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Conference Speakers

 
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Seun shokunbi

organizer | moderator

Brooklyn raised, Nigerian bred. Seun seeks to make meaningful connections within the diaspora community in order to spark a generational revolution in Africa. Her work with Karfi, a consulting and leadership development firm, tackles the issue of untapped talent, particularly among young Africans. She strongly believes that democratizing the entrepreneurial space is vital to Africa’s economic development. That means empowering any and all, regardless of wealth, status or geography, with the resources and tools needed to lead and succeed.

Seun earned a B.A. in English and Communications from Fordham University in New York City. A year later, she moved to London to complete a Master’s degree in International Management (magna cum laude) at SOAS University of London, focusing on human capital development in the Middle East and North Africa. She’ll deliver a TEDx talk in Nairobi on November 23, 2019.

 
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yvonne Commodore-Mensah

keynote speaker

Yvonne is an Assistant Professor at the John Hopkins School of Nursing, and the Chief Executive Officer at the award-winning African Research Academies for Women (ARA-W). ARA-W has been recognized by the Obama Administration and the Clinton Global Initiative as a leading non-profit organization bridging the gender gap in Africa’s STEM research pipeline. Through ARA-W, young women who are interested in discovering solutions to health problems in the developing world are given an opportunity to work at the world’s most competitive research universities.

Yvonne’s accomplishments include becoming a fellow of the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Academy of Nursing (AAN), earning her PhD. and Masters degree from John Hopkins University, and earning her B.S.N. from Fairleigh Dickinson University.


 
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Ifeoma ike

keynote speaker

Problem-solver Ifeoma Ike, M.A., J.D., LL.M. is a social impact strategist and professional disruptor. She is Co-Founder and Partner at Think Rubix, an action, equity and think tank based in New York. A lifelong advocate of equity, Ike’s global footprint can be felt from Detroit to New Orleans—Haiti to South Africa.

Ike’s professional vitae includes creating legislation to improve bias within law enforcement, designing city-wide strategies to address inequities in the education workforce and mental health profession, EEOC mediation, start-up consulting, strategic narrative creation and media communications, criminal justice advocacy, and movement lawyering. A trained artist, Ike believes creative collaboration and out of the box thinking is central to achieving measurable goals.

 
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Ashley akunna

speaker

Ashley is the creator and host of The Grapevine, a YouTube series highlighting the voices of millennials of African, African-American and Latino descent. She started her channel/series four years ago as a platform for honest, raw conversations around politics, race and pop-culture. Ashley’s show has been featured in Vice magazine, BBC UK, and Blavity and has an audience of over 141,000 subscribers globally.

 
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kudzai Makomva

speaker

Kudzai Makomva has thirteen years of experience in strategy, design and course correction for start-ups in the development sector. In her most recent role as Chief Operating Officer for Delta Philanthropies, she supports the work of an impact investment fund aiming to accelerate human capital development in southern Africa. Prior to this, Kudzai served as the founding Director of the Southern Africa Development Corporation (SADC) Malaria Elimination Eight Initiative, and seven years with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in east and southern Africa.

 She is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at Harvard University, where she also studied economics for her bachelor’s degree. Kudzai is also a Fellow of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Executive Global Health Leadership Programme.

 
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adewale oparinde

speaker

Adewale is the Founder and CEO of EZFarming, the first farm accelerator that helps local African farmers finance their businesses. He is a serial entrepreneur and an agricultural economist with over 15 years industry experience in agricultural and international development sectors. He has managed multi-million dollar agricultural development projects, traveled and worked across 10 different countries in Africa and South-East Asia while collaborating with international organizations such as the World Bank and IITA.

Adewale received his Ph.D. in 2011 with a specialization in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Cambridge in the UK, and has participated in policy discussions at the 2009 UN General Assembly on UN youth programs.  

 
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Catherine Nyambura

speaker

Catherine Nyambura is the founder of Young Women Driving Change Collective, a consultancy outfit that leverages the expertise of young feminist professionals from the global south. She is also the Gender and Advocacy Lead at the SDGs Kenya Forum and has previously worked as Deputy Director with FEMNET and Dandelion Kenya.

Catherine is a 2016 Mandela Fellow, Women Deliver Young Leader and 120 Under 40 Honoree. She sits on the board for Msichana Kuria, a young women organization working to end female genital mutilation, and a drug policy group called Youth RISE. Her research focus areas include gender equality, women’s empowerment, and sexual and reproductive health.

 
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Tokunbo kujore

speaker

Tokunbo Kujore is a social impact strategist and founder of Afro, which celebrates African girl excellence and provides access to quality education for girls in Africa.

A California State University, Los Angeles, University of Southern California and Harvard Business School HBX alumna, her work in community service, youth development and impact projects span over 10 years in both in the U.S. and Africa. In collaboration with impact influencers and brands, she creates engaging social-impact projects, education & leadership workshops for the advancement and well-being of women and children. Her professional background includes work with UN Women, Los Angeles USNC, USAID and Girls Inc.

 
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Edmond Layrea

speaker

Edmond is a motivational speaker and actor. He is the founder of Laryea Broadcasting Network (LBN), a media company that creates and distributes industry-leading content across a variety of platforms to audiences around the world.

With over seven years of experience in the television industry, Edmond has built up a credible reputation working for companies such as CBS Sports, SportsNet New York (SNY), WFAN and YES Network. He has co-hosted the pre-game, post-game and halftime shows for IMG Rutgers Radio and called a handful of high school football games for Verizon Fios News 1 in New York City. Edmond has also appeared in movies (Paterno) and TV shows (FBI, Power, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, New Amsterdam, and The Enemy Within). He graduated with a Communications & Labor Studies degree from Rutgers University.

 
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Seyi Adebanjo

speaker

Seyi Adebanjo is a queer gender-non-conforming Nigerian artist, who raises awareness around social issues through digital video, multimedia photography, and ritual and writing workshops. Seyi was recently awarded a residency with The Laundromat Project, the BRIO Award and 1 of the 8 Exciting Filmmakers Shaking Up Hollywood by IndieWire. Their film “Justice for Islan Nettles” has screened on PBS Channel 13 and continues to screen globally along with the documentary “Something Happened On The Way To West Africa!”

 
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Danielle Falk

speaker

Danielle is a doctoral student in the International and Comparative Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests include the role and well-being of refugee teachers as well as the policies that affect educators in crisis and displacement contexts. Most recently, Danielle was the Lead Trainer and Capacity Building Manager for Teachers for Teachers in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya. Danielle completed her Master of Arts at Teachers College where she was a research assistant on a global education study for urban refugees as well as a study on refugee teacher identity and professional development. Danielle also supported research on the education sector in Rwanda during her Master’s studies, where she previously had lived and worked at a secondary school for vulnerable adolescents and orphans. 

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Joshua oluwaseyi

speaker

Joshua Gabriel Oluwaseyi is an SDG Advocate, social media marketer, tech enthusiast and founder of learnblue.org.

 He describes LearnBlue as a Gen-Z lead nonprofit organization creating awareness around the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by empowering Africa’s next generation of leaders to become thoughtful change makers in their communities.

 
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Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido

speaker

Juliet is a passionate social justice advocate for gender equity, quality public school education, financial literacy & empowerment programs for women, and the delivery of certification training, seminars and workshops on self-leadership & wealth creation.

She is the Co-Founder of Whole WoMan Network & i.S.E.R.V.E.2050 (two social enterprises for women/youth) with a mission to raise up a new generation of transformational, ethical and creative African leaders. She is also the founder of POETRY4Change & SEED4Her/SEED4Him Leadership Initiatives for African Youths.

 
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Chine Mmegwa

speaker

Chine is Vice President in the Tech, Media and Telecom Banking group at Goldman Sachs. Her career includes eight years of sector expertise in internet, media and sports banking across M&A and capital markets. Chine graduated from New York University, Stern School of Business with a concentration in behavioral economics, financial analysis and policy development. Her past experience includes working with non-profit organizations such as the Clinton Foundation, politics and education.

 
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vincent jones

speaker

Jones is a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University, and an adjunct professor of Public Health at York College of the City University of New York. He is devoted to eliminating health and educational disparities among disadvantaged individuals and communities through scholarship, teaching, analysis, and management. His research interests include examining the intersections between policy & health, spirituality, and sexual health on mobile apps.

 
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Temi aregbesola-okere

speaker

Temi is the host of The University of Real Life with Dr. Temi podcast. Additionally, she is the founder and Executive Director of the IRETi Foundation, with a mission to enhance the health services and quality of life in Nigeria. She has over 13 years of experience in the medical and public health sector. Her career included working as a Program Manager at the Epilepsy Foundation, and as the Director of Prevention and Outreach Programs with the Bronx Community Pride Center.

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Uchechi Chinyere

speaker

 

Conference Agenda

 
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