Women in Leadership Q and A: Maureen Omokhomion Shares Life Lessons From Her Leadership Journey

Anything is possible and doable if you put your heart to it- Mrs. Maureen Omokhomion

Mrs. Maureen Omokhomion is a dynamic African woman, highly disciplined mother with an innate capacity and passion to care for and mentor others. She has a B.sc in Economics, an MBA (Finance) and trained as a self driven seasoned banker, imbibed very strong values of self appraisal to ensure continuous productivity and value creation.
She is driven by a strong belief that you can impact lives by consistently sowing seeds of confidence in them to become better persons. Maureen is very strategic in approach to life as she believes that anything is possible and doable if you put your heart to it.
She is currently a member of the Governing Council of FUTO and CEO, Preen Group (an outfit with interest in Corporate & Industrial Cleaning, Business re-engineering, Training and Consulting). Maureen is the founder of Ibhariegua Global Initiative, which lends a voice to the abandoned child and President of Achieving Ladies, a Christian women organization with over 500 members.

How Her Father Influenced Her Journey

I would say I was very fortunate to have a father who was a very well respected leader and seasoned administrator. I was taught at an early age to be open to learning, take responsibility for my actions, share knowledge with humility and there were clear sanction grid.

There are usually hurdles in the leadership process especially when you lack the requisite skills and knowledge to execute a task. You must be humble enough and willing to learn new skills as you cannot give what you don’t have. As a leader, never live in denial. Also, when you are in privileged position to lead, never hoard knowledge and don’t be cynical.

For me, leadership is about empowering lives as a role model. It creates influence through impact. I believe strongly in leadership by example and ‘walking the talk’

She Inspires Her Team By Being A Role Model

As a team leader, every team member is important to the success of your team. Because you take responsibility for the success and failure of the team, you must first position yourself as the role model for every member to learn from. You must be willing to make sacrifices, source the right information and be a good team player so that you are able to impact knowledge and push team members to be better versions of themselves. When you develop a strong team, there is consistency, continuity and sustainability of good results.

I recall once as a team lead, I noticed that the performance of one of my key team member was dropping consistently. I had to have a one-on-one with her and I discovered she had a domestic issue. Immediately, I had to go out of my way to address the issue. With continuous encouragement, she was able to pull herself out of it and we met our targets.

Sometimes, you have to deal with personal issues of team members to get maximum productivity.

She Grows By Learning From Every Experience She Encounters

As a leader, you evolve and grow through followership. You must learn from someone, processes, structures and environment. Every experience is a learning opportunity for you. As an evolving leader, who is willing to grow, you must thirst for knowledge, open your heart to learning, and be disciplined, humble and ambitious. Don’t be afraid to fail. If you fail, take responsibility, make corrections and move on. Don’t cut corners and never compromise your integrity and dignity. Never have an attitude of self entitlement and always be respectful.

She Believes Integrity Is a Must-Have For Every Leader

Every leader should have unquestionable integrity because as a leader, you are a mentor and you are impacting knowledge, transferring information and skills to your mentee. You are expected to pass the right values to your mentee for successes to be sustainable over time.

Her Favorite Quote

‘A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way’ by John C. Maxwell.



Women in Leadership Q and A: Chidinma Nwaigwe’s Shares the Enriching Wisdom that Keeps her Going as a Leader

I am simply an optimistic person, a go-getter and resourceful person. – Dr. Chidinma Nwaigwe.

Dr. Chidinma Nwaigwe has her first degree in Medicine and Surgery from University of Lagos Nigeria.  A Post-graduate Diploma in Hospital Management, and Masters in Public Health.
A Sole Director at Everlife Preventive Services a preventive health company that promotes prevention. Working with Schools, Companies and Community. Their focus is on Health Awareness Sensitization, School Health Screening and Correctness and Promotion of Healthy Living from the Cradle.
She is also Co-Director of Peadville Consult Limited; an education-focused company that offers basic educational foundation to Children at a low price., and a Director at Fraval Medical Services; a comprehensive health facility that cares for families with specialists consultants in Ear/ Nose/ throat and dentistry. She is a wife, mother, teacher and an entrepreneur.

How She Overcomes the Hurdles of Leadership With a Smile

My journey as a leader has been bitter-sweet with a smile experience, where every smile crowns my reward.
Of course, there are hurdles, however overcoming those hurdles have been the greatest source of inspiration.
Quotes that drive me are these two. One by Robert Kiyosaki; ” face your fears and doubts and new walls will open to you” and “inside every problem, lies an opportunity “.
I believe God specially created me and equipped me with resilience, perseverance, determination, consistence and PASSION to pursue my goals with utmost satisfaction, after every challenging experience.
These experiences whether positive or vice versa guides and reforms my person positively. As I say ” if the desirable is not available, the available is upgraded to the desirable to achieve results.” Its just the mindset.

Dr. Chidinma Nwaigwe on How She grows as a Leader: “I Never Give up, I just Restrategize”

I grow by believing first the need ‘to know’. With knowledge I can evolve to an enriched personality portraying my values at every contact I make with a person of any age group especially with our younger generation.
I never give up, I just restrategise. I think up an idea, feed it, nurture it, and expose it. I evaluate as it goes from stage to stage to suit the particular need. I create a balance in my daily living by engaging in hobbies like dancing, cooking, resting and listening to music while focusing on my desires. I believe integrity is a core value I must replicate.

She Identifies and Builds Team Members

In building a team, I look at the overall mission and vision of the set objectives. I study the team members and identify the strength and weakness of individuals. With an individualized approach to each team member; it propels the strength and turns a weakness into potential. Also, I believe in the concept ‘PUSH’; which stands for ‘persist until something happens’.
A recent experience with a team member; a member of my staff, is that she is always beaten and assaulted by her husband -physical and emotionally. She was a housewife with three children and applied for a job at my school and was accepted. We placed her with the toddlers, and she did exceedingly well.
I noticed her fears and scar-filled face which she denied, and attributed it to a classlessness on her part. I had to devise a plan to help her by challenging, motivating and reforming her thoughts about being a woman. Her God given grace and so on.
She picked up herself, believed she was worthy, stood firm by this time her husband left her with the children and ran off with another woman. With no help from family or friends, I geared her up. After three years now, a past housewife has been transformed to a woman with skills, focus, and grace. She is living happily, taking care of her children and others by herself. She is chasing more dreams in higher studies, and now handles the graduating class of the school.

She Believes every Leader Must be a Good Listener

Be a good listener because for every action there are several meanings. So to be on top of your game; read between the lines with an open mind. A good foundation can be shaken but never destroyed.

What She has Learned From Her Daughter

The best leadership quote I learnt from my daughter Chimchetam Dozie is “A leader does not aspire to make a living, but aspires to make a difference” And I believe in making that difference.

Registration for African Women in Leadership Conference for Women in Leadership is ongoing now at awlo.org/anniversary.

In a Leader’s Shoes: Are Women not Leaders?

‘There is a kind of strength that is almost frightening in [all] women. It’s as if a steel rod runs right through the head down to the feet.’ -Maya Angelou

It is not a new thing that often times women are undermined when it comes to the sphere of leadership. But women have always been in leadership positions- whether as nurturers, decision makers and multi-taskers. It is only sad that society equates and constraints women with limiting words that do not go beyond the title of ‘wife’ and ‘mother’ and therefore do not capture the overall greatness of women. But, one thing that is certain is that women have always been in the shoes of leadership.

Going back in time to the Judeo-Christian creation story of man and woman. The woman was seen as taking charge and making decisions and even taking responsibility for the husband.

Even up to the life changing efforts of Mary Slessor in Africa, to the scientific input of women like Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn, the noteworthy works of women can be felt in the world.

Even up till today books are being written, media outlets are weighing in by hosting forums and producing special reports, and affinity groups in the workplace are engaging and leaning in about the leadership deposit in the woman. What is this about?


Condoleezza Rice

It has become quite obvious that leadership is not gender specific and qualities of leaders are not genetically inherited.

Vince Lombardi said; ” Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”



Female influence cannot be denied throughout history. Women have been voices. From Sojourner Truth, to Queen Elizabeth I, Cleopatra VII, Rosa Parks, Mary Slessor, Wangari Maathai, Mary Seacole, Indira Gandhi, Oprah Winfrey, Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton.

These women have lit up the world from their little corners. Who can deny the ripple effect of the simple act by Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat and how it begun a revolution. There are countless of instance that point to the outstanding leadership of women.

Perhaps the relatively small number of women executives in our organizations breeds the perception of women in leadership as twenty-first century concept of bossiness and misogyny whereas records show the indelible impact made by women. In reality leadership is not by virtue of position but impact.


Michelle Obama so aptly fit the role of First lady while playing Wife and Mum

Women possess the innate capacity to function on many fronts. At the boardroom, as wife, and mother, and they also advocate well for peace. Some women define having all this as the balance of a successful career and a successful family life. Women can obviously multi-task.

This multi-tasking ability has made them to effectively and efficiently lead in their careers and at the same time take charge of their personal and family life.

Women like Michelle Obama, and Hilary Clinton have proven that women can succeed at juggling career and nurturing family.

That balance is a personal choice because the dynamics of the workplace will have an impact on one’s personal life. How women manage it well to become successful at both makes them effective at multi-tasking.


Research has shown that leadership is about competencies, not necessarily about wearing a traditional Leadership hat at the office alone, but at all relevant situations.

Competencies such as demonstrating communication and social skills, utilizing creativity and innovation, problem solving, demonstrating judgment and team leadership, resourcefulness among others.

Even women within the home, as leadership is not just leading in the boardroom but the embodiment of who you are, and a reflection of self-leadership.

So, if this is the case, why do we not have more women leaders? The answer is not only in possessing these competencies but in bringing them to bear in the workplace and in relevant situations.


The take-away for women in leadership is to walk in their truth. If you are great at strategy or leading teams, networking or analysis, own it.

Represent your skills and competencies. The diversity of experiences, perspective and values that women bring to executive decision-making, yields competitive advantage and creative team dynamics. So, for women, leading can be easy if you do what you have honed.

Thanks to the awareness that makes girls to be given equal opportunities as the male child, so they can shine on time.

Here, is to the strength, perseverance, grit, tenacity, and wit- that the woman continues to bring to the table.


Extraordinary Voices: Sabrina Wanjiku Simader- Kenyan Alpine Skier

Sabrina Wanjiku Simader was born on the 13th of April, 1998 in Kenya to a Kenyan mother and Austrian father. The 2018 Winter Olympics isn’t the first competitive event she has participated in. In 2016, she represented Kenya in the Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

[Tweet “Meet Sabrina Wanjiku Simader- First Kenya Alpine Skier”]

Interesting Facts About Sabrina Wanjiku Simader

Sabrina Wanjiku Simader, was the first female Kenyan athlete at the Winter Olympics. She grew up in Austria where she picked up the sport. Simader started skiing at the age of three.

The 18-year-old Simader was the only African starter in the women’s super-G race at the world ski championship.

Sabrina competes in the more challenging and dangerous speed disciplines, downhill and Super G. Usually, skiers from outside the traditional Alpine skiing nations do not venture beyond the less risky slalom and giant slalom. Through her passion and love for the sport, Sabrina took part in the Super G in St.Moritz. When she turned 13 she won a local championship.

Sabrina carried the Kenyan flag during the opening ceremony of the 2018 winter Olympics at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, South Korea.

She is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Sabrina Wanjiki Simader.

Extraordinary Voices: Zuriel Oduwole, World’s youngest filmmaker, Girl-Child Empowerment Advocate, Child Philanthropist and Peace Ambassador 

Zuriel Oduwole was born in 2002, in Los Angeles, U.S to Nigerian father, Ademola Oduwole and a Mauritian mother, Patricia Oduwole. Zuriel is the eldest of four children, Azaliah, Arielle and Ismachiah Oduwole. She was home-schooled by her parents from age three. She is prominently described as ‘a child-philanthropist who is making great strides in an adult world’.

[Tweet “Zuriel Oduwole is prominently described as ‘a child-philanthropist who is making great strides in an adult world’.”]

She made her first film at age 9 when she entered the National Day competition for her school in California with a documentary film about Africa titled ‘The Ghana Revolution’. She requested and was granted her first presidential interviews; she met with two former presidents of Ghana: Jerry Rawlings and John Kufuor. This event marked her debut into girls education advocacy.

[Tweet “In 2013, Zuriel was bestowed the honorary Ambassador title for the largest foundation in East Africa by the First Lady”]

In October, 2013, she was invited to Tanzania, and bestowed the honorary Ambassador title for the largest foundation in East Africa by the First Lady, Mrs. Salma Kikwete. This was in recognition of her advocacy work for the Girl Child.

In 2013, after the release of her documentary film titled The 1963 OAU Formation, Zuriel was profiled in Forbes Magazine. Making her the youngest person to be featured on Forbes. In the same year, she made the New African Magazine’s list of “100 Most Influential People in Africa”.

In November 2014, at age 12, Zuriel carves a place for herself in history as the world’s youngest filmmaker to have self-produced and self-edited a documentary film titled ‘A Promising Africa’ and have it screened in 5 countries. On April 21st of the same year, she is honored as the Most Powerful 11 year old in the world by New York Business Insider in their list of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Person at Every Age’.

In February, 2015, she joins Fed Reserve Chairwoman, Janet Yellen and President of General Motors, Mary Barra, on Elle Magazine’s annual list of ’33 Women Who Changed the World’.

At the 2016 edition of the “New African Women Awards”, Zuriel wins the award for the “Woman on the Rise” category.

In August, 2016, at age 14, Zuriel makes Forbes Afrique’s annual list of 100 Most Influential Women. Conde Nast, the American global media and magazine giant, featured Zuriel as part of their Black History Month edition annual celebrations, as one of Americas future leaders to watch, for their February 2017 Teen Vogue.

[Tweet “UNICEF Nigeria reports that about 60 per cent of out-of-school children are girls. Mostly, for the reason of low perception of the value of girls’ education.”]

An Avowed Girl-Child Advocate

UNICEF NIGERIA reports that Nigeria still has 10.5 million out-of-school children – the world’s highest number. Sixty per cent of those children are in northern Nigeria. About 60 per cent of out-of-school children are girls. Many of those who do enroll drop out early. Low perceptions of the value of education for girls and early marriages are among the reasons. Some northern states have laws requiring education of girls and prohibiting their withdrawal from school. Girls’ primary school attendance has been improving, but this has not been the case for girls from the poorest household. In North-eastern Nigeria, conflict has deprived many children of access to education. Teachers have been killed and schools burned down or closed for security reasons.

Zuriel champions the Girl-Child education advocacy. She has initiated talks with no fewer than 24 African Presidents and Prime Ministers about creating policies that favour Girl-Child education till they reach the age of consent and can make decisions for their future rather than be barraged into early marriages or saddled with diseases or end up pregnant.
Zuriel believes that “Africa and the youth can change the world. I really believe it more now, that if someone wants to do something, no one can stop them, unless they did not really want to do it before”.

The former U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry calls her a ‘powerful Global Force’ for Girls Education and Women’s development.

Her campaign for the education of girls began in 2011 with emphasis on taking more rural girls off the street and into schools and giving girls from the poorest homes a future better than what they would have had without education. She tells the African stories through her documentaries. Through her ‘Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up’ initiative, Zuriel hopes to empower young girls and rebrand the image of Africa.

She Leads with her DUSUSU Foundation

In December 2015, she formally launched her “Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up” Foundation aimed at building partnerships with corporation and individuals, to develop the education capabilities of children, most especially the girl child, across the globe.

At the ceremony to commemorate the 11th annual festival of Mauritius, Zuriel attends as the special guest and as one of the judges for the film competition. There she seizes the opportunity and educates 150 underprivileged children on basic film making skills.

In February, 2016, Zuriel’s first 101 film class workshop held in, Windhoek, Namibia. By March, 2016, she launched her film making 101 Initiative for youths in Windhoek, Namibia, and in Lagos, Nigeria in June 2016; teaching some of Africa’s poorest children basic film making skills, so they have practical skills they can use in gainful or self-employment, as young adults.

A student from her first ‘Film Making 101’ class series workshop in February, 2016, Anna Kanola, becomes the first of Zuriel’s student to create and produce her first documentary 9 months later. On the 6th of December, 2016, Anna Kanola from Northern Namibia, is honored by Zuriel and presented with some film production equipment and a check for $1000 to encourage her future film making projects.

She was honored with an Award and Citation for her global work in the area of Education Development and Girls Equality advocacy by the city of Pachuca, in Hidalgo.

The Goodwill Ambassador

Earlier in September 2015, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Zuriel demonstrates an early flair for foreign politics when she launched a peace mediation initiative between Guyana and Venezuela, over the disputed Esquabos Oil territory, for which Venezuela was preparing to invade her smaller neighbour.

In September, 2016, at the 71st United Nations [UN] General Assembly events in New York, Zuriel speaks on how the effects of climate change is significantly affecting the education of children in the Pacific Island region. Shannon meets with Prime Minister of Samoa, H. E.  Tuilaepa Malielegaoi and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, H. E. Enele Sopoaga. She was invited to meet the new Jamaica Prime Minister H. E. Andrew Holness, to understand how Global Warming is affecting countries in the Caribbean.

In October 2016, she met with her 23rd World Leader, the President of Malta Her first venture Louisa Prevalent, to share her ideas on building a network of female world leaders to tackle the issue of “out of school children”, especially Girls from around the world.

She was made a Goodwill Ambassador by the Founder of the Rainbow Book Club at the UNESCO World Book Capital Port Harcourt in 2014.

Le Devoir, describes her as a future Larry King, because of her ability to meet with Political Leaders and discuss critical and pertinent global issues that affect children and youth development.

Unrelenting in her strides to align World Leaders with thoughts and acts of peace and goodwill, Zuriel is an inspiration to children and adults alike.

Asma Khalifa is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Zuriel Oduwole.

Extraordinary Voices: Asma Khalifa, Libyan Amazigh Women’s Rights and Peace Activist and Researcher  

Asma Khalifa was born in the coastal town of Zuwara, one of the most culturally distinct towns and is of Amazigh (Berber) origins. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law and a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies. She was born at a time when political corruption, human rights violation, unemployment, poverty and sectarianism were at its highest point in Libya. She witnesses the discrimination against the non-Arab Libyans, the violation of the human rights of her people and the sexual harassment of Libyan women during the period of Gaddafi’s regime.

Because Libya’s de facto leader Gaddafi considered the Amazigh a threat to his vision for a United Arab nation, he placed a ban on them. It became illegal to teach Tamazight in schools, illegal to give children Tamazight names or speak Tamazight in public.
“I can’t remember how many times my cousin was arrested for singing Amazigh songs in public.” says Asma Khalifa
But when push turned to shove, Khalifa lends her voice and becomes a human rights activist.
“… all we hear is words, even in the draft constitution there’s no mention of the Amazigh, and then people say things like you should just be grateful that the constitution doesn’t say we’re a Libyan Arab Republic.” She observes.

[Tweet “On 25th May, 2016, Khalifa was awarded the Luxembourg Peace Prize”]

On 25th May, 2016, Khalifa was awarded the Luxembourg Peace Prize by the Schengen Peace Foundation as the Outstanding Youth Peace Maker. The Luxembourg Peace Prize is a recognition of Khalifa’s contributions in the world as a key player to support peace-building, promoting peace and conflict resolution!

[Tweet “In 2017, Asma Khalifa was named one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans by the Africa Youth Awards”]

In 2017, she was named one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans by the Africa Youth Awards. Khalifa earned her title owing to her bravery in the fight against the sexual harassment of women during Gaddafi’s reign, for her non-violent way of protesting for the rights of women in Africa and inspiring young people.


Her work in Libya has included improving women’s participation in local government and fighting against gender-based violence.

In 2015, she co-founded the Tamazight Women Movement with the aim to research, report and advocate on Tamazight women issues in Libya and North Africa. Their core values being equality, social justice, and diversity.


In early 2010, the civil protests, demonstrations and revolt, resulted in the death and overthrow of Gaddafi. However, the unveiling of Libya’s transitional government causes the Berbers to rise in protest at the under-representation of Libya’s largest ethnic minority, the Amazigh. The Amazigh as a result suspends relations with Libya’s national government and withdraws its representative to the National Transitional Council (NTC).

Khalifa however, isn’t convinced that suspending relations with the National Transitional Council is the best way forward. She says, “I think it’s a bit extreme, they [the Arabs and the Amazigh] should probably sort these things out between each other and not stop talking to each other”.

[Tweet “If I want to see hope in Libya again, I have to work for it – @AsmaKhalifa89”]


Possessing a tenacious spirit, Khalifa hasn’t given up. Now, she travels around Libya to educate people on women’s rights and teach communities methods of nonviolent resistance. Her organization continues to work towards civil progress and good governance in Libya. “If I want to see hope in Libya again, I have to work for it” she says

Asma Khalifa is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Asma Khalifa.

Extraordinary Voices: Meet Naisula Lesuuda; Kenyan Warrior Princess

In a world of steaming male presence and accomplishments, emerges a defiant and heroic warrior princess; Naisula Lesuuda. She is a direct comparison to the Greek heroic warrior princess Xena. In the case of Naisula, not with sword but with  her voice and heroic deeds.


[Tweet “Naisula Lesuuda is like the Greek warrior princess Xena, but not with a Sword – with a Voice”]

Hon. Naisula Lesuuda was born in Samburu on the 30th of April 1984. She worked as a high-profile, national journalist for the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) where she worked as a news anchor, reporter and host of Good Morning Kenya.
Naisula Lesuuda became the youngest serving Kenyan Senator in 2013. She also successfully ran for a parliamentary seat in 2017 to become the first Samburu woman to win a seat, and is currently an elected member of parliament.

Here are Interesting facts about the Kenyan Warrior Princess:

Her interesting approach to peace Advocacy

Naisula Lesuuda is a founding member of the Peace Caravan, an initiative to advocate peace throughout her country by collecting and broadcasting peace-related news, lobbying and visiting conflicting communities.

An Entrepreneur creating opportunities for the Next Generation

The Kenyan warrior princess is also an entrepreneur, who runs a media consultancy firm and works as a trainer and workshop facilitator hereby creating job opportunities and empowering young journalists and aspiring media personals.

Left a job for a fulfilling Cause

Naisula is known for her unmatched activism as she advocates for women’s right in Kenya. She is the founder of Naisula Lesuuda Peace Foundations which advocates for girls’ education, and eradication of female genital mutilation and child marriage.

An Outstanding Honoree

As a way of rewarding her heroic deeds and her work with these organizations led to her becoming the youngest Kenyan woman to win the presidential Order of the Grand Warrior and the International Labour Organisation Wedge Award for Outstanding Professional Woman, in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Her Favorite Quote is about ‘Death’

[Tweet ““death is a reminder that our days are numbered so we must give our best”- @Lesuuda”]

The warrior princess’ favorite quote is “death is a reminder that our days are numbered so we must give our best”

There is no doubt that Naisula Lesuuda’s drive for excellence continues to steer the wheels for matchless state services to the Kenyan populace especially in representing the Samburu county both as a senator, humanitarian, entrepreneur and human right activist.

She is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Naisula Lesuuda.

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