The Public Affairs Section of the United States Consulate General in conjunction with Access Bank Plc and Idea Builders Initiative launched the 2015 International Women’s Month on Thursday March 5, 2015 at Access Bank Head Office Plot 999c, Danmole Street Off Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

Theme: MAKE IT HAPPENWomen as Civic & Political Leaders

Speakers were:

US Consul GeneralJeffery Hawkins
Olajumoke AdenowoCEO, AD Consulting & Founder, Awesome Treasures Foundation
Adesuwa Onyenokwe – CEO, TW Magazine
Fela Durotoye – Founder, Gemstone
Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji – Founder/CEO of RISE GROUP

Theatrical Production Directed by: Ifeoma Fafunwa

During Panelist Discussion

During Panelist Discussion From Left to Right: Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji Founder and CEO Rise Networks, Fela Durotoye Founder Of GEMSTONE, Mrs Olajumoke Adenowo CEO AD Consulting and Founder of Awesome Treasures Foundation, Mrs Adesuwa Oyenokwe CEO Today’s Woman magazine, Mrs Ope Wemi-Jones Group Head Inclusive Banking Access Bank, Amaechi Okobi Group Head External Affairs/Strategic Brand Management Access Bank, Mrs Lucy Kanu Founder Idea Builders Initiative

International Women’s Day, is observed annually around the world to celebrate women, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played extraordinary roles in the history of their countries and communities.

This event was aimed at encouraging advocacy for women’s progress in every way and for challenging the status quo for women’s equality.

Jeffrey Hawkins, U.S. Consul General opened the event with remarks focusing on women’s role as civic leaders and political actors.


Jeffrey Hawkins, U.S. Consul General

He said that Nigeria will be a better nation if women are given more opportunities to participate in governance at all levels. The Public Diplomacy Officer, Rhonda Watson introduced a film about Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for the office of President of the United States.

The program also featured a panel discussion session with the following speakers: Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, Olajumoke Adenowo, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Fela Durotoye, Amaechi Okobi and Ope Wemi-Jones, Access Bank executives.

Renowned motivational speaker, Fela Durotoye gave remarks on gender inequality in the corporate environment, organizations that practice gender equality produces the best result.  He also said that as women, we must know our worth  and demand for it.

With Fela Durotoye Founder GEMSTONE

With Fela Durotoye Founder GEMSTONE

Akerele-Ogunsiji, as one of the panelists, I spoke about  older women in the society mentoring and grooming  the younger women. The younger generation of women must also submit themselves to such mentoring opportunities and respect the grace upon the older women.


Responding to a question

Mrs Adenowo lamented about the economic constraints negatively impacting women and discouraging them from taking the lead on the political scene while Mrs Adesuwa talked about Women as nation builders and agents of societal change.

Mrs Jumoke Adenowo during her speech

Mrs Jumoke Adenowo during her speech

Access Bank Plc. co-sponsored the event as part of its ‘W’ Initiative, which demonstrates the bank’s commitment to enhancing the economic and lifestyle status of women in Africa and expanding the services threshold to encapsulate what matters most to women, thus promoting financial inclusion.


With Mrs Udo Okonjo MD/CEO Fine and Country


With Ifeoma Fafunwa Theatre Producer and CEO HEARWORD


With Lucy Kanu Founder Idea Builders Initiative


With Gbemisola Osadua CEO Dynamic Impact


From Left to right: Rhonda Watson of US Consulate Lagos, Ayodeji Adewunmi Visual Artist, Lucy Kanu Idea Builders Initiative, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji Founder and CEO RISE Networks, Ope Wemi-Jones Group Head Inclusive Banking Access Bank


With Mrs Ope Wemi-Jones Group Head Inclusive Banking Access Bank


From Left to Right: Lucy Kanu Founder of Idea Builders Initiative, Mrs Ope Wemi-Jones Group Head Inclusive banking Access bank, Mrs Jumoke Adenowo CEO AD Consulting and Founder Awesome Treasures foundation, Rhonda Watson US Consulate Lagos, Herbert Wigwe Access Bank MD and CEO KOWA Presidential candidate Professor Remi Sonaiya, Jeffrey Hawkins US Consul General, Fela Durotoye Founder GEMSTONE, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji Founder and CEO RISE Networks,Bene Uche Cultural Affairs Specialist and US Consulate and Aderonke Adebanjo Smooth FM



With Presidential Candidate of KOWA Party Professor Remi Sonaiya


With other Participants and Mentees


With Rhonda Watson US Consulate Lagos and Mrs Lucy Kanu Founder of Idea Builders Initiative


Holding my Portrait


With Mrs Shade Bembatoum-Young Founder Educare Trust Fund



With a mentee



With Francesca Uriri of Leading Ladies Project and Glowreeyah Braimah (middle) Gospel Singer


With Lucy Kanu Idea Builders Initiative and Ope Wemi-Jones Group Head Inclusive Banking Access Bank



With Chaste Inegbedion


Mrs Oyenokwe Adesuwa CEO Today’s Woman Magazine giving her speech



Mrs Adeola Azeez Deputy Country Representative Deutshe Bank and Immediate Past Chairperson WIMBIZ(Women in Management, Business and Public Service giving her contribution.


A participant asking a question


YES I CAN!!! – A call to action by Mrs Udo Okonjo