If there was ever a businesswoman known far and wide for her power moves, it is Bozoma Saint John. Everything about the 41-year-old Ghanaian, from her style to her visible charisma to her circle of peers, exudes badass. She will tell you herself; it’s written right there in her Instagram handle, “Badassboz.” The playful descriptor isn’t only one she assigned herself; it is one she has earned. The business behemoth currently sits in the upper corporate ranks at Uber, serving as their Chief Brand Officer. Before she joined the rideshare company in 2017, she spent nearly four years as the head of Global Consumer Marketing at Apple Music and iTunes leading huge ad campaigns such as the viral commercial including Mary J. Blige, Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson.
According to Eniola Mafe, development is the central factor of business. The London native with Nigerian roots spent three years as the Program Manager at the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative Foundation in Washington, D.C., before moving into her current role as Partnerships & Business Development Manager for the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta, which is based in Abuja, Nigeria. In this capacity, Mafe spearheads the program’s advocacy and outreach activities, helping the foundation find new ways to invest in socioeconomic development programs in the Niger Delta region.
Media and technology entrepreneur, Isis Nyong’o Madison, has myriad accolades attached to her name. The Kenyan-American, born to an American pediatrician mother and a Kenyan pathologist father, is one of the Top 40 Women Under 40 in Kenya, Forbes Top 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa, IT News Africa’s Top 10 Women in ICT, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
Communities of color around the world are currently experiencing a natural hair reawakening. Michelle Ntalami sits at the center of the movement on her home turf. The 33-year-old Nairobi-born entrepreneur is the founder and CEO of Marini Naturals, Africa’s first quality full-range hair care line for natural and afro-textured hair.
If you are looking for someone to dismantle the idea that women can’t get their hands dirty, look no further than entrepreneur and industrialist Tebogo Anna Mashego. The 34-year-old South African native who was born in Rustenburg is the founder and CEO of Ditsogo Projects Proprietary Limited. In a leap of faith in 2012, Mashego left a cushy corporate job to create her own private business in steel and metal manufacturing. Ditsogo, located right in her hometown, specializes in drawings, steel engineering, welding and exports products to Kenya, Zambia and Malawi.
As everyone knows by now, the social media network Facebook is a powerful force that connects people across continents. Ebele Okobi has been serving as their Public Policy Director since 2014. The 42-year-old lawyer has, in the past, been dubbed “the secretary of state of Facebook.” In her position, she leads a team of brilliant Africans passionate about co-creating opportunity across the continent, working with government and other policy influencers to drive internet connectivity and using their platform to amplify our stories.
Dr. Vera Songwe’s latest level-up is something to celebrate. As of 2017, the native Cameroonian was formally appointed Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Africa by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. The accomplished economist made history with her new role, becoming the first female head of UNECA and beating out more than 70 candidates. Songwe’s new duties will include advising African governments on their development projects, and according to Radio France Internationale, she will prioritize innovative financing, agriculture, energy and economic governance.
Sara Menker is not afraid to follow her instincts as well as her heart. According to Menker, we could be less than a decade away from a global food crisis, and Africa can help meet the world's growing demand for food. Her view on this issue informs her work as the founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, a software company focusing specifically on food markets around the world and making agricultural data and complex analysis simple and accessible. The Ethiopia-born data analyst received a B.A. in Economics and African Studies at Mount Holyoke College and the London School of Economics, and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Ndalo Media made history in 2017. The South African content company, which specializes in digital and print publishing, content marketing, events and experiences, acquired the license to run ELLE and ELLE Decoration media brands and all their extensions. The move signaled the first time the ELLE media brand would be published by a 100 percent black-owned media company. At the helm of it all is CEO and founder, Khanyi Dhlomo.
For Lagos-born entrepreneur Uche Pedro, education is not only a lifelong passion, but the reason for her success. College was, in fact, the seed from which her 12-year business would grow. The idea for the digital platform BellaNaija was conceived just two weeks after Pedro graduated from the Ivey Business School at Western University with an Honours Business Administration Bachelor’s degree. What started off as a small blog in 2006 has become a hub for entertainment, style, news, weddings, lifestyle and more.