Developing Future Leaders: How I Hosted an Event to Empower Local Women


When I wanted to make a difference for women in my community, I turned to the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Network. The Network, which has 20,000 members, provides support and resources to help young African leaders gain the skills and connections they need to foster change.

I took the YALI online course on Understanding the Rights of Women and Girls. Once I finished the course and earned my certificate, I was bursting with enthusiasm and couldn't wait to host my own event for female entrepreneurs and professionals.

I wanted to reach out to as many women in my community as possible but I knew this would not be easy with my limited budget. Inspired by advice on the YALI website, I decided to seek partners to help fund the event. Speaking to individuals and organizations about the purpose of the initiative and the focus of the event was not easy. But, after much correspondence and many discussions, I finally started getting positive feedback. I felt a great sense of joy and accomplishment when I succeeded in raising enough money to host my event.

The event, entitled “Paving the way for women entrepreneurs and developing women in the workplace”, took place in Lagos on 10 September 2016. Attendees included young female entrepreneurs and various young professionals, including some men.

I opened the afternoon by talking about the YALI Network and the importance of leadership and its effects on growth in society. I urged the attendees to rise to the challenge and help to foster change in Nigeria. We then heard from the four guest speakers, all of whom made ground-breaking achievements in their respective professions.

  • Mrs. Adeola Azeez, Deputy Country Head of Deutsche Bank in Nigeria, talked about developing women in the workplace. She emphasized the need for attendees to improve their skills and increase their knowledge.
  • Mrs. Osayi Alile, CEO of the FATE Foundation, focused on female entrepreneurs. Her advice was to invest, acquire assets, build a support system, network, get a mentor and become more visible.
  • Chief Mrs. Nike-Davies Okundaye, Founder of the Nike Art Gallery, gave an inspiring speech about the origin of her business and how she grew to be an internationally recognized icon.
  • Mrs. Funke Bucknor-Obruthe, CEO of Zapphire Events Limited, spoke about how to profit from doing what you love. She advised attendees to surround themselves with people of value and stressed the need for persistence and staying power.
After each talk, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and talk about their own career and personal struggles. The speakers provided advice on career direction and overcoming business challenges and have agreed to act as mentors for some of the attendees.

I felt fulfilled after this event and I would urge every YALI Network member to host their own event. I will not stop here. I intend to set up a networking platform for young women in my community, where we can meet and work strategically towards improving our careers, businesses and lives. In the words of US businessman Max De Pree, “We cannot be what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

Photographer & Videographer Credit: Sony concepts
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  • denial vito
    That was so brilliant to know about, I have been looking at and they have been quite a lot inspiring for me, Would love to work with you guys some day soon. 
  • Josephine Adeti
    Amazing! This story is exactly what i required to gain courage in setting up a similar event in my country Kenya
  • Abiodun Oladimeji
    Great initiative. I hope more of us women would be encouraged to empower other women in our communities.
  • Fiifi Oduro-Nyarkoh
    Well done Enobong!

    I am particularly impressed by your passion and resolve to start a project all by yourself. How you envisioned the project, educated your self and leveraged community resources to converge people to create change is simply outstanding!
    Go Girl!
  • Oluwadamilola Yegwa
    Thank you so much, actually Women’s empowerment is often measured by their access to resources and ability to make decisions over how they are used. We need to do more of this empowerment  programme for women in our communities . May God bless your purse. Oh hail thee Nigerian women.
  • Peggy Tse
    @Enobong - Well done in organising the event! Never easy to coordinate among many different parties indeed. I am glad to see that there are takeaways for the participants from the event, which is making a small but important difference in their lives.

    Please keep up the good work and good luck with the networking platform! Some quick tips would be (1) keeping the participants engaged and having some small incentives to have them contribute to the platform rather than just receiving information, and (2) ensuring the networking serves a few specific purposes to maintain a broader interest - like mentorship, career advancement, family issues etc.
  • Zuha Jamil
    Hi Enoberg,

    So impressed by your hard work and great success with this event. It sounds like it formed the basis for a very interesting and engaging conversation. I know from personal experience how hectic organizing events like these can be – wishing you the best of luck as you take it to the next level to develop a networking platform for young women in your community. Please do keep us posted as things progress on that end.

    All the power to you!


  • Oluwafunbi Alatise
    Hello Enobong,
     Your courage to host such an event to empower local women in your community is well commended. Our society needs women like you who are ready to raise and mentor other women to greatness. I understand it is not easy getting to start off such an initiative. Be encouraged dear and don't relent. 
    Helping others now is investing into the future of the yet unborn.
  • Lindiwe mlalazi
    well done!!!
  • Moureen Njule Eseme
    Great job!
  • Irene Lyimo
    I have been insprired with your passion to empower local women.
  • Lydia Olanike Oladapo
    Great Job. keep it up.
  • Jennifer Umeh
    Well done, you inspire me.
  • aderemi bamgboye
    A job well done! You inspire me..Thank you 
  • Glory Nthakomwa
  • Zanele Xaba
    Inspiring indeed !

    Thank you for groaming powerful and informed women.

    We are building a wonderful empire 
    Well done! 
  • Napogadi Morethe
    Inspiring indeed. Its amazing how many platforms one uses to empower themself and how they get intertwined together as a team to bring about productivity. This is very inspiring indeed, great job!!
  • patricia omo sukore
    Great job! In working to bring about the good in people your own greatness will shine through. Keep up the good work. The Lord is your strength. 
  • Dr Rejoice Shumba
    Well done Enobong. This is an inspiring story.
  • veronica portugal
    I am a member of the YLAI network in las Americas. Thank you of the sharing, I am wanting a training like this in my network
  • Ibukun Babarinde
    This is a great initiative. putting up the program and seasoning it with highly respected female entreprenuers in the country who suitably served 'hungry' younger female entreprenuers. It is indeed a great feat. Having staying power and persistence as adviced by Mrs. Funke Bucknor-Obruthe, CEO of Zapphire Events Limited is truely very important.

    Kudos Enobong
  • Titilayo Ogunbambi
    Weldone Enobong Essien for truely living the YALI dream and contributing towards achieving the Change we all are working towards achieving in Africa and the world. I am also a YALI RLC Allumni and would love to connect and rub minds with you. Tumbs up and keep the flag flying.
  • Mwabi Moyo
    Woooow ......THIS WAS A POWERFUL EVENT! Congratulations, you did a great job. 
    I love how this story ends, were it says " WE CAN NOT BE WHAT WE NEED TO BE BY REMAINING WHAT WE ARE" How true. If we want to be what we need to be, then change is inevitable. 
  • Djemi Njiki Michele
    Impressed and Inspired. And thank you for the advice too. It is encouraging
  • Moudy Mugadzaweta
    Great initiative and i guess it takes guts when starting from nothing and hosting such a successful event. Its always inspiring for someone like me who has such huge dreams when i get to learn that anything is possible through learning from the experiences of others. And indeed its good to learn from other successful women as we can relate to their paths to success. 
  • Farida Yahya
    A well coordinated and executed event. Kudos to you for sharing your experience with your community.
  • Ogbeyalu Okoye
    Engaging youths is an excellent way to create awareness in the society. Professionals coming together with diverse knowledge and skills is usually a path to empowering a community especially women. Good job!
  • Odunola Oladejo
    I look forward to working with fantastic ladies of like-minds like you in Nigeria. I can see a bright future for the women folks across Africa and the world.
    I commend your efforts to working towards improving the quality of women's economic empowerment in Nigeria.
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