DOHA: Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, H E Dr Issa bin Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi, called for the need for communities to adopt and apply all plans and projects that benefit women with special needs, to ease their integration and realize their citizenship through exercising their rights and duties, based on the international conventions related to protecting human rights. Speaking at the Third Doha International Blind Conference “Blind women are partners in building and development of society”, the Minister called on all communities to promote and protect the rights of women with visual disabilities and develop their human, social and economic situation by dealing with them on the basis of their ability to give.

In addition, the Minister urged to qualify them in order to be financially independent, which become part of integrating people with visual disabilities into the society, have them participate in the development path and affirming their right to run a normal life, QNA reported. Al Nuaimi said holding this conference, reflects Qatar’s belief in the need for quality between all the society’s categories and its keenness to enable the visually disabled women in the social life. He added that it also shows that Qatar is keen to provide all the aspects of care and unique service for the disabled, by providing the basic human rights.  The Minister highlighted that hosting this event, also reflects Qatar’s effective input in the global community on issues such as the rights of people with disabilities and prospering these rights to comply with international conventions on the topic.

The Minister highlighted the efforts exerted by Qatar on a legislative and institutional level to promote the participation of women with visual disabilities, enable and integrate them in the public life.  Al Nuaimi also highlighted the efforts to promote building their national capacities through establishing a supportive development approach that is based on rights. The State has also given great interest in developing their rights, ensuring their participation and full integration in the community, as well as activate the role of awareness and culture of the society on introducing the rights of women with visual disabilities in all fields, Al Nuaimi added.

Source: The Peninsularqatar





Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat vowed to fight discrimination against women. The African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat vowed to fight sexual discrimination against women and called for the Pan African Parliament (PAP) to be given full legislative powers to help address the problems facing the continent.

Mahamat made his comments at a press conference, and as PAP’s guest of honour, following the opening ceremony of the Sixth Ordinary Session of PAP’s Fourth Parliament in Midrand on Monday. One of the problems facing the AU is that member states have failed to ratify many of the instruments adopted by the continental organization, according to the chairperson. “Words have to be turned into actions,” said Mahamat.

The issue of peace and security was something that also needed to be addressed even though there had been an improvement in the security situation in Africa. “In some parts of Africa, there remain challenges in regard to terrorism and human trafficking. Stability through good governance and human rights are linked to these issues which in turn are contingent on empowering women, youth, and civil society because these unresolved issues are the root causes of the problems facing Africa,” he said.

Mahamat then went on to challenge media reports that there was some kind of “apartheid” against women on the continent and that the AU had done insufficient to address this issue. “The AU has been built on gender equality and during my appointment, I’ve appointed more women than men into important positions and this was not because I was doing women a favour but because of their natural abilities and the important roles they perform in society, it was natural to appoint them.

“I’m committed to getting rid of gender discrimination and sanctions will be imposed on anybody or person we find discriminating against women,” the AUC head said.

Source: Enca.com



By Cherish Darich

On my part to self-discovery, I realized that I was uniquely made and not necessarily unfortunate as circumstances beyond my control made me perceive. First, I had to learn to love everything about myself, to be appreciative of all of my encounters, and experiences that gradually shaped me to be the woman I desired to be. There were times I genuinely had to come to terms with the fact that I needed to put in more work to carve out a truly virtuous woman, who was not only restricted to her strength but constantly improving on her weaknesses and one of those many aspects that I dealt with was my high tendency to put on a whole lot of weight, especially “in the wrong places” if you know what I mean. I certainly could not keep up with blaming my excessive weight of over 107 kilograms (235lbs) on genetic traits or to the relatable fact that I was over 6 feet tall and didn’t even look like I weighed up to 100 kilograms (220lbs).

Subsequently, I started to weigh my options in this regard, seemingly in another five (5) to Ten (10) years I could weigh over 120 kilograms possibly due to childbirth, advancement in age and bodily structure. For two years I went back and forth on different weight loss programs involving strenuous workouts, unworkable diet plans, high expenses on services, product and so on and so forth but none of these worked and my looks depreciated. I decided to find out what would be easy to come to terms with that would be time efficient and pocket-friendly, over the last one year I have learned to make MY FOOD MY MEDICINE! My solution relied absolutely on everything that went into my mouth, once I was able to cut out my excesses and develop the attitude of eating clean and eating right I lost 24 kilograms over a Year.

There are absolutely no mistakes when all foods, fruits, and herbs were created from the inception of the earth. These foods were deliberately provided so that we would have all that we ever need in regards to our wellbeing, and it indeed justifiable to say that it is a call against nature to depend on harmful chemicals packaged as foods or drugs to survive.  if 90 percent of us ate all the fresh organic products of the earth rather than processed meals packaged and sold at high prices in various stores, the rate of health challenges we would have to face around the world would most likely be greatly reduced.

Most of us are not willing to sacrifice our routine lifestyle of eating for the healthier way of living. We contemplate eating fruits at our convenient time or we depend on the general view of having fruits as dessert after the main course meal or not having to bother taking them at all, it is essential for us all to know how and when different fruits should be consumed and the correct way of consumption. This goes to say that all fruits of any sorts should be taken ON AN EMPTY STOMACH this will in turn aid the detoxification of the system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss, revitalization, regeneration of dead cells and other essential bodily functions.

Fruits are the most important or vital part of our daily consumption, emphasis on fruits been the MOST IMPORTANT FOODS to be consumed. This is not at any point negotiable and because fruits cannot be taken off the menu, it is indeed compulsory to take 3 to 5 different fruits in a day or where this is not accessible certain supplements can be taken on a timely basis (I will be glad if you could send an email to find out recommendable supplements). For instance, if one eats two slices of bread and a slice of fruit the slice of fruit is ready to be absorbed by the intestines, but it prevented from doing so because of the bread present in the system. The minute the bread comes in contact with the food in the stomach and digestive juices, the entire mass of food begins to spoil! The fruit mixes with the putrefying of other food and produces gas hence one bloats as a result.

 A lot of issues relating to various terminal sicknesses such as cancer and other general body disorder such as the early stage of the greying of hair, balding, nervous outburst, dark circles under the eye e.t.c can be absolutely avoided if fruits and food are eaten the proper recommended way.

Once one has mastered the right way of eating fruits, they have the secret of beauty, longevity, health, energy, happiness and a standard weight. Today as a living proof of one who has experienced tremendous changes in growth and bodily development, I can confidently say am living the Health Beneficial Lifestyle and am ever so proud of my unending results. One of my daily inscriptions since I noticed the changes my body has encountered over time is that “no one can ever go wrong with fruit dieting”.

There is so much more I have to share, it is my vision to mentor over 100 people over a span of 365 days, who will deliberately decide to live a healthier lifestyle! if you are one of those and you desire to know more about fruits to eat at different times of the day, recommended fruits to hasten the weight loss process, how to maintain a healthy glowing skin and how best to consume your fruits as your food, please do not hesitate to send me a mail

Email: cherishdarich@gmail.com 
Twitter: @cherishdarich@gmail.com
Whatsapp: +2347036131594
Ff on IG: @cherishmotivation

By – Bestwill Johnny

Days ago, while I browsed the internet in search of a certain information, I came across the quote above, by Robert Louis Stevenson. The quote struck my chords and plunged me deep in thoughts. I had to even put off the search for information I came online for.

You see, selling happens daily. Everyone is trying to sell something. Products and services are not the only things being sold. The executive at the board meeting is trying hard to sell an idea to the board that she thinks will ‘sell’. Little Kelvin is trying to sell mummy, the idea of buying him a new set of toys, as they shop. Husband is trying to sell wife, the idea that getting a new set of furniture is not an unnecessary luxury.

Anytime there is an attempt to convince someone or to get someone to agree with an idea or to get someone to take an action, selling is going on. It even gets really funny in business. Anytime there is a meeting between a marketer and a prospect, a sale is initiated. Yes! A sale is made.

Either the marketer sells the product or service to the prospect, or the prospect sells, the reason why he cannot make a purchase, to the marketer. Once the marketer buys that, the deal is closed. There has been a sale.

In the next few lines, I will highlight how you can sell more as a marketer pushing your business and be sold to less. (Based on the illustration in the last paragraph). Grab a pack of popcorn.

Do not sell what you do not believe in.

On this point, a profound quote by Zig Ziglar will help: “If the salesman can make the prospect feel about the product the same way he feels about the product, the prospect is going to buy the product, if there is any way in the world he can come up with the money”. I think you may have to read the quote again, and again maybe. I know I looked at it a couple of times when I first encountered it.

Selling is basically a transference of feeling. You are making an attempt to get the prospect to feel as enthusiastic about the product as you are. That is the high point of selling. If the prospect can get excited about what you are selling, he will buy. If you can transfer the same excitement you feel about the product to him in the same proportion, he will sign for an order, because that is what you would do if you were in his shoes.

But how about if you do not have the feeling you are trying to transfer? In order to transfer a feeling, you must have the feeling. The entrepreneur is a believer! As a matter of fact, it is the ferociousness of his belief in the product that draws the prospect in. This ferociousness is expressed in words and passionate gestures. (Assuming it were a live presentation). Change products, if you do not believe in what you currently sell. Sell a product that you can believe, anyone who does not buy, is the greater loser!

Do not confuse your situation with your prospect’s.

Always look at your goods and/or services through your prospect’s eyes. Practice empathy. This will help you to be able to mark out your target audience with all the streamlined demographics. Then you must not confuse your excitement or reservations towards the product for his. You must think through and see the products with the eyes of your prospect.

For instance, I love noodles very much. But I cannot begin a business of selling noodles simply because I love it that much. A lot of people I will meet, pushed by my excitement, do not share my excitement. And I will play the fool.

As a smart entrepreneur, you will, therefore, separate yourself from the people you are going to meet. Make a checklist of their likes, vain desires, interests, and wants. Then see how you can either create a product or service that meets them or weave your current product or service to meet them. Then let your description of how your product meets their wants, vain desires, likes, and interests, dominate the phrases you use in your marketing.

In summary, give the people what they want!

Hear what the prospect is saying, not just what he says.

A hair seller starts an online chat with a prospect who seems interested in buying hair. After giving full details, the prospect suddenly says she is not interested in buying because she has bought several similar products in the past that ended up not being durable as the sellers had promised. She makes one or two snide remarks. If the hair seller is not very skilled in selling, she will end the conversation right there. Maybe you reading this would do same too. Let me give you a breakdown. For a prospect to suddenly emotionally blurt out reasons why she cannot buy, means that she has actually deeply considered buying. But when she made the consideration, a sudden fear fueled by previous bad deals seeks to stop her. She is crying to you for assurance. She wants you to give reasons why yours will not end up like the previous ones. She wants you to assure her and give her a good deal. This is what she is saying. Ignore what she said.  If you fall for what prospects say, you will lose many sales, trust, and great relationships that would have been.

Summarily, most rejections prospects give, are simply calls for assurance and clarity. As a smart entrepreneur, you should very well detect that.

That will be all for now.
Take action on these and watch your marketing yield 7× more results.

There has been a lot of attention on women’s maternal health, not least because of the MDG targets, and this has continued with the SDGs. But how much of this work should be focused on bringing men into the world of maternal health?  At one level, men are often the ones who control women’s access to health seeking and health care. At another level, women’s maternal health remains a domain, which is intimately based on their bodily integrity and laden with social significance, such that some argue that women should exert exclusive power.

In Bangladesh, some mHealth activities have sought to recognize the roles of men as gatekeepers to women’s health. Instead of only sending SMS messages to pregnant women, they also send them to husbands or other significant men who have been identified by the women. This seems to play two roles: it encourages men to take women’s maternal health seriously and makes it harder for these men to block women from using maternal health services. But does it also play a role engaging men in maternal health?  Does it also give men maternal health information which they find interesting and useful?  Is it helpful at all, or potentially harmful (i.e. does it increase their power over women)?

This leads us to ask: is there an inherent tension in involving men in maternal health – are we, in fact, increasing male authority in a domain that was at least partly in women’s control? Brazilian feminists have argued for a long time against the ‘maternal infantilization’ of women, i.e. that women should still have primary authority about what happens to their health and bodies, including when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. When we seek to engage men in maternal health, we need to ask whether it is done in a way that would be considered unethical or would, in fact, inhibit women’s autonomy (e.g. encouraging forms of community surveillance that take away women’s right to privacy).

Questions that need to be asked include: when is it acceptable to share health records of one person with another and what are the gender dimensions involved? Under what conditions should men be encouraged to actively participate in women’s maternal health?  Are there ways to involve men, to promote gender equality and sustain women’s autonomy? What kind of services and support mechanisms do we need to navigate this?

This is not to say that engaging men is necessarily counterproductive. In India, an experience shows that the framework which guides such engagement is what matters – it should not be instrumental, i.e. should not engage with men because they are “decision makers”/ “gatekeepers” and can affect service uptake, but as partners who have a responsibility to share the burden of contraception, childbearing, and rearing, and who have a responsibility and interest in advancing gender equality. Rather, that the basis of engagement aims to foster a recognition of, and discussion around, men as fathers and male privilege. As feminists have long known, men must be involved in the dismantling of structures and harmful social norms that jeopardize women’s well-being – norms such as early marriage, early childbearing, violence, restriction of mobility and so on. Even then, there is a temptation to persuade men to support women’s health and empowerment through an easier route by making utilitarian appeals like “if your daughter is well educated, she will be a good mother”. While this may help to convince the community to not force their girls to drop out of school, will it not further essentialize women’s roles as mothers?

What is the role of health systems researchers in addressing this issue? Health system researchers are in a unique position to support policy champions and bridge the gap between research and policy by linking appropriate policy audiences in developing research, disseminating research findings effectively to different stakeholders, and supporting a policy community to work on issues informed by research. A recent review, critically examining the emerging evidence base on interventions that engage men in maternal and newborn health, has found important gaps in how male involvement is conceptualized and recommends more research to document the gender transformative potential of these interventions.

Building on this, it is important to call on health systems researchers to investigate the context-specific gendered determinants of maternal health and be aware of how interventions interact with these contexts. Such informed investigations would ensure that evidence-based approaches to engage men to keep gender equality, women’s autonomy and rights at the center, rather than focusing instrumentally on health outcomes alone. There is a need for efforts that engage policy makers and implementers in supporting long-lasting change, rather than superficial measures that further involve men in maternal health in ways that may not be helpful and indeed in some instances be harmful.


By Sana Contractor, A.S.M. Shahabuddin, Linda Waldman, Asha George and Rosemary Morgan

Source: internationalhealthpolicies.org


As parents or guardians, we must work within the consciousness that children also have the tendency to get hurt by our actions or inactions. The fear of losing authority and respect has made most parents abandon the phrase “I am sorry” when relating with their children. Learning to say “I am sorry” to your child when you know you have made a mistake, will go a long way in building and maintaining a great parental relationship between you and the child, as well as showing mutual respect which we all should strive to teach and imbibe.  There is a popular phrase that says; respect is reciprocal, and a great way to show you respect your child is by rendering an apology to him or her when you realize you are in the wrong. Parents who desire to groom children with a healthy self–esteem and high personal value have learnt how to apologize to their kids when they go wrong. Offering gifts or making your child’s best meal as a form of appeasement for your wrongdoings cannot override the importance of a sincere apology.

Every great parent must realize that apologizing is nurturing. Nurturing a child involves prioritizing his emotions above the frustrations you face. Even when you lose control, acknowledging a misstep and apologizing for it proves a great deal, that you have great value for the child.  As a parent you are a guardian to your child and not a control freak or a dictator, therefore; mistakes are sometimes permissible. Rendering apologies prove that you nurture more and control less.  Since children are meant to be nurtured and not driven by the horn, then real parents who intend to nurture confident children must learn to apologize for their wrong acts. 

True Apologies solidify bonds amongst parents and their children.  Saying “I am sorry” to a child when you are wrong helps the child to realize that you are not without mistakes too. Apologies repair mistakes, and repairing mistakes can take a relationship to a totally new level.  In addition, true apologies help adults build an authentic relationship with their children—one in which both people will sometimes make mistakes. Repairing mistakes (apologizing) can and often does take a relationship to a new level.

Teaching a child how to take responsibilities for his actions can be very frustrating most times, but never forget that children learn from example, as a mother you are the perfect mirror and example your child beholds each day. Offering a true apology teaches children—even toddlers—how to take responsibility for their actions and how to forgive. Taking this responsibility as a mother also gives the child boldness to as well stand up to his responsibilities.  

Here are a few ways to easily apologize to young children:

Explain without giving excuses. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Some parents start to apologize and then veer into excusing themselves because the child was in the wrong. A good way to apologize is doing it without apportioning blames or giving excuses for your actions.

In addition, follow up with action. It’s a great deal to note that actions are what make asking for forgiveness effective. Children listen to your actions than words. When apologizing to a child, do not make promises you cannot keep.  If you have said “I am sorry’ let your actions really show that you mean every word. If we desire to build a cordial and transparent relationship with our children then, our actions and attitudes need to speak as loudly as our words. If we keep making the same mistake over and over again, our apologies will start to ring hollow. Apologies can become a normalized courtesy when you do not mean what you say so mean it before you utter it; learn that actions show that you truly mean it.

Be age appropriate. You could also decide to be age appropriate in rendering your apology to your child. If they’re little, physically get down on their level. You’re a lot bigger than a young child, so make yourself as physically approachable as you can. Squat, stoop or sit down. Make good eye contact. Hug your child. Your body communicates as well as your words, and a posture of humility communicates vast amounts to a young child that they’re not likely to verbally comprehend. If they’re bigger kids, you can use more words—just make sure they’re designed to show that mums screw up, and mums love their kids.

In conclusion, every parent knows that pride is the middleman that comes in-between being wrong and rendering an apology but your ability to say “I am sorry” to that little child you have hurt, shows that you love your children more than your pride. Learn to apologize and let the pride slide as this can save not just the day but life-long relationship.

By – Splendor Eloke Young

The journey of leadership began from an era when women were either absent or invisible in leadership positions to this time where a change in the demographic, following various calls for gender diversity, is sweeping through governments and conglomerates across the globe. However, women still face the biggest barrier of getting into higher echelons of private and public sectors. In the same vein, those women who strive to get to that upper chamber of leadership are most times whisked out before the expiration of their tenure.

In an exclusive interview with Amazons Watch Magazine, Olutoyin Oyelade, Founding Partner/CEO of InVcap, an African-focused private equity firm in Nigeria and Canada, highlighted and disccussed 5 practicable ways women can break through diverse barriers to get into upper echelons of leadership. Excerpt:

Please tell us about yourself- vis-à-vis your cultural, social and educational background.

My name is Olutoyin Oyelade. I am a Nigerian-Canadian with a birthday of 15th of January. I am the 2nd of five children, married to Olusola Oyelade, and we are blessed with three young Entrepreneurs. I have garnered 25 years cognate experience from vertical industry sectors including banking and finance, real estate management, private equity, and non-profit management.

I obtained my first Bachelors degree at the age of 19 in Philosophy from Ondo State University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria. In 1999, I received an MBA from Nigeria’s University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). This academic background, in addition to the various management trainings I had received in my career journey marked my career path, facilitated my career progression, and led to the development of a team of dynamic managers that worked with me. These professionals were trained to serve clients, redesign processes, policies, and practices across the various industry sectors where I had gained some experience. As my team grew, it became imperative to retrain and get more skills in my industry.

I embarked on a self-development program, which culminated in a series of training, from 2005 – 2008.  Of particular note was my enrolment for executive education programs based on the support of my former employers Intercontinental Bank. In 2005, I completed a Senior Management program at Lagos Business School; in 2006 I completed my Business marketing program at IMD, Lausanne, in Geneva; and in 2008 I graduated from Wharton School’s (USA) advanced management program. These executive studies launched the start of new ideas in my career path. Following a successful career in Banking in 2010, I followed my dream to research into female advancement issues. To this end, I enrolled for a Doctoral degree in Management (with focus on Leadership) in 2012. By 2016, I had graduated as a Doctor of Management (D.MGT) from the University of Maryland, University College, Maryland, USA.

You have a track record in Africa’s Investment sector which spans over 25 years’ experience. Kindly tell us about your career journey and some of your accomplishments and successes.

I started a career in Banking in 1992 with the Nigerian Intercontinental Merchant Bank (NIMBL) – Nigeria. At various times I worked in client services, treasury operations, finance and administration, and investment management services. The Bank later became Intercontinental Bank Group (IBG, now merged with Access Bank). I was trained under the guidance of some of the most qualified and skilled professionals in the industry and as you can imagine, I learnt a great deal, and soon progressed to become the Head of Treasury in 2002. I am really thankful to God for the experience and opportunity.

By 2005, I became the Group Treasurer for the Group. As Group Treasurer, I had responsibility for Funds, Treasury, and Marketing for the Group covering the bank’s 12 Regional Treasury subsidiaries in Nigeria, London, and Ghana. As Group Treasurer at IBG I was part of the team that successfully raised $1.3bn in debts and equity from the global markets to prepare for IBG’s local and international expansion back then. I later became Group Head of Investment Banking with responsibility for treasury and investment management portfolio of $8bn. Shortly after this, the Bank was appointed as one of the indigenous Banks to manage Nigeria’s foreign reserves. On account of this, I was seconded to train with BNP Paribas, Paris and London. As a management intern with BNP Paribas, I gained more understanding of investment management and asset trading and got an opportunity to interact with the global financial markets, the players and their sectors. (These opportunities prepared me to start the Friends of Africa, Summit in 2011 and InVcap, the Investment firm in 2013). Between 2005 and 2009, I was a member of the National Executive Committee of the Money Market Association, an organization responsible for supervision, certification, and regulation of Treasury dealers in the Nigerian markets. Although, I actively operate in the international Markets as a member of Emerging Markets Investors Association (EMIA), I monitor developments in the local markets and remain a senior member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria.

Some of my Key accomplishments incudes: InVcap Managers launched in 2013; In 2016 InVcap recorded its first major investment deal, SplashWorldpark.com Waterparks, Ikogosi, Nigeria—reputed to be the first full Waterparks in the West African Region. The first Phase of the project has been completed and opened in 2016; In 2017, InVcap recorded its 2nd Investment deal, EntrepreneursPoint.com, the Newest Co-working and executive business offices. Entrepreneurs Point offers private offices, virtual services, Business Membership, Training and Events to local and international clients. The centre is located in Toronto, Canada; In 2017, I released the Book- Advancing Beyond the Ceiling following my doctoral research into women’s advancement journey and based on my career experiences in the corporate sector. The Book is available on Olutoyinoyelade.com

In the non-profit sector, you serve with the African Expert Network, and charity boards, such as Culbeat Foundation, Friends of Africa, and Casa Foundation, which are all efforts towards fostering economic growth and sustainability in Nigeria, and Africa at large. Please share with us some of the success story in this regard.

I founded Casa Foundation in 2011 as a social impact organisation to meet the needs of youths, women and Children in underserved communities and in line with our commitment to support the basic tenets of the UN sponsored sustainable development goals (SDGs) contribute. We focus on providing support in the area of healthcare, immigrant training, and education to women, emerging leaders, and Youths.

Our Partners at InVcap have continued to support our non-profit initiatives as it closely aligns with our Impact investment objectives. We serve with the African Expert Network because of its focus to provide expertise, advisory, and services that could facilitate the required deal flow for Africa to thrive.

Some of the Key accomplishments are as follows:

  • Casa Foundation sponsors Casa Scholarship for International students in Canada. Our group of Entrepreneur mentors have actively taught Entrepreneurship to 7 Cohorts over the last 2 years through the Entrepreneur EXChange program.
  • Our Friends of Africa platform (an economic development summit) has hosted senior public and private sector officials to actively engage with stakeholders in the economy including CEOs, Ministers, Governors, and Parliamentarians from West Africa and Canada in the last 7 years. The Summit has produced several business and economic initiatives, including new businesses Launched and Project executed in Africa. FOA continues to issue recommendations to participating governments on additional resources and initiatives on their developmental agenda to impact prosperity of African Nations.
  • The annual Friends of Africa Summit has received a letter of Commendation from the Premier and Government of Ontario, Canada as an initiative of great Impact for Africa’s Development.

The World Bank forecasts that economic growth in Nigeria would edge up to at least 2.5 per cent in 2018, from the estimated 0.8% growth recorded in 2017. What is your take on this?

The World Bank projection is a welcome development particularly to buoy investors’ confidence following the news of a recession. Recall that some investors were alarmed by the sudden declaration of a recession after two decades of economic stability and major investments from the private and Investment sector in Nigeria. As you can imagine, the slowdown ground most meaningful investments activities to a halt and the moderate economic recovery expected in 2017 did very little to boost investment confidence as new investors cautiously explored the Nigerian opportunity.

This is particularly so because the fragile economic recovery was predicated on rising commodity prices, boost in oil production and oil policy reforms. However, the policy reforms scarcely addressed the perennial cases of shortages in fuel, power, and energy. Moreover, the FOREX challenge remains—its availability, stability, and flow. For World Bank’s projection of 2.5% growth to become real in Nigeria, I would expect the Experts in charge of the Treasury to effectively implement, monitor, and manage, policy reforms, and introduce measures to buoy confidence in Naira by increase FOREX availability, stability, and consistency of supply etc.

These managers will do well to mitigate potential risks to structural reforms, stability of FOREX rates, while creating additional functional and reliable agencies to monitor, address, and limit other possible downside risks to the economy.

Despite the entry of women into leadership across all climes, women still face the challenge of getting into higher echelons of leadership in private and public sectors; while those women who have risen to that level of leadership are most times whisked out before the expiration of their tenure. Please share with us, some of your experiences in breaking through these diverse barriers.

I follow many principles and have some values and virtues. I will share a few…

Get over-Qualified: First, women need to get a good set of Qualifications. The simple truth is that, If you are going to get noticed you need to do a lot more than the dominant players. If out of a 100%, we hold a measly 4.2% CEO positions, then how can we stand out from the crowd? I found that a small percentage of women might not require too many qualifications to become rich, or get to certain C- suite levels or other positions in life by virtue of birth, heritage, marriage, location, or affiliations etc. Despite these privileged few, the number of top Women bosses remains 4.2% in F500s, and perhaps less than 35% of women lead on Boards, non-profits, and in Governments. It therefore becomes imperative that women gain all the possible advantages that qualifications, skills, competencies, kindness, professionalism, and mental capacity can offer to reach their careers goals.

In my career, I was only required to hold a Bachelors degree; I went ahead to get an MBA. I later attended the best 3 Business Schools in the 3 continents where I worked– Lagos Business School, IMD Lausanne- Geneva and Wharton, USA. Again, don’t get me wrong. Women don’t need to go overboard with paper certificates or the best schools, but they may get as many as possible, if the opportunity exists, to break free from the crowds. I tell ladies everywhere I go—whatever it takes stand out, dare to be different, get the best credentials. Its hard work but it might help in the journey of life.

Be Diligent and Skilled: I was never a 9-5pm person. You would certainly find me at work 2-3 hours after others had left—and I was really working (even as a mid-level officer). It never mattered that a boss was there or not- I just had to be there to finish up the day’s work and get ready for the next day.

It was my training (I earned some names including Thatcher). I learnt as much as possible on the job and this helped me to be more effective. I did not know that my bosses noticed this until I got transferred to lead different units. I must have led a dozen different units and this helped me to hone my skills in different departments from Operation, to Treasury, Administration, to Marketing, Investments, Branch management, Events Planning etc. I led these teams and was either head of one committee or the other planning events for large groups of clients. In one of the organizations, we had almost a million clients and almost 20k workforce). It was a great number to learn life lessons and management from.

Moreover, diligence is the hallmark of successful leaders and when combined with the right skills, it becomes a virtue that could prepare one to shoulder greater responsibilities that could never be imagined in the future.

Diligence can also be very rewarding. For instance, I do remember that my previous organization trained her staff abroad based on performance. I was privileged to get a lot of training opportunities because of this policy. Resilience: Women need to be resilient and never give up on their God given dreams–no matter the challenges, adversity, reproach, relegating strategies, burdens, and innuendoes they face at work.

Purpose and Passion: Women must first find their Purpose, and then pursue it with passion. It is difficult to find fulfilment at what you are not passionate about. Your purpose will ignite your passion and attract resources (partners, mentors, sponsors) to you— your resources will attract brutal Adversities to you, but you will Keep Winning If you Faint not in adversity.

Values and Principles: These might vary but must be well aligned. As discerning leader I try to define and keep refining these principles. I try to maintain the values I uphold and tick off the list from time to time to self-check…Women leaders need to constantly ask some burning questions.

  • Methods: What are my methods? What am I known for? What would I never do? What Style, standards, and principles do I maintain?
  • Mentorship: Who DO I really lead? Who Leads ME? Who checks me?
  • Management: What is my Style? How do I manage people? By standards, by processes, by favouritism, by loyalty? Or by emotions?
  • Accountability: Who Am I Accountable to? 1 person, 2 or a group?
  • Actions: What do I say/ do when certain people are there or not there?
  • Friends: Which type of people do I attract? A+, B+, C+, D+? A combination or one category?  What benefits do they bring?
  • Impact: How do I harness the gifts within the groups above to help?
  • Growth: How can I learn, unlearn, and relearn from more successful and knowledgeable people? How do l earn their respect?
  • Adversity: How do I maintain my composure outside my comfort zone?
  • Mentorship: True values of great leaders emerge from constantly self-checking, questioning actions, emotions, and decisions. I learnt to answer these set of questions as I was raised. My mother was a great influence on me and imbued in us great principles of life. My siblings are very supportive and I learn a lot from my mentors and leaders that I have studied and benefited from over the years. I believe that these support eco systems are a great way to grow, learn life lessons and make significant progress in the rough journey that life could sometimes bring.

Be Thankful: I am very thankful to God for His many graces. I have had to deal with serious issues, situations, and people but God, my Father, has always sent help to me somehow, somewhere, and He continues to help people like us- who had no hope. I finally earned and graduated from a Doctorate degree within 3 years (between 2012-2016) by following some of these principles. I have become an Investor and a serial Entrepreneur in the last few years of starting an Investment firm with my Partners in a new Country.

You wrote a book, which was published last year, titled: Advancing Beyond the Ceiling: The Gender Barrier Effect on Women’s Advancement in Fortune 500 (F500) Firms, what motivated you?

In my career trajectory, I had learnt some great lessons. I was opportune to start early, from a marketing IT person, to a level one supervisor, and rose to become the Group Treasurer of a 20k-man (approx.) organization in Africa with 365 local Branches, 12 Subsidiaries, and Country Offices in the UK and Ghana. Through my career journey, I observed that organizations were only as great as their leaders. An organization’s values are largely a reflection of its leadership and what Leaders promote would most likely get done. It wasn’t until I left to start InVcap, that I became interested in the statistics on women advancement. As I completed the Company registration, all letters to me would most times be addressed to a Mr…. I corrected my agents several times. Most email introductions to industry peers would come back as “Good to meet you Mr…” – perhaps my new peers probably assumed only Men would dabble into the Private Equity sector?

I pondered on the issue for a bit, particularly when it became difficult to raise funding for projects… until we found some investors. By the time I started my doctoral research …it was only logical to research into the issues that had left women out of the top roles. I would soon find that my advancement to the Top10 team in other organizations was a result of sheer Providence and a deliberate and intentional act of sincere leadership. In the US, it was not the norm as the statistics indicated and more worrying is the fact that the indicators remain significantly unchanged at 4.2% in the last 5 years, with men consistently dominating the Corner offices in F500s.

Upon starting my doctoral research it was only logical that I focused on these Gender barrier issues, and I published some of the findings in my book and have been speaking at various fora since then—from TED “What’s wrong with Women”, to TV, Radio and Magazine Interviews, and She leads Africa, etc.

Executive Summary:

Advancing Beyond the Ceiling -For too long the subject of a glass ceiling on women’s careers has dominated corporate sector debates and engaged practitioners’. Issues of invisible barriers and hurdles continued to plague the career trajectory of women in senior and middle management…. senior leadership failed to acknowledge these issues, despite the fact that corporations have been known to fail or suffer dire financial consequences for shutting women out of the corner office.

Moreover, Interactions with supervisors and junior officers indicate that the challenges they face in the course of duty negate the core ethics and ingredients necessary to promote the general wellbeing of the firm. While stakeholders in the public and private sectors continue to propose solutions and advocate for palliative and remedial steps to address the visible and invisible ceilings on female career progress, the number of female CEOs remain significantly unchanged between 2013 and 2016 and slightly deteriorated in 2017.

The question is why only a few corporations are pushing an agenda that seems to be the panacea to firm performance and sustainability? And why have the early warning signals of gender inequality remained in corporate corridors— 40 years after Bryant identified the glass ceiling challenge?

My research findings in Advancing Beyond the Ceiling deviates from the traditional approach of limiting the gender barrier dilemma to societal, natural, and organizational practices. The book researches into other imposed limitations, including issues of self-esteem, character traits, and male dominance that could stall women’s advancement.

I proposed reasons for females to spearhead their advancement through scholarship, partnership, mentorship, and sponsorship, first to gain the required confidence and esteem, that some women still lack – despite their position and qualifications, then for women to become better trained in the art of leadership management (not just in theory, but by actions). Leading women could check:

  • How effective would I be, if I led in new sectors, led new people?
  • How could women lead people that are better qualified than them without becoming threatened to the point of seeking to eliminate perceived competitors no matter the advantages they offer?
  • What leadership behaviours characterized mentors and leaders?
  • What practices should top women promote in their quest to crack the glass ceiling?
  • How can our readers access this book?

My Book- Advancing beyond the Ceiling – is available Online on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Author House, and www.olutoyinoyelade.com

How do you balance your family and business life, which is some of the battles women still face?

For me, keeping a work–life balance means gaining the support of my spouse, and raising Children, that are well grounded in the Christian Faith, so that life’s decisions can be taken faster without compromises; these are my critical success factors and they are a most rewarding blessing from God. To maintain a balance in my home, I keep a schedule of the important dates from the beginning of the year and try to meet these appointments. The family also bonds as I offer support to kids in school and in their other endeavours and goals.

I found that getting busier meant that pressure increased and we had to give up on the time that we spend together. So we had to introduce more fun times to look forward to: movie nights, quiz shows (to test the brain and word knowledge), make a pitch night, etc. If you are raising Entrepreneurs, they better understand Gods word and business principles early enough.

Ensuring that one’s spouse is involved in the various business concerns is also helpful. Not only do you get professional advice for free, issues are resolved faster. For our work abroad, we take turns to attend business meetings so that both parties are not away from home. However, we find time to get away from these routines with the kids from time to time. Couples must learn to create some history that will become memories for the future. I find that by sharing my goals and vision with a reliable partner, the challenges of life are half solved and other issues can be pursued more strategically.

What is the best way for readers of Amazons Watch Magazine to connect with you?

I am available on Social Media:
Facebook: @OlutoyinOyelade
Instagram: @OlutoyinOyelade
Twitter: @Olutoyin Oyelade
LinkedIn: @OlutoyinOyelade