The next generation female leaders in Port Harcourt were treated to relatable conversations at a little cozy restaurant by their Host Mrs. Manuela Izunwa. The Next Generation Female Leaders Roundtable is AWLO’s efforts to bridge the gap of leadership to the next generation.

This exemplifies a true taste of leadership. Leading not from high-rise buildings but creating an avenue for those who are being led to glean from their leader in a relatable environment.

Our Leaders are our guiding light to enable us to live up to our full potential. Those who are not laxed about replicating more leaders. Mrs. Manuela Izunwa is a true embodiment of this leadership expectation.

Mrs. Manuela Izunwa

From her background as the convener of Women in Leadership Conference, and Founder of Girls Organisation for Leadership Development this was not new to her. She warmed up to the girls as if she had known them prior to this time.

She was as open as possible in sharing personal lessons from her life. From dealing with her body-image as a plus size woman when she was starting out in her career to overcoming it to be able to realize her full potential. She encouraged the young leaders to overcome self-doubt and not live in the shadow of people’s opinion; to be able to live up to their full potential.

In the age of cyber-bullying and bullying generally some of the ladies attested to being discouraged by people’s backlash. One of the ladies Ms. Beauty Martins a 21 year-old Student, TedX Licensee and Tyre Recycler told her story of having a hard time penetrating her industry as a tyre recycler. She was met with a hard time dealing with men who dominate the industry and rejection in some cases where they bluntly refused to work with her because of her gender.

Mrs. Izunwa also weighed in using herself as a case-study while she served as the Commissioner of Women Affairs in Rivers State Nigeria.  She said that women had no need to prove themselves, as is it mostly the case being in a male dominated sector.

She further explained that it is not realistic to want to give 50-50 attention to work and family, but rather to strive for spending quality time with family and friends.

The Founder of African Women in Leadership Organisation Dr Elisha Attai also gave a male perspective to issues such as women being sabotaged especially in cases where the legitimacy of their career success is being questioned.

Dr. Elisha Attai

He encouraged women to keep excelling in spite of naysayers. That at that point it would be beyond requesting for a 35% or 50% affirmative action but their works duly speaking for them and more women earning opportunities as opposed to fulfilling a quota.

He also encouraged women to form allies, to network, and bond so that they’ll to begin to reap from their relationship. In his words ‘You have to connect to collect’.

R-L: Mrs Eno Davies, Mrs Uzor, Ms. Ekemini Akpakpan

The AWLO Rivers State Chapter was also duly represented by their Chapter Secretary and Publicity Secretary; Mrs. Eno Davies and Mrs. Uzor. The Chapter Secretary piqued interest in Hetty Coconut World; Ms. Henrietta Nwanji’s Coconut-Shell recycling business. Ms. Henrietta makes bespoke jewelry from coconut shells and was offered a funding of one Hundred Thousand Naira to help her take her business to the next level which she said she needed to enable her acquire equipment to increase her efficiency.

Ms. Ekemini Akpakpan

AWLO is working on creating more sustainable opportunities for the Next Generation Female Leaders. The GM, Ms. Ekemini Akpakpan who coordinated the project, assured the ladies of opportunities to come for personal development and business growth, as it is one of AWLO’s goals to channel the leadership potential of young women which she is a product of.

The Young Leaders are gearing up to attend the AWLO’s 10th Anniversary Conference; then Annual African Women in Leadership Conference which they have received their Free all-access pass.

The Conference is a solution to the gap in women’s leadership in Africa. AWLO has initiated a movement that changes the narrative in women’s leadership in Africa through capacity building, and engaging stakeholders in the initiation of solutions to involve more women in leadership.

This year’s African Women in Leadership Conference opens with a reception on the 19th of July in honor of the Vice President of Liberia; Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor, a member of African Women in Leadership Organisation. This is a major milestone for AWLO; producing a female leader in that capacity.

This will be followed by the 2 days Conference that converges women of African Descent for leadership development. Not only does it provide women a platform to network but to brainstorm for personal development. It’s a case of ‘birds of a feather flock together’. Whereas it is important to talk about women forming think-tanks and support systems, it is more important to have them actually do it.

Women getting involved in creating opportunities for themselves. This is not a group of wailers, but women bringing their own seat to the table.

Asides from bonding moments, our speakers are policy makers, outstanding professionals, innovators, from all over Africa and the diaspora. We are going to engage in enlightening conversations and create opportunities for women to excel through Learning sessions and networking.

One of the high points of this event is the unveiling and decoration of ‘100 Amazons’ a compendium of women who have risen above the setbacks that beset women in Africa to become shining examples in their field.

African Women in Leadership Conference also inspires ‘the African Movement’ and will feature Exhibitions by indigenous brands and an African fashion Show headlined by the Nigerian Brand Kiks Place.

Here is a link to register for African Women in Leadership Conference: awlo.org/anniversary/registration 

See Pictures from NGFL Roundtable Port Harourt