It’s a new season!

Hello People,

 

Feels good to be back, lots of great things happening in my life and I  think it is only right that I mark this season by returning to blogging. Looking forward to sharing more in the near future! I am calling this season of my life “BOLDNESS.” I am stepping out in faith in every area of my life and it is a refreshing place to be in.

“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.’ Ephesians 3:12

http://youthhubafrica.org/2012/05/20/the-euphoria-of-addis-ababa/

The World Economic Forum on Africa, Addis Ababa May 9th-11th, 2012, President of Nigeria and I

20120521-153211.jpg

Today is an important day in Abuja, as the National Gender Policy Dialogue in Nigeria is taking place at the Sheraton Hotel. It’s nice to see a gender imbalance in the favor of women for once. The men are definitely outnumbered! Truth is, that we need more Champions of Change in Men. Men who will create the policies to ensure gender equality and empowerment of women. The event has been very well organized by The World Bank and DFID with several dignitaries present and dropping compelling statements and statistics moving the audience to take action. The Honorable Ministers of Women Affairs, and Finance represented the Federal Ececutive Council and informed us that the FEC is currently 32%, the highest percentage or women under any President. His Excellency Goodluck Ebele Jonathon has doubled the percentage of women in cabinet in comparison to the previous regime, and that’s commendable but we aren’t there yet. Both ministers as well as the Senate Committee Chair in Women Affairs, Sen. Helen Esuene shared captivating remarks focused on the necessity of empowering women in Nigeria. “A country will fall behind if it doesn’t see it’s girls and women as a source of growth,” said with conviction by Dr. Ngozio Okonjo-Iweala ( Nigeria’s Minister of a Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy). She furthere elaborated that “if empowering women is smart economics, it’s even smarter economics to empower girls.” I totally agree with the Honorable Minister, empowering females should begin when they are young, reorientation is more successful when one is still a child.

I was saddened by several sobering statistics shared, such as “15% of women in Nigeria have bank accounts’ and only 4% of Nigerian girls in the north go to school.” In this day and age that is absurd! The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi asserted that the CBN is working to ensure that more women climb the ranks of promotion and become directors, that’s within one government agency, we need several more to follow suit.

The reality is, in a country where 80.2 million girls and women constitute a major portion of the population it is high time that we make gender policy a priority. I have many ideas about how one can get involved on a day to day basis. My first suggestion is mentoring. “It is only by helping other women that we can be better women.”

Check out Ventures Africa a recently launched website/magazine platform deemed to be the “Forbes of Africa” I am a contributing writer on renewable energy/business in Africa. Stay informed and tuned to updates and new articles!

Visit Ventures Africa and my first post: Powering Up Clean Energy

Follow me on Twitter at: @MsCEO101

Follow Ventures Africa at: @VenturesAfrica

Our Global Village

A business proposal just came across my desk forcing me to think about the worth of my network. As I contemplated , Twitter stuck out to me. Yes Twitter! One of the premiere social media platforms. To me, Twitter emphasizes the reality that we live in a global village. “the globe has been contracted into a village by electric technology and the instantaneous movement of information from every quarter to every point at the same time. In bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion, electric speed heightens human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree.” – Wikipedia

Movements are being catalyzed on Twitter. Connections are being built. Business is being transacted. It is to your advantage to make sure you are not left behind. During the Occupy Nigeria movement not too long ago in conjunction with the fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria, I was able to get real time info on the happenings all across Nigeria. If I wanted a picture I got it. If I wanted to speak with someone who was at the scene, twitter made it easy.

Even if you want to quietly enjoy the never-ending discourse on twitter without making noise, there’s room for you. A simple search of your area of interests will launch you into a midst of commentators, advocates, opponents and much more. If you don’t want people to know who you are, create an alias.

I can give you my personal testimony about valuable connections (renewable energy, youth development, fashion), that I have made on Twitter but I’ll save that for another time. For now, I urge you to get involved. Do it – take the first step and create an account!

Catch me on Twitter: @MsCEO101

Hiatus, But it’s a GOOD Thing!

It’s been a while since I last updated you all but not to worry, this much needed hiatus has been a good thing! I’ve still been writing BUT focusing my energy on other things that I must complete. Won’t say too much for now but hopefully soon I will have some great news to share :-)

With that being said, I’ll brief you all on a few things that will soon make its way to this page as blog posts. The holidays were a great time and I was able to surprise my family! In surprise, I mean A BIG BIG one! I hopped on a plane from Abuja, landed in Amsterdam, explored the much talked about city and then continued on my journey to America. I landed at Dulles National Airport in DC/VA hopped in a cab and headed to Mommy’s house. To my luck, the door was unlocked so I walked right in and gave her the biggest surprise ever. Let’s just say, I’m happy she didn’t pass out (phew!) No one knew of my plans to visit so I got them REAL GOOD.

The USA gave me 7 days of bliss – RELAXATION! The kind of rest I didn’t know I needed until I got there. Thank God for that!

Abuja is keeping me very busy partly why I am on this Hiatus but I cant stay away too long. I’ll be back soon with several updates for you. In the meantime continue to press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling.

Title taken from Wyclef Jean’s song “Gone Till November…”

November is over and as a way to commemorate all the happenings and accomplishments in November, I used the hashtag #InNovember on Twitter and listed all that November brought my way! #HelloDecember! I thank God for keeping me and protecting me this last month and pray that his will be done in #December. He deserves ALL the Glory!

Twitter Timeline:

In #November I had the opportunity to attend the #7Billion Actions Youth Forum organized by #UNFPA and #EVA  in #Abuja

In #November we celebrated @Nkirukah‘s birthday! ( a friend of mine in Abuja and fellow energy industry colleague)

In #November, I participated in a photoshoot for the new Trendy Culture Catalog coming to #Abuja. p.s. the Fashion show is tonight!

 In #November I participated in the Biggest Fashion Show to hit #Abuja on 11.11.11 #Runway…it was a BIG success!

In #November I celebrated another anniversary :-)

In #November, 1st Edition of @Healthboxmagazine came out & we hosted a coming out get together. Looking forward to the future as Deputy Editor! Check out Healthbox Magazine online!

In #November I attended a Performance Manager’s meeting which gathered all the generating and distribution power companies in #Nigeria

In #November I made a decision 2 help lead a self-defense movement 2 protect ourselves frm certain situatons in #Nigeria..details soon

In #November I did a photoshoot for TruStar Magazine’s next edition #Abuja

In #November I received great news that I was selected as  a Young @GlobalShapers by the World Economic Forum! #Abuja

In #November I had a business meeting that by God’s grace will reap bug benefits and create lasting impact in #Nigeria

#November was a busy month, fruitful & productive. As we move on 2 the last month of the year, I pray that God’s will be done. #HelloDecember
I’d love to hear about your November, follow me on twitter @MsCEO101!

I received some great news today… I have just been selected as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum. I was nominated by someone who is globally known and has a CV full of accolades and accomplishments so this came as a complete surprise. I am humbled that this person recommended me and I’m grateful that the World Economic Forum selected me. I am excited to collaborate with other global shapers, organizations, the government and anyone who has a passion for impacting our nation. You never know who is watching you from close and from a far so always do your best at anything you commit to…

I will be working to build the Abuja hub so if you know any young extraordinary individuals with great potential for future leadership roles in society, let me know!

What Shapers do?

Shapers are organized in a network of local hubs based in each major city around the world. They undertake events and activities that generate a positive impact within their local community. The community is vitalized by the manifold interactions generated inside each hub, between hubs and on a global level. Complementing face-to-face meetings, particular emphasis will be placed on the virtual dimension – enabling shapers to collaborate and learn from each other through the community platform. Global Shapers will have an impact by catalysing and enhancing, individually and collectively, fresh ideas and entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Shapers will also get involved in crossmentoring with other World Economic Forum communities.

Learn more here:

http://www.weforum.org/community/global-shapers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shaAiy2S3fk

Did you know that in sub-Saharan Africa over 580 million people live without electricity?!

Before coming to Nigeria, the closest experience I had to living without electricity was a blackout, and that occurred no more than five times in my 25 years of living. In the United States, being without electricity is an anomaly and not the norm. Sadly this doesn’t hold true for the citizens of Nigeria. I now have to think of electricity in a way I never have before. I’ve always taken it for granted until NOW. I am now forced to take advantage of every minute of electricity that I have – ensuring that my blackberry, laptop and all gadgets are fully charged in case “NEPA takes light.”  I leave the house with my laptop, laptop charger, wall charger and a car charger just so I can have all bases covered.

The situation is downright pitiful! How can Nigeria, a country abundant with natural and human resources develop without stable and reliable electricity?? The truth is, it CAN’T and that’s why we need to do everything in our power to ensure the electrical reform is successful. The situation is not unique to Nigeria; several emerging countries suffer from this issue. Abundant, reliable, affordable electricity is the key to greater opportunity, prosperity, health and environmental quality in less developed countries

I’ve thought long and hard about the ramifications for a country that does not have stable power and I’m certain I haven’t exposed up to 1% of the implications:

  • Hospital power can go out in middle of surgery, and refrigerators can shut down for hours in 100-degree heat, causing vaccines and medicines to spoil, often time without people realizing the vaccines are now worthless
  • Children and women must spend hours each day in the drudgery of collecting firewood or squatting in mud laced with animal feces and urine, to collect, dry and store manure for cooking, heat and light
  • The cost of doing business multiplies as companies are forced to use generators that run on diesel in order to operate. Some companies cannot make a profit when you factor that in, resulting in shutdown
  • Children are not able to study at night or in the rural areas, attend night classes because once the sun sets that it is for light.
  • Deforestation occurs as people are forced to cut down trees in remote communities for cooking which erodes the soil and causes encroachment of the desert. This adds to the issue of climate change
  • No electricity means water never comes from a tap, it is carried in cans, on heads or shoulders, maybe for miles and brought from lakes or rivers that are contaminated with dangerous bacteria
  • Diseases are prevalent because people are exposed to kerosene fumes and pollution that leads to a multitude of things from pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses, asthma, cancer , malaria, typhus and other serial killers that ravage their countries

And the list goes on and on….. The ramifications of unreliable and unstable electricity are colossal. Nigeria should not be in this predicament. To contribute to the advancement of our economy, I have focused my energy on the execution of renewable energy in emerging countries, primarily Nigeria where it can be a panacea to the unreliability and instability of electricity. Our remote communities need to be empowered, and I am committed to doing that.

If you follow me on twitter, you’ve probably seen me use the hash tag #emPOWERNigeria,  please join the movement and spread the word. For more information about the electricity reform in  Nigeria, check out these sites:

Nigerian Power Task Force

Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission

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Moving to Nigeria was all about my passion for renewable energy, expanding my resume for my future MBA, youth development capitalizing some opportunities in the emerging market, getting international experience and everything entrepreneurial, But…….. I guess God had additional  plans for me on top of what I dreamt for myself.

I’ve been modeling quite a bit since I moved here and I owe it to my supportive bf who linked me with an Agency here – Absolute Models, I have to say they are the BEST in Abuja. Since June, there’s been opportunity after opportunity! I’ve literally built a separate CV of modeling/entertainment gigs in Nigeria and it’s still growing. Thought I’d leave modeling behind when I left NYC and boarded the plane to Nigeria 5 months ago…

The hardest part of it all is juggling the demands of my busy schedule working in the energy industry, studying for my GMAT, building my social enterprise, working on youth development initiatives and then there’s modeling…

The key is in being selective. I make time for what I feel is worth it and what won’t negatively impact any of my priorities.Priorities come first!

A few of my recent gigs in Nigeria:

The TAI Show -  This new show coming to Nigeria is focused on food with an educational and informative twist. My role is the ‘Lady on the Street’ engaging with the average Nigerian all around the town. Being a live reporter takes some skill..phew! One has to be creative in crafting questions and interacting with all types of people

Runway Fashion Show – The biggest fashion show in Abuja  was on 11.11.1. I modeled for four designers and wore six outfits. Great experience!

Keto Couture – I am one of the faces for this label. The designer Mrs. Kenny Okorie is one of the most skilled fashion designers here, you’ve got to see her work!

Aurum Valley – I shot a commercial for this company similar to GroupOn (An American based group buying discount company). The owner is a good friend of mine. Check out the site for the latest deals in Abuja!#

TruStar Magazine Photoshoot- You can find me in the next issue of this Nigerian based magazine rockin some of Keto Couture’s designs!

Before 2011 comes to an end I have 2 more fashion shows and a number of photo shoots.  Time management is the key so we’ll see what I can make room for.

Stay tuned for future updates!

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