MD of Inclusivitii, a full-service leadership, diversity and inclusion consultancy based in Oxford, Aduke Onafowokan is a diversity and inclusion expert, as well as the founder of The Sister Sister Global Network.
She also sits on the board of the Smart Works Reading and Creating Better Futures charities.
Aduke helps leaders become great and inclusive leaders- she travels the world working with diversity and inclusion stakeholders on practical ways to learn and improve inclusion, diversity and leadership.
An avid learner, Aduke has studied critical diversity and inclusion theories at leading institutions including Yale School of Management, INSEAD, and The University of Oxford where she is studying for a Master’s Level degree in Organisational Leadership.
As a public speaker, Aduke has delivered two TEDx Talks on Diversity and Inclusion, spoken at global events including BRANDMINDS and Sustainable Brands as well as at organisations including Amazon, Montagu Private Equity, Payconiq Netherlands, NatWest, Institute of Directors, Royal Mencap Society and many more.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
Following careers in Law and IT Project Management working for global organisations including Deloitte, British American Tobacco and The UK Ministry of Defence, I launched Inclusivitii to plug the gap between DEI aspirations and tangible DEI outcomes in organisations. Combining evidence-based and research-driven DEI insights with my vast experience in leadership and change management principles, I now initiate, design, deliver, and improve measurable DEI progress across industries.
I am also a social-entrepreneur through my work as the founder of The Sister Sister Global Network, a 10,000+strong registered social-enterprise Sister Sister curating life-enhancing and inspiring events for women. I am also a Trustee at Smart Works Reading and Creating Better Futures charities and was appointed Vice-Chair and Ambassador for the Institute of Directors Oxfordshire in 2021.
I live in Oxford with my family and enjoy long walks with my children.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Not in the beginning, like a lot of people I was just going with the flow and making it work. It was as I grew older, I started to get wiser :), asking myself questions about what I wanted from life and what my purpose and role is in the bigger scheme of things.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Yes, both professionally and personally, as a mum of two young children, juggling two businesses and a social enterprise comes with unique challenges and the constant need to keep all the balls in the air.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Undoubtedly my two children, but also the amazing work the Sister Sister network as done impacting thousands of women globally to make a difference. I am also incredibly proud of Inclusivitii, in less than two years we have amassed an impressive client base, working currently with over 20 cross sector clients with their diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and education initiatives.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
The incredible, undeniable power of people and relationships.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
Through my work with The Sister Sister Network and gender advocacy with organisations. Such as the International Youth Federation where I am team leader for women’s empowerment, I support women directly and at scale with key areas as a mentor.
I often call these relationships, mutual mentoring – I have learnt much more than I have shared.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
Direct cash support grants and increased funding for women entrepreneurs. That is often the hill where a lot of ambitions die.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Oh, the places you will go Aduke, believe in yourself, embrace the journey, work on your weaknesses, but celebrate your strengths, you are doing well sweetie.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
We are doing some detailed planning exercises for the future of the Sister Sister Network, and I am incredibly excited about our future in this space. I am also looking forward to growing Inclusivitii, we have our first set of in-house associates joining us in a few weeks and I am energised by all we will achieve. I am however most looking forward to summer holidays this year with my kids and hopefully welcoming our first dog in a few weeks.