The final stop for the AWLO Next Generation Female Leaders (NGFL) Roundtable to count down to African Women in Leadership Conference was held in Lagos Nigeria. It was hosted by PR Expert Mrs. Nkechi Ali-Balogun. One gets the sense of a strong, opinionated and determined personality from Mrs. Nkechi just by meeting her.
She Challenged the girls to be Resilient Leaders narrating her unstoppable journey. One that is identifiable in her strides and accolades. She overdoes; is zealous and tireless. In her words, “When I retire I don’t want to be like one of those old people reading newspapers”
With no exaggeration, the gap between the older and younger generation can no longer be denied; young women do not have the guidance and mentorship of female leaders due to this disconnect. It was further established when Mrs. Nkechi asked the ladies if they had access to female leaders in Nigeria which the answer came back in the negative.
The girls who were fascinated; were eager to learn how this fascinating figure balances her work and family. She is proud to be identified as mother wife, and leader. She stated how those two parts of her life are different and how she balances both by not mixing them.
“I don’t want things handed down to me, I want to earn it. Women need not anyone to validate themselves”
She was impressed by the quality of the next generation female leaders and is willing to open more doors for them beginning from inviting them to the NECCI Roundtable she’s organizing which will have in attendance mentors such as Oby Ezekwesili, RMD, Ibukun Awosika, Adebola Williams, lanre Olusola and others.
Mrs. Ali-Balogun who is the Lead consultant of NECCI Ltd had wise and encouraging words on being a resilient Leader who never gets tired with examples from her life experiences.
She highlighted the importance of girls owning and being confident in themselves and their vision in life. There is need for the ladies to understand their vision and arm themselves with the skills needed to achieve that vision.
“Hold your head high and stop looking for favors” she said. “Being a female does not mean you are less than the male“. She believes in the equality of the sexes and encouraged the ladies to work as hard
She stressed on the need for the ladies to be decisive, that nobody takes an indecisive leader seriously and indecision affects your dream and vision. “Decide on the path of glory and stand by it.” she concluded.
As a Leader, to her, a good leader is one who “grows peers and not slaves” and one who “develops people she can be proud of”.
When questioned on – betrayal after investing in people, she said; “Don’t ever feel bad that you invested in people. Don’t feel bad even when people betray you”, that she is a staunch believer in investing in people. She believes that it is better to invest time and money in people which she says is more valuable investment than riches.
AWLO’s Founder Dr. Elisha Attai also expressed his pleasure at the exceptional things the ladies are doing to better their communities. He expressed how the apparent disconnect between the old and young generation led to AWLO’s decision to bridge this gap and also create a platform that would initiate this process.
He said this would not be the end of AWLO’s journey with the ladies and promised that it would indeed bridge the gap; as this became an eye-opener to opportunities and expectations of young women. AWLO hopes to include the young women in their Leadership Education Program; to grow their capacity to get funding for their initiatives as many of them expressed how a lack of funding has been a major downer.
AWLO Lagos State Chapter was represented by Mrs. Annie Essienette; an executive at IBM, who also contributed her business advice. She stressed the need for the girls to display due diligence in business by counting their cost, identifying needs, and having more than just ‘plan A’.
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
Here are photos from the NGFL Roundtable Lagos: