So, at times like this, you forgive us for waxing biblical – “Your gift shall bring you before great men.”
28 year old Toyosi Akerele’s forte is advocacy and over the past years, she has driven the cause with her brainchild, RISE Networks. The organisation is focused on building positive behaviour in the representatives of the future – especially through her conferences that have reached about 10 Nigerian states.
She has gathered many accolades for this – including The Future Awards plaque for Best Use of Advocacy in 2008. The Future Project also announced its nomination of three brilliant alumni of The Future Awards for the United States Government’s International Visitors Leadership Programme, anchored in Nigeria by the US Public Affairs Section (PAS), and she again nominated along with Mosunmola Umoru (Business Owner of the Year 2009) and Akin Rotimi (Team of the Year 2010).
Well, it just got better! The businesswoman has attracted the attention and admiration of the US First Lady, Michelle Obama. In the video, recorded in the White House, the American First Lady showered praises and encomiums on Toyosi, and other young African women making change happen, calling her a “source of inspiration.”
“I watched this Video recorded in d White House with tears in my eyes as Michelle Obama acknowledges RISE NATIONAL YOUTH FORUM as the LARGEST YOUTH CONFERENCE in NIGERIA,” Ms. Akerele said on her status update, clearly overwhelmed. “Specifically calling my name, she says ‘everywhere I go in Africa, Young Women like TOYOSI inspire me. This is my dedication to many young Nigerians who conferred on me the credibility to even be called a YOUNG LEADER in the first place. DAME ToyorceyRISE.”
She is presently in South Africa as part of the Young Women Leaders Forum, which is one of the events lined up for Mrs. Obama’s Africa tour. You go, girl!
To watch the video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMIxX2zZMms
Toyosi speaks here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hHVXP6RZhw&NR=1