In a world where mere talent plays nothing but a minute role in the success game, these exceptional personalities have brilliantly surpassed expectations; with courage, hard work and resilience, they have  risen against the odds and rewritten history, becoming power forces who cannot but be applauded.

Today we celebrate three magnificent women setting the pace in Nigeria’s banking world; Ibukun Abiodun Awosika – Chairman First Bank, Mosunmola Belo-Olusoga – Access Bank Chairman and Osaretin Demuren – Chairman Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.

Ibukun Abiodun Awosika – Chairman First Bank

Ibukun Awosika, made history September 7, 2015, when she became the first woman to be appointed Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria. She is also the first Nigerian recipient of the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award (IWEC) as a nominee of the US Department of State in 2008.

The multiple award-winning entrepreneur was born December 24, 1962. She graduated from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) bagging a degree in Chemistry. She is also an alumnae of the Chief Executive Programme of Lagos Business School; the Global Executive MBA of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain; and Global CEO Programme of Wharton, IESE and C.E.I.B.S Business Schools.

Ibukun also stands proudly as founder and CEO of The Chair Centre Group and currently serves on a number of corporate and not-for-profit boards amongst which are: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Cadbury Nigeria Plc., Convention on Business Integrity (CBi), and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.

Ibukun is a co-founder and past chairperson of Women in Business, Management, and Public Service (WIMBIZ). Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative, Aspen Global Leadership Network, Institute of Directors, and Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria, member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), and proudly takes her seat as part of the International Advisory Board of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain.

Mosunmola (Mosun) Belo-Olusoga – Chairman Access Bank

A qualified Chartered Accountant, Belo-Olusoga boasts of an illustrious banking career spanning nearly three decades. She graduated from the University of Ibadan, where she studied Economics, bagging a Bachelor of Science in 1979.

She left her position as Chairman of Credit and Finance Committee, July 29, 2015 upon her appointment as Non-Executive Chairman of Access Bank Plc.  She was Member of the Board Audit Committee of the Company until the said date.

Prior to her appointment, she served as Non-Executive Director of the Company and was Executive Director at Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, holding several positions for over 16 years before retiring to set up KRC Limited, a consulting firm with focus on management and financial consultancy. She also served as Member of the Board of Directors of Asset and Resources Management Company and was Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria.

She attended professional and executive development programs, including Advance Management Program at Harvard Business School, Strategic Bank Management Program at BPP Financial Education, Paris, France, Risk Management Tools and Strategies at International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland, Executive Management Program at Philips Consulting, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Essentials of Decision Making at Harvard University, New York.

Osaretin Demuren – Chairman Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.

Osaretin Demuren prior to joining GTBank in 2013 had already made a name for herself as the first female director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

An enviable career with the Central Bank of Nigeria, spanning over 33 years, Osaretin Demuren heeded the call to higher service when she joined GTB.

She served as the director, Trade and Exchange Department and was deployed to serve as the director, Human Resources Department in 2004, a position which she held until her retirement from the Central Bank of Nigeria in December 2009.

Demuren is a proud holder of a Master’s Degree in Economics and Statistics from the Moscow Institute of Economics and Statistics, Moscow, and a Diploma in Russian Language and Preliminary Studies from the Kiev State University, Kiev.

Nothing is impossible; the word itself says I’m possible. Be the change you want to see the world. Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Cheers to all the inspirational women in the Diaspora breaking limits and making giant strides!