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Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala the Director-General of the World Trade Organization

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to a woman of several firsts Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Currently, she serves as Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) (first woman and first African to do so); previously, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala twice served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister (2003-2006 and 2011-2015) and briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006, the first woman to hold both positions. She is a global finance expert, economist and international development professional with over 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America. She sits on numerous boards, has published several books and won multiple awards.

We discuss some of the key milestones in her life’s journey. Her early years were grounded in rural village life and during her teens the Nigerian civil war caused her family to lose everything and start afresh. She studied economics with the intent to become a developmental economist to help poor people in developing countries and earned a Ph.D. in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, 1981). During her tenure as Nigeria’s Finance Minister she succeeded to implement reforms that tripled the growth of the economy, fought corruption and cleared thirty billion dollars of external debt.

All her roles have enabled her to fulfil her dream of being able to have a material impact on peoples’ lives in an effort to change them for the better.

Women in leadership have the added responsibility of trying to use the position that they are in to introduce other women into their organisation, to mentor women and open opportunities.  Ask the question, how are you setting the example in the organisation you lead?

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, together with Julia Gillard, the former Prime Minister of Australia wrote the book, “Women and Leadership – Real Lives, Real Lessons” and analysed the lived experiences of female leaders, to derive 10 key lessons for women aspiring to a leadership position.

Tune in for more.

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