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Nigeria Magazine Networking And Awards Evening: “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”

Nigeria Magazine Networking And Awards Evening: “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”

Friday 15th March 2024

Camille Dubuis-Welch

With Nigeria Magazine now running for over a decade, the success of the Networking & Awards event was a testimony to how its unique work is a great support for women, not to mention, championing people all around the world to improve humanity.

It was an inspiring evening, hosted at the historical University Women’s Club in Mayfair, London. Following a reception filled with excitement, new and familiar faces, (and many beautiful outfits might we add), MC and HR Consultant, MC Danjuma ATAFO, kicked off the festivities.

“Every nominee and winner, you are all winners.”
Chairman’s message

A welcoming introduction from chairman, Kede Aihie, explored the theme of the evening: “Invest in women: Accelerate Progress.” Kede spoke of the presence of brilliant women in his life and of their invaluable and ongoing contributions to Nigeria Magazine, to help build togetherness and improve humanity.

The guest speakers

With a lineup of guest speakers and nominees from London, Nigeria, and beyond, the night was as much about acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of Nigeria Magazine thus far, as it was to propel more excitement, unity, and strength in everyone, for the future.

“I challenge each, and every one of you to think about how you can personally invest in your own lives,” Esohe Denise Odaro

The keynote speaker was Esohe Denise Odaro, managing director and head of ESG and sustainability at PAI Partners. Esohe began by thanking and congratulating Nigeria Magazine for its work: “The first thing I want to do is to thank the organizers, Nigeria Magazine, for flying the flag for our country, positively.”

Esohe highlighted how appropriate the University Women’s Club was as a venue – aside from being a charming building at the heart of Mayfair. “It was founded to promote education, empowerment, and networking amongst women. So what better venue really?” And, continued to explore the importance of role modeling, the joy the event would spark for so many, and how key it is to continue to ‘accelerate progress’ in women’s empowerment.

“There is enough space for all of us,” Elsie Akinsanya.

Elsie Akinsanya, people director for business and commercial banking, and corporate and institutional banking at Lloyds Banking Group, touched on the importance of not ‘dimming your light’ to make others feel more comfortable, and of how ‘instant gratification is not real,’ but that resilience is a key skill that is learned over time.

“Resilience is actually a muscle,” Elsie shared with the room, noting how strength and knowledge can come from getting back up when we fall – it is all part of the journey. Elsie also encouraged us to ‘find the joy’ in this journey, to make space for others, and to have fun along the way.

“It’s important to give back and help others – especially if you have a lot of knowledge,”
Abosede Alaka.

Abosede Alaka, partnership manager of the African Gifted Foundation, shared ‘tangible’ career and life tips, encouraging curiosity, inquisitiveness, and taking that leap of faith.

“We must lead by example, lead with integrity,” Dr Ashiedu Joel.

Dr Ashiedu Joel, the founder of Ashioma Consults Ltd, and elected council member of Leicester City, leaned into how women should not be afraid to carve out space in society where it doesn’t already exist. Dr Ashiedu also explored the thought of being each other’s ‘keeper,by sharing learnings and support.

Having a willingness to always pivot, progress, and upskill was another sound takeaway. “The knowledge of today will not be relevant tomorrow.”

The final speaker of the night, Dr Kikie Gardner, a multi-award-winning NHS general practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in practice spoke about the intelligence and importance of digital healthcare to reach thousands, if not millions of people at once. Dr Kikie also encouraged black women to not shy away from opportunities to take part in research, to improve the quality and efficiency of medical care for everyone.

Impactful acknowledgments

The evening was filled with acknowledgments of faith and encouragement, not just from those present, but from many who could not be there.

Amongst the Awardees, Juliana Olayinka, broadcast journalist and communications strategist, thoughtfully dedicated the business impact award to Diane Abbott, in solidarity. Diane is the first black British member of parliament and a brilliant advocate for the British black community.

Chima Anyaso, founder of Ahuoma Anyaso Education Foundation who received a social impact award, spoke of the importance of providing education at a young age so that boys and girls from all backgrounds can make their way through the world.

Enlightening send-offs

Resilience and unity were key talking points of the evening. With a beautiful send-off by world-performing, trilingual singer, ZaZa the voice, and DJ Tim, connections continued to be made, more inspiring stories were shared, and words of encouragement adorned the departures.

Nevo Burrell, image consultant, stylist, breast cancer advocate, and panelist, shared the delight of receiving an award for social impact after the event. “I am quite excited. I’m delighted to receive it, and It means so much to me. It means that the advocacy that I’ve been doing is impacting lives in a positive way, and I’m very very grateful to Nigeria Magazine for firstly nominating me, and for giving this award,

“The evening was absolutely divine. I met a lot of great people.”

Ms Terhas Hagos, founder of Extraordinary Chievers Charity Awards also shared thoughts on the evening. “I think it was nice, the organizers did a good job, and for the first time, there is no more stigma of the whole platform being just Nigerian. We had other people, like myself included, so I think it’s a good start and lesson for other Nigerian organizations to include other Africans,”

“I really enjoyed it, it was wonderful. It was not formal, it was not informal, it was just perfect and really nice.”

Terhas, who is Eritrean nominated two sisters for the awards, from Congo and Togo. On asking which speaker’s words resonated the most, Terhas said: “I think all of them were very inspiring because they are all coming from a different perspective.”

“It was a remarkable evening, filled with remarkable women, and champions of women,”
Esosa Aihie,

Esosa Aihie, Co-Founder and Editor Nigeria Magazine

“It was a great evening, and there was actually a lot of examples of actually investing in women, women encouraging women, to invest in themselves, and in their community. It was a good evening,

“There was a lot of takeaways, and I hope that the people that attended will have a lot to take away in their professional lives, their business lives, and the community.”

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