Africa and Africans are entering a new dimension in which the women folk are no longer relegated to the back burners of economic and political processes and decision-making. Of a truth, it is becoming the norm to encounter dynamic, globally minded, socio-economic savvy, women of all ages and affiliations who are the driving force behind affirmative changes in the polity. Eniola Mafe joins the ranks of the formidable females who are shattering glass ceilings all over the continent.
Eniola was born in the United Kingdom although her ethnicity can be traced to Western Nigeria. During her studies at the Spelman College for International Studies in the United States, Eniola served as the Spelman Student Government Association’s Secretary of Academic Affairs, and went on to found PLUS (Professional Ladies Understanding Success); an organization that was dedicated to the leadership and professional development of her female counterparts.
Eniola who speaks German and Yoruba fluently was also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the Golden Key International Honours Society, and the Mortarboard Honours Society. She was a Women of Excellence Leadership Scholar and one of 100 outstanding students in the world to receive the Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Award, as an investment banking intern at Merrill Lynch during her four year matriculation at Spelman College. After a stint on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch as an Equity Financing Analyst, Eniola attended the Georgetown University, Walsh School of Foreign Service; her studies borne of experience in the world of high finance, focused on international business development and the role of the private sector in economic development.
Eniola was subsequently employed by the Women’s World Banking Ghana (WWBG), where she developed social impact methodology to quantify the social and community impact of the microfinance institutions on its clients, investors, and wider community. Eniola also manages the Africa Businesswomen’s Network (ABWN), a partnership among local African businesswomen’s organizations that enhances the management, business development, and leadership skills of businesswomen.
The biggest fish she is frying however is on her job as the Program Manager for Africa in Vital Voices Global Partnerships; an international Non-Governmental Organization whose mission is ‘to identify, invest in and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities.’
Vital Voices has reportedly invested over $11.7million in African women through its initiatives since 2007, provided leadership and capacity building training to approximately 800 direct participants; and its programs and grants have reached more than 50,000 women from 38 countries since 2007.
In 2012, Eniola was named one of the 99 most influential foreign policy leaders under the age of 33, or the “99 Under 33,” by the by Diplomatic Courier and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy for her leadership in elevating and empowering women globally; and for “bringing people together in creative ways to address a pressing international issue or enhance the foreign policy community.”
Eniola is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on the topic of women’s entrepreneurship development in Africa courtesy of her wide-ranging experiences garnered as she engages with the business environment, the policies, legislation, institutions and entities in the course of her duties.
From running a collegial Association for ladies in college to running an international organization in Africa; one is indeed never too early or too young to make a mark.