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Women of substance

Published by The Nation on Fri, 29 Aug 2014


The 5th Inspiring Women Conference has been held at the Civic Centre on Victoria Island, Lagos, report NNEKA NWANERI and OMOLARA OGUNWALE.They came from all over the world. Career women and entrepreneurs gathered at the Civic Centre on Victoria Island, Lagos, last Thursday. They came to learn from one another the distinguishing traits that made them to excel in their chosen fields.The early morning rain could not stop them.The room was filled with notable women, looking trendy and classy with alluring hair dos.Some of the women include: the first woman President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Mrs Boma Ozobia; former Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director of the Bank of Industries Ms Evelyn Oputu; Chief Executive Officer of Famfa Oil, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija and wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs Olufunsho Amosun.Mrs Amosun was represented by the wife of the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Multilateral Agencies, Mrs Olufemi Shopade, who delivered a speech from the governors wife.As Mrs Shopade, Mrs Alakija, Mrs Ozobia and Ms Oputu entered the arena, they were led to the high table and the event kicked off.They shared their experiences with others to motivate them and demystify the impression that some professions are no go areas for women.The conference was the fifth in the series of the yearly Inspring Women Conference, a vision initiated by Kemi Ajumobi and organised by Businessday.Businessday Publisher Frank Aigbogun, in a welcome address, said the event was aimed at improving the womenfolk.Society can become better with more women succeeding. Homes can be more peaceful because stronger families bring successful nations. So with dedication and hard work, yes a woman can. Aigbogun said.He urged women to believe in their abilities, use their vocations to lift others and emulate the good virtues of those who have made it to the top.Stay motivated and reach for the sky.The future is yours, so go for it, said Mrs Boma Ozobia.She nearly caused a stir at the beginning of her speech but that session later became interactive.She was decked in an ash colour suit and skirt, it almost seemed like she was there for a court session as she mounted the podium. She spoke with confidence, convincing her listeners with ease. She is a partner at Sterling Partnership, Nigeria and she is among the few allowed to practise Law in Nigeria, England and Whales.She described women as role models who should show the world that success is synonymous with what they do and how they do it.Ms Oputu, in her usual traditional attire, looked more like a South African. She told the gathering that women should play like a man, win like a woman, because power never gives them authority, so it has to be taken.She condemned the notion that women are care-givers, but cannot give orders. That creates the impression that only a few women can get to the top.Family relationships are longer lasting than any career, so there should be a balance. Believe in yourself and know that those who failed had no will. Take a chance on yourself and believe in the beauty of your dreams because if you fall and remain down, people will trample on you.Mrs Alakija, the woman with a sense of style and focus, just like the late Rosa Parks who inspired blacks, said there are still a few women in Nigeria who inspire. She mentioned the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; first female Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar; first female elected African Head of State and Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Mrs Hilary Clinton, who all double as wives and mothers but conquered all barriers and remain shining examples.The conference ended on a friendly note with questions and answers and photograph sessions, where participants interacted with speakers.]]>
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