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Women on Top in Tech – Olatorera Oniru, CEO at



(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Here is my interview with Olatorera Oniru, an assiduous entrepreneur passionate about all things Africa. As CEO of, she is currently leading initiatives to realize a pinnacle in Africa’s history whereby we would rely less on importation and innovate more with natural resources and citizenry capabilities. A member of The National Scholars Honor Society USA, Olatorera flourished her career working for two Fortune Top 5 companies namely Bank of America Merrill Lynch and General Electric. She also worked for one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, Lars Magnus Ericsson, as a global consultant and later as Head of Sales Governance. During the course of her employed years, she traveled to over 50 cities in over 10 countries in 4 continents.

What makes you do what you do?

I absolutely enjoy what I do. If it doesn’t make people happy or make the world a better place, it may not be worth pushing. But more importantly, results fuel my desire for more results. I love seeing great results. We measure our success day to day, month to month, by the growth numbers. Every new customer counts! Every new partnership counts! Customers in London being excited that they received their packages from Lagos within 3 days makes us want to figure out a way to get it to them within 2 days! The possibilities are endless, the results are exciting.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?

I founded, an online retailer of fashion and beauty products with over 60% of products on designed or manufactured within Africa.

The rise in the industry can be attributed to the growth in satisfied customers and this can be attributed to the quality of the products we retail and how important customer relationships are at

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?

I love fashion at great prices and I have a background in telecommunications and technology consulting. This, in addition to my passion for Africa’s development, led to the development of, a company innovatively engineering the globalization of made in Africa fashion and beauty products.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?

Yes, I have one or two mentors who have excelled professionally and entrepreneurially that I have occasional conversations with and other times, I also learn indirectly from very successful people who I may not personally know but really like their story. I meet new people on a daily basis too – I enjoy connecting with people and building relationships.

How did you make a match if you and how did you end up being mentored by him?

I’m naturally big on networking. I enjoy meeting new people and making connections that work. From being a mentee to being a mentor to being a customer to being a leader. The connections we build daily are all part of our growth ecosystem.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?

By winning over and mentoring other people with great talent. Leaders cannot succeed alone – they must have the right mix of partners and supporters. At, we are constantly recruiting great talent as we grow.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?

I support diversity consciously or unconsciously. Diversity is what makes us human. We are all different and differences should be embraced and not used as a tool for segregation. Not all Africans are…, not all Europeans are…, not all Muslims are…, not all women are…, not all surgeons are … Let’s appreciate and develop people for their individuality, their talent, their capabilities, their desires and not for their classification by gender, race, religion, geographic citizenship or other diversity classifications. Many people were born into a particular classification and that’s all they know or love. We must appreciate what makes others different. This is not to say that businesses should consciously focus on ensuring diversity but more so that businesses should focus on hiring the best person for the job regardless of their diversity.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?

Leaders must lead, leaders must care, and leaders must make things work. I’m very big on ensuring that the best man for the job gets the title. A great leader will mentor others and will always be ready to pass on the baton to someone even greater or better.

Advice for others?

My biggest advice is this “Push your desires. Don’t let anything stop you from doing anything great for the world.” I’m currently in the process of publishing a share all book titled “Push Your Desires”. I want to see more greatness being pushed out to the world especially emerging from the continent of Africa. A continent with massive potentials, great natural resources and amazing human talents.

To learn more about Dress Me Outlet, please see

I am a huge fan and cheerleader of Women Leaders — If you know of an AMAZING Woman Founder, CEO, Leader in Tech or you are one yourself — Write me here.
AMPLIFY Conscious Business Leadership with me.

Callum Connects

Bryan Choo, Founder of



Bryan Choo gets excited by executing great digital campaigns for his clients.

What’s your story?
Inspired by TripAdvisor and then later Buzzfeed, I created a hyper-local portal in Singapore 4 years ago. now reaches over half the population each month and we have over 100 employees.

What excites you most about your industry?
There’s a certain thrill that goes along with content creation because results are sometimes impossible to predict. Those with strong ideation skills tend to do well and on digital media. How well your campaign did is known to everyone through the public engagements the posts get. So executing great campaigns for brands brings me a lot of satisfaction.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore; a very modern country that offers the best of both worlds. In Singapore, we have access to the latest in technology and very competitive prices. We can tap into skilled labour such as IT from Myanmar and design/videography from the Philippines. Should we venture into production or E-comm, we have access to extremely cheap raw materials. We’re just a 5 hour flight away from China.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore! Most APAC regional offices are located here, making it easier to get approval since we deal directly with the decision makers.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
To think of ourselves more as a publisher and not a review website.

Who inspires you?
Oliver Emberton, Mark Manson, Charlie Houpert and Tim Urban. They are all amazing content creators.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I discovered a franchise that used an amazing way of growing content regionally through user-generated content and hashtags.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
To focus on content geared to social audiences from day one. The biggest mistake of most traditional players is just focusing on SEO-driven content, which does not do well on Facebook. We started off like that but we adapted quickly and that’s when our business took off.

How do you unwind?
I used to play computer games, now I exercise and get lots of satisfaction looking at my fitbit results.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
South Korea. I love the food and weather there.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Shameless plug for your business:
Apart from TSL, we also run three other websites. which focuses on news, which focuses on food and which focuses on female-centric content.

How can people connect with you?
Drop me an email at [email protected]

Twitter handle?

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
Download free copies of his books here:

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Is International Women’s Day just another Tokenism?



Yearly on 8th March around the world, we celebrate a day for women. This year that was 2 weeks ago, before this article was published.

A Question for You:

Did we change for the better after that day? or

Did we just all go back just to Business as Usual?

And if so, why?

As a psychologist and conscious leadership coach, I work to change mindsets to do more good in the world. We all know bad habits are hard to change. Ignoring Women talent and needs is a bad habit. Calling attention to it once in a while is simply not just not enough, it also assuages leadership guilt. The guilt alone does not lead to sustainable efforts to transformation.

We all know one International Women’s Day yearly is simply not enough.

One women’s group in your company is not enough.

One women’s breakfast in the technology conference is not enough.

One Women’s March is not enough.

But it is the start.

It is the start and we need to join forces to truly take it beyond tokenism.

Join forces with leaders who read #MeToo and ask themselves what we must do today to reduce and end such harassment. Join forces with tech leaders who are aware of the power of money and resources lying in the hands of a few heightens potential bullying and unwanted sexual advances. Join forces with leaders who actively act to counter or stop abuses and want to create new workplace cultures. Join forces with Leaders who promote women on merit, but who also look to sponsor, mentor, and support more women to the senior leadership tracks.

We need a critical mass to tip Gender Parity to become the new norm. We need to dialogue and language new ways of being and leading in the world. We need daily, weekly, monthly habits to make gender parity the daily actionable. What is your daily actionable to not just gender parity, but inclusion and diversity in all aspects of our work and life? Let’s build the momentum by increasing connections across companies, countries, and communities. This article brings insight to what we can do next and communities you can support.

On March 8th, at 1880 ( , a private club which believes that conversations can inspire change and a better world , the Salon discussion was on “Undressing Feminism”. Participants spoke frankly about unwanted sexual advances and what both men and women can do to stop work and national or religious cultures where such actions are deemed normal. One husband joked about how he told his wife he was attending the event and she told him to shut up and listen carefully. We were all listening carefully and we spoke as a group with a transparency that is rarely found in conservative Asian culture and even in rather Westernized Singapore.

Who we heard from:

Matthew Spacie at Magic Bus

He spoke of his work in the non-profit and called out the terrifying statistics that should not be hidden or ignored.

This is an average Indian girl’s gender based obstacles throughout her lifetime

There are about 600 million women in India. They have the highest rate of infanticide of girls. Women are 56 times more likely to die before the age of 5 years as compared to boys.  If a girl does get to go to school; up to 53 percent drop out and only 1 percent graduate. 40 % of the women are married off as children.  If she gets to have a job, 40% are in unregulated work which means they can be bullied, paid less, and anything else without any external regulatory bodies to assist.

Aware’s Executive Director, Corinna Lim:

If the vision is – a society where there is true gender equality – where women and men are valued as individuals free to make informed and responsible choices about their lives. Then we look towards Aware, Singapore (  as a resource – for their mission is to remove all gender-based barriers so as to allow individuals in Singapore to develop their potential to the fullest and realise their personal visions and hopes.

In fact, after the #MeToo movement came out, there were 80% more calls to sexual harassment center in Singapore. And Corrina shared how one in ten women in Singapore has been physically abused by a man. Do know that AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre (, the only centre that supports victims of sexual assault and harassment  can be reached at  +656779 0282.

Survivor of War, Human Trafficking, and Sexual Assault, Lurata Lyon:

Forgiveness is what is needed to heal and also to take the lessons and give ourselves strength. She shared how she was molested in Singapore by a British expat and she immediately grabbed his phone to keep him there while she called the police. Her two children were with her and thankfully a local pregnant woman came and stood by her as the man tried to force her hand to let go of his phone. She reminded the audience that this could not have been the first time this man acted in this unacceptable manner, yet how many others had let his behavior slip through our silence.

Asian Feminist Role Model, Activist, and Burlesque Artist, Sukki Singapora:

“Someone has got to be brave. If it is not you, it’ll have to be someone else. So make it you.”

Sukki braved her family’s strict culture and Singapore’s public indecency laws to fully express herself in her choice of art and profession, burlesque. She left us wondering why should sensuality be repressed? What is the world so afraid of? Her choice of expression was initially considered a crime in the public decency act of Singapore. Now she is a champion and face of freedom of expression for women in socially restrictive countries.

These conversations can evoke small changes in public consensus which will bring about swift changes in the societal consensus, that’s why we have political debates during the elections.  We are part of that dialogue, debate, and actionable steps and accountability. It’s our call to not let International Women’s Day fall on deaf ears. Let’s not just have one token discussion on one day set aside, but make such discussions a daily act.

Thanking Matthew, Corinna, Lurata, Sukki, and Marc Nicholson panel moderator and co-founder, 1880 for allowing their stories to inspire and confront us all again with the unknowing discrimination and bullying we may be supporting under our own roofs.

Like this piece?

See my article on International Women’s Day

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