Nigeria is filled with some incredibly smart minds doing amazing things in their chosen fields. We are glad to list for your reading pleasure some smart Nigerian women we strongly recommend every Nigerian woman should read about. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
1. Tara Fela Durotoye
Tara Fela Durotoye is the founder and CEO of House of Tara, Africa’s Foremost Beauty Brand.
I always love to describe Mrs. Durotoye as a true example of yes we can dot. She is visionary, industrious and professionally driven. Tara Durotoye truly speaks and gives meaning to ”if you can conceive it, you can achieve it.”
How does one conceive a vision, nurture it until it becomes globally recognized? Tara Durotoye will teach us Nigeria women a thing or two in that line. Tara has not just become globally recognized, it has touched and influenced a lot of lives since its inception. We are blessed to have a woman like Tara in this generation.
Not too long ago, House of Tara brand became a Case Study at Harvard.
See what Harvard website said about her,
“House of Tara has been named by L’Oréal as a strategic distributor for Nigeria of leading international cosmetics brand Maybelline – marking another milestone in its ongoing success story. Lauded as a pioneer in the beauty and makeup industry in Nigeria, House of Tara was credited with launching the country’s first makeup studio, establishing the first makeup school in West Africa, and creating a full makeup product line entirely dedicated to African women. From a small venture in the late 90s, the company had grown into a sophisticated organization with a broad array of products and services, a multi-channel distribution network, professional makeup schools, and high-touch customer service”.
2. Nimi Akinkugbe
Nimi Akinkugbe is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bestman Games Ltd, the African distributor of customized editions of Monopoly, Hasbro’s world famous game. The City of Lagos Edition of Monopoly, the first African city edition of Monopoly, was launched in December 2012. Subsequently, the Nigeria Centenary Edition was launched in February 2014.
Prior to this she enjoyed a successful banking career spanning 23 years first at Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc where she rose to the position of General Manager and Head, Private Banking and Director Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Ltd. Subsequently she joined Barclays Bank Plc as Regional Director (West Africa) for the Wealth & Investment Management Division and Chief Country Officer for Nigeria.
Achieving financial security ranks as a major source of anxiety and Nimi seeks to empower people regarding their finances. Under the auspices of the brand “Money Matters with Nimi,” through speaking engagements, television and radio appearances and social media, the Monopoly Board Games and her new book, “A – Z of Personal Finance”, Nimi provides frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance and wealth management issues. Through these platforms, she has been able to empower people to take responsibility for this most important aspect of their lives.
Nimi contributes articles to several leading publications including Genevieve Magazine, a leading Nigerian women’s lifestyle magazine, Business Day, the Punch Newspapers, and the Guardian Newspapers. Her articles are also featured in a host of other publications, websites and blogs including, Bella Naija, Lagos Mums, Eden Lifestyle and The Edition, a Kenyan publication.
Nimi holds a Bachelors Degree from The London School of Economics (LSE) and an MBA from Lagos Business School (IESE). She also formalized her interest in music by obtaining a Piano Teaching Diploma (ARCM) from The Royal College of Music, London.
Nimi is a Director of The Play Pen (Child Development Centre). Other Directorships include, The Daisy Management Centre, House of Tara International, Promo Print Ventures, and Financial Derivatives Company.
Nimi is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ajumogobia Science Foundation, which seeks to support the teaching and learning of science, and a member of the Board of Trustees of The Play Pen, Child Development Centre and the Artistes Committee of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON). She is also on the Selection Committee of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP).
In her spare time she is a keen gardener (Nimi’s garden), loves boating, writing, playing the piano and travel.
3. Arese Ugwu
Arese Ugwu is the Founder of smartmoneyafrica.org a personal finance platform for the African millennial. As a contributor to the Guardian newspaper, the host on Guardian TV’s new personal finance show “Your Life Your Money”, and a co-host for “Analyse This” on Ndani TV, she has helped shape the new narrative on personal finance in the media.
She serves on several boards including House of Tara and the Nigeria Higher Education Foundation as a non-executive director, and is also an associate member of WIMBIZ, serving on its planning committee since 2015.
She was most recently a 2015 finalist for the Access Bank W Award for young professional of the year.
After eight years working in wealth management, Arese is now engaging young Africans on the importance of financial literacy and the impact it has on helping them get money, keep money and grow money as they drive the continent forward.
She holds an MSc in Economic Development from University College London (UCL) and a BSc in Business and Management from Aston Business School, Birmingham. She is also an alumna of the of the Lagos Business School, INSEAD Abu Dhabi and The London Business School executive education programs. Her recent book, The Smart Money Woman has received a lot of positive reviews and is selling fast.
4. Ibukun Awosika
Ibukun Awosika is the Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and most valuable banking brand. She is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Centre Group. The companies within the group include The Chair Centre Limited, Sokoa Chair Centre Limited, Furniture Manufacturers Mart, TCC Security Systems and Cubes and Boxes Limited. These companies are involved in manufacturing, retail and bank-way security systems services.
Ibukun chairs a number of corporate and not-for-profit boards amongst which are: House of Tara International and Afterschool Graduate Development Centre (AGDC), a facility which she promoted to help address youth employability and enterprise issues in Nigeria. She sits on the boards of Digital Jewel Limited, Cadbury Nigeria Plc., Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority. She was Chairman, FBN Life Assurance Limited, FBN Capital Limited and Kakawa Discount House Limited.
Ibukun is a graduate of Chemistry from University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria; an alumna of the Chief Executive Programme of Lagos Business School; the Global Executive MBA of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain; and Global CEO Programme of Wharton, IESE and China European International Business School (CEIBS).
Ibukun is a co-founder and past chairperson of Women in Business, Management and Public Service (WIMBIZ). An ordained Pastor and founder of the Christian Missionary Fund, Ibukun, through this faith-based organization, works with hundreds of missionaries spread across Nigeria to change lives with the provision of medical, educational, and other supplies. She is happily married to Abiodun Awosika and they are blessed with three wonderful sons.
5. Mrs. Sola David-Borha
Mrs. Sola David-Borha serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC (a member of Standard Bank Group). Prior to this, she served as the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC. She was Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC from March 2008 to April 2011 and also served as Head of Investment Banking Coverage for Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa).
She currently serves as a Director of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC & Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited and is Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited, Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers Limited and Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Limited. She is a director of CR Services (Credit Bureau) PLC.
She holds a B.Sc. Economics degree from the University of Ibadan, and an MBA from Manchester Business School, United Kingdom. Her executive educational experience includes the Advanced Management Programme of the Harvard Business School. She is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) and the Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group.