Nigerian Women In Canada are breaking boundaries, and making the motherland proud. Being a women’s advocate and new Immigrant In Canada, the first thing I did was to check out women whose work and life would inspire me to dare to be different, and stay focused. I have celebrated some of these women for their work and global achievements on my platform as “Women of Rubies”, and others I followed their work closely.
These women have been able to break the barrier that prevents black women from reaching the top of their careers. They have been celebrated for their accomplishments, and recognized for changing narratives, and making room for other women to thrive through their various endeavors.
In no particular order, here is our “Part 1” Women of Rubies list of 16 Nigerian women In Canada who are making us proud.
Dr. Adeola Olubamiji
Adeola Deborah Olubamiji is a Nigerian-Canadian technologist who specializes in 3D printing (also known as metal and plastic additive manufacturing). She became the first Black person to obtain a PhD in Biomedical Engineering in 2017 from University of Saskatchewan, Canada. She is the chief consultant at D-Tech Centrix ,an education and career consulting company, located in Ontario Canada and Indiana USA.
Dr. Addy is also the Founder of STEMHub Foundation, a Canadian non-profit that empowers and teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to students and early career professionals. In addition, she seats on the board of Health Science & Innovation Inc. Indianapolis, Indiana as the Secretary of the board.
She was recently recognized as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Women In Canada. She is a multi-award winner and mentor to several young people.
2. Dr. Rita Orji
Rita Orji is a Nigerian-Canadian Computer Science Professor, a Canada Research Chair in Persuasive Technology, and the Director of the Persuasive Computing Lab at Dalhousie University in Canada.
Rita has contributed some amazing things to Canada, including founding and directing the Persuasive Computing Lab at Dalhousie, and conducting research on designing interactive technologies that empower people, improve lives and contribute to solving many societal problems. “As a professor, she conduct research, teach, supervise and mentor students, write grants and get involved in many community services.
Due to her passion for mentoring the next generation of youth and female tech leaders, promoting research excellence, equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM, Professor Rita founded the Education for Women and the Less Privileged Foundation, NGO, and she recently launched a YouTube channel, “Time with Prof. Rita.” She was recently recognized as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Women In Canada.
3. Brenda Okorogba
Brenda Okorogba is an award-winning Service and Learning Experience Designer, Grant Writer, College and Career Readiness and Success Coach, Project Manager, and a Training Facilitator with 10 years of progressive experience ideating, designing, and facilitating outcome-based programming for diverse populations across industries, sectors, and geographies. Brenda is a strong advocate for equity in all its manifestations and is constantly looking for new ways to spark social change.
She is passionate about enhancing opportunities for women and girls, fostering employment growth, and increasing education in order to offer practical, quantifiable, and outcome-driven solutions that have an impact on women’s economic well-being. Brenda’s activism is centered on socio-economic security, education and gender equity, and collective prosperity. In 2018, Brenda was selected as a young leader to join a team of 100 Gender Equity Advocates with the YWCA Canada who went to the Parliament of Canada to lobby for $75 Million.
She spoke to Manitoban MPs and Senators on pressing issues and the need to invest more in economic security, employment opportunities, access to quality education, housing and healthcare services for women and young girls across Manitoba. The Day on the Hill started off with a federal funding announcement totalling $1.25 Million from the former Minister of Status of Women, the Honorable Maryam Monsef .
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brenda raised $13K for the YWCA Canada using social media, as a way of supporting the organization to provide quality healthcare and shelter services to marginalized women across the country. Brenda took initiative and became a YWCA Ambassador to fundraise for essential services!
Brenda enjoys facilitating training on workforce development, labor market integration, career development, college readiness and success training, youth education and employment, and reskilling programs funded by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) partnering with Immigrant-serving Agencies (ISAs) that provide resettlement and broad-based services to newcomers and Government-assisted refugees (GARs) in Ontario.
Brenda currently facilitates a Government of Canada/IRCC funded workforce development program at World Skills Employment Centre, the “Empowering Visible Newcomer Women” program with specific sessions on personal branding and growth mindset, career readiness and transition.
Brenda has provided college and career readiness coaching to diverse students across the world who have successfully secured $80.4M in scholarships, bursaries, differential tuition fee waivers, fellowships, and graduate assistantships.
She wrote and launched a college financing resource as part of the AMEKETUNI (Let’s Fix Ours) Scholars Program by Momentswithbren which contains a list of various financial aid such as scholarships, and career development grants worth $446B .
Brenda has been recognized for her selfless community advocacy and thought leadership as the: 2022 100 Most Accomplished Black Canadian Women awarded by Honorable Jean Augustine, Manitoba150 Honors Award (once-in-a-lifetime), 2022 Career Coach/Educator by TalentEgg Canada, 2020 Woman of Influence by Divas of Colour UK, 2019 Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award, 2019 Mayor Award by Volunteer Manitoba, 2019 & 2020 Top 9 Finalist Future Leaders of Manitoba, 2019 Youth Advocate Award by Universal Women’s Network Canada, 2019 Top 100 Black Women to Watch Out in Canada by CIBWE, 2019 Diana Award UK, 2014 Emerging Leader Award University of Manitoba, 2013 Congress of Black Women of Manitoba Scholarship Award, and many others. Brenda currently sits on the Board of Directors of social-impact driven Canadian Charitable organizations like the Students Commission of Canada, Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity, and the Immigrant Women Services Ottawa (IWSO).
She is also a Grant Writer at STEMHub Foundation Canada.
4. Tracy Folorunsho-Barry
Tracy Folorunsho-Barry is a multi-award-winning career strategist, recruiter, Founder and CEO of GROW Women Leaders and GROW Foundation. During her migration to Canada from Nigeria, Barry faced struggles with integrating into the country. She lacked the proper guidance and support she needed as an immigrant. Barry also found that her struggles were common for other immigrant women in Canada and decided to take action after freeing herself from a limited lifestyle.
She took upon the initiative to start helping other women, especially immigrants, reach their full potential and access new opportunities regarding their careers. Since then, she has dedicated her career to helping thousands of women, especially immigrants, get hired and advance their career.
In 2017, under GROW Foundation, Barry launched Project150: Accomplished Immigrant Women in Canada and the Speak Out Women series where she began gathering stories from more than 200 immigrant women across Canada who have overcome adversity to achieve success in their careers and lives.
Later in 2018, Barry founded GROW Women Leaders (GROW), a career leadership development and advancement platform designed to help women get hired and advance their careers. In 2021, she opened The GROW Space, a socially conscious 7000sq ft facility that houses Nurture café, lounge, co-working space and more. Proceeds from the facility go directly towards supporting women, especially immigrants, to get hired and advance their careers – the public is encouraged to use the facility to work and study in.
For her contributions and community involvement, she has been honored with various awards and recognitions such as; Top 100 Black Women to Watch In Canada, Top 6 Immigrant Women of Inspiration, and a notable recognition by Mayor Don Iveson and the City of Edmonton in 2020.
5. Patricia Bebia Mawa
After launching a successful career as a TV personality in Nigeria as the host of the show Lunch Date, Patricia Bebia Mawa relocated to Canada and essentially started her media career over from scratch. She’s now the executive vice president of the Afroglobal TV channel as well as host and producer of the long-running TV show, Planet Africa, which is broadcasted across Canada on OMNI TV and syndicated to Europe and Africa.
She is also the executive vice president and editorial director of Afroglobal parent Silvertrust Media, which she co-founded with her husband, Moses. Their media empire includes magazines, TV shows, awards, and an expanding online presence.
Listed in the Who’s Who in Black Canada, she is a recipient of the Toronto Police Community Service Award, the International Women Achievers Award, the Martin Luther King DreamKeeper Award, and a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
6. Ehi Ade-Mabo
For over 10 years, Ehi has inspired and empowered men and women all ages and walks of life to rise above their challenges and be the best they can be. Whether you struggle with finding your sweet spot in your purpose, relationships, finances, brand and self esteem, or you just know life should be more exciting that it is now, you are not alone. Ehi Ade Mabo has continued to encourage and coach people of all ages to finding the zeal, power and Passion to rise above their current struggles, and live the life of their dreams.
Ehi Ade Mabo Is a life Coach, blogger, writer, speaker and author. She has impacted thousands all over the world with her teaching and mentorship.
7. Adebola Adefioye
Adebola is a Child Development Practitioner. She holds an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Seneca College, Master’s in Child and Youth Care, from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and a Certificate in Advancing Women’s Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding for Community Development from Coady Institute, Canada. She is a final semester student in a Graduate Certificate program in Mental Health Intervention (MHI). Adebola has worked with children, women and families in different settings (child care, school, shelter, crisis-line and community). Adebola is passionate about building authentic relationships with racialized, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and Person of Colour) children, families and communities and collaborating with them to reduce inequities, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and improve mental-health and wellness.
Adebola works for a provincial non-profit agency on a project that focuses on understanding the impact of COVID-19 on racialized mothers and educators in Ontario. The project will inform recommendations for feminist, child care, and family programs policies in Ontario, Canada.
She is also actively involved in Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) work. She offers training, workshops and public education programs to various organizations. She is the founder of the Afro Women and Youth Foundation, a non-profit organization providing leadership, empowerment and mentorship programs to Black immigrant women and youth in Toronto and Sudbury, Ontario.
Adebola has won many awards.
8. Ariyike Akinbobola
Ariyike Akinbobola is a Nigerian Author and Amazon Canada Best Selling Author, content creator, foreign trained Lawyer currently working as a Senior Business Immigration Analyst in Toronto. Her work experience spans over a decade in the Media, Entertainment, Consulting, Immigration and Not-for.Profit Industries. Through her entertainment Platform, Ariland Entertainment, she hosts Moving Abroad: Immigrant Success Stories, an immigrant talk show where she interviews Immigrants succeeding globally. She also showcases African culture, fashion, lifestyle and Immigrant experiences through storytelling.
Ariyike has a Certificate in Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice from Harvard X and she also coaches Immigrant families relocating abroad on expectations and how to navigate their new reality and she consults for aspiring authors who want to learn how to self publish their books on Amazon. Through her Ariyike Arise Initiative Africa, she has helped to fund the education of Children in disadvantaged communities in Africa. In 2020, they donated 1000 facemasks to People in disadvantaged communities in Ajegunle, Lagos, Nigeria. She believes the world would be a better place if everyone did more for others.
In 2021, Ariyike became the first winner of the Immigrant Leader award at the Universal Women’s Network Women of Inspiration Award. As an advocate for Female Genital Mutilation abandonment in Nigeria, she volunteered as a digital advocate for UNFPA / UNICEF and was recognized as the UNFPA / UNICEF Frown Award – Female Genital Mutilation Abandonment Advocate of the year amongst other recognitions.
Ariyike also volunteers as a Literacy Ambassador for Project 99A in Canada and a Mentor with the Canadian Multicultural Group. Her books, Beautifully Coloured and The Cost of our Lives, both Amazon Best selling books are available on Amazon. She enjoys spending time with her family, writing, dancing, meeting new people and creating content on her YouTube channel. Ariyike is married with Children.
9. Ejibola Adetokunbo Taiwo
Ejibola Adetokunbo-Taiwo is an entrepreneur, an entrepreneurship consultant, a business coach, and an advocate for women entrepreneurs who is passionate about encouraging, empowering, and supporting women to use entrepreneurship as a tool for leadership and economic advancement.
She’s the CEO of Simply Ejibola Inc., the Founder and Principal Consultant at de Sedulous Women Leaders, and has also been the lead creator of several entrepreneurship initiatives like femImmiGRANTS, a grant specifically for BIPOC female entrepreneurs in Canada, the iiNTEGRATE NEXT program for newcomers in Canada, the iLaunchHERproduct, a program aimed at connecting women-owned businesses with big box retail stores in Canada, and the Rise Up Pitch Competition, a national grant program for Black Canadian women entrepreneurs.
Ejibola has been recognized for her work by several organizations like the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Immigrant Magazine, Diversity Magazine Canada, 2022’s 100 Accomplished Black Women, and she is also one of our 2021 Top 25 Women of Influence Awards recipients.
10. Deborah Ojo
Deborah Ojo is the founder and CEO Deborahomes, A multi million dollar real estate investor and an award winning real estate broker devoted to serving the needs of real estate buyers and sellers throughout the Greater Toronto Market . When she is not investing into real estate, she is helping her client start or continue to achieve their financial freedom through Real estate.
11. Dr. Onye Nnorom
Onyenyechukwu (Onye) Nnorom, family physician, specialist in public health and preventive medicine (born 27 February 1981 in Montreal, Quebec). Nnorom is the associate director of the residency program in public health and preventive medicine at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She also leads the Black health curriculum at the university’s medical school. Her work addresses the health inequities that racialized and immigrant communities face.
Since 2016, Nnorom has led the University of Toronto’s efforts to build education on these issues into its medical school curriculum. In February 2020, Nnorom was appointed the first ever equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) lead of the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. She advises the department’s executive on policies that impact EDI for faculty, residents, students and staff.
Nnorom is the creator and host of the Race, Health & Happiness podcast. She launched the show in 2020 to help racialized people stay well, thrive and find joy. Its first season coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affected Black and other racialized peoples. She was recently recognized as on the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian.
12. Jenny Okonkwo
Game changing community builder, founder of award winning Black Female Accountants Network An experienced business and finance leader, Jenny is passionate about helping women uncover their full potential in order to become their best professional selves and achieve their career goals. In 2016, a workplace representation gap led her to create Black Female Accountants Network (BFAN).
BFAN is an award winning volunteer non profit group that has helped newcomers to Canada reconnect with their professional careers, inspires and encourages future generations of female business leaders, creates professional and personal growth opportunities for local members.
In 2019 as a result of her work, Jenny was nominated and became a “Top 75” Finalist, Canadian Immigrant Awards, was recognized as one of the “Top 100” Black Women to Watch in Canada and received the “Be the Change” Award from Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario.
Jenny also received formal recognition in 2019 from MP Omar Alghabra, in his previous capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade Diversification. Jenny is a member of the AICPA (Association of International Certified Professional Accountants) National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.
13. Nnenna Uboma
Nnenna Uboma is the Chief Strategic Officer (CSO) of Beyond Math. Nnenna is an Analytics Senior leader and has over 20 years of experience leading high performing analytical teams to develop industry edge solutions. Nnenna is known for her “Can do” attitude and ability to think out-of-the-box. Nnenna has grown passion for tutoring and coaching analytical professional over the past decade. She has mentored many successful professionals in Analytics Nnenna spends her spare time nurturing High School kids in Leadership and Entrepreneurship skills. She was recently recognized for her work at the 100 ABC
14. Janey Buzugbe
Janey is an energetic entrepreneur and tech partnerships leader who believes in living life by giving; and what she has to give is humanity at the intersection of business and technology. As of recently, she headed the Black Innovation Programs & Partnerships at the DMZ, providing leadership and support to Founders across 5 programs with resources and access to 30+ partners to help grow their ventures – but that is not all. She is the host of JaneyofCanada; a YouTube channel providing career & settlement advice for immigrants and also the Founder of Immiducation, a community-first Startup that supports over 17000+ immigrant professionals with career-readiness skills, a career network and access to careers in Tech.
Over the past decade, her tech career has span over the corporate, non-profit and startup worlds in digital marketing, program & product management, recruitment, and Tech Partnerships.
Janey holds an undergraduate degree in Information Technology, postgraduate certificates in Media and Account Management and a Master’s in Management Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.
15. Maryam Muritala
16. Nifemi Fagbohun