The Handmaidens Women in Leadership Forum is a platform for bringing all women together irrespective of their Race, Tribe or Religion to enlighten and empower them sufficiently to enable them to have the desired impact on our society that they are uniquely crafted to have.
Today, we see relatively fewer women in top roles for various reasons including: lack of opportunity, fear of risks involved, the sacrifices and choices they have to make and the perception that they must compromise to get to the top. We also see many women with immense potential who are not achieving their God-given destinies.
Our objective is to challenge more women to take on positions of responsibility in line with scriptural principles and ensure we impact our homes, businesses and society positively in growing our nation.
In line with the objectives above, the Handmaidens have a number of initiatives including the 2019 Women in Leadership Series (WiLS) - a series of talks focusing on women BUILDING LEGACIES in society.
Dr (Mrs) Siju Iluyomade
MD/CEO Handmaidens WiLS
Siju Iluyomade is a lawyer by profession with over 30 years post call experience. She has been in legal practice with her husband, Idowu Iluyomade since 1987 and is a founding partner in the law firm Iluyomade & Co.
Her formative years were spent at Queens College Lagos, an all-rites boarding school and there she realized early that women enjoy each other’s company and draw strength from each other. This informed her decision to start the Handmaidens, 21 years ago as a vehicle to empower women to fulfill their destinies in Christ. It was birthed as a Faith and Life clinic - a place where women could share their problems, pains, joys, successes, failures and challenges; a place where women could weep and pray and come to the saving knowledge of our Lot and Savior, Jesus Christ.
She is the MD/CEO of Handmaidens Women in Leadership Series (WiLS) which holds once in a year in the month of May or June and is targeted at the corporate woman. Also, she is the convener of “Behind Closed Doors”, targeted at addressing root issues and bringing out the total woman in every woman.
She is also an incurable romantic and published author with a collection of poems titled “Expressions of Love” and other published works in Christian daily living.
The maiden edition of the WiLS discussion forum of high profile panelists was led by the Chief Convener of WiLS, Dr (Mrs) Siju Iluyomade who, along with the special guest of honour, the former Minister of Communications, Mrs Mobola Johnson held very frank and intimate discussions around matters that are pertinent not just to the Nigerian woman but to society at large. The program was a resounding success with over 500 participants from all walks of life in attendance including professional women, business owners, home makers and women in government. Participants came from as far as Abuja to attend this half day event which was over-subscribed.
Given the very high popularity of the session in 2016, we held our 2017 session themed, “Leading Women: in challenging times”. The Keynote speaker was Mrs. Olusola Momoh, the Vice Chairman of Channels Media Group. She along with a panel of leading women in industry, professional practice, business and other diverse fields spent some time sharing their thoughts on important subjects for all women.
HIGHLIGHTS OF WILS 2017: LEADING WOMEN IN CHALLENGING TIMES
- DR (MRS) SIJU ILUYOMADE
It happened, and it was awesome, the Handmaidens Women in Leadership Series, 2017, themed 'Leading Women In Challenging Times'. With over 1,400 women in attendance, the venue was packed to capacity, the atmosphere electrifying, and the women expectant.
As women gathered at The Eko Hotel and Suites, hundreds of other women also gathered concurrently at the the Incubator, City of David Road, Oniru Estate, for a Skills acquisition programme led by a joint partnership of Handmaidens and Arise. Two, of the many female groups led by Dr (Mrs) Siju Iluyomade, that seek to empower women from every walk of life, and every social strata.
Our own Dr (Mrs) Siju, the visioner and host of this august gathering of women, and the formidable panel of female captains of industry, started the series with an impactful welcome address, that set the tone for the entire day.
Being an anointed woman of faith she took the women to Scripture 1 Chronicles 4:9 Jabez was more honourable than his brethren It was because he was a man of honour, Dr (Mrs) Siju said, that he prayed to God that He enlarge his coast. Jabez knew he needed to petition only the Almighty God, to get the best out of life. To be honourable means to have self-respect, to be truthful, honest, kind, and a person of integrity. She charged the women to aspire for greatness. Our identity as Christians does not require less of us. It is us, the women, who are the custodians of the value system of our nation. Nigeria is where it is today because our core value system has been eroded.
The keynote speaker, Mrs Olusola Momoh did a profound exposition on a woman's identity, and role as outlined in Genesis 2 and 3. God knew Adam would fall, so he made the woman because he would later need her cooperation, with his grace to bring about mercy, which now prevails over judgment she said. The woman was made to solve a problem. She was predestined as a solution giver. God gave the commandment not to eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden to Adam, an instruction he failed to pass to Eve. Having equipped the women with accurate information of who they are and what their role is according to the scriptures, Mrs Olusola shared some very practical tips on how to overcome challenging times as women- Identify the problem, if you do not you will fall short in finding a solution to remedy it. Make the right diagnosis, which will lead to the right solution. Invest in yourself, self-education, self-improvement. Join networks and like-minded groups who are very good at what you aspire to. If you do not measure up, step up. Do not dialog with the devil. Articulate your findings. Learn to let go of what you don't need, or anything that has expired. An idea is just an idea until it is implemented. Remain focused, keep your eye on the goal, shut out elements that derail you, prioritise your work. Be optimistic, thankful, fair. Acknowledge your team, confront your fears, and learn all you can from others.
Highlights from the contributions of the other exceptional women on the panel, which included, Funmi Ogunlesi, Pamela Ajayi, Bolaji Osime, Toju Foyeh, Foluso Gbadamosi, Nimi Akinkugbe, and Uche Pedro were:
Funmi Ogunlesi, "To thrive during challenging times takes prayer, humility, articulation, and total dependence on God. Putting God first even in the big corporate world showing that we are not ashamed. Some circumstances will require much patience to deal with, afterward the glory comes." "Challenging times challenge our sense of humility."
Bolaji Osime, "Parents must be responsible for children's discipline. One of the challenges women face is raising problematic children. Train your children in the way they should go so that when they grow up they will not depart from it." "If you rely on man you will be totally disappointed."
Nimi Akinkugbe, "When you're prepared, you are able to seize opportunities. Take charge of your financial future. Don't spend above your earnings. Cut down unnecessary expenses. Save as much as you can." "One health issue can wipe out a lifetime of savings, so its important to take out Health Insurance."
Uche Pedro, "Have a purpose and be focused. Work hard and learn how to use technology to advance your business. Take advantage of the free access you have to social media to market your products." "You have to know your purpose in life."
Toju Foyeh, "To be successful you need prayers and the guidance of a mentor." "Education is key."
Veteran actor, Director, and business woman, Joke Silva's witty repertoire and professionalism as anchor, provided the necessary gravitas to the day, whilst keeping it fun, and light-hearted at the same time.
Osayi Alile as moderator made the transition between panelists seamless, and kept the conversations balanced.
All in all it was a beautiful, impactful outing, as testified by all who attended and the many participants online.
In the closing remarks of the life-changing Handmaidens Women in Leadership Series 2017, Dr (Mrs) Siju rounded up by giving the attendees some deep nuggets of wisdom.
In order to have a peaceful home, wives must train their husbands and their children through their own conduct.
A woman must know herself, rather than let the circumstances of her marriage define her.
She encouraged the women that, as mandated by Scripture, they should submit completely to their husbands. This, she said is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength.
It is important that, as "the hand that rocks the cradle" we should raise better sons who would end the menace of female battery and abuse, and rather nurture and cherish their wives. Note that you only get out of life what you put into it. God answers as he hears our petition.
On this note, Dr (Mrs) Siju prayed for the women, and to the glory of God the Series ended for the year.