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Interview With The Group CEO at Emerging Africa Capital Group, Toyin F. Sanni

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Toyin F. Sanni, driven by a passion for impact is the Group CEO at Emerging Africa Capital Group. A Nigerian based provider of financial services aimed to facilitate the investment process for and with African entities and individuals. In this interview with Alaba Ayinuola, she speaks on leadership, business, inclusion and the gap her company, Emerging Africa Capital Group is filling.

 

I always love to ask thought leaders like you about their dream jobs. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a young girl, I dreamed of becoming an advocate when I grew up so I could defend the oppressed and fight for just causes. I did qualify as an advocate and practice law for a while, but then I discovered the world of finance.

The path to the top isn’t always easy but you have accomplished a great deal. What’s the greatest hurdle you’ve encountered, and how did you overcome it?

The greatest hurdle I encountered was occasional opposition from peers or superiors who seemed more interested in competing than in collaborating, even when we were supposedly on the same side. I have always handled this by continuing to give my best and to add value indiscriminately to them and to the rest of the organisation and group.

 

What are the best and worst decisions you’ve ever made?

Best decisions have been hiring and later coaching and mentoring people whom others had given up on and who ended up becoming star performers. My worst decisions have been hiring one or two personnel with technical abilities but major character defects.

 

Talking about gender inclusion, what is the most significant barrier in achieving more equality between women and men in business and leadership? What solution would you proffer?

Significant barriers include unequal opportunities and bias – conscious and unconscious. I would proffer the following solutions;

  • Awareness creation amongst both men and women.
  • Deliberate affirmative action in favour of women opportunities where qualifications are equal.
  • Investigating adverse decisions on requests or applications by women in cases where same requests were approved for men to ensure bias played no role.
  • Organisations should set and monitor measurable inclusion targets for HR, Executive Management and the board.

For women faced with the challenges of balancing the multiple roles they play as a mother and wife while in leadership positions. What advice would you proffer?

I advice setting out your priorities and communicating it to your family and business partners to secure buy in. Also, delegation and establishing support structures at work and home is also critical.

Lastly, hire competent aids and empower them.

As the world keeps evolving, what will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women coming up after you?

Challenges for the next generation women include managing their increasing roles as breadwinners, the need to strengthen our level of technology adoption and proficiency. Women also need to master the management of personal and family finances.

 

You are an experienced and reputable CEO and Board member. What advice would you give a woman who wants to advance into an executive level role?

If you are a woman aspiring to executive roles, you need to develop your leadership abilities and not just technical skills. Your commitment to the organization and its objectives must be clear. You can’t be just about your department and its narrow goals and targets. You also need to network consciously within and outside your organisation and to build your personal brand intentionally.

 

Let’s talk about your company Emerging Africa Capital Group. Tell us about this brand and what gap its filling?

At Emerging Africa, we are building what will become a premium African brand. Our vision is to be the leading catalyst to the emergence of Africa as leading global investment destination and origin. We are filling the financial inclusion gap by helping organisations in growth phase to raise much needed capital and by providing attractive investment alternatives to domestic and international investors.

How do you feel as a Thought Leader and award winning African female entrepreneur? What drives you?

I feel grateful for the opportunity to be a blessing and to impact lives. I am driven by the desire to fulfill purpose by making maximum impact.

 

What are your predictions for 2019?

Globally, it’s a challenging year as global leaders like Trump, May and Marcon face domestic struggles. It’s an election year in Nigeria, so most expect the first half of the year to be pretty slow. I think that for those who, nonetheless, apply themselves from the start, there will be some unexpected opportunities, even as others play a waiting game. In markets, I expect activities to be focused on fixed income at the short end such as commercial papers and government debt.

 

Her Short Bio:

Toyin F. Sanni is a graduate of the CEO Program of the Lagos Business School, holds a Masters Degree, LLM (Hons), from the University of Lagos and the Professional qualification of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (I.C.S.A.) UK. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (C.I.S.) Nigeria amongst other qualifications. In 2017, she was declared “The All African Woman of the year by CNBC and also “Nigeria’s CEO of the Year” by Pearl Awards.

She leads a multiple award winning group that provides advisory and capital raising solution and development across Africa. She has spoken at Conferences such as Howard University USA, UK African Business Conference to mention but a few. Her past role includes CEO UBA Trustee, UBA Global Investor service, Cornerstone Trustee etc. President CIIA, IAPM, Chair WIFNG, Financial Literacy Committee, National Bond Steering Committee amongst others.

 

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Press Release

Tokunboh Ishmael Joins Endeavor Board

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Tokunboh Ishmael, Managing Director and co-founder of Alitheia Capital (Photo: Endeavor Nigeria)

Endeavor Nigeria announced today the appointment of ‘Tokunboh Ishmael, Managing Director and co-founder of Alitheia Capital, to its board of directors.

Tokunboh Ishmael is an impact investor with over 20 years of experience spanning investment banking, private equity investing, technology, and business development in Africa, Europe, and North America. She is the Managing Director, and co-founder of Alitheia Capital, Nigeria-based investment management and advisory firm focused on channeling private equity investments into small and medium-sized businesses in West Africa.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mrs. Tokunboh Ishmael to the board of Endeavor in Nigeria,” said Tosin Faniro-Dada, Managing Director and CEO of Endeavor Nigeria. “Mrs. Ishmael is an inspiration to the digital ecosystem, and we’re certain she will add tremendous value as well as a unique perspective to the team with over 20 years of experience in Private Equity and Venture Capital in Africa; ESG and Impacting Investing; Gender Lens Investing; and Diversity and Inclusion.”

Ishamael joins Endeavor Nigeria’s board members, including Atedo Peterside CON (Board Chairman, Endeavor Nigeria and President & Founder, Anap Foundation), Bolaji Balogun (Board Vice-Chairman, Endeavor Nigeria, and CEO, Chapelhill Denham), Jaideep Gulab (CEO, Rosemonde), Halima Aliko Dangote (Group Executive Director, Dangote Industries Limited), Yemi Lalude (Managing Partner, TPG Growth), Andrew Alli (Group CEO & Partner, SouthBridge Group), Mitchell Elegbe (Founder & GMD, Interswitch Group), Faysal El-Khalil (Chairman, Seven-Up Bottling Company), Suresh Chellaram (Chairman, Chellarams Group), and Tosin Faniro-Dada (Managing Director & CEO, Endeavor Nigeria).

Endeavor Nigeria’s board of directors comprises top business leaders who actively support the organization’s efforts to advance the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and economy.

Commenting on the appointment, Atedo Peterside CON, Chairman of the Board, said, “We’re honored to welcome ‘Tokunboh Ishmael to the Board of Directors of Endeavor Nigeria. We are certain that she will bring tremendous value to the Endeavor network, drawing on very relevant practical experiences. It will also further enhance the strong role that Endeavor Nigeria has been playing in supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nigeria as a whole.

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I look forward to working closely with her on the board and strategy level.”

Speaking on the appointment, ‘Tokunbo Ishmael said, “I am pleased to join the board of Endeavor Nigeria, an institution that has played a key role in placing high-impact, transformative African entrepreneurs and businesses on the global map. I look forward to contributing my unique experience to the energetic and visionary leadership of the organization to unlock further growth and impact through Endeavor Nigeria’s robust initiatives and network.”

Endeavor is the world’s leading community of high-impact entrepreneurs. Founded in 1997, Endeavor is a global organization with a mission to unlock the transformational power of entrepreneurship by selecting, supporting, and investing in the world’s top founders. Today, Endeavor’s network spans 41 markets and supports more than 2,300 entrepreneurs whose companies generate combined revenues of over $42 billion US and have created more than 3.9 million jobs. Endeavor’s unique entrepreneur-first model and network of trust provide a platform for founders to dream big, scale up, and pay it forward to the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

Endeavor launched its Nigeria office in 2018 to select and support the best founders of companies at the scale-up and growth stage who recognise a responsibility to pay it forward and multiply their impact in Nigeria’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. In Nigeria, Endeavor aims to select 4-6 companies a year, and today there are 33 Endeavor Entrepreneurs leading 16 companies in their portfolio. 

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Health

mPharma acquires majority stake in HealthPlus

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mPharma, Africa’s leading patient-centered technology-driven healthcare company, has acquired the majority stake in HealthPlus, the leading pharmacy chain in Nigeria. mPharma and the former investor, Alta Semper, have signed an agreement leading to the acquisition of a majority stake in the HealthPlus Group.

According to the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of mPharma, Gregory Rockson, the acquisition is in line with the company’s mission to build an Africa that is in good health by delivering life-changing healthcare services and drugs to improve health outcomes for patients. He stated that the acquisition of the HealthPlus Pharmacy chain by mPharma complements mPharma’s deep commitment to increasing patient access to affordable and quality healthcare in Nigeria.

“mPharma is deepening its long-standing commitment to Africa by reimagining primary healthcare in some of the most vulnerable communities on the continent. We continue to transform community pharmacies into primary care centers to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to all patients so they can live not just longer but healthier lives. We are optimistic about the future of healthcare for Nigerians through the acquisition of HealthPlus.”, said Rockson.

In her remarks on the acquisition, Afsane Jetha, Co-founder and CEO at Alta Semper Capital, said: “We are delighted about HealthPlus’ partnership with mPharma. We have a strong conviction in mPharma’s strategy of revolutionizing primary care across Africa and believe mPharma is the ideal steward for HealthPlus’s next chapter of growth. We believe mPharma’s vision is consistent with that of HealthPlus’s shareholders and employees, and we are enthusiastic to support the business through a relationship with mPharma going forward”.

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While mPharma plans to continue to keep and strengthen HealthPlus as Nigeria’s leading pharmacy brand in Nigeria, the acquisition will also provide expansion opportunities for mPharma within Nigeria and a platform to expand mPharma’s mutti pharmacy retail footprint across the continent through its fast-growing QualityRx program. Powered by mPharma’s proprietary Bloom software, HealthPlus will provide patients access to affordable primary care services within its pharmacies, in addition to affordable and quality medications it currently retails across 12 states in Nigeria. The HealthPlus pharmacy chain will also launch mutti®, mPharma’s health membership program, which will provide both existing and new customers with discounts, interest-free “heal-now-pay-later” plans, free health screenings, and other primary care services.

By combining HealthPlus pharmacies with mPharma’s growing portfolio of partner mutti pharmacies and GoodHealth shops (PPMVs),mPharma’s network will grow from 224 to over 320 health facilities in Nigeria and will provide care to more than 100,000 Nigerians each month.

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Corporate Executive

Chantel Cooper: The Epitome of Empathy and Care

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Chantel Cooper, CEO of The Children’s Hospital Trust (Image: Supplied)

Chantel joined the Children’s Hospital Trust in 2013 as the Head of Fundraising and Communication and was appointed as CEO in 2019. For her, 2020 was a year that reinforced the importance of the core purpose of the Trust and the difference the organisation wants to make in the lives of children. “Our cause is driven by the need to make a difference in the lives of sick and injured children. We are people who work together to save the lives of the children who matter. We all have a purpose!” she says.

Sharing excerpts from her journey, Chantel says:

“My purpose in life is to serve those who are most vulnerable: women and children. My career was driven by my passion to make a real difference in the lives of women and children. When I was 18 years old, I volunteered for an organisation that provided support for women who had been raped. While volunteering, I started working with women in rural areas in the Eastern Cape where we found opportunities to grow their businesses.

“My passion for women led me to Cape Town where I became Director of Rape Crisis Cape Town when I was 27 years old. After the birth of my two children, I moved to an organisation called St Joseph’s Home for chronically Ill Children. St Joseph’s is a step-down facility for tertiary hospitals like the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. It was a profound move for me as I was able to work with children who inspired me.

“One of the most valuable lessons I learnt is the power of love. You can offer a child the best healthcare in the world, but what a child wants most is their parents to love them and be by their side. This is the value I most appreciate about the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and my past experiences. This hospital believes in child-centered care and knows that a child heals when their parent or caregiver is by their side – even during the COVID-19 pandemic. All other hospitals had restricted access to patients, but the presence of a parent is imperative to their sick or injured child’s healing.”

Overcoming Adversities

“The COVID-19 pandemic taught our team that life can change in a blink of an eye and that we need to be prepared for all possibilities. The pandemic hit the world with such speed and velocity that we had no choice but to find a way to not only sail through the storm but also find ways to get out of the situation stronger than before.”

Chantel also states that 2020 provided the Children’s Hospital Trust with the opportunity to learn extraordinary lessons that they would not have normally had the opportunity to learn and some of these include:

  • The value of deep listening and the importance of demonstrating kindness.
  • Working in collaboration created the opportunity for meaningful impact for our beneficiaries.
  • Opportunities do exist during challenging times; positivity exposed the opportunities.
  • Adapting to change during uncertain times helped to build a resilient team.

“Our Trust team demonstrated ingenuity, compassion, resilience, commitment, and fortitude during a very difficult time. As a result, we surpassed our goals, and this enabled our organisation to reach more children and families. We are grateful for the contribution from every individual,” adds Chantel.

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“Walking through the corridors of a children’s hospital during a crisis gave perspective on the real value of care, kindness, and collaboration. While children were not the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Social Work Department experienced first-hand the profound impact the pandemic had on children’s health and well-being.

“Unemployment, food insecurity, child safety and schooling were common concerns for many patients and their parents who entered the doors of the Hospital. The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital values patient and family-centred care which includes care for the whole family from a holistic perspective.

“In response to the needs of the families, the Trust secured funding to enable the social workers to provide additional counselling services and material support such as the provision of food, hygiene, and home-schooling supplies to vulnerable families when children were discharged from the Hospital.” Read more on the Family Care Project here.

Redefining Excellence

The core to achieving our vision is upholding our values of Integrity, Accountability, Kindness, Dynamism, and Collaboration in every aspect of our work. The Trust has a sound financial record in administration and good governance. For the past 28 years, we have raised funds to address many pressing needs, but much has yet to be done. With the help of many donors, we continue to give hope and healing to our little ones who need it most.

The Trust raises funds for the upgrade and expansion of the Hospital’s buildings, the purchase of state-of-the-art medical equipment, and new medical treatment projects and funds the training of medical professionals across Africa – ensuring that the Hospital not only retains its world-class stature but is able to continue providing life-changing and life-saving care for children.

The Trust relies on donations to fund these needs. When you donate to the Trust, 100% of your donation goes towards funding projects that change children’s lives (and the lives of the people who love them). The operational costs of the Trust are funded from an endowment, so your generous contributions are never used to cover administration costs.

Donate to the Children’s Hospital Trust today! www.childrenshospitaltrust.org.za

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