#YWomen100: Arunma Oteh, Hafsat Abiola-Costello, TY Bello, others make list of 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria
Y!/YNaija.com, in partnership with Leading Ladies Africa project today announced its annual list of Nigeria’s 100 Most Influential Women, #YWomen100.
In its second year, the #YWomen100 spotlights women who have made incredible strides in their chosen field of endeavour – overcoming obstacles and shattering the proverbial glass ceiling.
"These women have done a lot in blazing the trail in different sectors - inspiring many others to believe in themselves, break boundaries, and see their gender as a unique opportunity rather than a limitation,” said Francesca Uriri, Founder, Leading Ladies Africa..
In commemoration of International Women’s Day, Y!/YNaija.com presents, in no particular order, the #YWomen100 :
1. Ada Osakwe
A passionate and focused Agropreneur, Ada is the Chief Executive of Agrolay Ventures, an investment firm dedicated to growing the agricultural and food sector in Africa. Some of the food businesses created by Ada include The Nuli Juice Company, Agroblend Foods and Nature’s Bounty ( www.reelfruit.com ). She is championing the move towards Agribusiness with great passion.
2. Adaora Mbelu
Adaora is Head of Innovation at A2Creative, a business and brand management company. She is by all standards a fierce creative. She has worked on projects across various industries, either as a Project Manager, Content Director, or Brand Manager. Some of these projects include: XFactor Nigeria, The United Nations World Tourism Organization conference, Nigeria Centenary Awards 2014, and many others. Ada is also the co-founder of ‘The Amalgamation Project’– a platform for promoting social causes.
3. Adiat Disu
Founder of adiree.com , a communications and branding firm focused on fashion, home décor and beauty, this young business mogul is charting a new course for African fashion. Her company is the original creator and founder of the African Fashion Week, held in fashion capitals across the world including New York, London, Paris, Milan, Berlin, and Tokyo.
4. Affiong Williams
Affiong is an agropreneur, and the Founder of Reel Fruits, a growing fruit-processing company focused on processing, packaging and branding local, and quality fruit products. In 2015, Affiong made the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 tomorrow’sbillionaires list. She is definitely a woman to watch.
5. Aisha Ahmad
One of the most respected and admired women in Corporate Nigeria, Aisha is the Head of Consumer Banking at Diamond Bank PLC, one of the fastest growing retail banks in Nigeria. This classy executive is currently the Chairperson of the Executive Council of Women in Management, Business & Public Service (WIMBIZ), a leading women-focused not-for-profit organization.
6. Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan (Mama Taraba)
Popularly known as Mama Taraba, Aisha is a woman of immense influence and clout. A woman of many firsts, she became the first female to be appointed as Taraba State’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice. An immensely formidable politician, she nearly became the first elected female governor in Nigeria, in the 2015 gubernatorial elections. She was also the first woman to be appointed as the Secretary of the FCT Judicial Council. She has shattered several stereotypes that have to do with northern women and politics in Nigeria.
7. Aisha Augie-Kuta.
Aisha is a photographer, film maker and mixed media artist. She is the recipient of several awards, including Creative Artist of the Year at the 2011 Future Awards and the British Council ‘Through-my-eyes’ competition 2014 . Beyond being the founder of the Center for Art and Creative Talent (CACT), she was recently appointed as the SSA New Media in Kebbi state. Aisha’s photos show her keen eye for detail and ability to tell important stories.
8. Dr. Akudo Anyanwu-Ikemba
Passionate about getting rid of malaria, aids and tuberculosis in Africa, Dr. Akudo started Friends of the Global Fund Africa, an African voice in support of the fight against diseases. Till date, Friends Africa has mobilized over $560 million for African countries to tackle these deadly diseases and has trained over 2700 SMEs across Africa, and there’s no stopping them.
9.. Amara Enyia
Amara is a former Chicago Mayoral candidate, a race in which she stood against already established politicians like Emmanuel Rahm. She’s an accomplished public policy consultant, the Principal Consultant at ACE Municipal Partners LLC, Lead Writer at Municipal Maven, and ED, Austin Chamber of Commerce.
10. Anie Akpe
Akpe is a business professional and entrepreneur with more than 15 years’ experience in the banking industry. She is the Founder of Inno8tiv Magazine and the Co-Founder of Ibom LLC. Akpe is also the Vice-President of Mortgages (currently managing a $575 million portfolio) at a banking institution. For her, failure is not an option.
11. Anjelica Nwandu
Anjelica started The Shade Room, after she had quit a dead-end job. The ambitious Twenty five year old took celebrity gossip to another level when she began posting celebrity gossip on Instagram as @TheShadeRoom. In less than two years, The Shade Room has successfully carved a niche for itself in the industry. It was recently dubbed as the TMZ of Instagram by the New York Times. Anjelica was recently listed as one of the people to watch in Forbes 30 under 30 list.
12. Arese ugwu
Arese is a money guru and the brain behind Smart Money Africa, a platform that delivers quality content on financial literacy. She is the head of Wealth Management at Partnership Investment Plc. She sits on the boards of House of Tara International Ltd and The Nigeria Higher Education Foundation as a non-executive director and is an associate member of WIMBIZ. Fiercely ambitious and driven, Arese recently organized the first edition of the Smart Money Africa Woman Workshop which was attended by women from all works of life, and is likely to be replicated all around Africa due to its huge success.
13. Arunma Oteh
Intelligent, bold, and confident; many know of Aruma as the former Director General pf the Nigerian Securities Excahnge Commission, and also as the woman who refused to be cowed or intimated at a Senate Panel hearing session. She is currently the Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank, and is already making great strides.
14. Bassey Ikpi
Bassey’s personal and heartfelt work has made her a much sought after performer; she’s a poet and writer, spoken word artist and founder of the SIWE Project. Bassey Ikpi has appeared on HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry five times and her poetry has opened shows for Grammy Award-winning artists. Asides’ being an art and culture aficionado, Bassey is also a strong advocate for mental health and speaks out about issues around it frequently. She also frequently shares about her own experiences with bi-polar disorder; and inspires and strengthens countless others by doing so.
15. Betty Irabor
Fondly called “Aunty Betty,” Betty Irabor is a business woman and the Editor-in-Chief of Nigeria’s leading women’s magazine, Genevieve. The magazine celebrated its 13th year anniversary recently; probably the longest running print magazine in Nigeria. Betty is also a philanthropist, mentor for countless women, and a champion for breast cancer awareness through the Pink Ball Foundation.
16. Bimpe Onakoya
An absolutely exceptional woman, Bimpe is an award winning makeup artist, and the Artistic Director of Maybelline New York Nigeria. Bimpe is living the dream of so many aspiring makeup artists as she has worked at the New York Fashion Week with top designers like DKNY, Lacoste, J Mendel and Mara Hoffman. Her work has been published in Vanity Fair Italia, Italian Vogue, Marie Claire and Mania Magazine. As a means of mentoring and paying forward, Bimpe recently commenced professional training sessions for upcoming female makeup artistes in Nigeria..
17. Biola Alabi
Biola Alabi is the Managing Partner at Biola Alabi Media; a dynamic Consultancy that helps clients find solutions for their media related businesses and organizations. She’s also the former Managing Director of Electronic Media Network (MNET). At MNET, she worked tirelessly to increase the company’s Africa portfolio, including overseeing the launch of Africa Magic Hausa and Yoruba in 2010 and Africa Magic Swahili in 2011. She is a Yale World Fellow and one of the most accomplished and powerful women in African media. Biola flagged off her ‘Grooming to Greatness’ mentoring campaign in 2015 which is aimed at grooming the next generation of African business leaders.
18. Bolanle Okusanya Feyita
Bolanle is a diverse entrepreneur who started out as a makeup and Beauty Editor at OK! Magazine, Nigeria. Having worked at several leading brands including body shop, Elizabeth Arden, Lancaster, Clarins, Molton Brown, Nars and Mac, she launched her own line Makeup Pro Collection in 2005. After her father’s tragic passing in 2014, Biola turned her tragedy to purpose and established LTJ Memorial Funerals, an off-shoot of MIC Royal Limited, and has been growing in leaps and bounds since then.
19. Bukky George
Leading pharmacist and CEO of HealthPlus Limited and CasaBella International , a one-stop store for grooming and beauty solutions for men and women, Bukky has been described as the queen of retail pharmacy in Nigeria based on the steady success of her pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies. HealthPlus already has 31 branches across Nigeria with more branches to already in the pipeline. Bukky is also the first recipient of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Board of Fellows’ Award for Excellence in Community Pharmacy.
20. Bukky Karibi-Whyte
Bukky is a PR Mogul, Founder and the Principal Consultant of The Bobby Taylor Company which specializes in Media Relations, Crisis Management and much more. Her passion for PR led her to launch Invicta Africa, a cutting edge company strategically positioned to provide public relations services to Nigeria’s corporate world. We love what she’s doing with PR and how she keeps evolving.
21. Bunmi Laditan
Bunmi is the creator of honesttoddler.com – the cheeky, hilarious brand that has won our hearts all over social media. Inspired by the challenging time she was having with her then spunky two-year old daughter, Bunmi began a twitter account that tried to articulate the mind of a two-year old. Four years on, and we are all still incredibly hooked. Bunmi is also the author of a book on parenting, and contributes to The Huffington Post, Mommyish, Parenting amongst others.
22. Chika Oduah
Chika is an independent multimedia journalist, poet and writer whose work has been published by The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, CNN, Al Jazeera, and many others. Chika, in one of her most notable work, successfully highlighted the plight of the Chibok girls and the fragmented community they left behind, giving the sensitive issue the necessary publicity it required. She has also appeared on various TV and radio stations including the BBC. Chika is the 2014 recipient of the Trust Women, Journalist of the Year Award from the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the winner of the 2015 African Story Challenge project by the African Media Initiative.
23. Chioma Chuka
Chioma is a social media strategist with nearly 10 years’ experience working in technology, governance and citizen participation. She is the Founder of TechHerNG, Nigeria’s first hub solely dedicated to building a support community for women in technology. Her outstanding work has been featured on various platforms including Future Challenges, Bertelsmann Transformation Index, Deutsche Welle, YNaija, etc.
24. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Described as Nigeria’s literary star, Chimamanda is a novelist, nonfiction writer and short story writer, and has received numerous awards and distinctions. She is uncompromisingly unconventional and is unafraid to talk issues that many would rather stay silent on; her thought-provoking articles challenge the conventional mode of thinking. Her book, ‘We should all be feminists’ adapted from her 2012 TED Talk has been adopted by Sweden as part of its efforts to promote gender inequality. The message of the book has also been adopted as guide to conversations in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. Beyonce also sampled excerpts from Chimamanda’s TED talk on her Flawless song..
25. Chizoba Okpala-Astu
Chizoba is the Managing Director and Head Mixologist of Elles Icebox; Nigeria’s foremost event support service company with cocktails and drinks as its specialty. She started off her business after having cocktails at an event and knowing she could offer better. 5 years down the line, she has a full-scale business, has added a smoothies segment to her business, and has also recently published a book on mixology and making cocktails. Talk about impressive!
26. Dr. Constance Iloh
Constance is an outstanding scholar and well sought after speaker who was recently honoured as Forbes 30 under 30. Headlined as a “Higher Ed Powerhouse” by Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Constance is committed to advancing understanding of the changing landscape of postsecondary education and its impact on underrepresented students.
27. Debo Adebayo
Debo is the Founder of Tomi’s Treats. Her passion for children’s health took her off her 9-5 route and led to the launch of Tomi’s Treats, a company that produces organic fruit and vegetable purees that can be eaten by babies six months old and above.. She is a Chemical Engineering graduate and a qualified Chartered Engineer in the UK. In her 10-year career in the oil and gas sector, she worked with Foster Wheeler, KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton and Amec Oil and Gas.
28. Dupe Olusola
Dupe is the MD/CEO of Teragro Commodities Limited. Teragro, a subsidiary of Transcorp Nigeria, deals with the production of fruit juice concentrates for industrial markets. The company recently partnered with consumer food giant, Coca Cola, to produce the Five Alive Pulpy Orange Juice which is a big accomplishment for Dupe and her team.
29. Ehime Akindele
An accidental discovery led Ehime to create a company which is loved and patronized by many in the country. Sweet Kiwi is the name of Ehime’s company and year after year, the company does not cease to thrill its customers with a wide variety of frozen yoghurt flavours of premium quality.
30. Ejiro Amos-Tafiri
Simple, chic and beautiful are just a few ways to describe Ejiro Amos-Tafir’s designs. Ejiro has participated in several exhibitions and fashion shows such as Stars on the Runway and the Creative Academii reality T.V show where she emerged the winner in the Fashion category. The Ejiro Amos Tafiri brand, recently celebrated its 6th anniversary – with a successful exhibition just concluded in the UK, and with the addition of another outlet to her rapidly growing business, the future is looking awesome!
31. Florence Adepoju
Frustration at the lack of lipsticks for darker skin tones, is what led Florence to begin production of her own line of lipsticks from her parents’ garden shed in Rainham, Essex, London. Today, with Lena Dunham and other celebrities as fans, her hip-hop lipstick brand, MDMFlow, boasts a variety of colours, and is stocked at Topshop and the French beauty brand, Colette. Get in line world!
32. Florence Otedola aka DJ Cuppy
Cuppy started off her career as a disc jockey seven years ago at the age of 16 in London but has since become a household name across the African continent. In August 2015, she embarked on a continental tour tagged ‘DJ Cuppy Takes Africa’ which saw her visit eight African cities. Her desire to grow in the music industry led her to pursue a Master’s degree in Music Business at New York University. She is also an intern at Jay Z’s Roc Nation.
33. Folake Coker
Award winning fashion designer and creative director of Tiffany Amber keeps re-defining herself and her brand. She has stand-alone stores and boutiques in Lagos and Abuja; and is set to open a couple more. She has been featured on Forbes Power Women list making her the first African Fashion Designer to be featured on the list. Her recently launched Women of Vision Mentoring program with Diamond Bank has provided a platform for her to pass on great wisdom to other women.
34. Francisca Nneka Okeke
An epitome of strength, handwork and brilliance, Francisca is a scientist and Professor of Physics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She recently received the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award for her significant contributions to the understanding of daily variations of the ion currents in the upper atmosphere which may further our understanding of climate change. She was also the Dean in the faculty of Physical Sciences at her University, from 2008 to 2010.
35. Funke Bucknor-Obruthe
The first thing you notice about Funke is her passion and energy – she also loves to dance. That she’s passionate about her work is not in doubt; testimonials from clients – individuals and multinationals, crowd her social media pages. As the CEO of Zapphire Events, Funke was one of the first to professionalize and institutionalize events management in Nigeria.. Over a decade later, with an impressive feature on CNN’s Inside Africa Series, and a book on events management in tow, Funke keeps making big things happen. Salute!
36. Funmilayo Victor Okigbo
FVO as she is fondly called by her friends is the CEO, Production Designer of No Surprises, an events architecture company. Her ability to deliver with professionalism had brought clients like Google, EbonyLifeTV, Diamond bank and a lot of others her way. FVO is also the CEO of The Wedding Company Nigeria, a bespoke wedding design and planning company.
37. Glory Edozien
Glory is the Founder of Inspired By Glory – a women’s empowerment and capacity development platform. She’s also the host and Executive Producer of the Inspire Series online talk show – a lively, engaging and spirited talk show which uses the collective stories of every day women to inspire others. Glory recently organized a goal setting workshop, My 2016 Goals – which equipped women with the tools needed to achieve their goals for the year.
38. Glowreeyah Braimah
Described as a Gospel musician with a difference, Glowreeyah is a lead vocalist in the Lagos Metropolitan Gospel Choir of the House on the Rock church. She is also a Lawyer, Freelance Writer and Social Change Advocate. Her song, ‘Miracle Worker’ featuring Nathaniel Bassey is one that seems to minister to different people across board. She recently released her debut album, Expression – where her musical artistry, and love for ministration shines through.
39. Hafsat Abiola (Costello)
Hafsat is a human rights, civil rights and democracy activist. She is the Founder and President of Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), an organization which seeks to strengthen civil society and promote democracy in Nigeria. Moving beyond the shores of Nigeria, Hafsat is the initiator of the China-Africa Forum, which seeks to promote positive socio-economic partnerships between China and Africa. She was recently re-appointed as Special Adviser to Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
40. Amina J. Mohammed
As Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, Aisha hit the floor running, attending to environmental issues in Nigeria, and also around Africa and the world. She previously served as the Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on post-2015 development planning. Deeply qualified and knowledgeable, Ms. Mohammed previously served as Founder and CEO of the Center for Development Policy Solutions and as an Adjunct Professor for the Master’s in Development Practice program at Columbia University.She is a recipient of the National Honours Award of OFR in recognition of her contributions and accomplishments.
41. Ibukun Awosika
“Aunty Bili” as she is fondly called by those close to her, Ibukun Awosika is a consummate professional, a successful entrepreneur, and a mentor to many. She is the Founder and CEO of The Sokoa Chair Centre Group comprising of companies involved in furniture manufacturing. In 2015, she was appointed as the First female Chairman, Board of Directors First Bank Nigeria. With high interest in social issues including women, Ibukun is a Co-Founder and past Chairperson WIMBIZ and Afterschool Graduate Development Centre (AGDC) – a facility which she promoted to help address youth employability and enterprise issues in Nigeria. She is deeply committed to mentoring upcoming generation of entrepreneurs and through the TFD Series, and in partnership with Tara Fela-Durotoye, she has mentored hundreds of women.
42. Ifeoma Fafunwa
Ifeoma Fafunwa is the Producer/Director of Hear Word – a collection of monologues based on real life experiences of women, covering a variety of subjects like rape, inequality, marriage, female genital mutilation and religion. The plays feature stellar all-women casts comprising seasoned actresses like: Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Joke Silva, Kate Henshaw, Ufuoma McDermott, Elvina Ibru and others. Ifeoma is a Fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative West Africa and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. For the past two years she has run a pro-bono acting workshop for women.
43.. Isoken Ogiemwonyi
She is a serial entrepreneur who is always looking out for new ventures in retail fashion to launch. Starting out as a fashion designer with her label, The Obsidian Way, Isoken moved to launching a successful fashion market, Le Petit Marche. She was also formerly the Co-Founder of the L’Espace, a luxury fashion store. Her latest venture, Zazaii is a top notch fashion store, and has already hosted a series of successful fashion pop-up events.
44. Itoto Eze-Anabais
Itoto’s passion to fight domestic violence led her to start the Mirabel Center, the first Sexual Assault Reform Centre in Nigeria and the second in West Africa. The center is a safe and welcoming space that provides holistic services and support to survivors of sexual assault in a compassionate and caring manner. She was recently recognized in the category of ‘International Humanitarian of the Year’ by Women 4Africa.
45. Josehine Okeme
Josephine Okeme is proof that no good deed goes unnoticed. If you constantly ply Herbert Macaulay, Jibowu, Yaba road in Lagos State, Nigeria, you would have seen her hard at work – but doing so with so much style and grace. She is popularly called “The people’s traffic warden,” as her pleasant attitude to work endears her to many motorists. In 2015, she was nominated and honored during the Guinness #MADEOFBLACK campaign.
46. Jane Michael Ekanem
Jane is the go-to stylist for almost all the celebrities in Nigeria. In addition to that she has also been the official stylist for corporates, styling reality shows like Project Fame, Nigerian Idol and MTN Family Game Show. The journey to success hasn’t always been an easy one for Jane, but through determination, grit and hard work, the girl is soaring. Jane was recently featured on CNN’s African Voices – talking about her business as a stylist, fashion designer and budding writer. Amazing woman.
47. Jumoke Oduwole
Jumoke is a Lecturer at the Department of Jurisprudence & International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. Until 2015, Professor Oduwole held the Prince Claus Chair in Development and Equity at Institute of Social Studies, the Hague part of Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She was recently appointed as a senior economic development advisor by President Buhari. Jumoke volunteers her time for the advancement of a number of social causes and has mentored Nigerian youths in various capacities for over 15 years.
48. Jumoke Orisaguna
The story of Jumoke Orisaguna – the bread seller who photobombed T.Y Bello’s shoot of Tinie Tempah – is one that fills everyone will hope. She represents the class of Nigerian women who diligently strive and work hard without the chance of ever being celebrated or acknowledged. But for Jumoke, her story is now different; with a slew of brand endorsements, a modeling contract and a posh apartment in Ikoyi, she is indeed proof positive that dreams do indeed come true.
49. Kasope Ladipo-Ajai
Kasope took a simple Nigerian, everyday staple, and made it into a thriving business. She is the founder of Omo Alata, a Nigerian food service and packaging company that is focused on producing hygienically processed and packaged local Nigerian soups, spices and peppers. In 2015, she emerged as the winner of the SheLeads Africa Pitch competition.
50. Kelechi Anyadiegwu
Founder of Zuvaa, an upscale marketplace for African inspired fashion and accessories, Kelechi combined her passion for African print and web design to build an online destination for African Fashion and Design. She was recently featured in the 2016 Forbes 30 under 30 list, in the retail and E-commerce category
51. Kemi Adetiba
Kemi is a prolific music video director, filmmaker and television director whose works have appeared on Channel O, MTV Base, Sound city and BET. She recently announced the launch of her new talk show King Women, a visual movement that acts as an accessible/online source of mentorship and emotional upliftment to young, impressionable ladies. We love how she’s evolving and re-defining herself.
52. Kemi Lala Akindoju
Lala as she is popularly called is an award winning actress, producer, casting director and CEO of The Make it Happen productions. Her company is targeted at telling African stories through all mediums; especially film, television and stage. Lala is responsible for producing ‘The Wives’ and ‘Lagos Life London Living’ which were very successful shows. She has also featured in over 70 stage and film productions around the world.
53. Kehinde Bankole
Kehinde is an actress, model and television host. With many of experience in the Nigerian movie industry under her belt, she stole the hearts of many with her breakaway performance in the award winning October 1 movie. Her commitment to improving herself and giving her best with each work has surely paid off for Kehinde as she won the award for Best Actress in the 2015 edition of the AMVCA.
54. Kunbi Oyelese
You’ve definitely seen her dresses on several notable women in Nigeria. She is the creative Director of female apparel brand April by Kunbi. Her ingenious designs have been featured on many runways and notable fashion shows. Kunbi was one of the judges of the Fayrouz L’Original competition alongside Mai Atafo and others.
55. Leslie Okoye
When it comes to skin care, Leslie knows best. She is the founder of a leading skin care company, Cookie Skin, which specializes in helping women of different skin colors get flawless skin. Leslie is on a mission to redefine the meaning of good skin among African women with her skin care brand.
56. Linda Ikeji
She has no doubt carved a niche for herself in the blogging industry. Her consistency over the years has made her blog one of the most celebrated in Africa and she has amassed great wealth from it. Linda also takes part in various causes in order to empower young women to pursue their dreams.
57. Lola Omolola
Lola, a woman with a heart for other women, is the creator of the amazing initiative, Female in Nigeria, a virtual safe house for women. Within a short time, the initiative has created a culture of helping women connect on a deeper level, facilitating global meet-ups and networking and linking women in crisis (domestic violence, sexual assault, depression, suicide) with therapists, lawyers, physicians and other professionals. Female in Nigeria now has nearly 60,000 women who have joined the movement.
58. Luvvie Ajayi
Luvvie the Editor-in-chief of Awesomely Luvvie – a blog that talks about everything from race to politics, to pop-culture, fashion, tech and everything in between. Luvvie has been blogging for over 13 years, and describes herself as “a Wacky Wordsmith. Pop Culture PrimaDonna. Superb Side-eye Artist. Bodacious Blogger. Witch of Wit. Dynamic Digerati with a Superior Shoe Game. Admirer of Alliteration.” She’s loved because she is essentially “So woke!” She’s also the founder of the Awesomely Techie blog, and believes that you don’t have to be a geek or a nerd to be a techie.
59. Maupe Ogun
If you watch Sunrise Daily on Channels Television, Maupe’s name will be familiar. She’s currently a co-host on Channels’ hottest news and current affairs program. Maupe’s passion for news and current affairs brought her into the broadcast industry in 2007. She has been growing ever since.
60. Matse Uwatse-Nnoli
Matse is a woman of many parts. She stood out as a radio presenter winning awards such as the Women in Media and Entertainment Awards for her “Excellence in Radio Presenting”, and the African Voices Awards in Nairobi, Kenya as the “Most Outstanding Radio Presenter in West Africa” 2009. After a successful career as a radio presenter, she moved on to create Matse Cooks, an innovate food blog and she later started the Matse Cooks TV Series on Youtube where she teaches other food enthusiasts how to make mouth-watering dishes.
61. Mildred Okwo
She is one of the women doing amazing things in Nollywood. The film director and producer is responsible for the creation of notable movies like The Meeting, 30 days and instant hit, Surulere which is her latest project. Mildred alongside 11 other Nollywood practitioners founded the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee and got approval from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and sciences to screen Nigerian films to be submitted for Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards.
62. Mo Abudu
Mosunmola is an entrepreneur and pacesetter in the media industry. Her numerous and continuous achievements have proved that she is not here to joke. From starting the Moments with Mo Talk show that inspired many to building an enviable brand with Ebony Life TV, Mosunmola Abudu is on a roll. Her latest movie project Fifty, has received several local and international awards/accolades.
63. Mobolaji Akiode
She is a basketball player who has had the opportunity to play with the National Team at different international competitions like the 2004 Summer Olympics, 2005 African Nations Cup, 2005 Common Wealth games and the 2006 World Championship. In 2010, she started a nonprofit organization, ‘Hope 4 girls’ that helps young girls explore opportunities in sports. In 2013, Mobolaji was awarded the Everyday hero award by ESPNW/Toyota and was inducted into the Fordham Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014
64. Ndidi Nwuneli
Ndidi is the champion of youth development with a passion that very few people can muster. In 2002 and 2003 she founded LEAP Africa, a leadership, ethics and management training institute for youths, business owners and social entrepreneurs and officials in the public sector. She is also the Co-Founder of AACE Foods, a local agro processing company in Nigeria and AACE Consulting specialized in agricultural strategy and policy.
65. Ngozi Opara
Ngozi Opara is the owner of NZO Hair Studio in Washington D.C and the Founder of Heat Free Hair 100% virgin hair extensions designed to perfectly blend with a woman’s natural hair texture or curl pattern. She is revolutionizing the beauty industry with her products.
66. Njideka Crosby
Njideka is an award winning visual artist working in Los Angeles, California. Her works on paper combine collage, drawing, painting, printmaking, and photo transfers and they can be found in the collections of major museums including Yale University Art Gallery, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and others.
67. Nkiru Balonwu
Nkiru is the CEO of Spinlet, a mobile music download platform founded in 2006 and has revolutionalized the way music content is shared and distributed. Since its inception, Spinlet has established offices in Lagos, Cape Town, South Africa and San Francisco.
68. Nnedi Okoroafor
Nnedi is an award winning fantasy, science fiction and speculative fiction writer. She is also an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). One of her books, ‘Who fears death’ was awarded the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel as well as the 2010 Carl Brandon Kindred Award.
69. Oby Ezekwesili
Oby is a woman of character, intelligence, and razor-sharp wit. She co-founded Transparency International, an anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany and has served as the Vice President of World Bank, Federal Minister of Solid Minerals and the Federal Minister of Education. She is a major voice in the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign which shows that she is indeed a true advocate and an exemplary leader.
70. Oluwatoyin Sanni
Oluwatoyin Sanni is the Group Chief Executive Officer at United Capital PLC, a leading African investment banking firm based in Lagos. In 2014, Toyin was named as one of the Top 25 CEO’s by the Nigerian Stock Exchange. She authored the book ‘Yes You Too Can’, an inspirational book aimed to empower the next generation of women leaders.
71. Omawumi Magbele
Popularly known as Omawumi, this singer, song writer and actress is has a powerful voice and an outgoing personality. Starting out from the Nigerian Idols competition, Omawunmi has distinguished herself in the industry with her unique and sonorous voice and let’s not forget her eclectic dance moves. She recently released a single with the Grammy Award winner, Angelique Kidjo.
72. Omilola Oshikoya
Widely known as Africa’s premier wealth coach, Omilola has successfully impacted many with her ‘Do it afraid’ mantra. The Pocket Finance Founder debuted her first Do It Afraid Conference, an annual event organised to inspire business minded individuals lack the conviction to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Omilola is also holding the first Do It Afraid entrepreneurship workshop with Agribusiness at its theme. Supported by Bank of Industry (BOI), the Agriculture workshop will help enlighten participants about the opportunities in the sector, how they can be seized to generate value, and how they can access the various funds such as the BOI agriculture funds.
73. Omoyemi Akerele
She is a lawyer turned fashion consultant and the Creative & Managing Director, Style House Files; a creative development agency for Nigerian and African designers. Akerele is also the Founder of the Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW), a platform which helps brands gain essential international exposure. She embodies simplicity, poise and grace.
74. Osaru Alile
Osaru is a high-spirited, vibrant young woman; she loves to explore various cultures through travelling and exciting adventures. In 2007, She co-founded Caxton Alile Design; A pro-African creative force and founding company of Caxton Alile Living, CC Interiors & its new initiative Eterior Spaces which aims at #CreatingHappySpaces for all, irrespective of ones budget. Osaru acts as a GLOBAL SHAPER in the Lagos Hub of the World Economic Forum (WEF- Osaru is a Vital Voices GROW Fellow, WIMBIZ Associate, Mara Mentor and the Committee Chair for Education, Interior Design Association of Nigeria (IDAN). She is very passionate about creativity, entrepreneurship, education and the empowering of Nigerian Youths.
75. Rolake Akinkugbe
The intelligent executive is investment banking deals in the energy and natural resources sector, and manages key sector relationships for FBN Capital. Previously the Head of Energy, Oil and Gas Research at pan-African Ecobank Group, Rolake is the founder of VoxPerfect, a company that aims to re-invent the art of public speaking and bring creative talk to the mainstream.
76. Samiah Oyekan-Ahmed
Medical doctor turned portfolio entrepreneur with 3 businesses under her belt. Fusion Lifestyle Ltd (which organises The Fusion Lifestyle Family Fair, The FusionConnect business clinics and runs The Fusion Lifestyle Store, a multi brand lifestyle hub), The Gift Source, a one stop gift resource company, and Fruit Garden a fresh fruit products company.
77. Saudat Salami
I.T and Agribusiness entrepreneur Saudat Salami, founded Easy Shop Easy Cook, a proudly Nigerian online domestic outsource company that delivers customized domestic services to the working professional who otherwise cannot meet up due to work and timing challenges. She is a solution provider.
78. Shareefah Andu
The CEO of Arabel Nigeria Limited, Shareefah is an exceptional entrepreneur. Based on her belief that the Muslim woman can be religious and trendy at the same time, she created Arabel to create fashionable pieces for Muslim women. Her store launched the Princess Amna turban, one that is classy and simple.
79. Shola Okubote
It’s always inspiring and refreshing to see women support and celebrate other women. Shola is the founder of WomanNG, a website that is dedicated to women related issues. It is essentially a site by Nigeria women for the Nigerian Woman.
80. Osinachi Kalu-Egbu
Popularly known as Sinach, she is a household name in the Gospel music industry, starting off as a worship minister at the Christ Embassy Church. Sinach is an award winning musical artiste who has written more than 200 songs. Her songs have become anthems in many homes and churches. Her impact through her music has been felt across the world.
81. Subomi Plumptre
Subomi is a creative genius and social media denizen. A leading African strategist focused on brands, business and social media, she manages Corporate and Social Media Practices at Alder Consulting. Not one to hold off from going against popular opinion, Subomi is always championing one cause or the other and has distinguished herself in the area of the use of social media for research and providing very useful insight.
82. Tara Fela-Durotoye
In the beauty and makeup industry, Tara Fela Durotoye is King. She is the pioneer in the bridal make up profession in Nigeria and the CEO of House of Tara International. She is also the creator of the Tara Orekelewa Beauty range, Inspired Perfume and the H.I.P Beauty range. Beyond all of this, Tara clearly has a heart for God, and recently started the TFD series, a mentoring platform for young women, where she pays forward to other women, all that she has learned as business woman
83. Titilope Sonuga
Titi is an award winning poet, writer and performer who has graced any stages locally and internationally. She was the winner of the 2011 Canadian Authors’ Association Emerging Writer Award for her first collection of poems. She performed alongside renowned poets like Sonia Sanchez, Jayne Cortez, Yusef Komunyakaa and others. Titi also had the privilege of performing at President Buhari’s inauguration in May 2015.
84. Toke Makinwa
Love her or hate her, Omotoke Makinwa is here to stay. A distinguished and hugely successful OAP, Vlogger and media personality, Toke has a knack for building houses with the bricks life’s thrown at her. Her versatility and impeccable taste in fashion has unarguably earned her a spot as one of Nigeria’s style icon. Her media presence and popular vlog have spurred brand endorsements, media deals and a slew of new opportunities. Talk about a woman rising!
85. Tope Oshin Ogun
Tope Oshin Ogun is a multiple award winning motion picture professional. She has directed 350 episodes of Africa’s biggest soap opera “Tinsel”, 3 multiple award winning productions, “The Young Smoker”, “Till Death Do Us Part”, “New Horizons”, the award winning feature “Journey To Self” and Mnet’s tele-novella, “Hotel Majestic”. Now that’s a long list of accomplishments!
86. Tori Abiola
Tori is passionate about entrepreneurship in Nigeria. She is the Managing Director of Montgomery West Africa, an independent exhibition and events company at the forefront of trade and consumer shows in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. She launched WOWE (Women of West Africa Entrepreneurship) where she helps to create business opportunities for the discerning woman.
87. Tosin Ajibade
Olorisupergal is one name that most will recognize. Tosin is the founder of Olorisupergal and she is a seasoned Digital Media professional. She has expanded her brand on many frontiers and now co-produces a digital travel hub, Travel Story Africa, and is the convener of the New Media Conference. She recently celebrated the 6th year anniversary of the OSG, and is an example of consistency, diligence and hard work.
88. Toun Okewale-Shonaiya
She is the MD of the first and only women radio station in Nigeria, FM 97.1. Through inspirational and enlightening programs the station provides a platform that will advance the affairs of women in different ramifications. Its programs cut across business, politics, sports, news and entertainment, all from women’s perspectives.
89. Toyin Saraki
Toyin Saraki is a healthcare philanthropist with over two decades of advocacy covering maternal, newborn and child health, ending gender-based discrimination and violence; and improving education. She is also the Founder-President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa, a pan-African maternal health and wellbeing charity. She is a lawyer and sits on the boards of the Global Foundation for the Elimination of Domestic Violence and The Africa Justice Foundation.
90. T.Y Bello
Everyone knows… and loves T.Y Bello – and if you don’t know or love her yet, then you will. As a photographer, musician and artiste, T.Y’s works are deeply evocative, personal, human and powerful. She captures the world in a way that makes us all see and appreciate beauty. And we won’t forget just how instrumental she was to the rise of Jumoke Orisaguna – the now hugely famous bread seller.
91. Uche Pedro
Creative, driven and inspiring, Uche is a an entrepreneur, writer and the founder of Nigeria’s popular Bella Naija – a leading website for entertainment, lifestyle and fashion. Her superb leadership has kept Bella Naija relevant for over nine years and the expansion into weddings has further distinguished the brand. Uche has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show and interviewed by CNN’s Isha Sesay.
92. Unoma Okoroafor
She is the President and founder of Working to Advance Science and Technology Education for African Women, an international non-profit organization founded in 2007. Her passion for tech related matters cannot be ignored. She is a at Herbal Papaya LLC and acts as a visiting professor at the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja Nigeria teaching courses at the Computer Science department.
93. Veronica Obie-Odeka
Celebrity stylist Veronica is one woman who has worked hard to make a name for herself. She is known for her distinctive work with Genevieve Nnaji, Tiwa Savage, Dolapo Oni, Adora Oleh, Waje, and Toolz. No wonder she is the biggest and most sought after stylist amongst the celebrities in Nigeria. Veronica is also an image consultant and she runs the company Vane Style. She recently launched her own line of luxe nail polish called Vane Nail Polish.
94. Waje Iruobe
Aituaje Iruobe, known as Waje, is a singer whose vocal range covers three octaves. When she is not singing Wake works with the youths of her community through an organization she calls Waje’s Safe House, where she teams up with other NGOs quarterly to help fight causes including poverty eradication, education, health to girls and women rights.
95. Yagazie Emezie
Yagazie is a multi-disciplinary artist and photographer based in Lagos. Her photography focuses primarily on documentary, fashion and travel around the African continent. She created some of the first design imagines for Alara luxury store to help build its online presence. Other projects she has worked on include Felabration and Lagos Fashion and Design Week.
96. Yasmin Belo Osagie
She is the co-founder of She Leads Africa (SLA), a Nigeria-based social enterprise that equips female entrepreneurs in Africa with the knowledge, network, and financing needed to build and scale strong businesses. This is another woman who believes in encouraging other women to become movers and shakers in their respective industries.
97. Yemi Adamolekun
This is one lady who is not afraid to speak out. Bold and fearless, Yemi is the Executive Director Enough is Enough EIE Nigeri, a coalition of Nigerian of individuals and youth-led organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability. EiE made groundbreaking contributions in mobilizing people to register and vote in the last general elections
98. Yemi Alade
The Afro-pop singer, who came into the limelight after winning the Peak Talent Show in 2009 has remained consistent in the music industry. She is best known for her hit single “Johnny”. Yemi Alade has performed across the globe, sharing the stage and songs with both international and local acts like Mary J. Blige, Shina Peters, M.I, Wizkid, Becca,May D, Waje and other artists.
99. Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede
Yetunde A. Odugbesan-Omede, is a dynamic and motivational global speaker. She is the author of recently published book titled, Young Woman’s Guide. She is the CEO of Yetunde Global Consulting, LLC., a management consulting firm which specializes in leadership development and training, organizational management and business branding. She is an advocate for woman’s empowerment, and has built a leadership brand that empowers, trains and equips people from all walks of life to be better leaders.
100. Zim Ugochukwu
Zim is an avid photographer, visual storyteller, classically trained pianist, junk foodie, vegetarian, and occasional building climber. She is the founder & CEO of Travel Noire, a digital publishing platform for travelers of colour.
Read full article on YNaija HERE and find out more information about Leading Ladies Africa HERE
About Leading Ladies Africa Series
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa; an initiative that seeks to effectively mentor and inspire women, with particular emphasis on the African continent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to [email protected] and we just might feature her.
Y!/YNaija.com is a network of premium media brands – Y! TV, Y! Magazine, YNaija.com, Teen Y!, TeenYNaija.com, Y! 2015, YNaija2015.com – committed to an evolving generation of Africans. Established in 2011, with a vision to provoke thought, inspire action and stimulate growth; it has become the leading media platform for young Africans with reach across West, East and Southern Africa, influencing policy, opinion and leading on issues across sectors with a focus on governance, culture and technology.