Meet the amazing women who became SHEROES in 2015

    For inspiring young Women

       For being an incredible  

    Leader for women in Direct        Provision in Mosney, Ireland

Independent National Sales Director - Mary Kay Cosmetics UK Ltd. 

Elizabeth Ozua is the epitome of the Mary Kay Cosmetics dream! She is a woman on a mission with a vision and a passion. She began her career with this great company in September 1994. This year she is celebrating her 21st anniversary with the company. She is married to Peter Ozua and has two lovely children Peter Jnr. and her beautiful Mary Kay Sales Director daughter Assumpta. She debuted as a Sales Director with Mary Kay cosmetics in September 1995 with her Unit ‘The Magic Eagles’ and in December 2003 she debuted as the first National Sales Director in the United Kingdom with her Eagle Area. Today she has over 3000 women in her growing area. In 1996, she was honoured with the company's prestigious award of annual “Miss Go Give”; the highest recognition which you can get with the company. She has been a Diamond Circle, high achieving National Sales Director since its inception in the company.

She has earned numerous all expenses paid trips to countries around the world with her husband and to Dallas, the home of Mary Kay. She has been a career car driver, driving a free pink Mercedes for over 19 years. Elizabeth has also been rewarded with many items of jewellery and gifts. In addition to her Mary Kay business, she is an international speaker and trainer, she mentors people across the globe. Her passion is found in enriching the lives of the many people that she meets. She started her Mary Kay business to earn some extra income but Elizabeth developed and achieved success because of the challenges that she had to overcome in order to progress and be victorious. Today she continues to grow and loves what she does – helping others to thrive and enrich lives in tangible and intangible ways.

Elizabeth understands that ‘it is not where you start but where you finish.’ She is very mindful of the fact that, God had no time to make nobody's, we are all somebody. As you help people become successful you become successful too. Her trademark mantra is – “Help enough people get what they want and you will get what you want.”

For Mentoring Young Women

Any woman can be a SHERO through her actions that inspire, influence and impact others. Keep doing the good you do, you never know whose life you're touching.

Salome Mbugua
Co-Founder Wezesha

Salome Mbugua is a native of Kenya and has lived in Ireland since 1994. Salome has made her life’s work pursuing equality and social justice for women. She has over 20 years’ experience of working with underrepresented groups in particular women, children, and the youth, in Kenya, Uganda, DR. Congo and Ireland. Her background is in Social Work, international Development and Philosophy. A former Master’s degree graduate from UCD, She is currently undertaking a four year PhD- Doctorate research at Trinity College. Salome is the founder, former CEO and currently the president of AkiDwA, the African and migrant Women’s Network Ireland. She is the co-founder of Wezesha, an African Diaspora organisation in Ireland working with women and children that are likely or are affected by violence and conflict in Africa. Through Shalom consulting, she has developed and delivered a wide  range of training programs and lecture in Ireland and abroad on topics that include, gender, migration, race, equality, diversity and Interculturalism.

She has been a contributing author in several publications. Her previous appointments include the Boards of the Equality Authority and Crisis Pregnancy Agency and Co-Chair of the Minister of Integration’s Integration Task Force.  She has served on several Government and sectoral Advisory Committees, including the Health Services Executive’s Intercultural Health Strategy Implementation, the Observatory Committee on Violence against Women and National Steering Committee on Violence Against Women. She was elected the vice chairperson of the National Women Council of Ireland in 2010 where she served in that capacity for four years. Salome has presented in the Dail and before Government Committees on key migrant women’s issues.  

In 2003, after families were presenting to AkiDwA with fears of deportation, she brought legal and community groups together to form the CADIC Coalition to advocate for the rights of Irish children and their families, and in January 2005 the Irish Born Child Scheme was introduced by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. In 2014 Salome appeared before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality and gave a presentation on “migrant women living in Ireland from war torn countries in light of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.  

Salome has keen interest in International Development and believes that the Diaspora has a huge role to play. In 2010, she co-founded Wezesha(Swahili for enable or empower)-an initiative of Africa Diaspora for international development and has been working in two African Countries (DR Congo and Kenya), raising awareness, supporting capacity building activities with women affected or likely to be affected by conflict, violence and poverty and engaging with policy makers to bring change. Having founded and established AkiDwA and serving in the organisation as its CEO for 15 years Salome stepped down in December 2014. She is currently undertaking PhD (Doctorate research at University of Dublin, Trinity College. Her research focuses on Participation of Women in Peace Building- The experience of Congolese Women.

Esther Owuta-Pepple Onolememen
President - Pan European Sickle Cell Alliance (PESCA)
Esther Owuta-Pepple Onolememen works with Child & Family Agency TUSLA - a state agency with statutory responsibility of protecting vulnerable children and families in Ireland.  She is the founder of Sickle Cell Society Ireland (SCSI) and Sickle Cell Initiative For Youths Project (SCI-FY). Esther has a Masters degree (MSW) from Trinity College as a Professionally Qualified Social Worker and is currently completing a PhD in Public Policy in UCD which focuses on Health Policy looking at “Cultural & Health Policy Implications for Sickle Cell Disorder in Ireland”. 

Esther represents the society at EU and Global levels. She is a founder member and the President of PESCA (Pan European Sickle Cell Alliance), and SCSI represents Ireland within that framework at EU levels. Between 2013 and 2014, Esther Onolememen led the work of her organisation in gaining recognition at Leinster House by advocating for public policy framework and comprehensive care for families with sickle cell in Ireland, changing the political landscape for sickle cell related decisions in Ireland. Her Trinity College MSW Thesis in 2008 became a ground breaking study across EU and other international countries, gaining recognition and a-once-in-a-life time opportunity to present findings of her study at the prestigious Centre For Disease Control (CDC) conference in Atlanta in 2012.

 Esther is a parent of children living with sickle cell disorder, and an advocate for people affected by the condition. Esther works closely with the Lead at the Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia Centre in children’s hospital in Crumlin, the National Medical Director at the Irish Blood Transfusion Services, and Stephen McMahon, Director of Irish patients Association and lead of the national Patients First Campaign. In September, 2014, Esther was publically nominated a representative of SCSI on a National Campaign – The Patients First campaign. This campaign is a coalition of various organisations and is lead by The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), The Irish Patients Association (IPA), Cystic Fybrosis Ireland, Patient Opinion Ireland and Sickle Cell Society Ireland (SCSI). Esther’s passion for supporting and mentoring young people led to the launch of the Society's Youth project with over 300 young people in attendance at its  official launch  this April. This project was built on direct family experience of Esther has over the past years watched her daughters fight to live and cope with sickle cell while their siblings suffer the impact. 

It is important to note that one of Esther's daughters, Reme, living with sickle cell has been critically ill with up to three ICU admissions and has been in hospital for long term, missing the whole academic year. Esther advocated for her daughter’s right to have her junior certificate (state exams) in hospital - and between the department of health and education and with support from hospital and her daughter's school this was approved, thus setting a landmark for other sickle cell families. Reme's results were: 2As (including A plus in English) 6 Bs and a C in Science. Reme is still in the hospital as we speak. If we could just take a moment to say a prayer for Reme and wish her to recover well and be back home with her family soonest.

 For inspiring Mothers in     difficult situations

Dolapo Ola
Founder - Limitless Generation Project 

Dolapo Ola is the Co-founder of the Rarique online market. She is a graduate of Bsc (Honours) Electronics and Computer Systems Engineering from King’s College, University of London and MSc Investment, treasury and Banking from Dublin City University Business School, Dublin. She is a CIMA chartered Accountant and ACCA qualified.

Dolapo is the founder of the Limitless Generation Project aimed at empowering young people to achieve their goals. She does this through offering free cv and entrepreneurial workshops, seminars and mentorship programmes. Many of its members to date have gone on to work for multinationals or create start-ups of their own. She is a member of Nigerian Woman – An NGO dedicated to empowering both young and old women in Nigeria. Her passion is in Mentoring Young Ladies and women an she has spent the last ten years mentoring young ladies and women both in Ireland and abroad to become everything that God designed them to be.

Dolapo is a writer who writes for her own blog and has 2 unpublished magazine and a book currently with the publisher and a couple of unpublished manuscripts. She is a strong believer in working hard and working smart. She believes that the only limitations to our abilities are those that we set for ourselves and as a result she is always on hand to help the youth overcome obstacles in order to achieve their goals.

Founder - Seed of Life

Yetunde Joyce also known as YJ is the CEO of Seed of Life an establishment which inspires the progress of the entertainment industry for better ground-breaking productivity, professional setting of good business practice; as well as skilled coaching in the Gospel music area. She has successfully planned and showcased significant events in the Entertainment Industry.  She has worked effortlessly with both young and old in Ireland and abroad in the entertainment industry.

 As a Relationship Expert and Marriage Counsellor, she host her show called – ‘Language of Love’ on several radio stations and she is the Founder of Loving and Affectionate Couple - a not for profit Organisation that supports family empowerment, married Couples and those in a relationship worldwide. she has organised several conferences and interactive session with professional and motivational guest speakers just to support the marriage and relationship institution.

 Yetunde Joyce was recently endorsed as the face of Yappingo a VOIP Company. She is a Gospel singer, Radio Host, Motivational Speaker, Relationships Expert and Certified Event/Project Administrator. The Gospel Singer recently won an AfricaWorld PAN 2014 award for outstanding contribution and exceptional commitment to the Irish community in Dublin. Yetunde Joyce was named among the most Influential Africans in Ireland and Northern Ireland, at Power-list Ireland Awards 2012, and awarded African Leadership Excellence Award.

The successful Seed of Life Gospel Choir was the brainchild of Yetunde Joyce and they present a yearly concert. Yetunde supports charities such as Barnados Ireland and Keep a Child Alive. She recently became Ireland’s National Coordinator for Women of African Origin in Music Ministry (WAOMM). 

         For Supporting women

 through Community Development

      For impacting Ethnic    

  Minority Women in Ireland

Sylvia Mbasinge
Founder - Mosney Action group to end direct Provision in Ireland 

 Inspite of having to suffer the indignity of the Direct Provision system for nearly 10 years, Sylvia Mbasinge managed to support and help many women in Mosney direct Provision centre, with the help of Maynooth University, Cultur Migrant centre and other women in Mosney. Having been involved in a number of leadership programmes, Sylvia found it worth starting projects like ‘Mosney Action group to end direct provision’, to encourage others stand for their rights and stand together to make life a little more tolerable.

 On many occasions Sylvia had to speak out for and on behalf of migrants and refugees to make the concerned know what was really going on behind those big gates. She has also spoken in Universities and on national television as well as on big occasions like the Beijing 20 conference held in Dublin castle, organised by the National women’s Council of Ireland.

Through Sylvia’s incessant advocacy for the plight of asylum seekers in direct provision and her work with other asylum seekers in campaigns and exposing the indignity that they were exposed to, many asylum seekers in direct provision, including Sylvia, have been granted their leave to remain in Ireland since 2014. A lot of changes have been promised by the ministry of justice and some of these are in place already. For example, permission has been granted to those who qualify to study at third level education, as well as teenagers who complete their leaving certs. 

Sylvia believes that it is not an easy task to achieve social change but it can be possible if we work together and support one another in all circumstances as women.

     For inspiring Women

    through Entertainment

  For inspiring women in Fashion

Nana Adeniyi
Founder - Alpha Project

Nana Adeniyi is a young law degree graduate of University College Dublin (UCD). She is commencing an LLM (law masters) at Trinity College Dublin.

During her time at UCD as an undergraduate student, she became a UCD ambassador through a project she worked on at the University. She discovered many ethnic minority students were not confident enough to get into the best universities and realized how that singular act could hinder their ability to become high achiever in their chosen careers.

Having research on how to strategically address this issue, Nana founded The ALPHA PROJECT. The Alpha Project is an ethnic minority Youth empowerment initiative which will equip ethics minorities Youths in Ireland to attain excellence in their career, regardless of the University they attend or their disadvantaged background.

Nana is currently working with various organisations and leaders to further develop and expand the vision of the Alpha Project.

Sarah Ekada
CEO - Life meets Fashion

Sarah Ekada is currently the Irish Ambassador for French collection; Dvora and for the SA collection; K&L Haute Couture. She is a PR consultant and advisor to British designer Kumbi Kouture, and to fashion designers in Ireland, London and Paris.

Sarah is an agent to numerous models who now model in Belfast fashion week, London fashion week and other fashion shows in Ireland, London, Paris and South Africa. She was vice president of the style society at Maynooth University 2014/15. She also produced the fashion show for the Nigerian Carnival in Ireland 2015.

Sarah hosts the largest charity fashion show in Maynooth, Life meets fashion. This fashion show opened doors for some of Ireland’s top models who are now signed with the leading modelling agency, Morgan the Agency and other modelling agencies in Ireland. She was lucky enough to be mentored by  Rebecca Morgan, Director Of Morgan the Agency,  Irish Supermodel, Emma English, as well as the South African prominent designer, Karelle Foster.

Sarah directed photo-shoots for Elvery sports, Divine boutique, mexx Carraig Donn,  Vodafone in Ireland and Dvora in Paris. She trained the 2015 models for the DIT fashion show, the biggest student-run fashion show in Ireland.  She’s been asked to return to train the 2016 models for the DIT fashion show.

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Tokie Laotan-Brown 
Founder - Women Funding Homes

Tokie Laotan-Brown is a joint PhD scholar/researcher in Economics and Techniques for the Conservation of the Architectural and Environmental Heritage at the University of Nova Gorica and UniversitaIuav di Venezia, Italy. Born in Wurzburg, Germany to Nigerian parents. Tokie was inspired by the potential of making environmentally sensitive architecture accessible to mainstream Afro Europeans. Rather than just defaulting to techniques from Western technology and aesthetics, she intends to create a platform to produce active/passive integrated systems. The design solutions focus on function, style, significant cost-savings, and environmental sustainability in Europe, Africa and America.

She secured funding 2012 to develop further research in Neuro-Egronomics and Urban Design in Artena, Italy. Worked as a lead practitioner for clients from all over the world ranging from Mexico city, Mexico to Seville, Spain to Benin City, Lagos State, Nigeria to Galway, Ireland to include Local Authorities, Charities and Private individuals. Consultant for various architectural practices including the Lagos State Government. The size and approach varied- mostly historical. Worked for owners of large listed buildings including the first story building in Badagry, Lagos state, Nigeria. Developed schemes worth 100 thousand dollars to 3 million dollars. Tasks involved administering building contracts for major extension works to the building within a cartilage of the Listed Buildings to the design of new builds and preparations of various planning and Listed Building Consent submissions. Involved in the conservation scheme for Lagos State within the Badagry area (near completion).

Following an extensive research wrote the Historical Appraisal of the Benin Moat site. Investigating on Ancient Monuments and Listed Buildings Act (SPAIN and GERMANY) she recently went to Nigeria (June 2014) to work on a workshop bringing Profs from the Polytechnic of Milan and UN-Habitat. The workshop was titled Energy Consumption and Energy Efficiency in Informal Settlements in Lagos City; it was done in conjunction with the University of Lagos. Co-Researcher-Identifying the energy efficiency costs of owner- occupiers of African Diaspora living in Ireland 2012-2014: Researcher- THE PRESERVATION OF AFRICAN VERNACULAR SETTLEMENTS IN DISASTER PRONE AREAS PLAGUED WITH FLOODING: IYA, BENIN MOAT AND ENVIRONS (Benin City, Nigeria) 2013: Principal Researcher-African Vernacular Architecture: Predated to 1980 2008: Field Assistant- Pilot Modelling Flood Management Project in the coastal regions in Lekki Island, Lagos State, Nigeria. Adebiyi & Co. Surveyors Ltd. With a background in Sustainable Construction and Architectural Technology, Tokie travels 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. Her research interests are in: Sustainable Constructions; African Bioclimatic Architecture; Fractal Spatial Patterns; African-Irish Urban Dynamics; Bottom-up Self-Organizations; Women & Cultural Economics; African Landscapes and Settlements
Tokie is a member of the Black Designers Showcase in America (BIDS), Construction Industry of Builders (CIOB) in Ireland and UK-Green Building Council,GRADEI, Associate Member of the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism, International Association of World Heritage Professionals, ACIAT and Gold Member Black British Academics. PUBLICATIONS: BOOKS & RESEARCH ARTICLES 2013: Laotan-Brown, T. Recession Buster: 10 Steps to Managing Your Household Budgets. (Amazon Books) 2013: Laotan-Brown, T. Improving Educational Architectural Studies on the Preservation and Maintenance of African Heritage Sites,HU-BTU First International Conference on Heritage Conservation and Site Management: Heritage Tourism: Prospects and Challenges" From 8th to 11th December 2013 in Luxor, Egypt 2014: Laotan-Brown, T. African Green Design Solutions As Vernacular Bioclimatic Architecture. Proceedings of 8th Windsor Conference: Counting the Cost of Comfort in a changing world. Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, UK, 10-13 April 2014. London: Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings. Tokie also had the chance to open a casting agency for kids in Galway city in 2002 for three years. She trained kids aged 4 to 16 in Deportment and Modelling. Classes and Fashion shows were organised for the kids, clothing shops used this avenue to advertise their collections for the season. The agency later went on the road to various schools in Ireland for three years.

As a project Co-ordinator in Galway city, She has had to work on interesting projects and meet interesting people. As an independent candidate for the local elections in June 2004, it was every bit as interesting. Awards & Nominations - 2005: Mayoral Awards Nominee, Galway City Council 2006: Portrait commissioned along with 11 other women for a Calendar as one of the most influential women in Galway, Ireland. An Image Awards Nominee in 2007, 2012: 100 Most Influential Africans in Ireland 2014: Double Awards Nominee, Women4Africa, May 2014 London, UK. She has also worked on various housing projects with the Galway city council as a spatial policy committee member from 2004 to 2007. She now represents Nigeria and Ireland on the international board of ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) and on The ICOMOS-IFLA International  Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes (ISCCL).  Tokie is the founder and CEO of 3 companies, Merging Ecologies , Women Fund Homes (USA, UK and Ireland) and TLB House of Creations, which she uses to work on historicU al properties, residential properties and developing finance schemes that are alternate to traditional mortgage schemes, in the US and UK. Tokie currently resides with her husband and 3 kids in Galway Ireland and Venice, Italy.


For inspiring Women in International Business