Monalisa Okojie, Attorney,
Businesswoman, Philanthropist.
 I am an Ishan Princess from
Eguare, Irrua in Edo State. I am a wife,
mother of three and CEO of Nehita Inc. Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria.
 I attended St. Mary’s Private Catholic School in Lagos, and then
for high school I attended the Federal Government Girls College, in Calabar. I
obtained a Bachelor of Law degree from the
University of Ekpoma, and I was licensed as an attorney – becoming a Barrister
at Law, after completing and passing the examinations from the Nigerian Law
School, Lagos. I acquired knowledge of precious stones, jewelry
making and designing from the Gemological Institute of America in Los Angeles,
California.  I am a proud African who represents Africa wherever I go. I
have a passion for empowering, mentoring and inspiring young girls and women.
As a global ambassador, I give hope to those who I have the opportunity to
mentor. I believe in God, fearful of God and I stay true to myself. 
Hope, through a non-profit
organization I founded, Upward African Woman (
I have given hope to many women and children by providing free education, jobs,
and school supplies to them. These women and children at that point in their
lives where hopeless and unsure of what their future would be.
I believe we all
have a purpose and mine evolves each day, from law to designing,
to advocating for women empowerment and children education. My purpose is not
my plan but one designed by God for me, which I am living right now. In school,
I learnt that no dream is too big for me #62milliongirls don’t have
that chance.
 Kindness is
our greatest wisdom. I have realized that a little kindness goes a long way.
Being generous, considerate, and friendly can make a bigger impact on the lives
of many people. Kindness is a universal language that everyone understands,
regardless of your race, age, sex or religion it is worth more than a great
deal of money. No act of kindness is ever wasted.
Living in the USA, my
Nigerian culture and background has had the greatest influence on me. I
incorporate most things I do with my culture especially in dealing with my
fellow human beings. The Nigerian culture embraces people, it teaches us to be
respectful of others especially our elders, to show kindness, to share, to
give, to love, to acknowledge God in our everyday activities and in whatever we
do, to stay grounded, be ambitious, to persevere and to be determined and
resolute when facing challenges.
Mother – simply because
she is truly God’s gift to her family and a true definition of
motherhood:  selfless devotion towards her children, in-laws, and everyone
around her.
In the design world, I
would have to say Coco Channel because she liberated the way
women thought of fashion.  She was a determined designer who did not stop
at designing just clothes but went on to design shoes, jewelry, handbags and
her famous perfumes. My favorite quote from her is  “Fashion is not
something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street,
fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
Pope Francis’ universal message
of peace, care for our environment and the less fortunate in society resonates
with me because these aspirations for a peaceful coexistence while caring for
the less fortunate in our midst in a healthy earth is, I believe, the beginning
of experiencing heaven on earth.
My goal is to make my
brand Nehita a household name.  We recently expanded into an accessory
line with scarves and more to come soon; I incorporated my African culture by
designing African prints silk scarves.  Yes, I work closely with my
manager and my family who give me their opinions/advice on changes or additions
I am considering for my brand.  My other goal through Upward African Woman
or any other organization I am affiliated with is to push for feeding children
in all primary and secondary schools in Nigeria so that no child goes home
 The challenges African women contend with are enormous. 
They include lack of adequate health care, sexual abuse and assault,
gender inequality, lack of educational opportunities, among other
challenges.  About two years ago, I founded a non-profit with the help of
some dynamic women and like-minded non-governmental organizations to come up
with ways and ideas on how to alleviate the poverty, illness and self-helplessness our
African women are faced with.  We have programs currently running in Ghana
and Nigeria where we empower, inspire, educate and provide them with tools to
make them self-sufficient after they graduate from a certain program. 
I strongly believe that when you educate a woman, you educate their children,
their communities, and a nation.  Education is vital in ensuring a better
quality of life and a better world for all human beings.
 Family time is foremost on my list and I treasure the moments I
spend with my family and friends. I indulge in so many guilty pleasures whenever
I have the opportunity such as going on movie “dates” with my family, dining,
reading, pampering myself at the spa, dancing, swimming, leisure traveling.
 My me-times are very important to me.
The African Woman is the
backbone of her family and her community; she should be celebrated, inspired
and empowered. 
As an
advocate for educational opportunities for girls, I will explore programs that
emphasize both vocational pieces of training as well as traditional schooling because of the
dearth of these opportunities for our young girls all over Sub-Saharan Africa.  We all know that knowledge is power, liberating and a
stepping-stone to bigger dreams. I will work tirelessly to ensure that girls
and women are provided the opportunity to have an education and also to ensure
that no child is left hungry.
That God made each one of
them to be special.  Their families and communities treasure each
one.  They must stay true to themselves. We are clothed in strength,
natural beauty, and dignity, we are ambitious and strong, and we need to be our
sister’s keeper.  We must follow our dreams, and while doing so, bring a
few girls along so as to pull the next generation close, empowered,
inspired.  This, I believe, is the true mark of a good role model.
Together we can make the world a better place.