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Mo Abudu Named Forbes Africa’s Most Successful Woman | Talks Standing up for Herself & Her Media Journey

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Mo AbuduMo Abudu is one woman that a lot of younger ladies look up to. Her success story is an amazing one and the heights she has climbed are admirable.

The Executive Chairman and CEO of Ebony Life TV, was just named by Forbes as Africa’s most successful woman of the year.

According to Forbes, ‘Africa’s Most Successful Women’ introduces you to the most outstanding African women who are making giant strides in business, politics, technology, entrepreneurship and leadership on the continent and elsewhere around the world.

Other women who have been listed in past are Divine Ndhlukula, Founder and Managing Director of SECURICO, one of Zimbabwe’s largest security companies, Khanyi Dhlomo, a 36- year-old South African media mogul, unconventional visionary, and a builder of big dreams.

In an interview with Mfonobong Nsehe of Forbes, she recounts her entrepreneurial journey and reflects on the lessons she has learned along the way.

On standing up for herself: As I have said many times in the past, here, I had to learn to stand up for myself, to defend my identity and my race in an environment where you continually got asked the most ridiculous and mind-boggling questions like “Do you guys live in trees and holes in Africa?” “Do you guys dance around fires?” “What do you eat for breakfast?” Very ignorant questions. Those sort of questions could either make or break your spirit but I was very determined that I was going to stay strong. This kind of afro-pessimism simply fuelled a burning, deep-seated desire in my subconscious to one day help to rewrite the African story; to get people to talk about the issues that affect our society and to tell the African narrative in a contemporary and interesting way; to change the perception the world had of us; to let the world know that in spite of our challenges as a developing continent, Africans are not a bunch of savages but mostly a breed of gifted and remarkable people.

On her journey as a media entrepreneur: So, after my education and a flourishing modelling career in the UK, I returned to Nigeria in my late twenties. My children had reached their teens; I had begun enjoying a successful career as Head of Human Resources and Administration for oil giant, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (ExxonMobil). I always say that this experience at ExxonMobil was the best thing that happened to me at that time because the job gave me an invaluable understanding of corporate structure and business discipline, which would eventually prove very useful in my future business endeavours, to include the Protea Hotel Oakwood Park, of which I remain a shareholder and director; Vic Lawrence & Associates, now one of Nigeria’s leading outsourcing firms, where I also remain founder, and so on. However, as successful as all these business ventures have thankfully been, nothing perhaps has given me the most fulfilment as the prospect of exploiting the media as a tool to affect global perceptions about Africa. So, with no TV experience whatsoever, I had approached DStv back then with the Moments with Mo proposal which I had hoped would persuade them to see that it was time Africans had a talk show that projected all that was positive, progressive and celebratory about the continent. I had seen a gap in the market for talk shows that were quintessentially African on the DStv bouquet. I had observed that there were talk shows on NTA, and other Nigerian channels but there wasn’t a single Pan-African talk show at the time. I did not get a positive response from DStv as I was told they were not looking for a Pan-African talk show on the platform at the time.

On creating ‘Moments with Mo’: In response to the need for local content on the platform, the window of opportunity soon opened for us and that was how, in 2006, Moments with Mo was born out of the vision to build and project a new, stronger, more independent and more confident Africa; an Africa that speaks for itself; that celebrates its people and achievements and solves its own problems.Ihad taken about 5 pilots of my talk show to them back then but they were all rejected and eventually, one was accepted. And even at that point, I was told they were not going to commission, that they were only going to license, which means they would buy the content from you at an agreed price. So I was told to go and look for sponsors, which I did, and the rest, as they say, is history.

You can read up her full interview here.

11 Comments

  1. @edDREAMZ

    January 8, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    a.k.a EDWIN CHINEDU AZUBUKO said…
    .
    She is beautifull, hardworking and intelligent….. i need a wife like this in the futute…..
    .
    .
    ***CURRENTLY IN JUPITER***

    • Gistyinka Blog

      January 8, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      God will answer your prayer. She is indeed role model for every black women around the world.

  2. chy

    January 8, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    wow. more power to her elbows.

  3. JULIE

    January 8, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I like her a lot very hardworking

  4. yea

    January 8, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    one thing about her that stands out for me is that despite the fact that she was born in the UK and spent quite a number of her growing up years in the UK, she does not speak one cheap British accent and she does not wear the citizenship on her face like makeup. very mature and original woman. RESPECT!

  5. Ginika

    January 8, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    The brand name and powerhouse Mo Abdu is a big role model in terms of career progression, the power of pursuing a vision and achieving your goals, in my life right now.

  6. Banjo

    January 8, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    I should begin to think like an entrepreneur.

  7. WWN

    January 8, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    A beautiful salute to the phenomenal and inspirational Mo Abudu! In a nation sometimes in dire need of exceptional role models, she stands out like a lighthouse. Role models do exist, they’re often in the background doing their thing! Let’s keep beaming the spotlight and continue celebrating them.

    For all the young people across Africa, who’re working hard, diligently pursuing their dreams and passions, please, please, please, NEVER give up! No matter how difficult and challenging the terrain often becomes, FOCUS on the wall of your dreams, follow the footsteps of this powerhouse and know that: it is always possible!

    Again, thanks to Ms Abudu for her tenacity, commitment and exemplary excellence in life and business AND a salute to the Bella Naija team (who, just like Ms Abudu) are changing the narrative about Africa and her diverse people! 🙂

  8. kole

    January 9, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Big up to my Aunty of life. I am proud of you for standing up for yourself including leaving that enemy of progress behind to become the powerhouse that you are today. Love you loads

  9. imose

    January 9, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Well deserved.. She’s also generous too. God Bless you Ms Mo!!! I am your number one Fan :*

  10. ...just saying

    January 9, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Thanks Bella for the feature. I went on to forbes.com to read the full article.

    Boy! An i glad she’s finally come into herself and no longer calls herself “Africa’s Oprah”. That title always made me cringe.

    Well done Mo on your great accomplishments. You’re doing Africa proud ma.

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