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Girl Power: WIE Africa Symposium 2014 – Part 3By Stephanie Dozie on May 16, 2014

Continued from Part 2

Moderated by TV presenter, Moky Makura, the speakers at the Staking Our Claim in the Workplace session included: Hadeel Ibrahim, Founding Director, MO Ibrahim Foundation; Ngozi Edozien, CEO, Invivo Partners Limited; Juliana Esezobor, Head, Group Human Resources, Honeywell Flour Mills PLC.


Moky Makura, Ngozi Edozien, Juliana Ezesobor and Hadeel Ibrahim


Moku Makura

Speaking on the topic, Hadeel said that in Africa, more than any other country, the discrimination she faces is that of age because according to her, Africans are not comfortable with young people being at the top of the corporate ladder. Ngozi said that the biggest challenge women face is other people’s assumption of what they should/shouldn’t be. Proffering a solution, Juliana said that in the workplace, women should bring their professionalism forward instead of their femininity.


Ngozi Edozien and Juliana Esezobor



Juliana Esezobor and Hadeel Ibrahim


Renowned women in media, Ruth Osime, Editor, ThisDay Style Magazine; Biola Alabi, MD, Special Projects, MNet Africa; Betty Irabor, CEO Genevieve Magazine and Mo Abudu were the speakers at the Pioneering Platforms: Creating & Sustaining Media in Africa session with Fashion Journalism Professor (Syracuse University) Zandile Blay as the moderator. Biola Alabi said she has learnt that leadership is about being authentic and true to who you are and that women need to work together to uplift the industry.

“Anyone who wants to achieve success must learn to take the heat from the kitchen” – Ruth Osime




Betty Irabor, Biola Alabi, Ruth Osime, Mo Abudu and Zandile Blay



Betty Irabor and Biola Alabi


Ruth Osime and Mo Abudu

Genevieve Magazine has been around for over 10 years now and is still a popular lifestyle magazine even in the wake of digital media. Betty Irabor attributed this to their focus on humanising stories instead of sensationalising them.Mo Abudu draws her strength from God and tries not to get caught in the success, advising the audience not to give up because the door can open at any time. For Ruth Osime, anyone who wants to achieve success must learn to take the heat from the kitchen.


The Creating & Sustaining Media in Africa Panel

Global Beauty Ambassador, Eryca Freemantle was one very inspiring speaker at the symposium. Her story has the power to evoke emotion from a stone. A player in the beauty industry for 35 years, the veteran’s session was tagged: Ageless Beauty. Eryca Freemantle is an award-winning celebrity and international make-up artist, lifestyle guru corrective make-up specialist – working with women who are cancer survivors – and all-round beauty enthusiast. Throughout her life, Eryca battled major health issues from cancer to hip replacement, to an accident that left over 200 scars on her face. She is a confident, strong woman with a bounce in her step and a smile on her face and describes herself as “living proof that doctors get it wrong sometimes”. Ageless beauty is about humanity – giving to others and reinventing yourself, she says, it’s not what happens to you…it’s what you do with what happens to you.


The Ageless Beauty, Eryca Freemantle


Dee Poku and Isha Sesay

To draw the event to an end, Dee Poku put CNN anchor, Isha Sesay under the Spotlight. Isha shared that she started from the low-end of talk shows and took the opportunities that came, learning valuable things on the way and now is an anchor at CNN. She clearly loves her job at CNN and said she hasn’t experience gender discrimination working there. She cites Mo Abudu as one of the women in Africa that is contributing immensely in media and mentioned her as one to watch. Isha also talked about the 200+ missing girls and revealed that she is in Nigeria for answers on the missing girls because CNN is committed to the story .


Isha Sesay

“It’s not what happens to you…it’s what you do with what happens to you” – Eryca Freemantle


The symposium left everyone who attended, physically and virtually, inspired and motivated to do their own part in telling Africa’s story from a positive angle and shaping her future. Women should not let their greatness be constrained by the society’s expectation of them. They should stand up, defy opposition and work towards being key players in their industries, and ultimately in the nation’s economy. Listening to those influential women speak was a rewarding experience and I believe the words they uttered were powerful enough to excite other women into action, helping one another along the way.

More photos


The “Staking Our Claim in the Workplace” Panelists



Ngozi Edozien



Betty Irabor, Biola Alabi, Ruth Osime, Mo Abudu and Zandile Blay



Zandile Blay



Mo Abudu



Eunice Omole. How fierce is that outfit?



Dee Poku and Isha Sesay


Isha Sesay



Mo Abudu and Eryca Freemantle



Sesu Tilley-Gyado



Say Cheese: Biola Alabi and friends






Isha Sesay



Guests at the event



Betty Irabor and more guests



Winihin Ayuli-Jemide



The Retail Ready Panel: Maki, Jennifer, Omowunmi, Reni and Lola



Gbenro Ajibade and Liz Ngonzi



Gorgeous! Desiree, Oluchi and Sesu



Girl Power! Mo Abudu, Aisha, Salamatu Toyin Saraki, Fatima, and Kemi Williams



Guests registering at the entrance



The formidable woman behind WIE Network: Dee Poku



Winihin Ayuli-Jemide and Biola Alabi



Global Leader Panel: Bola Adesola, Myma Belo-Osagie, Folake Coker and Uzodinma Iweala






Eunice Omole and Eryca Freemantle



More Guests


Photo Credit: The Bobby Taylor Company

Read the first instalment of the series: Part 1



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