2017 Women in Leadership Series

2017 Women in Leadership Series

Women are key in society and empirical studies have confirmed that women make a significant impact in shaping society. In most homes, the woman carries responsibility as mother, wife, sister, aunt and so on. In our role as leaders whether in the home, in the corporate world, in politics etc. we nurture generations and create an enabling environment for our future leaders to actualize their potential.

The Handmaidens, a fellowship of Christian women, believes in enlightening women and empowering them sufficiently to enable them to have the desired impact on our society that they are uniquely positioned to have. We believe that given the right opportunity, every woman would see the bigger picture and understand how pivotal they are to the future of our society and our nation. 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 a series of talks focusing on women leading change in our society.

The maiden edition of the WiLS discussion forum of high profile panel was led by the Chief Convener of WiLS, Pastor 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 panelists were Pastor Siju Iluyomade, the convener of Arise Women’s Conference; Mrs. Nimi Akinkugbe, CEO of Bestman Games; Mrs. Uche Pedro, founder of BellaNaija; Mrs. Funmi Ogunlesi, Executive Director, Citibank Nigeria; Mrs. Abolaji Osime, CEO & Founder of Global International College; Dr. Pamela Ajayi, Managing Director, Pathcare Laboratories; and Toju Foyeh, a celebrity designer. While the conference was anchored by delectable award-winning actress, Mrs. Joke Silva and Ms. Osayi Alile moderated the panel session. 

In her inspiring welcome address, Pastor Siju Iluyomade said for so many years, women have to take permission from men in order to thrive; and of a necessity, it is time for women to come of their own because women are strong, and when ethical women are given the chance, they would lead and do what is right. She posits that 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 records the story of Jabez who was described as being ‘honorable’ than his brethren. She said Jabez wanted his coast enlarged in a challenging time like this. However, he didn’t think to steal, but he was true to himself and petitioned his maker saying “Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed.” She defined honour as having a good reputation, a good name, respect, esteem, being honest; having principles, morals, decency, being righteous, having truthfulness, integrity, and dignity. She noted that Nigeria is poor because Nigerians lack honour, self-respect and the care for one another. It is women that can keep the value system, she added. She said why some women don’t prosper is because they stand before mean wo/men. She encouraged the women to mentor one another, love one another, and assist each other to prosper. If a woman is qualified, take her to the place of influence and make her thrive, she added.

She said there are many narratives of women who got to the peak of their career, but because they refused to embrace honour, they are brought down in disrepute. She said Jabez realised that there was a cost to get his coast enlarged, and true success only follows God’s strategic plan. God wants His children to prosper, but a Christian should not be moved with inordinate ambition to prosper at all cost. Equity delights in equity; one who seeks equity must do equity. Hence, for you to petition God, you must be in the right place. Equity aids only the vigilant. Proverbs 24:33-34 says Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.” She admonished the women not to be overly ambitious and pull others down in their bid to get to the top, because the law says he that comes to equity must come with clean hands, and equity doesn’t defraud.

Finally, it was a rewarding experience at HWILS 2017 as the over 1,200 women in attendance learnt one or two lessons from the personal experiences of the keynote speaker and the panelists. One truth that they all projected was that women are created to innovate, solve issues and lead in challenging times.

The 2018 edition of WiLS is themed "Leading Women BREAKING BARRIERS"  and will hold on Friday June 22nd 2018.