It wasn’t an easy feat getting an interview with the Executive Director of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), Hansatu Adegbite. The timing wasn’t wrong, the demanding nature of her job just kept getting in the way. For the extremely thorough, intelligent, amicable and beautiful Hansatu, long hours and sometimes late night are frequent occurrences writes Oluremi Adeoye
The Executive Director of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), Hansatu Adegbite, is a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Abuja with an Action Learning Master in Business Administration from the Business School, Netherlands. She is also a United Kingdom certified trainer and Associated Stress Consultant (ASC) in Life Coaching. She has a collective 20-year experience in banking, entrepreneurship and team building consulting. In addition to this, she has over 25 years volunteer experience in professional associations, NGOs and faith-based organisations that are gender focused and/or provide development opportunities for children and youth.
While at the university, she was the first female President of the Nigerian Universities Association of Management and Business Students (NUAMBS) and had attained many leadership heights in various organisations including her home church, Living Faith Church Durumi in Abuja. She is very passionate about volunteering, women’s development and motivational speaking. She, however, considers her greatest accomplishment as being a mother of two sons whom she is extremely proud of.
What WIMBIZ is all about?
Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), is a non-profit organisation established in 2001 by 14 individuals (13 women and a man) with a mission to inspire and empower women to attain leadership positions in management, business, and public service. Over the last 16 years, WIMBIZ has implemented programmes that promote its vision to be the catalyst that elevates the status and influence of women and their contribution to nation building. WIMBIZ has an associate pool of about 650 women and over 5,000 in its database. It also collaborates with credible individuals, domestic and global organisations to enrich its programmes as speakers, facilitators, sponsors, grant and media partners, which have helped directly impacted over 93,825 women since inception.
How did you become a member of WIMBIZ and how has the journey been so far?
The first WIMBIZ conference was held in 2002 and I had just left one of the Nigerian banks as a commercial banking officer and ventured into entrepreneurship to run an events management company called Festive Friends Limited in Abuja. I bought a newspaper one afternoon and saw an advert for a ‘Women in Business and Management Conference’ in Abuja. Being a young entrepreneur, I jumped at it and I was there nice and early on the first day. I was so intrigued by the organisation, professionalism and inspirational insight from the array of prolific speakers. I didn’t realise that we had such accomplished women in Nigeria and I was truly inspired to want to attain similar leadership positions in life.
I understood clearly from listening intently that WIMBIZ had one focus: leadership development for women in order for them to contribute their own quota towards nation building. I attended several of the conferences held in Abuja thereafter and became one of the first 11 Associates (members) when it was introduced in 2006. I served in a volunteer capacity in the Abuja Working Group thereafter when it was set up years later and went through the WIMBIZ Mentoring programme in Lagos. I finally relocated to Lagos last year to take up the position of Executive Director with the organisation. It has been an extremely engaging role with a lot of learning and opportunities to grow in diverse ways.
Events hosted by WIMBIZ.
WIMBIZ currently has about 17 programmes that run throughout the year on an annual or bi-annual basis and each of them falls under one of the four pillars of WIMBIZ namely: advocacy, connect, empower and inspire. All of them can be gotten from our website. However, a few of them are the annual conference which is WIMBIZ’s flagship event. It holds in November of every year and is attended by over 1600 women from all over the world to discuss a broad range of issues centred around a cutting-edge theme that is topical and relevant to women in the business, corporate, public and development sectors. Over 41,600 women had attended it over the past 16 years. We also have the Women in Politics programme and the WIMBIZ Abuja Summit.
Challenges faced as the current leader of WIMBIZ.
The role of the Executive Director at WIMBIZ requires a lot of wisdom, relationship management, time commitment, strategic thinking, multi-tasking and attention to details. The greatest challenge would, however, be the high volume of information that requires continuous attention on a daily basis and the ability to effectively work with hundreds of women in various capacities weekly, which requires a lot of diplomacy, tact and grit.
WIMBIZ philanthropic events
WIMBIZ partners with donor agencies who fund programmes that directly impact young girls and women. These programmes include: Big Sister Programme (BSP) is held in partnership with the state’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and aims to equip and empower young secondary school girls in public schools to build their leadership capacity being mentored for a day by accomplished female professionals in various fields. It has held in Lagos, Oyo, Kano, Niger, Ogun states and will hold in Port Harcourt and Kebbi States in 2018.
We have impacted 3,721 young girls till date.
Others are: Winning Without Compromise (WIWIC) Graduate Internship Program (GIP), Impact Investment Competition,
Your most memorable event since you became a coordinator of WIMBIZ
I would say it is more of experiences and not a particular event. For me it would be the privilege of having the opportunity to be mentored directly by the founders of WIMBIZ, who are currently the members of the Board of Trustees. And also the past and current chairpersons of the executive council. This is because they all have such a wealth of experience and it is impossible not to grow while learning from them in such a way that elevates one’s mind set and daily output. I often humorously state that I am a product of ‘executive panel beating’ which is intense but rewarding. In addition to this, the satisfaction that comes from completing every programme that we start planning on paper and working with diverse teams to execute them.
Advice to women who want to excel in their marriages as well as in their careers.
Marry the right man; one that values you enough to support your career goals without feeling intimidated by your success. It is the first critical step.
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