Amid the festivities and glamourous outings that have characterized activities of women groups in Nigeria’s maritime sector, one might tend to lose sight of the core focus which is to avail quality mentorship that inspires young girls to build successful careers in maritime; but African Women in Maritime (WIMAFRICA) has recorded a big win for Nigeria this week.
While WIMAFRICA carries out lots of advocacy for gender balance and equal opportunities at the workplace, true mentorship is also being carried out by the association as epitomized by Sandra Okoli, a marine surveyor, who lauds WIMAFRICA and it’s former Continental President, Jean-Chiazor Anishere (SAN), for her career development.
Sandra Okoli was one of the graduates of the inaugural SheEO Leadership Accelerator Programme organized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
SheEO is an IMO instrument, a Women-in-Maritime programme to support women from developing countries to take part in the sector’s leadership scheme which include; training, mentoring and networking opportunities.
Okoli admirably represented Nigeria as one of the 30 global women leaders who successfully graduated from the IMO programme on Thursday, this week.
Following her graduation, Okoli shares her inspiration and gratitude:
Her words: “I joined WIMA on February 27, 2019 and joining WIMA has been one of the best and strategic decisions I have made in my maritime career, that has made a huge impact.”
“From giving me the opportunity to be a speaker on her Webinar “African Union Day Of Seas and Oceans” in 2020 to an invite I came across on WIMA EXTRA to attend an online conference, “Maritime ShEo”, were it was announced that IMO will be sponsoring one woman from each country to participate in the Leadership Accelerator Course. Which I applied for in 2021. We were required to write an essay and attach to our application. I wrote this essay and drew a lot of points from Mrs. Jean-Chiazor Anishere’s paper on “How African Women Can Be Drawn Into The Maritime Industry,” which she shared on the WIMA platform. To the glory of God, I was selected to represent Nigeria in the course, and our president, Mrs. Rollens Macfoy, didn’t waste a moment in giving me a recommendation/ membership affirmation letter.”
“Truly WIMA has impacted my career positively. I appreciate our former president, Mrs. Anishere,the current president, Mrs. Macfoy and all the past and present executives for their support and positive impact on my career.”
Speaking with News Diet on the development, the former Continental President of WIMAFRICA, Mrs. Anishere expressed delight at Sandra Okoli’s success story and the depth of gratitude.
The maritime law expert encouraged other Nigerian girls to be inspired by Okoli’s boldness and excellence by making themselves available for mentorship and guidance to excel in various aspects of shipping.
Anishere also congratulated Okoli and wished her many notable accomplishments in her career.
She equally commended WIMAFRICA executives and members for Okoli’s success story, even as she encouraged the group to avail more young Nigerian girls opportunities for career development.