Thanks to the openness of the current century, more women are increasing their self-awareness, taking bold steps, fostering women-led communities and creating strong support systems among themselves. The first edition of the International Woman Leadership Conference (IWLC) consisted of these and more as it successfully brought together 400 C-suite female executives under the roof of Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City, Dubai between March 29th and 31st, 2021.
The spectacular union was made a reality due to the collaborative efforts between the Ibukun Awosika Leadership Academy, Dubai Tourism and Dubai Events. Themed “Women In Leadership…Playing To Win,” there were over 28 activities slated for the conference including keynote sessions, panel discussions, Q & A and more.
In attendance were CEOs, Founders, Corporate Executives and thought leaders associated with more than 50 brands from within Africa and the diaspora. Asides from Nigeria, more than 12 countries were represented at the event including Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Egypt, Burundi, Zambia, South Africa, Uganda, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Barbados, Jamaica, UAE, Spain as well as Nigerians from the United Kingdom and America. The differences in ethnicity and interests were united by the common goal of women empowerment, networking and knowledge sharing.
IWLC Convener Ibukun Awosika, who has over 34 years of professional experience as an entrepreneur, corporate executive and coach working with women across various platforms, confessed that her experiences caused her to see what women need to do to scale up their abilities to have them in the right places with the right skills, talents and opportunities to make a change for our continent.
“Women have so much power but they have silos power, once you have silos power it is disconnected. You need to have a connected power so you can be the best of yourself and create a support system for other women. If we are going to take women to the top, we need to be deliberate and we need to be strategic“, she said.
Among the well-selected conference speakers was Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who delivered his keynote address virtually. His wife, H.E Dolapo Osinbajo gave a goodwill message reminding the women about the power of choice. “What you choose today will be the reality of your tomorrow’‘ she said.
In the keynote speech presented by fmr. CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, noted that women “need to move at the skill and speed that is required to play to win, think multi-generationally and know that leadership is first of all about first being a good person.”
Other eminent speakers at the conference included Nigeria’s first female Ambassador to Greece, Nimi Akinkugbe, First Lady Ekiti State Government; H.E Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Chairman of Stanbic IBTC; Sola David-Borha, Liberian peace activist and Nobel Peace Laureate; Leymah Gbowee, Chairman of Guinness Nigeria & fmr. Minister of Communication Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson; Pepkor Chairman, Wendy Luhabe; Chairman, Zenith Bank Ghana; Freda Duplan, Chairman, Eventful Limited; Yewande Zaccheus, Director at Prime Atlantic Group; Foluso Gbadamosi, MD & Co-founder of Alitheia Capital, Tokunbo Ishmael; County Minister for Tourism, Sports, Arts and Culture, in Kisumu, Kenya; Achie Ojany- Alai; Founder & CEO, House of Tara Intl, Tara Fela-Durotoye, Chief Human Resources Officer of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc; Esther Akinnukawe; CEO, Ghana Deposit Protection Authority; Pearl Esua Mensah, among others.