In a world where women’s influence continues to grow every day, it is critical that we continute to acknowledge and celebrate individuals who have not only shattered ceilings but have also made profound impact in their respective industries.
Today, we are pleased to present the Her Network Women of the Year: a celebration of 20 outstanding women of impact. From Entrepreneurship to Tech, Entertainment to Advocacy, every woman on this prestigious list is a testament to the power of a single individual’s determination to make a difference. Be Inspired by the Her Network 2023 Women of the Year!
Chioma Ude is one of Africa’s most successful business leaders and media executives having founded the Africa International Film Festival – AFRIFF, co-founded the Africa Foundation for the Development of Motion Pictures, Arts and Culture – AFDMAC, a non-profit championing African voices in Film, Arts and Culture, and Lavida Africa Studios and Entertainment, a film and TV production company. A serial entrepreneur, Chioma serves on the board of several companies in technology, Agriculture, Real Estate, etc, focusing on new opportunities to improve the narrative about Africa. Her endeavors overall, are based on her belief that training and empowering young individuals, especially young women, will foster a greater, brighter Africa.
A passionate film lover and commentator, Ude turned her interest into action when she helped produce the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) UK Roadshow in 2007. She went on to oversee logistics for the 2008 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) as well as create the novel concept of the AMAA Charity Benefit which she produced for two years. In 2009, Chioma was the local Nigerian producer for the ION International Film Festival (IONIFF), a global touring festival founded in Hollywood to promote global awareness and peace via art, culture, and film. In 2010, she founded the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF)
Under her vision the privately funded AFRIFF has grown into the most vibrant film festival experience in Africa and one of the most important film event dates on the continent since its launch in 2010. In its 12th edition in 2023, AFRIFF has grown its reputation as the energetic and vibrant hub for filmmaking connections, attracting over 10,000 international and domestic participants. Just as important, AFRIFF has trained over 10,000 young adults in film and television through beginner, intermediate, and master classes with mentors from Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. These classes are provided during festivals free of charge as part of her mission to empower Africa’s youth.
Chioma’s goals for AFRIFF are to enable the African film community to establish bridges for partnership with international counterparts and help ensure that quality, professional expertise, and global standards are met across the local industry, accelerating its sustainable development.
Confidence Staveley is an award-winning cybersecurity professional, digital development enthusiast, author, and entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in technology. She believes that Africans, especially the most vulnerable, should have access to technology and be equipped with cyber-risk and mitigation strategies. With the Cybersafe Foundation as an implementation partner and in partnership with the UK FCDO and KPMG, Confidence played a major role in the launch of a cybersecurity toolkit for SMEs in Nigeria. Confidence is also passionate about protecting senior citizens, who are particularly vulnerable to financial scams and identity theft. Through her organization, Cybersafe Foundation, Confidence has recently launched a Pan-African cybersecurity awareness tool called The Sabi Toolkit.
The Sabi toolkit provides the user with proactive preventive measures and practical steps to stay safe as they navigate the digital world. Confidence is also passionate about closing the gender gap in technology and has launched two initiatives: DigiGirls and CyberGirls.
Dr. Busola Tejumola is a content strategist and visionary, boasting a rich background spanning over 17 years in both the Media and IT industries. Her multifaceted expertise encompasses customer and media relations, information technology systems, consumer insights, and content production and strategy. In her current role as the Executive Head of Content and Channels, West Africa at Multichoice, Africa’s leading entertainment company, Dr. Tejumola plays a pivotal role in shaping the storytelling and content deployment direction of seven Africa Magic channels in Nigeria and two Akwaaba Magic channels in Ghana, available on DStv and GOtv. Her responsibilities extend across diverse platforms, including linear channels, video-on-demand (DStv Stream, GOtv Stream, and Showmax), subscriptions, and mobile platforms, solidifying Multichoice’s stronghold in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Recognized with numerous industry awards as a thought leader and contributor to the dynamic African entertainment landscape, Dr. Tejumola leads content strategy initiatives for West Africa, identifying opportunities within the creative industries. Her initiatives not only drive the sourcing and delivery of compelling local content but also significantly contribute to subscriber growth, ad revenue, and audience
share across the African continent. Dr. Tejumola holds a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems and Computing from Brunel University and a master’s degree in management information systems from the University of Surrey. Her leadership has been instrumental in acclaimed editions of the localized reality show Big Brother Naija, and her strategic approach has revitalized the Africa Magic Brand, responding adeptly to the shifting dynamics of content consumption and setting standards for impactful content and channel
Beyond her primary career, Dr. Tejumola actively engages with successful start-ups, providing valuable advisory insights. Her dedication extends to empowering African youth and fostering women’s leadership through various initiatives, including mentorship programs and learning opportunities, to equip women for executive roles and leadership positions.
Ms. Edna Karijo is an outstanding woman in the Education and STEM field; a Technologist, Public Policy, and Program management professional who has been championing Digital/ICT Skills for Youth in Kenya for the last 8 years. This year, she was also elected for a second term to the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society of Kenya and the only female in the Executive Council leadership. The Internet Society is a technical community of over 2,200 ICT professionals in Kenya that supports and promotes the development of the Internet as a global technical infrastructure and a force for good in society.
Karijo currently leads digital skills programs at eMobilis in Kenya, a 13-year-old award-winning Technology and Digital Training Institution and hub whose mission is to create opportunities for African youth by training them on digital, software, and other technologies that prepare them for the future of work. Last year, as part of Digital Inclusion for disadvantaged Youth, she designed and led a digital skills project in refugee camps for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Dadaab, Kenya, that involved providing technical capacity enhancement for refugee freelancers in digital services. Together with her team, they provided capacity building for refugees and host communities in the digital economy and conducted mentorship sessions covering technical skills and soft skills, across four TVET Centers, impacting over 120 refugees.
Faith Morey is a model, solar consultant, former basketball player, and entrepreneur who rose to notoriety after walking the runways of Nigeria’s Next Super Model in Lagos, Arise Fashion Week, New York Couture Fashion Week, and Johannesburg Fashion Week.
Faith Morey is also a successful entrepreneur, having created and owned her own clothing company, the Morey Faith Collection. A “luxurious, elegant, and comfortable” fashion line that caters to “everyone” of all shapes and sizes.
Faith Morey, a new cast member on the “Real Housewives of Lagos” reality show, continues to inspire people around the world with her charming personality. Her unrelenting attention to her craft, composure, and elegance solidify her position in the world of entertainment.
Hilda Baci is a renowned Nigerian chef celebrated for her culinary expertise and passion for showcasing the diverse flavors of Nigerian cusine. In 2023, Baci achieved a remarkable feat by breaking the Guinness World Record for the “Longest individual cooking marathon.” In a cookathon that lasted 90 hours, she showcased her culinary prowess, preparing a total of 110 meals, including 35 sides, soups, cold dishes, and sauces, predominantly featuring Nigerian cuisine.
Although her record was surpassed in the same year by, Baci remains commited to elevating the status of Nigerian cusine on a global scale and creating a platform for Nigerian chefs to shine.
Captain Irene Koki Mutungi (Commonly referred to as Koki Mutungi ) is a professional pilot in Kenya. She undertook her studies with Kenya School of Flying for her Private Pilots License and undertook her Commercial Pilots License and other ratings at Crabtree Aviation , Oklahoma , USA.
Her career started with Kenya Airways the National Carrier of Kenya where she rose through the ranks to the current position of Captain of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. She was recently appointed Deputy Chief Pilot. Koki is a well rounded Pilot with a wealth of experience from both the private and public sector spanning over 20 years. She has been successful in mentoring young ladies and positively impacting the female population ,especially in Kenya , who have repeatedly cited her as their reason for becoming Pilots. Captain Koki Mutungi is a certified pilot who sits on various boards including the Board of Governors at the Flight Safety Foundation.
Jane Dipika Garrett, 23, is a nurse, entrepreneur, and model who made history as the first curvy/plus-size woman to compete in Miss Universe 2023.
She is half American and half Nepali, and she spent her adolescence in Nepal. Jane finished her nursing degree and applied for Miss Universe Nepal, where she began her career as a model and speaker. She beat all odds and judgments and inspired millions of people around the world to fully believe in themselves. She uses her own personal story and experiences to inspire and push people to strive for a better version of themselves and to improve.
Garett is passionate about modeling, acting, motivational speaking, and business and intends to pursue these occupations while also advocating for mental and hormonal health and body positivity.
Lara Rawa is a legal scholar, holding a law degree from the University of Lagos and a Masters Degree in International Business Law from Queen Mary University of London. In 2007, she was duly admitted to the Nigerian Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.Lara Rawa will be earning her MBA from Lagos Business School in December.
Beyond her legal background, Lara is a distinguished Master Bartender and a Certified Mixologist, displaying a keen passion for cocktails. She serves as the CEO of Eventi Cocktails, a consulting company specializing in cocktails, as well as a Mobile Catering Services Company. Additionally, she holds the honor of being the first female Tales Attaché in Nigeria for Tales of the Cocktails in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, and is the visionary Founder of Lagos Cocktail Week. Lara’s brainchild, Lagos Cocktail Week, stands as a testament to her commitment to spotlighting the pinnacle of Nigeria’s cocktail culture. The festival aims for the broader recognition of the cocktail industry as an integral facet of the Nigerian beverage landscape. This event also serves as a congregation of cocktail enthusiasts and a platform for both beverage brands and aficionados to savor a diverse array of cocktails and mocktails at designated hubs.
Nayla Al Khaja is the first female Film Director in the United Arab Emirates. Her most recent film, The Shadow (currently screening on Netflix), caught the attention of noted producers for development into her first debut feature film titled “Three”. Nayla is set to direct a Fantasy/Drama film titled “BAAB” in the near future, with two-time Oscar winner AR Rahman attached to compose the complete musical score. Nayla is committed to telling stories that are true, authentic and uninhibited. She has been a top-tier speaker at the London Speakers Bureau, constantly advocating for women’s voices and presence in the film world.
Her knowledge of Gulf dialects and five international languages provides her with a unique advantage when facilitating complex and sensitive projects both regionally and globally.
Ntokozo Mbambo maintains that an open mind and a prayerful spirit is what helps her keep the top spots in the Gospel music industry. She started her professional music career at the tender age of 15 when she joined the internationally acclaimed Joyous Celebration choir. She went on to become a lead singer and then voice coach in the 13 years she served there.
In 2011, she stepped out to pursue a solo career. She signed up with Koko Records and together they
produced Filled (2013 – won awards at SAMA, Crown and AGMMA) and Spirit and Life (2015 – won
MetroFM, SAMA, AGMMA) CDs and DVDs recorded at a sold out venues in Johannesburg.
In 2018 Ntokozo celebrated 20 years in the music industry by hosting an intimate concert dubbed
Moments in Time. The reminiscent evening would birth a surprise album released on her birthday in
November of the same year, and selected videos for release on YouTube. The album was nominated at
the SAMAs and won an AGMMA in 2019. The following year she prepared and released a Christmasthemed album The First Noél which was a timely body of African and European inspired music for the
Christian festive season.
At the Christmas season of 2022, Ntokozo Mbambo announced a new album release and launch events
slated for March of 2023. Not only was the much-anticipated album teaser received with a warm
welcome, but the further press announcement of world-renowned Pastor Nathaniel Bassey joining her
made continental headlines! The full album was released in March 2023 and has gone on to receive local
and continental recognition. Ntokozo won the Best Gospel Artist award at the Basadi in Music awards
in August. She scooped 3 awards at the 29th installment of the South African Music Awards this
November; Best Contemporary Faith Album, Best Female Artist and the coveted Album of the Year
award. In December 2023, she received a Lifetime Honorary Award for her impact in the African
Gospel industry, which was presented by the Praise
Ntokozo has always been a trend-setter in the music industry as a gospel artist; holding firmly to her contemporary style even when it wasn’t popular. She has also broken stereotypes in hosting her performances and recordings at venues such as Mosaiek Teatro, Emperor’s Palace and the Lyric Theatre when Gospel music events were not common at those venues.
Olatowun Candide-Johnson is a lawyer with over thirty years’ experience in corporate and commercial law and in business development and governance of multinational corporations. During the course of her career, she worked in Law Practice, Shipping, & Oil and Gas. Whilst working with the Total Group, she worked in different divisions including three years as a Project Director in the Affaires Nouvelles Division in Paris HQ.
Before taking early retirement, she held the combined role of General Counsel, Executive General Manager, Management Services Division (incorporating Legal, Audit, Insurance and Anti-Corruption Compliance) and Chief Compliance Officer for the Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria.
After many years in corporate life, she decided that it wastime for her to venture into the entrepreneurial space and in 2018, she founded GAIA AFRICA; the first private members business club for women decision makers in Lagos to facilitate business connections and create impact. GAIA AFRICA is dedicated to serving Africa’s top 5% of female C-suite executives, business founders, senior professionals and public officers. Olatowun’s GAIA AFRICA is for the select female leader who is looking for a community of like-minded women and who is challenged with the issues of leadership, business growth or career nextsteps. It is a safe space for women in this demographic around Africa and in the diaspora to meet connect, buildtrust, elevate and sponsor one other, collaborate and/or partner in business, and investments, and encourage younger women in their journey to leadership.
Oluwaseyi Moejoh is a Nigerian Environmentalist and National Geographic Young Explorer, educating the next generation of young leaders about climate action and helping them build the knowledge and skills they need to proffer innovative solutions to environmental issues.
Through her NGO, U-recycle Initiative Africa, Oluwaseyi and her team have impacted over 10,000 young people across Nigeria and Africa. Their projects have been funded by notable entities such as the National Geographic Society, the Government of Canada, and the Captain Planet Foundation.
She is also the African Contributing Editor for OH-Wake Magazine- a global youth magazine spotlighting climate stories from the youth perspective. To further amplify African climate stories from the lens of youth, she recently launched the “Our African Climate Story project” training activists from 14 African countries on effective climate storytelling with support from the We are Family Foundation. Oluwaseyi is a Youth Representative of the Captain Planet Foundation to the United Nations Department of Global Communications, where she advises on strategies to better engage young people on UN agenda issues. She is certified in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the prestigious Lagos Business School and is currently studying law at the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
Nigerian-born Omoyemi Akerele is the founder and CEO of Lagos Fashion Week and Style House Files. She has worked in the international fashion industry for more than two decades and is credited for contributing to the acceleration of the African creative economy. Her work is focused on delivering long-term solutions within the African textile and apparel ecosystem by empowering brands, creative businesses and communities with opportunities for growth.
Her commitment to nurturing, developing and promoting the African fashion industry led to the establishment of the annual Lagos Fashion Week, a multi-day platform that presents African designers in Nigeria and beyond. Lagos Fashion Week has also expanded its scope of work, providing advocacy for the industry with government and investors, offering industry master classes and incubation support for emerging talent and supporting all parts of the fashion industry value-chain to achieve their full potential. Through initiatives like SHF Trains, Woven Threads and Green Access, the African apparel industry i strengthened with socio-economic and environmentally sustainable business opportunities.
Onyeka Michael-Ugwu is a licensed and renowned Medical Aesthetician and Senior Laser Technician with over 7 years of experience in the skincare industry across continents. She is a hands-on professional who is skilled in providing a range of world-class, cutting-edge treatments as well as an excellent track record in delivering noticeable results.
Onyeka holds a Professional Certificate in Medical Aesthetics and Laser Technique from the Texas Laser Institute in Dallas. She also holds multiple Advanced Aesthetic Treatment Licenses from renowned boards across The United States of America, and Europe – including Certification as a Senior Laser technician, Certification in Non-invasive Advanced Body Contouring and Skin Tightening, Certification in Mechanical Dermabrasion of the Skin, Certification on Advanced Medical Solutions for Skin Disorders, Prevention and Correction and Certification in Minimal Invasive surgery, treadlift, and Three dimensional modelling.
She also holds a degree in Management in Business Innovation from Queen Mary University in London.
Her personal mission is to inspire people to live full lives by enabling them to rebuild their self-esteem and restore their confidence . She has pioneered services and initiatives in the beauty space that have given more people access to aesthetic treatment. Her latest initiative, Pay Perfect is ensuring essential beauty treatments are more accessible and affordable for women in Nigeria.
Sha’Carri Richardson is an American track and field sprinter who competes in the 100 meters and 200 meters races.
After a very questionable 2022, Sha’Carri Richardson came out shining brightly with an impressive comeback at the 2023 USATF Outdoor Championships in Eugene, where she ran a spectacular 100m dash in 10.82 seconds and won. Richardson also won the women’s 100m in an impressive 10.65 seconds, which made her the fifth-fastest woman in the history of the 100m category. She also won a bronze medal in 200m with a time of 21.92 seconds.
Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi is a public policy and public administrator who has impacted the public service over a decade serving the Lagos State Government in capacities that have paved the way for laudable achievements. In these years she has proven to be an unwavering quantum leaper in her dedication in making positive changes in service delivery. Her experience cuts across public policy and public administration, as well as legal expertise and social services (social welfare and social protection).
Lola has been instrumental to ensuring a proactive and coordinated response to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Lagos State. Under her watch as the Coordinator of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team and now as the pioneer Executive Secretary of the the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, she has achieved several “ firsts” including: conceptualisation and Procurement of Sexual assault evidence collection kits also referred to as Rape Kits, the creation of a response model for SGBV, developed from scratch which has been adopted in several states across the country, the establishment of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Trust fund to financially empower High risk survivors, establishment of the Gender Based Virtual and Referral Service which in the past 2 years has provided emergency, tele medicine , medical and psycho social support to over 2000 survivors , the development and subsequent ratification of 2 landmark Executive Orders on Safeguarding and Child Protection as well as the Sex Offenders Register Programmes are some of the landmark achievements her and her team have been able to land under her leadership.
Titilola also embarks on philanthropy though the Lola Vivour-Adeniyi Foundation which she founded in 2018.
The Foundation is committed to empowering the vulnerable in the society through the provision of scholarships and business grants. The `foundation has been able to support over 35 women-led businesses and sponsored many children through by awarding scholarships.
Toyosi Etim-Effiong is a distinguished media executive who is bridging the gap between Nollywood and the global film and TV industry. With almost 10 years of multifaceted experience in the media industry, she possesses the vital exposure and skills needed to drive media-related and experiential projects. She is a go-to personality and brand for anyone seeking to connect with stakeholders in the media and entertainment industry on the African continent.
As the founder and CEO of That Good Media, a media solutions company focused on Talent Management and International Strategic Partnerships, Toyosi is positioned as an expert in the African movie industry, primarily Nollywood. Given her experience and expertise gained through various roles in the thriving Nollywood industry, she possesses the skills and knowledge to facilitate international partnerships with investors on a global scale. Her comprehensive understanding of Nollywood, one of the fastest-growing film industries in the world, producing over 1,800 movies annually and generating over $1 billion in revenue, gives her a competitive advantage as a professional and practitioner. Notably, Nollywood is the second-largest film industry in the world, after India’s Bollywood, with a rapidly increasing number of high-quality productions gaining international recognition, including Oscar nominations.
Toyosi’s dedication to the growth and development of the Nigerian creative sector is evidenced by her creation of the Independent Producers’ Workshop, a multimedia workshop for budding TV producers and media executives. She also advocates for more international collaborations between Nollywood and the different film industries across the world, believing that Nigerian filmmakers tell uniquely beautiful stories that deserve to be placed on global pedestals.
With her expertise, growing network, and drive, Toyosi is the go-to for anyone seeking to connect with the Nigerian film industry on an institutional level.
Yvonne Manzi Makolo is a Rwandan IT specialist, who serves as the Chief Executive Officer of RwandAir, the national airline of Rwanda. She was appointed to that position on April 6, 2018. Before that, she served as the Deputy CEO responsible for corporate affairs at the same airline, from April 2017 until April 2018.
Yvonne Makolo assumed office as the Chair of the Board of Governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on June 5, 2023. Becoming the 81st chair of the IATA BoG and the first woman to take on this role, an impetus in the organ’s global initiative of driving gender balance within the aviation industry.