9 Nigerian Mums Who Inspire

Gone are the days when becoming a mother means that dreams take a back seat. Now we have so many mums who make you wonder why anyone ever thought that motherhood should be focused on raising children and family. Now there are mothers who are running businesses, in the board room, have created their own tables, not content waiting for a seat at the table, growing their career and slaying motherhood too.

We are celebrating mums whose success stories are a source of inspiration to others. In commemoration of Women’s history month. Below is a list of mums who inspire doing amazing things in different ways.

Tayo Bolodeoku

Tayo Bolodeoku, is a Le Cordon Bleu trained pastry chef and the founder of the highly sought-after baked goods and gelato brand- HansandRené. Hans and René is Nigeria’s very first ‘made in Nigeria’ gelateria. She found her love for baking during a difficult time in her life when her twin sons were diagnosed with autism. As a result, the name, Hans & Rene, is the funny derivative of names of her twin sons – Folahan and Folarin (Hans & Rene).

Hans and René which was conceived in a small kitchen has since grown into six outlets scattered across the city of Lagos in just over 9 years. It also boasts of a growing team of over 100 staff.

Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo

Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo is the founder of August Secrets, an online healthy baby and toddler food solutions company. She is a wife and a mother of 2 children and has a Masters degree in International Affairs from the University of Lagos and a Diploma in Child Nutrition.

The August Secrets journey started as a hobby since childhood. It became fully fledged after she had her son abroad and he refused all packaged meals she gave him to eat at weaning stage. She had to resort to finding healthier local alternatives. She started documenting her recipes and cooking tips and later went ahead to study on Infant and Young Child Nutrition, while she fed her son with her unique recipes. Sharing this gift with other mothers as they demand it was the beginning of the company; Augustsecrets. According to her,” It’s been challenging and fun. I am living my dream”.

Bola Balogun

We first noticed her on the pages of This Day Style as one of the most stylish women in Lagos. It’s interesting how this woman who has five children looks so chic and she makes motherhood seemingly effortless.

Bola Balogun is Chief Creative Officer of Glam Networks/ Glam Brand Agency. She grew up in America and moved back to Nigeria with her husband in 2005! She has 5 super star children who are all academically accomplished, spiritually discerning, politically aware and mentally stable with kick-ass personalities and confidence. The children are between 8 to 15 years old.

On parenting, she shares that “We (her and her husband) decided to be Counter culture with our parenting and refuse to do what society demands and said NO to society norms including screen time, technology and, materialism etc. We don’t want our children sheltered from the world. That’s not the goal but we want to raise children who aren’t afraid to stand up for the values and ethics that’s been enshrined in them even when it is contrary to the society around them“. [READ: Mum of the Month – Bola Balogun ]

Yetty Williams

Yetty Williams is the founder of LagosMums, the first Nigerian parenting website dedicated to offering a one-stop destination for parents in Lagos, Nigeria and the Diaspora. LagosMums was founded after she had her second child. She was seeking information on parenting, however, the only resources she could find were US/UK based. So LagosMums was started to be a destination for mums to support each other here in Nigeria and it has continued to grow.

She believes that parenting should be a mindful and collaborative process. LagosMums mission is to be a family life and parenting resource for mums, parents, and caregivers, it takes an e-village to raise a child in the 21st Century. She encourages mums and women to be all that they can be while juggling it all. Also, she is a strong advocate of Work-Life balance and she encourages women to live an abundant life and she continues to empower fellow mums through her platform.

Veronica Odeka

According to pulse.ng, Celebrity stylist and beauty mogul Veronica Odeka has adopted the moniker “style mom” and we agree. She definitely has a passion for fashion! She styles high profile celebs, runs her own styling company and a luxury nail polish business – Vain Nail Bar. Looking stylish every time is a reputation she has earned effortlessly. Her style is impeccably chic, timeless and classy.  Veronica is quite the style icon and does so whilst juggling her family and her businesses.

Being busy is usually an excuse for sacrificing style for comfort but Veronica, ever the talented stylist, manages to successfully combine the two and despite being booked and busy, she’s always perfectly turned out and puts her best foot forward.

Bella Disu

Belinda Adenuga-Disu is a Nigerian business executive, arts enthusiast, and philanthropist with over 14 years of professional experience across industries. She currently provides strategic leadership as the Executive Vice-Chairman of the foremost multinational telecommunications company operating in Nigeria and Ghana. Bella also serves as a non-executive Director on the board of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Nigeria’s apex construction company, and as a director at Abumet Plc, a glass and aluminium manufacturing company.

She is a member of the prestigious Institute of Directors, Nigeria and the Nigerian Institute of Management. She is the chairperson of the Bella Disu Foundation, a non-profit organization she established to improve the potential of children from less-privileged backgrounds by providing access to quality education and employment skills. In addition to all of her achievements, she is an amazing wife and mother of two lovely kids.

Jumoke Adenowo

Mums who inspire

Olajumoke Olufunmilola Adenowo is an award-winning Nigerian architect, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, as well as a speaker, radio host, and author. She is the founder of the boutique architecture and interior design firm AD Consulting, based in Lagos, Nigeria. CNN described her as “Africa’s Starchitect” and The Guardian (Nigeria) has described her as “the face of Architecture in Nigeria”.

She recently celebrated her 50th birthday and she still has an amazing dress sense. On her sense of style, she saysI have always felt your style should be yours. I believe that clothes shouldn’t wear you. You should wear clothes. I like timeless, classic accessories and clothes.” Her dream destination is her family’s warm embrace.

Wherever they are, anywhere in the world once they are together, it’s bliss. “Anytime, she spends with her family is truly refreshing. Either with just one member or with all! We spend all the time we can together and each one of us is unique.  We really have fun — we have two sons, so, naturally, we go — zip lining, paragliding, fastest ride in the world — you name it. And I keep up with my sons. No way, no one leaves me behind. Even if I have to ask myself afterwards, ‘why did you get on that ride’?

She also teaches us to support other women and be cheerleaders for them when they win, and support systems for them when they fall. She is a daily inspiration to mums and she is the real #Mumgoals.

Ibukun Awosika

Awosika is the first female Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited. She is also the founder and CEO of The Chair Centre Group and the chairperson of After School Graduate Development Centre (AGDC), a social enterprise set up to address employ-ability and enterprise development among Nigerians youths. Her husband is Abiodun Awosika and together, they have three sons.

On motherhood and marriage, she saysI have been married for the past 29 years and I intend to be married until the last day of my life. My biggest successes in life has been as a wife in my husband’s home which means that being married or single should not be a factor that affects your ability to create personal wealth; It’s about your mindset, your commitment to the goal, the course to work in the interest of your family when you are personally and financially capable”. 

Adenike Ogunlesi

Adenike Ogunlesi, is the founder, CEO, and manufacturer of the Nigerian babies and kiddies clothing line called Ruff ‘n’ Tumble. The brand currently has a minimum of 15 stores spread across Nigeria. Her success story started in 1996, when she first sought to make pyjamas for her kids during the rainy season. These nighties were made out of cotton and looked trendy, colourful, and beautifully graced with a Peter Pan collar. The creativity in these pyjamas made them stand out from anything that was currently in the market. The high demand of this pyjamas by people triggered a spark in Adenike. She then decided to try out this new venture; whatever it may hold for her.

She started selling her hand-made clothing at some events like bazaars and even school markets. After selling clothing worth $600 in one day; she finally realized that she had a business venture that could scale the ceilings of success. And as they say, the rest is history.

Motherhood brings with it many expressions. Contrary to popular belief, it does not put an end to our dreams and aspirations. Instead, it is usually the beginning of a new phase filled with promises. For other mums who inspire, visit our Mum of the Month category where we feature different mums who talk about motherhood, how they balance their various roles and more.

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