10 Outstanding Young Nigerian Women Leaders Changing the Status Quo
Esiri is a Tax and Regulatory Services Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, PWC Nigeria. She has over 14 years experience in providing international tax services to multinational companies in various industry sectors including the entertainment, oil and gas, private equity, telecommunications, retail and consumer sector.
Prior to re-joining PwC Nigeria in 2015, she was assigned to the African tax desk in New York where she provided cross-border restructuring, tax planning for mergers and acquisitions including deferred taxes for group audits and compliance focusing primarily on Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Angola and Ghana. She pioneered PwC Nigeria’s tax academy sessions for over two years as a coordinator and presenter to external audiences on contemporary tax issues. Esiri holds a BSc (Hons) in Microbiology, University of Ibadan. She is a Fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Chartered Institute of Taxation Nigeria (CITN).
Dr. Jumoke Oduwole
Dr. Jumoke is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment. She coordinates the Enabling Business Environment Reforms initiative for the Government of Nigeria and oversaw the rise of Nigeria by 24 spots in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index moving from 169th (out of 190) to 145th on the rankings. She is a Senior Lecturer, Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Lagos. Jumoke is a 2013 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow, of the African Leadership Institute and has mentored Nigerian youth for over 15 years. She holds a LL.M degree in Commercial law which she obtained from the University of Cambridge in 2000 as a DFID-Cambridge Commonwealth Trust scholar. In 2007, Jumoke graduated from Stanford University where she received a master’s degree in International Legal Studies and later a doctorate degree in International Trade and Development.
Dr. Ola Brown Orekunrin
Dr Ola 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. 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. She is also a TED fellow, an Aspen Fellow and has been honoured by the world economic forum as a Young Global Leader. Ola studied medicine and surgery at the Hull York Medical School after which she worked in Acute Medicine in the UK. She then went on to be awarded the Japanese MEXT scholarship which allowed her to further her studies in Tokyo, Japan. She also has a certificate in economic policy making from IE business school, Spain.
Omokehinde is the Vice President & Area Business Head for West Africa, MasterCard. Based in Nigeria, Omoke is responsible for advancing acceptance and issuance of MasterCard’s payment products in Nigeria and other English-speaking countries in West Africa. Prior to her appointment as Area Business Head, Omoke fulfilled the role of Vice President for Business Development in the West African region.Before joining MasterCard, Omoke was employed by the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), where she spent four years as the Head of Cards and Product Development. Prior to GTBank, she worked at Econet (now known as Airtel). She holds an MBA from the Lagos Business School, and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. Omoke is committed to introducing the benefits of a cashless society to Nigeria and the region, and focuses on building relationships with government, financial institutions and merchants to realise both MasterCard’s vision of a world beyond cash, and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s goals to reduce the circulation of cash in the country’s economy.
Bisi is a Partner and Head of Advisory Services of KPMG in Nigeria. Bisi also heads the Financial Services Industry Line of Business across Africa. She has provided Advisory Services for various private and public institutions across Nigeria, Africa and globally. Bisi has garnered over 35 years of professional experience. She has led successful go-to-market strategy development projects, feasibility and market study, corporate strategic planning and business process re-engineering assignments for various banks and financial services institutions.
As the Head of Financial Services in Africa, Bisi leads the Project Africa team in harnessing the Pan-African opportunities existing in the financial services industry landscape in Africa. The Project Africa initiative is a platform to build the strong KPMG brand in the continent, while proffering high value solutions to clients in the region.
She obtained her BA in Economics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and attended a Senior Management Programme, Lagos Business School, Nigeria and is fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria
Bunmi Onabanjo Kuku
Bunmi Kuku is an Executive Director within the Advisory Practice of Ernst & Young (EY), Nigeria with a focus on Finance and Performance Improvement. Prior to joining EY, Nigeria she has held leadership roles in the public and private sector and also worked in the Advisory practices of both Ernst & Young (Chicago) and Deloitte Consulting (Chicago). She was also a Partner in Thyme Management Consulting providing management consulting & financial advisory services to clients both in the private and public sector. She embarked on a 3 year sabbatical to work in the Public Sector where she served as the Special Adviser on Strategy and Infrastructure Development to the Honorable Minister of Aviation. Her major achievements in this role included raising $600M USD for the development of four (4) new airport terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, the re-designation of the 22 federal airports to achieve profitability and the development of the business and operating model for the Nigerian Aerotropolis. Bunmi has extensive knowledge working in the financial services sector evidenced through the roles she held at the Bank of Montreal, Bank PHB (Keystone Bank). Bunmi has a B.Sc in Corporate Finance from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a MBA in International Finance and Strategic Management from DePaul University, Chicago
Tariye Isoun Gbadegesin
Tariye Gbadegesin is the Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Propel Solutions, an investment and advisory firm. After working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), she returned to Nigeria and soon joined the Silverbird Group, heading its strategy and corporate development department. Thereafter, she was part of the start-up team to create the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC). Under her capacity as the Vice-President of its Investments Group, she helped to build it into a billion-dollar corporation and the foremost infrastructure bank for Africa. Beyond incubation and advisory projects, Gbadegesin’s liberal arts foundation and family background in academia forged critical aspects of her passion for development, applied thinking and cross-sectional learning. Tariye holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics, which she gained from Amherst College in Massachusetts and obtained an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Serah Zainab Makka
Serah is the Country Director of the ONE Campaign. She has worked with various government agencies and non-profit organisations in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and the United States on strategy and evaluation. In Nigeria, she worked as the Policy and Innovation Fund Manager with EFInA, a Financial sector development organisation focused on making the Financial sector work better for the poor. EFInA is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development. She was also the Policy and Partnerships Manager at the Tony Elumelu Foundation where she worked with Tony Blair, Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) and the Office of the Presidency in Nigeria on performance and evaluation. In 2006, Serah’s passion for social justice and girls’ empowerment led her to an assignment to teach girls English in She was nominated by the Young People in International Affairs as one of the top 35 Under 35 Young African Leaders in International Affairs. She is currently a Trainer at the Africa Institute for Public Policy based in Nigeria. Serah holds a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a BA in Economics and International Studies from the University of North Florida, graduating summa cum laude.
Ebele Okobi is head of public policy for Africa at Facebook, where she engages with government, civil society and other policy influencers and helps shape Facebook’s policy agenda. Before joining the social media giant, Okobi was global head and senior legal director for human rights at Yahoo, leading its efforts to address legal and policy issues related to privacy, free expression and access. Earlier, she was a lawyer at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, Paris and London and a consumer rights policy lawyer at Consumers Union in San Francisco as well as a senior director at Catalyst in Amsterdam. Okobi created marketing, corporate responsibility and business development strategy for Nike in Africa. She was a founding board member of the Global Network Initiative, is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the advisory boards of Women in Technology in Nigeria and TipHub.
She earned a BA from the University of Southern California, a Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School, and a Certificat des Études from HEC-Paris.
Rimini Makama is the Head of Corporate & Government Affairs at Microsoft Nigeria. Between 2007 until 2009, she worked in the Office of Legal Affairs at the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), based in Lyon, France. After that, she joined Africa Practice, a communications and strategy consultancy, working there as a corporate communications consultant from June 2009 until March 2012. In March 2012, she was promoted to Director of Corporate Communications at Africa Practice, working in that capacity for four years, from March 2012 until April 2016. In December 2014, Remini Makama was named among “The 20 Youngest Power Women In Africa 2014”, by Forbes Magazine. She studied law at the University of Jos, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws, and a Master of Laws from the University of Reading. She holds a Diploma in Marketing from the London School of Marketing.
Contributed by OVOKO WILLIAM