Disruptors of the Month of March, 2024

Disruptors of the Month

Launching our “Disruptors of the Month” series, we spotlight the women who are rewriting the narrative of female leadership. Their significant strides in various domains reflect the urgency of integrating women at every level. This month, our featured disruptors are women who have broken through traditional barriers, earning notable success in sectors as diverse as finance, politics, and athletics.

Their triumphs are not merely commendable milestones but stand as compelling evidence of the power and potential that African women wield. They’re not just leaders; they’re pioneers fostering a culture of innovation, empowerment, and comprehensive progress. Join us in applauding the visionaries who exemplify excellence and are paving the way for a future where women’s contributions are fundamentally recognized and celebrated

Anta Babacar Ngom

She has emerged as a formidable presence in Senegalese politics, igniting a reawakening. Renowned for her steadfast advocacy for social and economic welfare, she stands out as the sole female candidate in the 2024 Presidential Election—the first in 12 years. This historic feat marks a significant milestone in a society where women’s political representation has traditionally been low.

Beyond her political ambitions, Ngom is a successful businesswoman, holding the position of CEO at Sedima, Senegal’s largest poultry company. Her campaign platform prioritizes economic growth and gender equality, aiming to generate five million jobs across various sectors and establish a women-focused bank to enhance financial independence.

Despite facing adversity, including her arrest during protests, Ngom remains resolute in her pursuit of a more inclusive political landscape. She views her candidacy as a catalyst for inspiring more women to engage in politics and challenge societal norms that hinder women’s progress.

Ngom’s campaign has sparked conversations about gender equality and women’s empowerment in Senegalese politics. Her perseverance and dedication exemplify her commitment to fostering a more equitable and inclusive society in Senegal.

Angela Okutoyi

A Kenyan tennis sensation who has etched her name in history, breaking records and inspiring a generation. She made history as the first Kenyan singles champion in 46 years and secured the 13th All-African Games Tennis Title.

Despite a challenging upbringing in an orphanage following her mother’s tragic death during childbirth, Okutoyi’s resilience and determination have been unwavering. She overcame hardships, including living in a cramped one-room house with her grandmother and three other children, to become Kenya’s top tennis player, serving as a beacon of hope for young African athletes. 

Okutoyi’s tennis journey began alongside her twin sister, Roselida Asumwa, despite facing resource constraints and limited access to equipment. Her talent shone through, winning the Under-14 African Championships and becoming the youngest winner of the Kenya Open singles title in 2018. 

In 2022, Okutoyi made history by reaching the third round of the Australian Open, a first for a Kenyan girl. She defeated Italian qualifier Federica Urgesi and Australian qualifier Zara Larke along the way. Additionally, she clinched the girls’ doubles title at Wimbledon with partner Rose Marie Nijkamp, marking Kenya’s inaugural Grand Slam victory. 

Beyond her on-court achievements, Okutoyi is actively involved in promoting tennis in Kenya. She coaches young players and organizes tennis clinics, showcasing her commitment to nurturing the next generation of tennis stars.

Margaret Oguntala

She has carved her name in history as a pioneer in the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), achieving the remarkable feat of being elected as the organization’s first female president in its 65-year history in 2023.

Fondly known as the “Erelu Worldwide” and esteemed as a role model for young engineers, Oguntala has been deeply committed to the NSE since her induction in 1996. She has ascended through various leadership roles, including serving as the Chairman of the Ikeja branch (2010-2011), a National Exco member (2012-2013), Vice President (2014-2016), and Deputy President (2021). 

Despite facing challenges along the way, such as a legal dispute that threatened to delay her inauguration, Oguntala’s perseverance and dedication prevailed, cementing her place as a trailblazer in the engineering field. 

Beyond her contributions to the NSE, Oguntala is also the founder of BAMSAT Nigeria Limited and holds positions on several corporate boards, further demonstrating her impact and influence in engineering and beyond.

Dr. Olufunmilayo (Funmi) Olopade

She is a renowned oncologist and researcher who has significantly influenced cancer genetics and precision oncology. As a hematology oncologist at The University of Chicago, she specializes in understanding altered genes in individual cancer patients to develop novel management strategies.

Her work has advanced early detection, treatment, and prevention of aggressive forms of breast cancer, particularly in high-risk women. Dr. Olufunmilayo’s contributions have earned her numerous honors, including a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship and membership in prestigious scientific societies.

Feyi Olopade Ayodele, her daughter, is the co-founder and CEO of CancerIQ, a company dedicated to democratizing cancer care through personalized risk assessments and tailored care plans. CancerIQ has received $14M in funding and has been recognized for its innovative approach, winning the William L. McGuire Memorial Lecture Award at the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. 

Together, Dr. Olopade and Feyi are leading figures in oncology, working to improve clinical outcomes and address disparities in cancer care. Their dedication and commitment to advancing cancer care for all patients underscore their impact and influence in the field.

Pelumi Nubi

A London-based Nigerian travel content creator, embarked on a groundbreaking journey to become the first black woman to drive from London to Lagos. Motivated by the lack of diversity in the travel industry, Nubi spent two months traversing 17 countries, immersing herself in diverse cultures and landscapes along the way.

Despite encountering challenges, including an accident, Nubi exhibited remarkable resilience and determination, pushing through to complete her expedition. 

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Nubi’s family later moved to the United Kingdom, where she faced bullying due to her accent and skin tone. However, she found solace in travel books, which sparked her curiosity about the world and ignited a passion for exploration. 

Nubi’s enthusiasm for travel was further fueled by an undergraduate program called ‘Global Leadership,’ which took her to India and shattered misconceptions about travel destinations. 

With experiences backpacking across Europe and visiting over 80 countries and 200 cities, Nubi eventually relocated to Dubai for both personal and professional growth.

That wraps up our spotlight on the inspiring ElectHER disruptors for March! Do you know a female disruptor changing the narrative in her space? Tell us here! 

Stay tuned for next month, where we’ll be introducing another exceptional group of changemakers.

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© 2024 ElectHER Development Initiative. All rights reserved.

For more info, send an email to communications@elect-her.org

© 2024 ElectHER Development Initiative. All rights reserved.

For more info, send an email to communications@elect-her.org