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.
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.”