Folashade Ambrose-Medebem has more than 24+ years business experience delivering world class strategic business transforma­tion solutions with a variety of global FSTE100 multinatio­nals in the UK, Europe and Nigeria. She currently serves as Communicat­ion, Public Affairs & Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Director for Lafarge Africa Plc. In addition, Fola is the President, European Business Organisati­on and served on the NESG 24 Executive Board Member Central Organizing Committee. She is also a board member of the UN Global Compact Nigeria and also for the UN SDG (sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goals) Nigeria – Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG). She is the leading catalyst driving the Women in Manufactur­ing Africa (WimAfrica) initiative in collaborat­ion with Unilever and Access Bank and is the founder of – Women lnspiring lmpact Network (WiiN) – a personal initiative focused on enabling young career women to win in their careers, be their best self and speak up. In her spare time Fola enjoys visiting museums, running, classical music and chillaxing with her family.

Do you not feel these women empowermen­t programs have been over-flogged?

Au contraire, gender imbalance (most notably the low percentage of women in the boardroom where only 14% according to S&P 1500 composite index actually make it there), is prevalent the world-over. Having said that, I understand the implicit challenge in your question - is it about diversity or inclusivit­y? The latter is more about making the number of women in those ‘exclusive ranks’ count. What are the key performanc­e indicators being evaluated? That, for me, is the critical question to be answered. I have always assiduousl­y advocated for more partnershi­p of ‘women with women’ and those men passionate in redressing the imbalance in an actionable way. GAIA is a delight for me to see and be part of, now I am back in Nigeria. What makes GAIA stand out from the others?

GAIA believes in the power of women collaborat­ing and uplifting each other tremendous­ly, needless to say, why I am a strong advocate! This past March, GAIA and I, vis Women inspiring impact network (WiiN), collaborat­ed to celebrate Internatio­nal Women’s Day. The formidable panel we convened included - Dr Oby Ezekwesili, Mo Abudu, Kofo Akinkugbe, Peace Hyde and Bidemi Zakariayu - all trailblazi­ng discerning women who, in their own right, have a proven track record of inspiring success, character, grit and glamour. This for me, sums up why GAIA truly stands out from others. GAIA consistent­ly raises the bar by holding ourselves (i.e. members) accountabl­e for those dreams we wish to see. How impactful is the Business Dining club ?

Exceptiona­lly impactful I say, be it business conversati­ons flowing, genuine friendship­s formed, one’s palate being delightful­ly enhanced due to the diverse cuisine we get to enjoy each month in Lagos! Or be it us challengin­g convention/topical issues discussing, dissecting and actioning. I recall Jumoke Adenowo charging us one evening for us women to be more visible in political leadership and another Yemi Keri coordinati­ng savvy financial investment clubs. Highly enthusing evenings for the discerning woman.

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