On Thursday, 1st of October, LBS Faculty of Entrepreneurship, Dr Henrietta Onwuegbuzie was a speaker at the Women-led & Owned Dialogue series with 22 senior c-suite executives from around the world.
The Women-Led & Owned Dialogue aims to catalyse solutions on issues where women in leadership or with the potential to lead across Africa are disproportionately impacted while unlocking gender-smart capital at scale for women-owned businesses. The programme brought together new perspectives on ways to accelerate and unlock women’s leadership potential, improving business performance while aligning stakeholders’ values.
The webinar split into four sessions had speakers from both the private and public sector, lending their voice to the conversation of the impact of women in society. The speakers include
- Jen Braswell, Director, Value Creation, CDC Group;
- Jessica Espinoza, Chair, 2X Challenge & Global Gender Finance Lead, DEG;
- Charity Wallace, MD: Global Women’s Issues, U.S. DFC;
- Joanne Yoo, MD, Development Partners International;
- Megan Blair, Founder, Early Bird;
- Linda Mateza, CEO/PO, Eskom Pension & Provident Fund;
- Geetha Tharmaratnam, Founding Partner, Aequalitas Capital Partners;
- Donna Sims Wilson, COO, Kah Capital Management;
- Roselyn Spencer, Founder, Cedar Pension Consulting;
- Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, Founder, Aruwa Capital;
- Cathy Goddard-Edwards, CEO, FyreFem Fund Manager;
- Faith Khanyile, CEO, WDB Investment Holdings;
- Raylene Watson, COO, EBS Advisory;
- Vivina Berla, Founder, Vimine Holding;
- Kanini Mutooni, MD, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation;
- Tariye Gbadegesin, MD/CIO, ARM-Harith Infrastructure Fund Managers;
- Dr Amy Jadesimi, MD, LADOL;
- Simiso Velempini, CEO, Africa Matters;
- Ijeoma D. Agboti-Obatoyinbo, MD/CEO, FBNQuest Funds; and
- Dr Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, Academic Director, OMP, Lagos Business School.
The speakers highlighted the benefits of having women at the decision table; they provided data on how boards with women outperform others in the same industry. Also mentioned was the role women play in crisis leadership, with reference to leadership during the current global pandemic.
Speakers referenced the fifth sustainable development goal (SDG 5) which is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and reiterated that without the achievement of SDG 5, the world would not be able to accomplish all other SDGs. One of the panels focused on advice from personal experience in navigating male-dominated spaces and how each individual has handled challenges as well as success stories. The general advice was for women to continually invest in themselves, be flexible in their leadership and actively sought for guidance from mentors, sponsors and advocates.
Dr Onwuegbuzie who leads sessions in entrepreneurship on the MBA and Executive programmes at Lagos Business School (LBS), and is the Academic Director for the Owner-Manager Programme spoke on the need for women to be ‘board’ ready. She mentioned three requirements for board-readiness; excellence, values and empathy. “Excellence is blind to skin colour, gender or race; as women aiming for the top, excellence should not be compromised; the goal is to be the best version of selves without trying to be like anyone else,” Onwuegbuzie said. She also highlighted impact investing, and how it contributes to the economic and social development of Africa.
Dr Amy Jadesimi mentioned the need for women in leadership positions to lead from different levels and make evidence-based decisions. Charity Wallace shared the importance of the role of a support system to aid women’s development. She said “It is essential for women to stay connected with their peers in different sectors and levels. A strong network provides stability and aids nurturing relationships.” Tariye Gbadegesin said that women participation on boards is necessary, because boards ultimately run the organisations who design the solutions to the world’s needs. She concluded that women provide invaluable strategic contributions that result in better decisions.
This first programme of the women-led dialogue series provided a platform for women to share practical steps to accelerate and unlock women’s leadership potential and drive innovation. This initiative aligns with LBS’ goal to develop responsible leaders, solving Africa’s business problems.