About the Women
Adenike Ogunlesi is best known as the founder and Chief Responsibility Officer of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, the foremost indigenous lifestyle brand operating to international standards in the design, production, and retail of children’s fashion for boys and girls from new born to sixteen years old. She opened her flagship store in Ikeja GRA, Lagos in 2000 and her business has expanded rapidly into the indigenous retail giant it is today. Ruff ‘n’ Tumble presently operates a factory, warehousing, distribution, and 12 retail outlets in major cities of Nigeria such as Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Ilorin and Kano. By the end of 2014 it will have expanded to 15 outlets in Nigeria with plans to extend to other parts of West Africa. Adenike’s exceptional entrepreneurial and management skills have been recognized via a board appointment at the Pan African University’s Lagos Business School where she functioned as an advisory board member of its Enterprise Development Services (EDS) Center. She is also a founding member and the first president of the Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) at the Nigeria Employer’s Consultative Association (NECA). She is an advisory board member and mentor at WISCAR (Women in Successful Careers) which is a structured mentoring programme for young women. She is a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs at FATE Foundation which fosters poverty alleviation and wealth creation via entrepreneurship and job creation. She is also a mentor at the Mara foundation and most recently a finalist at the CNBC AABLA (All Africa Business Leaders Awards) in the category of the Business Woman of the year 2014. She is also an avid motivational speaker talking to women’s groups and young people whenever called upon. She is happily married and blessed with three children.Adesuwa Onyenokwe (Mrs) has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dramatics arts from the University of Ife, and a Masters in language arts from the University of Ibadan and has practiced journalism in the broadcast segment for over twenty-five years and four years in the print media, in Nigeria. After fifteen years as a social services reporter with the National Television network news service, she retired to private practice as an independent content provider for Television, through her production company Universal Communications. For ten years, she produced and presented a half-hour show featuring women and issues that concern them, through the programme “Today’s Woman with Adesuwa”. Added to her portfolio is the recent foray into publishing, via a lifestyle magazine, TW, as publisher and editor in chief. Since 2007, TW has become the prime choice of discerning readers. It is a lifestyle family magazine which is primarily targeted at the cosmopolitan woman, as it addresses the day to day challenges she faces in playing her multi-faceted roles of wife, mother, daughter, sister and professional. Adesuwa Onyenokwe is a motivational speaker with a passion for women, youth and development issues who has won several professional awards including the Nigerian Media Merit award 1994 Cadbury reporter of the year, Zenith Bank jewel of the future in a 2006 publication titled ‘Her Story Project’ …amongst others. She is married with children.Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Cuppy has become a female forefront for African DJ’s. Cuppy began by playing the piano, after which she ventured into beat making and thereafter Disc Jockeying. At 17, she had already become a household name playing at some of London’s top nightclubs and events including various Fashion Week fixtures. She’s also played at well-‐known events in Paris, New York, and Dubai. As a DJ, Cuppy plays House music predominantly, but began experimenting with music from her native hometown and noticed that it was gradually becoming widely accepted in mainstream Europe. This fueled her curiosity and she sought to create a universal sound that would appeal to people the World over without losing touch of her cultural heritage. She calls this new sound Neo-‐Afrobeats, a genre of music, which blends Electric House with Afro-‐beats. In 2014, Cuppy was appointed a Tourism Ambassador for Nigeria by the Federal Ministry for Culture and Tourism. As a result this honorable title, Cuppy has been privileged to DJ for an elite set of crowd; she entertained global diplomats and international representatives with her turntable skills at the Financial Times Luxury Summit 2014, in Mexico City. She was also the DJ at the Tatler UK Magazine x Christie Inc Art Ball. She was also appointed as a resident DJ at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2014, which was held in Durban, South Africa. In July 2014, Cuppy released her major project for the year, titled ‘House Of Cuppy’. House of Cuppy is a remix compilation of Cuppy's 5 favorite Nigerian songs for the year, all tracks produced by her. This rule-‐breaking project was tremendously successful and was launched in London, Lagos and New York.Eku Edewor is an actress, television personality and host of the award-winning entertainment show, 53 Extra – which showcases the latest in music, film, fashion and red carpet events across the African continent. Whether gracing the covers of magazines, interviewing stars or performing on screen, Eku has established herself firmly in the African entertainment industry as a talent on the rise. Born in London, England to Nigerian and British parents, Eku was raised between London and Nigeria – an experience that granted her the privilege of being exposed to two vastly different environments. From a very young age, Eku fostered an appreciation for the arts and landed her first part in a school play when she was only seven years old. In 2006, Eku was a contestant on the hit reality show, Britain’s Next Top Model and then went on to sign a deal as the face of 53 Extra in 2010; thus marking the start of her career in front of the camera. Eku has since gone on to build an extensive résumé including appearing in her first major film role, Flower Girl (2012) which garnered several awards, and has been screened worldwide. She also executive produced and performed in the theatre production, Closer in 2013. Some of Eku’s small screen credits include appearing on Big Brother Africa All Stars, hosting the 2013 Miss Nigeria competition, the Elite Model Look Nigeria competitions in 2010 and 2011, co-hosting with IK Osakiaduwa and landing an endorsement deal with Martini Rosé. In addition to entertaining audiences every week on 53 Extra, Eku currently hosts PEPSI’s Top Ten Music Countdown and Ndani TV’s upcoming fashion reality show, The Cut.Eku is a graduate of English and Theatre from the University of Warwick and trained as an actress at the New York Film Academy.Ms. Funke Opeke, is founder and CEO of Main One. Main One is a telecommunications solutions provider that built West Africa’s first privately owned, submarine cable system interconnecting Lagos, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; and Seixal, Portugal. Under her leadership, Main One has been as a catalyst for change in West Africa’s telecommunications landscape by improving Internet Access across the region, and is now the leading provider of wholesale connectivity solutions to businesses across West Africa, with further investments in terrestrial fiber networks across the region, and West Africa’s largest commercial Tier 3 data center scheduled for completion in Q4 2014. Ms. Opeke returned to Nigeria in 2005 as the Chief Technical Officer of MTN Nigeria after a twenty-year career in the United States. Prior to her return, she was the Executive Director of Verizon Communications Wholesale Division. Following her stint in MTN, Ms. Opeke advised Transcorp on the acquisition of NITEL, where she briefly served as the interim Chief Operating Officer, NITEL. She obtained a first degree in Electrical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, New York. “It is wonderful to have an initiative that promotes women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship which is very welcome in our society, which is particularly challenged with unemployment, showing women coming along that they can also make it happen.”With experience in the furniture industry dating as far as 1981, Ifeyinwa Ighodalo has worked in and run various furniture manufacturing and interior design companies, including Coonita, Casafina Furniture Company and Design Options, which she co- founded in 1987 and helped establish as the preferred choice and one- stop shop for furniture and interior design solutions in Nigeria. As an icon in the Nigerian furniture manufacturing and interior design industry, Ifeyinwa has set out to reinvent herself through the brand DO.II, which serves the need for a wide range of state-of-the-art design choices and furniture, high-end finishes, along with top of the line organization, customer service and quality that she stands for, thus filling the gap that the dissolution of Design Options has left. In addition to the 2012 Best Residential Designer Award, Ifeyinwa has been honouredwith the St. Moritz Style Woman of the Year Award 2004 and the proud recipient from Nigeria of the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award in 2010, an initiative supported by the US Department of State. She also received the St Moritz Sytle Award for Interior Design with the best showroom display in 2004 for her work in Design Options. Ifeyinwa is a founding member and is currently on the Board of Trustees of Women in Management, Business & Public Service (WIMBIZ), a non-profit organization established to be a catalyst that elevates the status and influence of women and their contribution to nation building. She is a graduate of Accounting from the University of Nigeria Nsukka. She is happily married and blessed with an amazing daughter and over 20 godchildren.Dr Jumoke Oduwole is a lecturer at the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, her Alma Mata. She is an elected member of the University’s Senate. Professor Oduwole is holder of the Prince Claus Chair in Development and Equity 2013-2015 at Institute of Social Studies, the Hague part of Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She was appointed on the nomination of the Curatorium led by Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, and is the fourth African and second youngest academic to hold the appointment in honour of HRH the late Prince Claus of The Netherlands, and reserved for leading scholars in the field. She recently delivered her inaugural lecture in the presence of the Queen. Dr. Oduwole was the founding Executive Director of The Kuramo Foundation Ltd Gte, a law and development non-profit closely affiliated with the Lagos State Government. In May 2014, Oduwole headed a technical sub-committee in charge of volunteers for the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, which was held in Nigeria for the first time. She is co-founder of “No Limits,” a platform for inspiring and instilling leadership values in Nigerian youth, and she was the only female judge for the premier season of “The Next Titan,” a nation-wide reality television show geared at encouraging entrepreneurship among Nigerian youth as an answer to chronic youth unemployment. Dr Oduwole has an LL.M. degree from Cambridge University, where she was a DFID-Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar, as well as a second masters degree in International Legal Studies and a doctorate degree from Stanford Law School. Jumoke is an avid photographer, and is happily married with two beautiful children. She is passionate about development issues in Africa.Maryam A Augie: Holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Ehsal University, Brussels. She is currently the Executive Director Ayahay Foundation, her advocacy in the areas of education and girl child empowerment in Nigeria has received critical acclaim, the league of Association bestowed on her an award for manpower development in 2013. She was nominated for one of Nigeria’s prestigious youth awards The Future Awards under its community and advocacy category in 2013, she was awarded the Junior Achievement Philanthropy Award 2014 for her work in creating educational access to underprivileged children in Nigeria. She served on the Nigerian Economic Summit Panel on Access, Equity and Inclusion for basic education which held in Abuja in 2014; she was a member of the Nigerian delegation at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, New York -2014. She lives in Abuja, Nigeria. “I think it is a brilliant initiative and it is very inspirational. All women chosen come from different backgrounds and through this process we have been able to learn something from one another, which makes it very inspiring. I am very inspired by all the women of vision; there is a lot to learn from them as businesswomen, as mothers, as entrepreneurs and as Nigerian women most especially.”Dr. Ola Orekunrin is a medical doctor, a trainee helicopter pilot and an entrepreneur who founded West Africa’s first indigenous air ambulance service, the Flying Doctors Nigeria, which saves hundreds of lives across the region every year especially in the oil and gas industry, rendering medical evacuation services, remote site clinic management, First Aid Training and other medical solutions to make work safer in the industry. She is extremely passionate about healthcare in Africa and works with various foundations, charities and governments to improve standards of healthcare. Dr. Ola was born and bred in the UK. She studied Medicine and Surgery at the University of York after which she worked in Acute Medicine across the UK. She was then awarded the Japanese MEXT scholarship which allowed her to further her studies in Tokyo, Japan. She has published two medical textbooks ‘EMQ’s in Paediatrics’ and ‘Pre-Hospital Care for Africa’ as well as articles in the British Medical Journal, New York Times and the Huffington Post. She is an international speaker who has received multiple awards and nominations. These include the Mouldbreaker’s Award, the THIS Day Award, The Future Award as entrepreneur of the year, New Generation Leader for Africa, Ladybrille Personality of the month, and Vanguard WOW Awards. She is also a TED fellow and has been honoured by the world economic forum as a Young Global Leader. She is also a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians.“With over a decade of experience in the fashion industry; spanning a career from winning Mnet’s Face of Africa in 1998 at the young age of 17, gracing the covers of top Fashion Magazine’s such as Italian Vogue; serving as the face of campaigns like Victoria’s Secret, and being shot by the world’s most renowned photographers including Steven Meisel, there’s no denying of Oluchi Orlandi (nee Onweagba) as an African Fashion Icon. Since her reign, and not being the one to forget her past, in 2007 she launched a modeling agency in South Africa, called O Model Africa, with the Shine group; an agency dedicated to exposing, developing and delivering select portfolios of African Models to South Africa & International Clients for Catwalk shows. In 2013, still true to her passion for discovering, this New York University BA holder, wife and Mother of two has taken on an exciting project, working on ‘Africa’s Next Top Model’ bring the prestigious modeling competition TV show and Tyra Banks Franchise to Africa.Omotola Jalade Ekeinde MFR aka OmoT, popularly called Omosexy (born February 7, 1978) is a multiple award winning Nigerian actress, Director, Singer, UNWFP ambassador and Amnesty international activist. Cited by CNN as an example of the 5th sexiest accent in the world, the Screen Nation Best actress and Beffta Film Icon is one of the most Intriguing women to ever grace the African screen. Omotola started her career as a model and in 1995 made her screen debut in a movie at the tender age of 17 with a lead role in “Venom of Justice”. Her performance that same year, as the lead character in the monstrously popular “Mortal Inheritance” got her the awards for the Best actress in an English speaking role and Best Actress Overall at the prestigious THEMA Awards 1996/97. Omotola was the youngest actress to have won such awards at the age of 18. Having stared in about 300 movies and helped sell millions of copies, Omotola has carved a niche for herself as Africa's Biggest screen goddess. Omotola in 2010 produced and directed her first Soap opera (13 episodes) titled "The Smoke". Mixing veteran actors with upcoming young actors, The Smoke has gone on to be re- broadcasted severally on African Magic. She has equally won over forty (40) local and international awards. Recently honored by Silverbird Group with the “Silverbird Unique personality award 2013” (s.u.p.a). Omotola was in February 2013 honoured by TIME magazine as one of 100 most influential people in the world alongside Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton, JayZ and Beyonce. Omotola in 2012 launched her own Reality show, Omotola: The Real Me. It broke Records at it's first showing as the Most Viewed programme Ever on Africa Magic. Omotola studied Estate Management at Yabatech, Lagos. She is married with 4 kids.Founder and artistic director of Style House Files, a creative development agency for Nigerian and African designers, Omoyemi Akerele is widely regarded as a driving force behind the burgeoning Nigerian fashion industry. A pioneering agency in image consultancy and creative direction within the West African country, Style House Files works with Nigerian brands on brand positioning and retail strategies. Akerele also helps brands gain essential international exposure through presenting showcases at Pitti Immagine in Italy, and through Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW). Founded by Akerele in 2011, LFDW runs a four day schedule featuring a select list of talented up and coming designers and fashion entrepreneurs. Partnered with the British Fashion Council, the show has been instrumental in raising the profile of the Nigerian fashion industry, and has drawn international attention and acclaim from journalists such as Suzy Menkes and Cristina Manfredi, as well as attracting a host of international buyers. Prior to Style House Files, Akerele worked as senior style editor at popular fashion magazine True Love, and set up an image consulting agency with a local Nigerian celebrity stylist, Bola Balogun. Trained as a lawyer from the University of Lagos, Akerele has also completed a Masters in International Economic Law from the University of Warwick, and worked at prestigious Nigerian law firm Olaniwun Ajayi & Co from 2000 to 2003. “It is an amazing initiative. It gives women an opportunity to tell their stories. There are so many people doing extraordinary things in different spheres. It is exciting to be art of a project that is encouraging women to talk about what they do as part of a process in celebrating women.”Perhaps no contemporary African artist has, within the first decade of active practice, found a clearer voice than PEJU ALATISE's. Clearly none has seamlessly synchronized painting, sculpture, installation art, and architecture as she does in her present body of works that reifies her commanding presence in the constantly expanding, incrementally confounding Africana arts cape within which the work of El Anatsui resides. Peju Alatise is also an architect and an accomplished writer having published 2 fictional novels; of which her first novel was first runner up for Female Writer 2006, Flora Nwakpa Prize by Association of Nigerian Authors. Peju has practiced as a studio artist for 16 years and is widely exhibited in Nigeria and abroad. Her work has evolved from its focus on the joys and pains of womanhood against the negating influences of local traditions to philosophy and contemporary African politics. She has won several awards for her art and writing, including a letter of commendation by the President of the federal Republic of Nigeria for a job well done in Obudu Cattle Ranch commissions in 2007. She is best recognized for her famous art installation at the New Radisson Blu hotel and GTBank Head office both in Victoria Island Lagos. Peju Alatise is passionate about creating a positive change in her home country Nigeria. “Nigeria is a third world country, where being a woman is the most difficult thing you can be. Existing as female is difficult. To find an initiative that actually encourages a woman as a forbearer of something productive is actually commendable.”Ogbuefi Wereuche Okaru Majekodunmi is the Executive Director and prime mover of the idea resulting in what has become Newton and David. She founded the company in the year 1991, by turning her passion and hobby into business. Uche Majekodunmi as she is often called acquired her formal qualifications in Theater and Dramatic Arts and a Masters Degree in Public Administrations. She trained with the renowned Mary Adams florist in Knights Bridge, West London and subsequently did a brief course at Paula Pryke Flowers of Islington North London and has further honed her innate talent by participation in workshops, seminars and other event related subjects dealing with every conceivable aspect of Newton and David’s chosen field. Mrs. Majekodunmi is an outgoing and friendly extrovert who likes people and is passionate about anything associated with improving and beautifying the environment; be it at work, at home or for a very special occasion. She is married with children and lives in Lagos, Nigeria. “I think it will inspire the large female population; it is a wonderful and original initiative.”Uche Pedro has most recently been named as one of the '30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs In Africa in 2014' by Forbes. She is the Managing Director of BellaNaija and Creative Director of BellaNaija.com, an online company that develops and manages exciting online media content aimed at Pan-African and Nigerian audiences. Under Uche’s outstanding leadership BellaNaija.com, the premier lifestyle, entertainment and fashion website in Afirca, has established a loyal following, with over 1 million unique visitors and 9 million page views each month. Each section of BellaNaija.com has its own distinct identity and quality content and has won awards including the Outstanding Contribution to Fashion Communication Award (2010 Africa Fashion Week, held by Africa Fashion International (AFI) in Johannesburg) and the Best Event Coverage Online Award (2011 and 2012 Nigerian Event Awards). In 2011, she was selected as a Nigeria Leadership Initiative – NLI Associate, a prestigious distinction for young outstanding Nigerians. In January 2011, Uche was honoured as a “Young Person of the Year” finalist at the Future Awards – the most esteemed youth awards organization in Nigeria. In February 2011, her company was chosen as one of 50 high potential Nigerian SMEs, and was awarded a British Airways Opportunity Grant. In September 2011, Uche was awarded the TW Magazine Protégé Award for Business Entrepreneurship, while in 2012 BellaNaija.com also won the Online Publication of the Year award at the FAB Awards. Uche holds a Bachelors degree- Honours Business Administration (HBA) from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario in Canada. She has previously held positions in multinationals including the Cadbury Middle East & Africa Unit, based in the UK, and Cadbury Nigeria.