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Finalist: Fikelephi Jackson

Country of Origin: South Africa

Fikelephi Jackson is a banker, an author, a mentor and a speaker. ‘Against All Odds I Survived!’ is her groundbreaking book which has touched the lives and hearts of women universally with its message of hope, restoration, and forgiveness.

The book chronicles her personal journey through strife, struggle, suicidal thoughts and survival. From birth, Fikelephi was faced with difficulty and uncertainty. She was born into apartheid South Africa and her father was tortured to death for political reasons before she was born. However at the heart of the book is the domestic abuse she suffered in the hands of her partner. She hopes to raise awareness while empowering other survivors. The book is endorsed by Betty Makoni, a veteran gender activist and gender expert adviser to the U.K. Foreign & First Secretary of State, William Hague MP.

Outside of her role as a Senior Banking Advisor in London, Fikelephi has answered her calling in philanthropy and is the Founder of ‘Against All Odds Still Standing’ (AOS) and the Proprietor of Fikelephi Jackson Ministries (FJM). She recently took her mission to Malawi where she was welcomed by the Hon. President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda’s Government. She has worked closely with Domestic Violence organizations in the UK namely, Victim Support UK. She also hopes to go back to Malawi and also take her mission to Sierra Leone this year. On the 26th of April, Against All Odds Still Standing (AOS) will be officially launched. 

Find out more about Fikelephi Jackson HERE.

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Finalist: Nana Amoa-Buahin

Country of Origin: Ghana

Nana Amoa-Buahin is a human resources professional who cut her teeth in a range of senior HR roles in the Metropolitan Police establishing the project team which introduced anti-stabbing vests. Remaining in West London Nana joined Hounslow Council as Head of HR Strategy where she quickly gained a reputation as a serious contributor to workforce reform and cultural change, in a large and complex organization providing a range of services in one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs in London. Working closely with the Chief Executive and Director of HR Nana rapidly established a rapport with Councilors, Trade Unions and staff at all levels and made a significant contribution to Hounslow’s rapid improvement. Nana’s passion and can do attitude was quickly becoming known on the local government circuit in London and in June 2005 Nana moved to South London, joining Lambeth council as the Director of Human Resources, arguably one of the most challenging HR jobs in the public service.

Working alongside a new Chief Executive, Nana has guided Lambeth through an unprecedented period of change over the past nine years. Lambeth is now seen as a major force in local government and our transition to a cooperative council has attracted much interest, both nationally and internationally. Nana has been at the heart of this transformation and is currently leading an ambitious organizational change program, an overview of which is attached.

Nana is one of the very few senior black women in public service. It is her drive, personality and genuine deep seated values that have made her an inspirational and essential part of the Lambeth community.

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Finalist: Elizabeth Uwaifo

Country of Origin: Nigeria

Elizabeth Uwaifo is an English solicitor with over 20 years’ experience advising investment banks, funds, insurance companies, other financial institutions and corporate entities on a wide range of financing and risk management transaction, collateral protection arrangements and debt restructuring. For 16 years, she was a Partner at global law firm Sidley Austin LLP. Recently, Elizabeth joined leading international and business law and litigation firm, Fasken Lartineau LLP as a Partner. Here she intends to apply her energy, knowledge, passion and determination to the economic health, wellbeing and prosperity of Africa. She has a background in structured finance and derivatives, and has written several articles and co-authored books on derivatives and securities lending. She has also been involved in several high profile award-winning structured finance transactions. Prior to her present position, she was Vice President at Union Bank of Switzerland and a partner for over 13 years at another major law firm. Elizabeth is the co-Chair of the Legal and Compliance Peer Advisory Group for 100 Women in Hedge Funds in London and the Director, African Agribusiness Knowledge Centers, Inc.

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Finalist: Dr Nkem Ezeilo

Country of Origin: Nigeria

Dr Nkem Ezeilo (MBBS, Dip. Performance Coaching, MRCGP) is a General Practitioner (GP) working in West London and a member of the prestigious Royal College of General Practitioners, United Kingdom. Not your average GP, she specializes in ‘Healthy Lifestyle Medicine’ – reversing and preventing illness using Healthy Lifestyle habits rather than drugs and has hundreds of case studies from her personal experience that confirm and strengthen this belief.

Dr Nkem is also a highly sought-after Professional Public Speaker and Author, an additional but related career path she has carved out as a way to educate more people in a shorter time, on this information. To this end, she works tirelessly in addition to her day job at the hospital, giving speeches and seminars across the country – including a speech delivered in the British House of Parliament in October 2013 as part of Black History Month, publishing her health blog, writing books on the topic and running a FREE Health Coaching group on FaceBook, called ‘Fit, Fab & Strong Women’ where she provides hands-on education, help and support for women who wish to lose weight, regain self confidence, reverse disease or simply improve their overall health.

She is in the process of starting regular FREE monthly health checks for her local community, with the intention of educating the community on danger signals that predict impending disease, and how to turn things around. This will commence in the second half of this year, after her annual appraisal and revalidation by the General Medical Council have taken place.

Find out more about Dr. Nkem Ezeilo HERE.

Women4Africa 2014 Finalists_Career Woman of the Year_Tokie Laotan Brown.jpgFinalist: Tokie Laotan-Brown

Country of Origin: Nigeria

Tokie Laotan-Brown is the author of Recession Buster: 10 steps to managing your household budget: (A little at a time) which in this time of austerity is a must have for all families and individuals who are keen to make their money go further.  As a busy professional woman, wife and mother, Tokie is all too aware of what it takes to make every penny count.  By using her own experiences and undertaking research, Tokie was able to compile this easy to read 10 Step guide to household money management. Her interest in money-management stems from her time working as a consultant in money and portfolio management for 5 years.

Tokie is currently working with UN Habitat and Politecnico di Milano of Architectura; on the analysis of energy consumption and energy efficiency in informal settlements of developing countries- “UNESCO: World Heritage Sites; African Cultural Landscapes On Tentative Lists”. She is currently undertaking a joint Phd Program in Economics and Techniques for the Conservation of the Architectural and Environmental Heritage at the University of Nova Gorica and Universitat di Venezia, Italy. Tokie also works as a property manager and as a consultant in the housing sector as an environmental architectural technologist. With a background in Sustainable Construction and Architectural Technology, Tokie hopes to travel extensively to Africa, Central and North America, and Central and Eastern Europe to study how environmentally sensitive homes and communities are affected during pre and post occupancy periods.

In 2011, Tokie was voted into the top 100 Most Influential Africans in Ireland. She was a Mayoral Awards nominee in 2005 and An Image Awards Nominee in 2007. Tokie’s portrait was commissioned along with 11 other women for a Calendar as one of the most influential women in Galway in 2006. This was done for the Galway Rape Crisis Centre. She has also worked on various housing projects within the Galway city council as a spatial policy committee member from 2004 to 2007. Tokie currently resides with her husband and 3 kids in Athenry, Galway.

Find out more about Tokie Laotan-Brown HERE.

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Finalist: Dr Fiona Bartels-Ellis OBE

Country of Origin: Ghana

Dr Fiona Bartels-Ellis OBE is Global Head of Equal Opportunity and Diversity at the British Council, the UK’s principal cultural relations organisation. In this role she sets and drives the strategic direction of equality and diversity across the organisation’s offices in 110 countries and territories.

Fiona’s long professional journey has included the private sector in the Eastern Caribbean and social work practice and management in different local authorities, with roles as an adoption and a fostering panel member and Chair of a sickle cell anaemia fostering panel. It has also included roles in social work education as a senior lecturer leading a Masters in Advanced Social Work at the University of Westminster and leading a range of qualifying courses for professional social workers to develop their skills in teaching social work students.

Fiona has undertaken varied social work and equality and diversity consultancy assignments and made contributions to new developments led by government bodies and others. For example, in 2000 she was a Health and Welfare task force member of the 2000 Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain.

Fiona is a member of the Higher Education Academy, Enfield Race Equality Council, The Camden Society and Amnesty International. She is a recent Trustee of the African Gifted Foundation which aims to advance the education of highly gifted African children and young people. She is a sponsor of Watreso School, Cape Coast, Ghana.

Throughout her career Fiona has shared her experience, knowledge and skills by mentoring, empowering and encouraging others to develop their resilience and dare to dream. She has initiated and driven internship programmes in Pakistan for people with learning disabilities and in the UK for young adults. She is a regular international speaker with a passion for advancing equality, including in the areas of gender, disability and ethnicity, believing we all benefit from fairer societies.

In 2002 Fiona received a Mainstreaming Diversity Award from the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners and in June 2005 an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her work. In 2009she received the ORC Worldwide Equality and Diversity Champions Award. She is named in the Power List 2014 of Britain’s most influential black people.

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