Joyce Agbanobi  and her team are trying fix the gender gap problem in the tech industry  through their Black Woman Paving Ways Initiative.

Joyce is an enthusiastic Tech leader who is passionate and committed to closing the gender gap for women of color in technology. She is a Technical Program Manager Lead at Microsoft with over 7 years + of experience in ecommerce sectors.

She is also the Co-Founder of the Black Woman Paving Ways, a platform that aims at closing the digital divide and increasing the percentage of women in STEM, through building initiatives to help women upskill for the future and Matching newbies to their dream Mentors across different Fortune 500 companies.

She founded BWPW with her grad school friend Lola Quadri  who is also in the tech sector.

Black Woman Paving Ways was created in November 2020 and since then, they have helped 4,000+ women find their unique paths in technology, gain skills for the future, get matched to technical experts and gotten their dream jobs.

Watch:  How To Save And Invest Wisely In 2023

With the major layoffs in the tech space., the goal of her company for this year is not only to bring women into technology but also to make sure they are uniquely skilled and indispensable on their roles.

To ensure that, and commemorate the Black history month, BWPW will be holding a free 2-weeks Data Analytics hands on training for women transitioning into tech, those in non-tech roles and those who own their business but not exactly sure how to make sense of their data. The training is open to both male and female.

In this interview with Esther Ijewere, Joyce shares her inspiring story and how her company is determined to support women transition into different parts of the tech industry.

Childhood Influence

I remember growing up being the only girl in a family of 6 (including my parents). With my dad been a mechanical engineer working in oil and gas, all he knew and wanted, was for all his kids to be either Engineers, Medical Doctor, or a huge disappointment.

I did not grow up having the opportunity to choose what I really wanted, my dad and Late Grand Pa (who was also an Engineering Professor) choose for me to become a Psychiatric Doctor hence I have a BSc in Psychology.

I remember my dad, saying when he was in school, in an Engineering class of 50 students, they only had about 10 girls and by final year they were left with only 2 girls with the others dropping out to less technical courses. As a result, he constantly coached my brothers and I exactly same way, to be always bold, never be afraid of been the only one and never to stop pushing even when its hard. My Parents never saw my Gender as a blocker to success, so I never saw it as a problem.

I have come this far in my career and rapidly growing, is because of some great traits (Grit, Confidence and Curiosity for Knowledge) I got from my Parents and Brothers. Who would have known that I will continuously be the only Girl or Black Girl in the room?

Inspiration Behind Black Woman Paving Way

Women are one of the most innovative creatures ever but been the only Woman of color constantly in the room was confusing to me, so I decided to really understand why and how that can change, instead of constantly complaining?

Based on my research, I realized there is a huge gender gap because of some key issues: Lack of Technical skill for the future, awareness, representation, and support on all levels. So, in 2020 during Covid, I started sharing knowledge on LinkedIn, IG, Clubhouse and had some technology series on a friends YouTube Channel- “how to break into the technology” with some technical trainings.

I also mentored women for free but got overwhelming after a while and knew I couldn’t scale doing this alone so I partnered with my Grad school friends who were also passionate about increasing the percentage of women in the space. That’s how BWPW was born!

The Journey So Far

I must say it’s been nothing short of amazing but also very tasking, time and personal funds consuming but refreshing, because we have been able to train, mentor, and help over 4,000+ women transition into different paths of technology across the globe. But we are still barely scratching the surface with over 3 billion women in the world, we have a lot more to do and planned for 2023, watch the space.

My Role As A Technical Program Manager Lead At Microsoft And How My Work Experiences In Jumia And Amazon Prepared Me For This Role

As a TPM, I Lead the analytics and process automation initiative for Hyperscale Network Connectivity in Azure, my strong analytical skills and PM experience across the 2 eCommerce giants has uniquely set me apart for my current role in Cloud Networking.

Challenges In My Line Of Work

I think my challenges are similar to a lot of other women in this space, but I can say the major challenge for me as a young woman of color and an Immigrant with an accent leading technical Projects in a room filled with white male mostly twice my age, I constantly have to prove myself, which I personally do not have a problem with as I am now used to it, but it’s a challenge.

Our BWPW Free 2-Week Introduction To Data Analytics Intensive Training For Women

With the current climate of heavy layoff in the tech space and as artificial Intelligence continues to take preeminence, we want to make sure our women are constantly upskilling to become the disruptor and not the disrupted. Low skill jobs will be the easiest to automate hence they need to stay up to date on latest technology and continuously learn new skills to stay relevant.

Whether you are a business owner, a Product Manager or wanting to get into the AI Space, an in-depth data analytics knowledge is very key.

Black woman paving way

Hence BWPW is partnering with some Snr. Data Engineers at Amazon, Google, and Samsung to hold a 2- weeks Hands on free Master Class to train women in Advanced Excel, SQL, Python and Tableau. With an opportunity to solve a real-life business problem through hands on project.

Click here to register; https://mailchi.mp/0fa2c3cea99b/data-science-masterclass?fbclid=PAAaZ7Ws_MqB3fNYMsK0BlYlnnDaWuUNgBB7Z9xgPNJkwI8OUQkkRYRjPPDHs

Other Projects And Activities

We have several products in works but our most recent is:

A platform to help democratize mentorship for women of color across the globe with a launch in 5 countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Canada, and US), so we are excited for that one.

What I Enjoy Most About My Job

Critical thinking and Ability to solve problems. Every Problem to me, is an opportunity to shine and learn something new.

3 Women Who Inspire Me And Why

  • Bozoma Saint John – CMO, Netflix
  • Shelley Zalis – Founder, Female Quotient
  • Annie Jean-Baptiste – Director, Product Inclusion & Equity @ Google

These women inspire me to do more every single day. They decided not to conform to the norm, but push themselves to constantly create solid tables, instead of waiting to be invited to one, in their respective space. Their continuous way paving for women in the cooperate space is highly admirable and with them I am hopeful for a brighter future with more women in it. I believe together we can all make this change!

What We Can Do Better As A Society To Support Women Who Aspire To Go Into The Tech Industry

Support: As of today, women make up to 47% of all employed adults in the US, yet according to Computerscience.org only 18% of women earn a computer science degree. This simply means just women alone are not able to do this, we need more male support to close the gender gap.

Hire Women: Diversity breeds innovation and according to ongoing research conducted by McKinsey, it’s been discovered that diverse teams financially outperform non-diverse teams as much as 25% based on gender diversity alone. Partner with platforms like BWPW for fill those roles.

Mentor and Promote Women: Again, it’s worth going out of your way to connect with women, support your female teammates and help them climb the ladder. It’s difficult to find your footing when your peers don’t look like you or can’t relate to your challenges. Be sure to extend the same benefit of doubt you extend to men.

Encourage Women to pursue STEM: the STEM Field can appear intimidating as its heavily male dominated, so it’s important we become the bridge for young women and encourage them to pursue these field.

Support Families: about 70% of adult women will become mothers so its important for companies to provide good employee benefits to include parental-focused incentives, as having a child is a huge life changing experience.

One Thing I Wish To Change In The Tech Sector

The Technology space is constantly changing, and companies should provide room for everyone to learn and grow whether you are an intern out of school or a leader. We need to support people, so they feel empowered by technology and not frightened by it.

Being A Woman Of Rubies

Honestly been exceptional to me means caring less about perfectionism and validation from everyone but deciding to be exceptional on my own terms. Embracing my uniqueness, acknowledging my struggles, following my path, believing in myself, and ensuring I don’t lose my identity is what makes me an exceptional woman

How We Are Reflecting International Women’s Day #Embraceequity 2023 Theme In BWPW

-Leading the Black Minority Student Program (BMSD) at Microsoft: creating technical workshops to educate, close the digital divide and expose high school students to technology

– Hiring Women

– Providing Mentorship for women within the company



Amazon just acquired Zoox, a self-driving startup company, run by Black female CEO Aicha Evans, for $1.2 Billion, Black Enterprise reports.

Zoox is the maker of self-driving vehicles built for purpose that also happen to be eco-friendly. Since 2014, the company has been testing these autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas and San Francisco, with most referring to them as a “robotaxi” service. For the last two years , Evans has been at the helm, working as CEO to help the company expand. Now, Amazon, a longstanding investor in various self-driving startups, has acquired the company for over $1 billion. 

“This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry. We have made great strides with our purpose-built approach to safe, autonomous mobility, and our exceptionally talented team working every day to realize that vision. We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future,” Evans said. 

The online retail giant plans to use the technology to tackle last-mile deliveries, officially automating ground delivery and revolutionizing the industry. Chief Safety Innovation Officer at Zoox, Mark Rosekind, spoke about the possibilities of the partnership, saying, “We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future. We’re going to start seeing [in] three to five years where people start actually deploying in cities, but it’s going to be 20 to 30 years before you start seeing this all over the place.” 

Evans will help spearhead the initiative, continuing to lead in her current role as CEO. 

Congratulations Aicha!

Amazon has reportedly claimed the worldwide rights for an untitled documentary centered on the Grammy award winning singer Rihanna.

Amazon doled out $25 million for the documentary directed by Peter Berg in a move that is said to bolster its streaming service platform, according to Billboard, citing unnamed sources.

This comes as the streaming wars near a fever pitch and viewers are being targeted from every vantage point across various services including Apple TV+, Disney+, Netflix and Amazon.

“Peter Berg’s bold and innovative Rihanna is an unfiltered look into Rihanna’s life, providing a glimpse into the evolution of one of the world’s most well-known pop artists,” Berg’s production company, Film45, said on its website.

During the production process, Berg was given “unparalleled access” into Rihanna’s world where he was able to compile over 1,200 hours of footage for the project, according to Film45.

“The doc takes us on a journey through private insights into Rihanna’s personality and humor, philosophies on work, family and love that are both moving and inspirational.”

– Film45, Peter Berg’s non-scripted entertainment production company 




Credit: foxbusiness.com

MacKenzie Bezos has pledged to give away at least half of her $35 billion fortune to charity as part of a movement started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.

MacKenzie Bezos became one of the world’s wealthiest individuals following her recent divorce from Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos.

Bezos joins Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and Robert F. Smith on the list of donors to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s initiative.

In a letter published by Giving Pledge, Bezos writes of having “a disproportionate amount of money to share” and credits “an infinite series of influences and lucky breaks we can never fully understand” for her wealth.

Bezos’ signature, alongside hedge fund billionaires David Harding and Paul Tudor Jones, Brian Armstrong chief executive of cryptocurrency company Coinbase, and WhatsApp’s co-founder Brian Acton, brings the total signatories to more than 200 people.

The Giving Pledge began in August 2010 when 40 of America’s wealthiest individuals made a commitment to give more than half of their wealth away. The scheme is described as an “open invitation for billionaires … to publicly dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy”.

Although MacKenzie Bezos doesn’t list any particular causes she writes,


Credit: fabwoman.ng

They both shared tweets following the settlement saying how grateful they both are that the process of the divorce is over.

The couple first announced that they were separating in January 2019.

Following the divorce, Jeff Bezos who has the title of the richest man in the world will retain about 75 percent of their joint $144billion Amazon stake, leaving MacKenzie with just a quarter which represents a four percent stake in the company worth $35.8billion.

Jeff Bezos retains his title as richest man in the world with a net worth of $107.5billion from $144billion.

See their tweets below.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Bella Naija

Oprah Winfrey has signed a new partnership with Apple.


Credit: xonecole.com

Edirin Edewor is a Multiple Amazon Bestselling Author, an award-winning Entrepreneur, International Speaker, Consultant, Trainer and Coach at the Edirin Edewor Company. She is the founder of the Online Publishers and Entrepreneurs Network (OPEN), a community of over 20,000 Authors, Writers and Entrepreneurs, dedicated to helping Africans tell their original stories from their African perspective, showcasing Africa’s literary skills by helping writers become published as well as profiting from their skills. In 2018 alone, she helped over 250 authors get published, with more than 35 Amazon Bestsellers

Edirin is committed to work that focuses on youth empowerment, women-focused organizations, education, and employment as part of the United nations Sustainable Development Goals. She has collaborated with several NGOs directed at youth empowerment, entrepreneurship, education for the girl child and women equality.  In September 2017, she was nominated for Supportive Publisher of the Year by the Mainland TV Fashion Show and Awards and has been profiled by several media outfit. Edrin has spoken at different life changing events both home and abroad. She shares her inspiring story with me in this mind blowing interview.

Childhood Influence

I had a very interesting childhood. We didn’t grow up with any toys. The only things we had were a couple of Children’s Britannica and Encyclopedia than an aunt had brought back from London. It had pictures of places, of British Royal History, dinosaurs and other wonderful things that piqued my interest and curiosity. I became an avid reader and I have been ever since. I learned about journaling and writing stories from one of those books and thus began to write from a very young age.

 However, I never imagined it would become a career. I didn’t even think it would become a career as at the beginning of 2017. I had a written my first book in 2016 as a process of self-therapy after I was diagnosed with Early-Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis that same year and didn’t really think anything of it, even after it became a bestseller on Amazon. It was a program with Steve Harris, and a nudge from John Obidi, that set me on this course, in May of 2017. It’s been amazing since then.


I always like to say I am a product of grace, because truth be told, I shouldn’t even be alive today. I struggled with Chronic depression from my teens and by the time I was 20, I had gone through 2 suicide attempts. The last one in 2011 was meant to kill me, but somehow, I survived it. I didn’t know what purpose meant at the time, but after that experience, I realized that God had kept me alive because He had something planned for me that I was meant to do.

I graduated at the top of my class from the Department of Fisheries, faculty of Agriculture, University of Benin, in 2012. From my Youth Service year and beyond, I amassed professional certificates more times than I can count. Yet, with my stellar CV. I couldn’t get a job. 502 applications latter, still nothing. I started several businesses to make ends meet and failed in 9 out of 11 of them.

My Jewelry business and Interior Design Company were just beginning to take off and become successful in 2016 – we even won an award for company of the year- when I felt the nudge to shut it down and focus on helping people. I believe that if I wasn’t diagnosed with Early Onset RA, I still wouldn’t have listened to that voice and I would have been miserable. Many times, the things that afflict us are not there to make us suffer, nut to help us pause, reflect and re-adjust course.

Inspiration behind OPEN

OPEN (Online Publishers and Entrepreneurs Network) first began as eBook Profits Mastery. We started out with the vision to help people write, publish and profit from their books; however, as the scope of the vision became clearer and clearer, we realized we could do more for people, besides just writing and publishing books. We could help entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial people leverage their published assets – books, blogs, social media articles, online courses, and all kinds of content – to build influence, visibility and profitability in their industry. This, we rebranded from EBook Profits Mastery to the Online Publishers and Entrepreneurs Network. Since we did that, the community has grown to over 20,000 members in just a little over one and a half years.

Impact of my work

Whew! It’s hard to quantify the impact that my work has had on people. Besides helping people with publishing, content creation, storytelling and business strategy, I also use my story to show people that anything is possible, and that challenges are only stepping stones to success, and not excuses.

In the past one and a half years, my book “The A – Z of eBook Publishing” has reached thousands of people. Over 250 of them have personally told me of their newly published books. We shine the spotlight on them on OPEN at no cost at all. Dozens of them have become Bestsellers on Amazon in a time where people still don’t believe Nigerians can self-publish on international platforms. I’ve consulted with big personal and corporate brands on online publishing and using storytelling to drive their marketing ad bottom line.  By sharing my story of depression, surviving suicide attempts, abuse, failures and serious health challenges, I am helping youths and women in Africa see themselves as more than their circumstances, and beating the odds to make something remarkable out of themselves. I cannot put an exact number to the lives I have touched, but I hope it’s a lot.


The biggest challenge I face in my work is still the issue of inclusion. For example, it’s still a challenge and a more difficult process for Nigerian and African Authors to go global by publishing their books on international platforms like Amazon. We still find it difficult to get paid royalties from our books because of restrictive payment channels. When we do, all that’s left is little because of heavy taxation. This can be quite discouraging for African authors who want to go international.

Another challenge is copyrights issues. We do not have very strong copyrights laws in this part of the world, so we see a lot of piracy in different forms. This discourages a lot of would-be authors from getting published.

Yet another challenge is the access to information. Still a lot of writers think that they have to have a publishing house accept to publish their books before they can get published.

My Drive

My drive is simple. I want the world to finally hear African stories told by Africans, so they can experience the heart of the people, their passions, their struggles, their victories and the unique blend of cultures that make us who we are. There are a lot of opportunities available to African Writers when we build influence, get discovered and are given a bigger platform.

Other project and activities

I have a number of projects I’ve already begun, and others I’m beginning in 2019. One of the biggest projects we’re planning for 2019 is to host a book fair where authors can showcase their books, bookstores can also exhibit theirs, new publishers can have a platform to launch their books and even have a contest where amazing writers can win publishing deals. I’m also starting a support community for women in Africa, connecting them to power circles via mentorship and accountability programs, so they can break barriers and achieve their business goals.


For me, the biggest reward is hearing someone say, “You showed me what’s possible, and because of what you said or did, I have also done”. Nothing trumps that in my books.

In five years….

I’m not one to tell. I mean, less than 2 years ago, I was on a different trajectory, and here we are today. What I am certain of, is that my purpose will remain the same, but the platforms to fulfill it will definitely be bigger. My purpose is to inspire people to see possibilities in themselves that they never saw before, and help them turn those possibilities into reality.

Recognition for women

I believe more can be done in the area of recognising women in any sector, for their contribution. This not only encourages these women, but gives the younger generation proper role models to aspire to, so that we raise better generations of women who can dare to dream and dare to act on their dreams.

My Inspiration

My mum inspires me to be better. Not to sound cliche but she has been my rock and backbone ever since I could remember. She’s sacrificed a lot for me and my sisters to be where we are today. She says I make her proud everyday, but I want to do more. She’s my biggest motivation. I also have a younger sister who is still in her teens and she looks up to me. I want to be the kind of role model for her that I wish I had when I was her age.

Being a Woman of Rubies

What makes me a woman of rubies….my unrelenting passion and drive to leave this world better than I met it.

Advice for female writers and aspiring publishers

I always say that everyone has a book in them. You don’t need permission from anyone to write and publish your work because nobody is going to give it to you. You have to step up and take what you want. You have a book you want to write? Write it. Today.