They are enterprise amazons, thought leaders in their different endeavours, public and private organisations czars. People like them usually don’t come into the world; they come, perhaps once in a century or in a millennium. So having them at a time like this is not only a blessing to their countries, but to the entire human race.
Group Chairman, Emerging Africa Group and Nigeria’s first female Minister of Industry, Chief Dr. Mrs. Nike Akande, CON, OON; Academic Scholar, Oxford University and former Treasurer of the World Bank, Ms. Arunma Oteh OON; Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika; Deputy Head of the Casblanca Finance City, Ms. Lamia Merzouki were the top-notch Africans and global female corporate executives that were guest speakers to celebrate and speak at the 55th birthday anniversary of the Group Chief Executive Officer, Emerging Africa Capital Group, Toyin Sanni.
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The event that was tagged “Women Who Lead” was put together by the Emerging Africa Capital Group, a leading Investment Banking franchise had over 4,000 people who registered to participate from 24 different countries of the world and was held on 10th September, 2020 to educate women leaders, CEOs, professionals and entrepreneurs on how to successfully maneuver their careers in a volatile and male dominated world.
Toyin is a lawyer, chartered secretary, stockbroker and author with over 30 years’ experience in senior management positions in investor services, law and finance.
Prior to her appointment as the Group Chief Executive Officer of United Capital, she was the CEO, United Capital Trustees that was formerly known as United Bank for Africa Trustees Limited, a United Capital subsidiary and market leader in the Trustees business.
She holds a Masters LLM from Lagos University with other professional qualifications, notably from Harvard and Wharton.
In one of the many encomiums that the celebrant received, Chief Dr. Mrs. Nike Akande appreciated the celebrant for organizing her birthday in such a brilliant way that people will celebrate her and learn at the same time.
The two-time former minister described Toyin as one of the leading figure in the Nigeria financial industry, adding that she’s an astute leader per excellent that is passionate about female empowerment and gender equality.
She said that she’s pleased to be associated with the celebrant as she’s immensely proud of her and her achievements.
Dr. Akande further stressed that having more women in any society is important to build a virile nation, as they change perspective on what they can do and the qualities that are necessary to have in leadership.
“Women brake barriers, they are not about business as usual kind of activities and demonstrate to everyone what they can do and achieve. Female leadership matters”, she stated.
She further buttressed her point with the study that shown that organisations with greater gender diversity at senior management produces better results.
“To lead means to be in charge, make things happen. A leader is a person who gathers and leads a group of organisation and identify the way to followers”, she explained.
Speaking on another vein, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika identified the roles her dad played in her life while growing up to become what the person she is today.
In her words, Ibukun said that her dad was very proud of her girls and somehow forgot to tell them that there are things they could not do as girls.
“So we got a kind of encouragement and support that allow us to express ourselves and going to school also enforced and reaffirmed to express ourselves as women in every form”, Ibukun said.
She called on participants at the virtual program to always be conscious about the kind of life they are living as it will impact their future in one way or the other.
“Every person you meet along your journey of life is waiting for you in the future as they will either speak for you or against you, depending on the encounter you have with them in the past”, she urged.
Former Vice President and Treasurer, World Bank, Treasury, Arunma Oteh at the conference congratulated the celebrant and thanked her for celebrating her birthday in such a unique way that many people will learn from.
Arunma asked the participants at the event to define what success means to them personally, called them to remember that their values are the compass for journey of life, take complete responsibility for their life, allow excellence to be their mantra, invest in themselves, and urged them to see courage and risk taking as keys they must pay attention to life.
She further urged them to build networks and ensure strong relationships with family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues; always maintain a positive attitude; fail forward and generously use their talents to leave a legacy that will outlast them.
The former Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission Director General urged participants to follow their dreams and not do things because their friends are doing those things.
As the world is changing before our eyes, Deputy Head of the Casblanca Finance City, Ms. Lamia Merzouki said that there is a need for every woman to transform themselves and take-up responsibilities to be the best.
“This is what I’ve been doing continuously in my professional life and what has aid me to navigate in an environment that is largely dominated by men”, Merzouki said.
She cited the example of her country that is ranked 123rd in the global gender gap index, saying that the country still has a long way to go to close the gender gap.
Appreciating all the guest speakers and others who took their time to participate in the program, the celebrant thanked Almighty God who gave her the grace to be alive and also appreciated everyone present at the birthday celebration to celebrate with her and learn one or two things.
Toyin thanked the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Noimot Salako-Oyedele; the wife of the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Dr. Mrs. Awele Vivien Elumelu, wife of the Pastor in Charge of the Region 19 of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Helen Oyitso who were at the event to celebrate with her.
The celebrant identified critical factors that revolve around her life, saying that God has been the key driver of her life.
Toyin shared a testimony of how God healed her from the attack of Covid-19 that was a major challenge to her health and family.
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“When I recovered from the attack and realized that the birthday was coming, I knew that the season of life must be maximised and celebrated,
If God could spare my life and I did not die of Covid-19, my life has to count for something. And I thank God, for my life and wonderful women and men God has positioned in my life”, she added.
She revealed that the next phase of her life is to build people and to help them discover their paths in life.
New York Times’ Political Reporter, Dionney Searcey moderated the session with Forbes’ Africa Head Digital Media, Partnerships and Correspondent for West Africa, Peace Hyde compered the entire celebration.
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