinator of the Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP). Inspired by a dream and as a person of faith, she organized her fellow Christian women to mobilize for peace. She then collaborated with a Muslim partner to build an unprecedented coalition with Muslim women, giving rise to the interfaith movement known as the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace (which operated under the auspices of WIPNET).
Leymah was appointed its spokesperson and led the women in weeks-long public protests that grew to include thousands of committed participants. Leymah led the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace participants in public protests that forced Liberia’s ruthless then-President Charles Taylor to meet with them and agree to take part in formal peace talks in Accra, Ghana. She led a delegation of women to Accra, where they applied strategic pressure to ensure progress was made. At a crucial moment when the talks seemed stalled, Leymah and nearly 200 women formed a human barricade to prevent Taylor’s representatives and the rebel warlords from leaving the meeting hall for food or any other reason until, the women demanded, the men reached a peace agreement. When security forces attempted to arrest Leymah, she displayed tactical brilliance in threatening to disrobe – an act that according to traditional beliefs would have brought a curse of terrible misfortune upon the men. Leymah’s threat worked, and it proved to be a decisive turning point for the peace process. Within weeks, Taylor resigned the presidency and went into exile, and a peace treaty mandating a transitional government was signed.
Leymah’s impact on the world had only just begun. She had emerged as a global leader whose participation was in demand at meetings of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and other major international conferences.
In 2006, she co-founded the Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A) in Accra and went on to serve as its Executive Director for six years. WIPSEN-A is a women-focused, women-led pan-African nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting women’s strategic participation and leadership in peace and security governance on the continent. WIPSEN-A’s leadership development programs in both Ghana and Liberia have transformed the lives of countless young women.
Furthermore, Leymah’s story as told in the 2008 documentary film Pray the Devil Back to Helland her 2011 memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers – as well as her lectures and discussions with groups large and small – have engaged, inspired and motivated untold numbers of people worldwide.
In February 2012, Leymah Gbowee launched a new nonprofit organization, the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA), in Monrovia, Liberia, which provides educational and leadership development opportunities for women, girls and youth. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Gbowee Peace Foundation and the PeaceJam Foundation, and she is a member of the African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning.
She holds a M.A. in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA). She also received a Doctor of Laws (LLD) honoris causa from Rhodes University in South Africa and the University of Alberta in Canada, and a Doctor Honoris Causa in Specialty Management and Conflict Resolution from the Polytechnic University in Mozambique. In 2013, she was named a Distinguished Fellow in Social Justice, a Visiting Transnational Fellow at the Center for Research on Women and Fellow in Residence at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College. Leymah was honored as a flag-bearer for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She is the proud mother of six children.
Mrs. Temitope Iluyemi, is the Senior Director, Global Government Relations for Africa region at P&G. Temitope, a qualified pharmacist, joined P&G Nigeria in 1998.
In her over 22years career with P&G, she has distinguished herself with a breadth of roles spanning across commercial and corporate functions (Sales, Market strategy and planning, Supply Network operations, External relations and Government Relations).
In this timeframe, Mrs Iluyemi has lived and worked from Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana,Togo and the United States of America delivering significant value to her company across various business disciplines.
Following her assignment in Washington D.C in 2017, she relocated back to Nigeria and her Government relations role was expanded and spans across the 53countries in Africa.
Temitope is a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, sits on several boards & advisory boards including P&G Nigeria, Montserrado B.V, Corporate Council on Africa, Taskforce Chairman on Trade facilitation, US Chamber of commerce and involved in various local community projects. Mrs Iluyemi is a keen advocate of the African regional integration and has contributed over several global platforms for the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Mrs Iluyemi was recognized among the Top 50 Leading ladies in Corporate Nigeria 2019, Top50 Leading African Corporate Women in 2021, Women who made impact in 2019 by the Guardian publication and recognized with a Honoris causa doctorate in 2019 and selected in the Top 10 Strategic African women in leadership - SAWIL in 2021.
Mrs Iluyemi spends her spare time mentoring young professional women and is involvd in various local community projects. She currently lives in Johannesburg with her family.
Olatowun Candide-Johnson is a lawyer with over thirty years’ experience in corporate and commercial law and in business development and governance of multinational corporations. During the course of her career, she worked in Law Practice, Shipping, & Oil and Gas. Whilst working with the Total Group, she worked in different divisions including three years at the New Business Division in the Paris HQ. Before taking early retirement, she held the combined roles of General Counsel, Executive General Manager, Management Services Division (incorporating Legal, Audit, Insurance and Anti-Corruption Compliance) and Chief Compliance Officer for the Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria.
In 2016, she obtained a Global Executive MBA awarded by LSE, NYU Stern and HEC (Paris), known as the TRIUM Global Executive MBA.
In 2018, she founded GAIA AFRICA; a member only business (and social) club for women leaders in Lagos to facilitate business connections and expand financial bottom lines. (https://gaiaafricaclub.com/).
Rolake Akinkugbe-Filani – Chief Commercial Officer, Mixta Africa
An award-winning infrastructure and energy executive, an engaging speaker, able to distil complex topics on global economy, markets contemporary society and business in a simple and concise manner to a wide and diverse audience, Rolake has more than 15 years track-record of helping to finance and scale businesses across Africa. She is currently the Chief Commercial Officer of leading infrastructure developer, Mixta Africa, helping the group craft and execute its commercialisation strategy for infrastructure and housing projects across Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire & Ethiopia, as well as the commercialisation of its key hospitality asset, Lakowe Lakes Golf and Country Estate. She was also recently appointed as the overseeing headquarter executive for Mixta’s operations in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.
Prior to Mixta Africa, she was Senior Advisor to IFU, the Danish Investment Fund and sat on the global advisory board of Canadian Private Equity firm, Stonechair Capital advising on its renewables and gas sector Energy Africa fund. From 2014 – 2019 she was head of energy for FBN Capital and FBNQuest Merchant Bank, raising debt and equity capital for local energy companies, and during which time she was also member from 2017-2019, of the private sector economic advisory group advising the Office of the Vice President on a range of national infrastructure development policy issues. Prior to FBNQuest Merchant Bank, she was head of the energy research team at pan-African Ecobank Group covering 33 African markets out of London. In her early career, she worked as a political risk analyst with Control Risks and Eurasia Group and worked in international development & affairs with the European Commission in Brussels and the International Crisis Group in Dakar, Senegal.
A highly sought-after industry expert on topics on global infrastructure, energy, economy, markets and business on global markets and energy, she is a regular feature on platforms like BBC, CNN, CNBC and others, noted globally for her astute analysis and ability to communicate business concepts to audiences comprising senior business leaders and decision makers. She was recognised as a top 275 Global Female Influencer Executives (2020) in Energy by the UK’s Energy Council, recognised as Young Economic leader in Africa, by the Choiseul Institute (2020) and was listed in the MIPAD 100 Under 40 in the 2018 Business and Entrepreneurship Category. She has a BSc & an MSc degree from the London School of Economics (LSE) and a joint MBA degree from the London School of Economics, HEC School of Management Paris and NYU’s Leonard Stern School of Business (TRIUM).
Rolake sits on the global advisory board of Persistent Energy, Africa’s Climate Venture Builder, and the board of the African Energy Chamber working with the Energy Transition and Investment Committees. She was also member of the Executive Council of WIMBIZ, Nigeria’s leading networking for women, where led the development of the private sector gender equity scorecard. In her spare time, she is a pianist, coach, and mentor. She founded iArticl8, an executive coaching platform for public speaking and effective communication, delivering both impactful corporate and individual coaching sessions.
Folake Soetan is the Chief Executive Officer of Ikeja Electric Plc, the largest electricity distribution company in Sub-Saharan Africa. Folake began her career in the Aviation Sector working British Airways and Virgin Nigeria as the Head of Sales. She joined Sahara Group in 2009 and worked in one of its key entities, SO Aviation in Ghana as the Vice President, Downstream - West Africa and led the expansion of the downstream market share beyond the shores of Nigeria and into Ghana, one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
Folake commenced her transformational journey at Ikeja Electric when she joined as Deputy Chief Commercial Officer and soon rose to become the Chief Commercial Officer. She commenced what will become one of the most transformational changes in the distribution end of the power sector in Nigeria. Her achievements helped elevate her to the position of Chief Operating Officer. In this role, she was responsible for developing and implementing strategies to increase customer growth, reduction of energy losses and aligning the major operating departments of the business towards a common strategy.
Folake became CEO in 2020, leading a team of a team of over 3,200 employees in the next phase of power sector transformation, which involves increased power distribution, technological transformation, and digital monetization. She has continued to lead the industry in loss reduction, metering, innovation, and sustainability.
Folake is an alum of Harvard Business School where she studied Advanced Management, a graduate of banking and finance from the University of Lagos and continues to participate in several leadership programs to equip her with the skillset required to transform lives and businesses sustainably.
An astute advocate of leading with empathy, Folake is committed to influencing and actively contributing to the development and growth of women in STEM and mentors several young men and women looking to build successful professional careers in the power and oil & gas sectors. She is on the Board of Women in Energy Network and contributes widely in ensuring that the organization meets its goals.