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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 .
“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.
Photo Credit: The Bobby Taylor Company
Read the first instalment of the series: Part 1
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