TOYOSI AKERELE-OGUNSIJI, African, Humanist of Nigerian Origin

I will be kind to people, more than once a day, every moment of the rest of my life

Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, named by Forbes as one of the 20 most Powerful Young Women in Africa is a Social Entrepreneur whose work is at the Intersection of Entrepreneurship, Youth Education/Development and Public Leadership. She is the Founder / CEO of RISE NETWORKS, Nigeria’s leading Social Enterprise whose mandate focuses on using Tech Innovation to create advocacy, skills empowerment and learning opportunities for the inclusive growth of Youth with the core objective of preparing them for effective Value Based Leadership at all levels in the Public, Private and Social Sectors. Their flagship project, is Nigeria’s most sought after mobile learning portal with access to curriculum-based education content with standardized assessments and exam review questions in digital format distributed via web and mobile to underserved high School Students and Teachers. Rise Networks’ annual Youth Debate Championships [formerly known as Rise National Youth Forum] are arguably the largest gatherings of young people for Youth Engagement Programs at different locations across Nigeria.

Toyosi, one of the most promising emerging Leaders of Africa’s new generation is an Edward Mason Fellow and Mid-Career Master in Public Administration Graduate of Harvard University John F Kennedy School of Government where she also served as Vice President for International Student Affairs and Chair of the International Student Affairs Committee. Her 2nd Book, ‘WE HAVE TO BELONG – Why the Poor Majority of my Rich Country cannot wait anymore’ was also launched at Harvard University in 2017.

She studied Strategic Management at Executive Level at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, obtained a Certificate in Youth Inclusive Financial Services from University of New Hampshire, Durham, USA, holds a Certificate in Media Enterprise from the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University and an Executive Masters’ Certificate in Project Management from The Project Management College, UK. She has also studied Digital Marketing Strategy at the UK Institute of Digital Marketing and she received a 2nd Class Upper Bachelors’ degree in Civil Law from the University of Jos.

She is a mindful leader who is celebrated for Leadership on the Continent in the service of a larger cause, a worthy alumnus of the United States Government’s Prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program and she was described by the First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Michelle Obama as one of her personal inspirations.

Toyosi spent most of her growing years shaping Nigerian Communities through her Youth, she is a devoted Mentor to hundreds of Young People in Business, Politics, Non-Profit and Tertiary Institutions across Africa.

Her values and ideals are evident in the ground-breaking successes of many of the beneficiaries of her efforts and are attributable to her unflinching commitment to the value re-orientation, financial empowerment and Job Creation for the successor Generation of Africa.

She is a respected advisor, thought leader, content expert and commentator on issues of Social Entrepreneurship, Education Advancement and Public-Sector Leadership. She is reflective and believes in strengthening others through shared vision, insights and perspectives. She has delivered Keynote and Panel presentations as well as led Expert focus group discussions on numerous High-Level Events around the World such as E-Learning Africa, Oxford Africa Business Conference, The Nigerian Economic Summit, Harvard Business School Africa Business Conference, Harvard Africa Development Conference, Harvard School of Public Health Women Leadership Conference, North Eastern University Emerging Markets Summit, Women in Management, Business and Public Service {WIMBIZ}, Youth Africamp organized annually by Open Society Institute of East Africa, Women of West African Entrepreneurship, The Africa Wide Consultation on the UN Post 2015 Development Agenda and Expert Group Meeting, the UN Media Workshop on the Africa Governance Report amongst many others.

Her media commentary, features and interviews include appearances on Channels Television, Sahara Reporters, The Guardian, BET, Nigerian Television Authority, Africa Independent Television and South Africa Broadcasting Corporation.

In 2007, she was selected as one of 101 Young African Leaders by the African Business Forum, she is a recipient of numerous awards including Recognition by Crans Montana Forum in Europe as a New Leader of Tomorrow, This Day Awards for Nigeria’s Women of Distinction, Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 of Success Digest Entrepreneurial Awards, The 2011 Excellence Awards of the School of Media and Communication, Pan African University, The 2008 Future Africa Awards Best Use of Advocacy Category and the Nigerian Youth Leadership Awards jointly organized by Leap Africa, International Youth Foundation and NOKIA.

She was also one of the honorees of the Top 100 Young Leaders’ Recognition at the Nigeria’s Centenary Celebrations by the Federal Government. She is an Ambassador of 234 GIVE, a Social Initiative that encourages Nigerians to donate to the adopted Charities and improve livelihoods for the less privileged. In May of 2010, Toyosi was selected for the Nigeria Leadership Initiative's Future Leaders Fellowship. NLI is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Toyosi is a Board Member of a number of Organizations including The Right to Know Initiative, a Nonprofit Advocacy Organization on Human Rights and Open Government and The Foundation for the Support of Victims of Terrorism.

In 2015, she was a Jury Member of the NESCAFE Get Started Africa Entrepreneurship Challenge a Mentor of the African Entrepreneurship Awards of the Bank of Africa’s Africa and in 2018, she was confirmed a Judge of the Young Women Transform Prize, a global economic empowerment competition put together by USAID, Volvo Group and Standard Chartered Bank. In 2018, she was a Judge on the Young Women Transform Prize organized by USADI, Volvo and Standard Chartered to provide sustained long-term Economic Empowerment for young female entrepreneurs across the World.

In December 2014, she was named on the 2015 Honours List of Genevieve Magazine’s Top 21 most Outstanding Nigerian Women and in 2016 as one of Nigeria’s youngest achievers under 35.

She is a humanist by choice in the scramble for modern Africa, a long-time designer collector of all genres of music, she enjoys travelling, writing, teaching and dancing. Her favorite quote which has formed her mantra for Years is one of the classics of the great poet, Maya Angelou – “I am a WOMAN, Nothing HUMAN can be alien to me”.

Toyosi is also the Founding Chief Executive of one of the most sought-after Printing Ventures in West Africa,, a fully equipped printing company that uses cutting edge innovation and machinery to deliver design and print services to small and medium sized businesses.

She is married to Korede Ogunsiji, a Data Scientist and IT Professional and they are blessed with a Daughter and a Son.