Place of residence: Eastern Region of Nigeria
Position: Founder- Judy Women Empowerment and Development Initiative (JUWEDI)
Please describe a day in your life:
I would not want to compromise on my morning meditation routine. It offers me an array of unique inspirations and concepts to sustain my passion and daily activities. I read my email, reply to messages, and then take a bath after that. Funny enough, I wasn’t taught to drink coffee first thing in the morning, so I try to see what’s available for breakfast and make sure to eat my conventional meal during lunchtime. Yes, I wrap up my day by catching up with family after work before having LinkedIn activities send me to bed.
How many projects are you currently working on? Please describe them:
Our goal is to champion mentorship programs and advocate for policy changes that contribute to a thriving community that supports women and attends to their needs across a broad spectrum of professions. I am passionately focused on this project at the moment.
Tell us more about Judy’s Women Empowerment and Development Initiative.
For centuries, women, especially African women, have battled stereotypes that make them play second fiddle. Their tasks have been traditionally reduced to cooking at home, cleaning and caring for the family, engaging in petty businesses, and occupying subsidiary positions. This situation has limited their professional opportunities. Despite having all the knowledge, intelligence, abilities, and competence, women’s access to career advancement is restricted due to cultural conventions that place higher significance on marriage after earning a degree, effectively limiting most women’s professional options. Some experience Impostor Syndrome, which prevents them from moving up the corporate ladder.
To overcome these challenges, JUWEDI is establishing a collaborative network of young women across universities and colleges in Nigeria, creating programs that will enable our young women to push boundaries, motivate their entrepreneurial spirit, venture into uncharted territories, reinvent themselves and harness their passions and talents. I am very passionate about ushering in a new generation of women leaders who will work across sectors and make significant contributions to society.
How did you come up with the idea?
I unknowingly started my humanitarian service at the age of 9 when I was helping women who had no children or helpers to fetch water from the local river, where I had to travel about 5km going and 5 km back. I was also helping them to clean their houses and do some laundry job, and I felt fulfilled doing it. Sometime in 2019, after my internship with Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) as a petroleum engineering student, I invested my savings in caring for the motherless. Also 2019, after a bad relationship, I decided to use my experience to transform the lives of the underrepresented women out there. Judy Women Empowerment and Development Initiative (JUWEDI) was established in 2019. From its humble beginning, I assembled a few like-minded young ladies to start something new and ambitious. Today, JUWEDI has expanded tremendously with over 60 dedicated volunteers.
Can you address the challenges for African women who want to build a business from scratch?
No challenges can be solved entirely; however, the cultural and social barriers that have been challenging African women to launch or expand enterprises in Africa are being tackled by our bold vision at JUWEDI: “A world with a supportive ecosystem for all irrespective of gender”.
You are an Honorary Member of the Gender Activist Advisory Board. What are the challenges you are facing within this role?
Following the World Economic Forum’s estimation to reach gender parity, there have been increasing International efforts to promote the inclusion of women across sectors. Yet, some challenges are still hindering women from being fully relevant in society, ranging from the tech sector, financial inclusion, and political relevant, to mention a
few. Reflecting on the best approach to these challenges remains a daily task.
In your opinion, who is the most influential person/company in the world of technology these days?
Elon Musk seems to be the most influential because of his covering space. However, my admiration goes to the young men and women who are generating tech solutions out of nothing. I believe our young generation will do better if given the support they need.
If you could pick one app/product/project existing now that you wish you were involved in, what would it be?
What is your most outstanding achievement up until today?
My most outstanding achievement remains the focus, hard work and the time I invest to achieve my daily tasks.
What is your next goal?
As the founder of JUWEDI, I look forward to being able to support a great number of women from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.
If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be?
Thank you for coming through with so much love and aspiration for humanity.
Which famous person would you like to have dinner with and why?
Michelle Obama. Her humble nature and overwhelming support for women inspire me a lot.
What did you dream of creating/inventing/doing as a child?
Funny enough, I wanted to become a catholic nun as a catholic girl because I have always wanted to serve humanity just as Mother Theresa did. However, what I am doing now is not far from my childhood aspirations.
What tips do you give young women wanting to go into leadership?
Turn your passion into service, and do not compare yourself to others.