We love celebrating amazing leading ladies who are making a difference in their industries and today we are celebrating these 10 amazing women, who are shattering the glass ceilings with their positions at leading media house Filmhouse Group.
Why these 10 women?
These women are visionaries, dogged, ambitious and would not settle for less.
- Lolu Desalu – Head of Marketing
- Ozy Sammie-Okposo – Head of HR
- Itohan Izugbokwe – Group Lead Sales & Digital Strategy
- Stephanie Dan-Okafor – Branch Manager, Oniru
- Tolu Senbore – Branch Manager, Lekki
- Mimi Bartels – FilmOne Accounts Manager (Nollywood, Empire Entertainment)
- Ladun Awobokun – FilmOne Accounts Manager (Warner Bros)
- Tomi Ayeni – Legal Officer
- Odezi Onyeke – Branch Manager, Surulere
Meet them below.
Lolu Desalu, Head of Marketing; a.k.a The Lady of the Manor
Lolu Desalu works with a team of 17 people within 6 spheres of the Marketing department of Filmhouse Group; the design team, the sales team, digital marketing, brand marketing, the media marketing team, and events management. She has worked in the advertising and marketing industry for about 10 years and studied Marketing and PR for her undergrad at the University of Hull; Her first job was in Marketing and every job since has been in Marketing.
On being a female in the industry, she says, “A lot of people assume it’s hard but I think it is what I make it and it is what I say it will be when I wake up every day. I feel quite blessed to be taken seriously and to be trusted to do my job adequately. Although, I have had men tell me in external meetings that they’re surprised I’m not a mean person because apparently it’s tough for women and they expect us to be a little bit more mean. It’s important that we stop pushing the narrative that it’s harder for women to be taken more seriously. It is causing women to automatically be defensive when there’s no need to be a lot of the time. I used to feel the need to work extra hard to prove myself but it’s a trap. Once people realise you’re trying to prove yourself, you automatically become more susceptible to being manipulated. Now, I just work extra hard to achieve my goals.”
Ladun Awobokun, Co-Head, Theatrical Distribution; a.k.a. “The Numbers Plug”
Between 2005 and 2011, the majority of Ladun’s time was spent obtaining a degree in Accounting, a Masters in Information Systems & Business Analysis, and a professional accounting certification (ACCA). Prior to joining Filmone, she set up a small business selling lipsticks to women in Nigeria’s busiest city; Lagos, worked for an advertising agency partnering with Nigerian corporates, and then joined the risk management team of one of Nigeria’s most iconic banks, as a market risk manager.
On being a female in the industry, she says, “Whilst I acknowledge that there is room for improvement, it is refreshing to be a woman in the entertainment space at this time, as women are making large strides in the space, as compared with some twenty years ago, when critical functions within the movie value chain were dominated by male talent. More so, international organizations are paying attention to a number of unprecedented achievements by women in the entertainment and media space. Do we have to work extra hard to prove ourselves? Absolutely! This is because hardwork translates to excellence and this is true irrespective of the gender. That said, I do feel like as women in an evolving industry, there’s a need to demonstrate extra commitment and tenacity for set deliverables, in order to debunk stereotypical views.”
Mimi Bartels, Head of Accounts, Nollywood and Independent Films; a.k.a Mama Nollywood/Nollywood Jagaban/Pitbull
Mimi Bartels has handled N1 billion generating accounts and handled 70-90% of Nollywood’s most successful films of 2016-2018 and such films like – Wedding Party 1/2, Chief Daddy, Merry Men, King of Boys.
She was a 16yr old girl who lost her Father to a murder. She then moved to the UK to study. She majored in Business Admin majoring in Economics and Finance in Liverpool John Moores University. She then came back home and did her NYSC in Oceanic bank.
On being a female in the industry, she says “I don’t feel- I know I have to. I am not allowed to feel so to speak, because every emotion will be tied to “she is a woman”, “you know how women are”. I remember my first job in the bank, my then soon-to-be boss was told I had been hired and would like to work in Treasury, his reply I will never forget was ‘she is too pretty, we don’t need pretty, and we need someone hardworking’. I genuinely couldn’t fathom what my looks had to do with my work. And to be honest, as I type this, I think it made me downplay myself, wear baggier clothes, no make-up, just so I am seen for my work and not my supposed beauty (which I did not see as well). This job has taught me to be humble, to be diplomatic, to be fierce, to be honest, and most importantly to be me. I have the best and most supportive Line managers and the best team- I truly am blessed.”
Ozioma Sammie-Okposo, HR Manager; a.k.a HR
Ozioma bagged a degree in psychology and another degree in Human Resources also did her masters program in Human Resource. At Filmhouse, she sees to strategic hiring and retention, employee training and development, ensuring labour law compliance, communication with employees and more.
On being a female in the industry, she says “It has been an interesting one I must say, because it is always fun to handle situations people deem you not fit to resolve and boom they see you have settled it in a minute, it is really interesting because it makes you push yourself even more; I have worked in this industry for eight years and it has been very incredible, I learn on a daily base and sought out ways to learn more because in this dynamic world we live in continues to evolving and you must continue to stay relevant and productive. In essence, it has been challenging and a learning curve for me, broaden my horizon and thought process and the motivation that you can achieve all things is forever there to push you.”
Tolu Senbore, Branch Manager at Filmhouse Cinemas Lekki; a.k.a Ramonda/Mama Bear
Tolu Senbore is responsible for overseeing all operational and personnel matters and also developing business strategies, maximizing productivity and ensuring that sales targets are met. She has been in the industry for over 5 years and has worked in five out of the nine branches of the company. Interestingly, she started out her career in guest services at Impulse Craft Enterprises, a tourism outfit in Lagos in 2007 and also worked in food production at SCNL Lagos for about two years as an administrator working with very notable restaurant and hospitality brands and airlines.
On being a female in the industry, she says, “I honestly have never paid attention to ”being female” that is how cool working at Filmhouse is. The culture is very inclusive and enabling with more focus on personal development and efficiency more than gender. I think we even bully men because we can. Being a female in this industry actually makes me really proud especially when we look at how the cinema/ film business is largely dominated by men. Gone are the days when you mention about ten male stakeholders in the film business before you manage to hear a female name. Now I can effortlessly mention several notable females doing amazing and leaving their marks in this industry. Mo Abudu, Kemi Adetiba, Omoni Oboli, Joke Silva, Shaffy Bello, Dakore Egbuson, Lala Akindoju, Somkele Iyamah, Toyin Abraham, Adesuwa Etomi-Wellington. There are days where I have met really difficult guests and clients who clearly expect the manager should be a man, thankfully I have what it takes to change their minds.”
Tomilola Bukola Ayeni, Legal Officer; a.k.a Annalise Keating
Tomilola is a member of the legal department of The Filmhouse Limited. She deals with all the legal documentation, the registration of the company and ensuring the company is up to date with all the legal fees and governmental regulations. Her days are filled with a lot of paper pushing and filing. Her hobbies include watching movies, traveling to new places and listening to music, watching horror movies and watching dramas.
On being female in the industry, she says, “Being a female in my industry is quite a drive because I represent the brand of woman and as a woman, you just have to represent. As of 2018, the majority of the first class students that graduated from law school were women. Women have made a great impact in the field of law, this drives me to constantly want to also make my mark and have my own golden goose in this field. In the company, I am not constantly defined by my gender, both male and female are given mutual respect and everyone’s opinion is regarded as being important. I really admire the leading women in the company because they lead with so much poise and charisma. As a woman in the society we live in, if a man gives 10, society demands that a woman gives 70, sometimes 100. As a woman, we are programmed to work twice as hard, luckily for us nature as blessed us with the ability to multi-task. As a woman, you are defined by the various roles you bare, such as being a mother, being a wife and being a homemaker, this comes with a lot of pressure to meet up to society’s standard. There is pressure coming from all sides to be the best you can be, both at home and in the corporate world, this is why women should celebrate themselves and society should also celebrate them as well. “Pop that champagne girl, you deserve it.”
Vivian Olajumoke Osho, Branch Manager; a.k.a Miss Vee
Vivian Osho is a young and fast-rising star at Filmhouse at 26-years old. She has a BSC in psychology and MBA in Marketing from Obafemi Awolowo University Ife and she is the Business manager for Filmhouse cinemas Akure. She has previous experiences in sales, client services, and marketing. She started early as a sales canvasser for multinational brands at the age of 16 during long ASUU strikes in her Uni days to landing her first real job as a client service executive in an experiential marketing agency and designing multiple BTC sales and marketing campaigns for major brands.
On being a female in the industry, she says, “I really do not think much about my femininity but more of the value I add to the business which supersedes gender. I do believe its a factor of one’s effectiveness and efficiency on the job, how good at what you do and the value of what you bring to the table.”
Itohan Izugbokwe, Sales Lead and Accounts Manager at Filmhouse; a.k.a The Money Girl
For Itohan, it has been 9 years of acceleration, and sharp bends, from starting out in customer service in a mid-size establishment in New York, to coming back to Nigeria and starting off in Oil & Gas. To ICT. To Digital Media. And now, to Filmhouse Cinemas. Her role at FilmHouse is primarily to generate alternative streams of income for the group, forging strong partnerships, all with a goal to build the Filmhouse brand.
On being female in the industry, she says, “It’s one thing to thrive in an industry, but it’s different ball game to thrive as a woman. I don’t know if it’s been easy or I’m just the tough and determined one, but my career has been mostly pleasant. Maybe being the daughter of General counts for something here. But one thing is for sure, there’s always been the need to work extra hard to prove yourself as a woman in this male-dominated industry. I mean, I do the work, but sometimes you get reduced to just ‘being the pretty face.’ Nothing thrills me like shocking them with delivery. Despite this, Filmhouse cinemas has a strong culture, from top to bottom. For example, it’s inclusive enough for me to thrive as a working mother, without feeling like I’m losing on one front. Watching my kids grow on one end, and watching my ideas blossom on the work front feels like a win-win. And while this should be a given, I can’t help but be grateful for my line managers, my team, and my husband for their support and encouragement. The occasional days off also help a lot when I hit a block.”
Odezi Onyeke, Business Manager, Surulere Branch; a.k.a L’dy Gaaga
Joining Filmhouse Limited in 2014, Odezi had no idea nor knowledge of the cinema operations; never had any prior experience in this industry before but the drive and willingness to learn was there. Coming into the Filmhouse Cinema without any prior experience was quite challenging but with commitment and passion to succeed in whatever she does, she was able to meet up to the task.
On being a female in the industry, she says, “Being a woman in this society can be really tough especially with this present economy where one source of income is not sustainable anymore. For a working class woman (and as a mother), the road is a lot tougher but believe it or not we are built for it. Working in this industry is like having an “Extra-Marital Affair”; you have to juggle between two lovers- family and career; both require apt attention, starving either of the required attention can be catastrophic. Your family needs you, your job needs you, you cannot afford to let either suffer. Finding a balance between these two is the only way you can have a successful career and a blissful home, trust me, you don’t want to wake up one day and realize your kids are all grown up without you being part of that experience. Being successful at both front is a priority, the option of failing on either is not available to us. Women generally are perceived as the weaker vessel thus have to work extra hard to prove not just to the society alone but to herself that ‘’What a Man Can do, she can do better”…I guess that’s why there are more successful leading women than we had several generations ago. Having a game plan is the key to a successful day which in turn results in a successful career. There must be a game plan; (you cannot afford not to have one) a well laid out plan helps achieve your goals and trust me, you need one in this industry. “
Stephanie Dan-Okafor, Branch Manager, Filmhouse Oniru a.k.a The Service Connoisseur or The Guest Whisperer
Stephanie Dan-Okafor is a young woman in her early twenties striving to make a name for herself in the service Industry. Moving back to Nigeria in 2017, she realized that hospitality/service in Nigeria was often times neglected by business owners and so, when she found herself at Filmhouse Cinemas, she knew she could make an impact; she knew she had found her home. She began my career at Filmhouse Cinemas as a Guest Services Executive and over time was promoted to the Guest Services Manager position for Filmhouse Cinemas Lekki. She is now the Branch Manager at the newly opened Filmhouse Cinemas Oniru-Twin Waters, in addition to my role as the Guest Services Manager for Filmhouse Cinemas Lekki.
On being a female in the industry, she says, “In my quest to continuously challenge myself in my roles, I have never felt the need to prove myself, never had to traverse the glass labyrinth-like several of my female colleagues in male-dominated industries. I had the amazing opportunity to attend a single-sex a.k.a all-girls high school and so, I was only ever exposed to women in leadership positions. It made me realize that women are just as capable, just as hard-working, and just as awesome as any man out there; arguably even more awesome than men. So, on the rare occasions when I have a guest size me up and immediately assume that because I am a woman, I am incapable of handling their inquiries or complaints, I believe it is my duty as a woman, especially a young black woman, to educate them about their misconceptions and prejudices.”