The Vice-President’s wife, Samira Bawumia, led a delegation including Board Chair of the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) Dr. Edith Dankwa to the International Women’s Leadership Conference’s second edition in Dubai.
Hosted by Nigerian business leader and former Chair of First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika, the International Women’s Leadership Conference seeks to unite women across Africa and the diaspora in a place of knowledge, empowerment and entertainment.
The event took place on the last three days of Women’s History Month, March 29 to 31, 2023; and was held under the theme ‘Against all odds’. It saw in attendance African women from home and abroad, including hundreds of aspiring and established women leaders from diverse industries around the globe.
During a plenary session titled ‘Experience sharing…stories from the trenches’, Chair and publisher of the Africa’s leading provider of business news, Business and Financial Times, Dr. Dankwa shared the panel with celebrated supermodel, entrepreneur and women’s empowerment advocate, Oluchi Oweagba-Orlandi, and executive coach and feminine leadership expert Ekene Onu underscored the importance of hard work and diligence in the corporate world.
Sharing her exhilarating journey from an entry-level position to the apex seat at the B&FT, she highlighted several lessons women can use to replicate her success in their various fields of endeavour.
She emphasised the importance of cultivating the right attitude to work, saying: “If you take care of somebody’s asset, it becomes yours”.
For his part, Chief Executive Officer of the McDan Group of Companies, Dan McKorley, speaking on a panel alongside Vice Chairman at Alibaba Group, Joe Tsai, and Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola – titled ‘Taking opportunities, learning from men’ – urged women to seize opportunities and provide an encouraging atmosphere for other women to grow.
McKorley also outlined some of the challenges young female entrepreneurs may face, and encouraged women not to cower in these challenges but take risks and centre their decisions on their dreams. “Any step you take toward your dreams must be courageous… you lose nothing if you dare,” he added.
Entrepreneur and Business Coach Dedo Kofi described the event as a safe space for women to be vulnerable and share their stories and fears.
She said: “I had some ‘aha’ moments from the all-male panel. First was the fact that imposter syndrome is their reality also; but despite the fear they faced, they did it anyway. Number-two is the mindset with which we approach opportunities etc. For example, a man will say ‘I am going to build a bank’; while a woman will say ‘I am going to work for a bank’. There is no magic to it. We need to shift our mindset,” Kofi added.
For Mary Bennett, Executive Coach and HR Manager at Vodafone Ghana, said the conference was “awemazing” and “packed with very relevant and insightful sessions that delved deep into the reality and authenticity of lived experiences in the stories shared by speakers”.
Bennett praised the organisers for “curating a conference that took us on a journey of self-discovery, networking and building relationships which have transcended the conference”