Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The worldwide leader in IT and networking Cisco had its 5th annual Women of Impact Conference (WOI) to mark International Women’s Day with the theme, “It’s Time. Collaborate. Lead. Inspire.”
The Nigerian edition of the conference took place on March 8th at Cisco’s Victoria Island office, where several eminent women, business leaders and entrepreneurs from the region shared their experiences.
The Woman of Impact Conference which has been a staple at Cisco for several years is devoted to the professional development of women.
The conference takes place simultaneously across all Cisco offices around the world and is designed for women in IT, with the aim of uniting women all over the world, giving them a place to network, motivate and co-develop one another.
The Women of Impact (WOI) Conference is a free, global event that is open to all Cisco employees to help women in the IT field gain practical knowledge to help their careers.
This year, over 10,000 Cisco employees, partners, and customers from over 30 countries attended the conference via telepresence.
At the end of this powerful day, women will emerge with an expanded network of allies to support them in the future, ideas for collaboration, and a new empowerment to lead and chase the career of their dreams.
Invited as a speaker for the Nigerian edition of the conference was Ms. Funke Opeke the founder and CEO of Main One a telecommunications solutions provider that built West Africa’s first privately owned, submarine cable system interconnecting Lagos, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; and Seixal, Portugal in 2010.
Main One has grown to become the leading provider of Wholesale and Enterprise connectivity and data center services across the region and the company has played a major role in changing West Africa’s Internet landscape.
Also invited to speak was Ms. Temi Giwa-Tubosun Nigerian-American health manager and founder/CEO of Life Bank, a social enterprise using technology and smart logistics to match blood to patients.
She was named in 2014 by the BBC as one of the 100 Women changing the world.
Giwa-tubosun expressed her appreciation to Cisco saying, “I do my work each day thinking about women and what I can do to impact their lives and not a lot of IT and networking organizations in Nigeria celebrate women or even recognize international women’s day, but Cisco has continually shown its commitment to women and the value they provide in the technology industry.”
Ms. Opeke explained that the role of women in technology and business involves inspiring not just the women within their organization but also the men and women outside their professional environment.
She continued siting that “It is great to see companies like Cisco taking the role of women in the work place seriously and they are a few of the strongest advocates for women and what they have to offer in their businesses and this is inspiring.”
“Cisco is very good at leveraging diverse people, views and technology in order to solve the most complex of challenges in our society. We believe that a company can highly hinder its innovation if it does not promote diversity,” says Mr. Olakunle Oloruntimehin, GM for Cisco Nigeria.
The IT industry represents huge potential for women, but they must take risks, overcome obstacles, and blaze new trails to be successful. Cisco has always been at the forefront of efforts to hire, nurture, promote and support women, especially in technical fields and leadership roles. Cisco prides itself in its commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Collaboration.
“In fact, Cisco has five very powerful women forming part of the Executive Leadership team. Their contribution has been part of Cisco’s success story,” Mr. Oloruntimehin concludes.
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