TechHer Spotlight

Ebele Okobi: A determined woman is a force of nature

 

About Her:

Ebele Okobi is a Nigerian Internet policy creator. She is currently the Head of Public Policy Facebook (Africa). She is also a trained lawyer who’s carved a niche for herself by pioneering workable ICT4D (Information and Communications Technology for Development) policies and paraphernalia in organizations she’s worked with. She has helped to promote human rights, increase women’s participation in entrepreneurial and technological activities in emerging economies.

She graduated with a B.A in Psychology from the University of Southern California in 1995. In 1998, she got a Juris Doctor, Law from the Columbia Law School, U.S.A. In 2007, she graduated with an MBA from HEC Paris (école des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris) in France.

Her Work:

  • Between October 1998 – January 2001, she worked as a corporate lawyer in Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York and London. She was responsible for corporate works and drafting of documents for clients and also rendered pro bono legal services for people including political asylum seekers.
  • From January 2002 – December 2002, she was a Fellow and Attorney at Consumer Union in San Francisco Bay Area. She helped in setting policy frameworks for health care organizations and also advocated for certain percentage of sales and stock from hospitals to be invested for charity reasons.
  • Between 2003 – 2007, she was Director of Advisory Services at Catalyst. She provided strategic consultancy and project management services in San Francisco Bay Area and Amsterdam. She also did diversity assessments of Fortune 500 companies and professional service firms.
  • She also pioneered and led Catalyst’s expansion to Europe which later helped the organization to have a permanent base in Europe. She initiated and managed strategic alliances for the company in US and Europe.
  • From August 2006 – January 2008, she was Management Development Program (MDP) Executive for Strategic Projects in Nike. Her role included creating market opportunities, corporate responsibility and designing business development strategy for Africa.
  • She initiated the concept proposal for the first-ever Pan-African Women’s Run Series linking CSR, Retail, Digital Branding, Apparel and Women’s Fitness and Running. She launched consumer insights project for West Africa and helped identify and connect with key influencers in sport, media, music, politics, business, social entrepreneurship and culture to uncover trends, insights and collaborative opportunities.
  • Between September 2008–August 2014, Ebele Okobi was the Global Head & Senior Legal Director, Human Rights for Yahoo Inc.
  • As an astute Internet policy expert, she designed and executed the global human rights strategy and policy in collaboration with senior and external stakeholders while incorporating the UN Guiding Principles and Global Network Initiative Principles/Implementation Guidelines.
  • She also created and launched the Business & Human Rights Summit; a learning forum about how technology, Internet and social media support freedom of expression around the world.
  • In 2012, she initiated and launched ‘’Change Your World’’ events in Cairo, Washington DC and Mexico City. This is a stakeholder summit about how women are using the Internet, technology and social media to create positive change in the world. During her time in Yahoo, she created and launched ‘’User First’’; a human rights boot camp for start-ups.
  • Since September 2014, she has been working in Facebook as the Head of Public Policy, Africa in London, United Kingdom.
  • As a top lead of Facebook Inc., she does initiate and executes business initiatives for Facebook in Africa.

In June 2015, Ebele Okobi in a debate at Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany discussed digital opportunities in Africa and the issue of privacy in Facebook. She also talked on how Facebook wants to use the Internet.org idea to enable millions of Africans and more people residing in developing nations have access to the Internet.

Between 2008- 2014 and 2011 -2014, she was a Board Member of Global Network Initiative; an initiative that promotes the protection and advancement of freedom of expression and privacy in ICT; and Carr Educational Foundation, Daraja Academy.

Why TechHer Loves Her:

Ebele Okobi’s profile is an interesting read. She has used her policy drafting skills to set up worthwhile initiatives that have benefitted many Internet users (especially users of Yahoo and Facebook). She is also an incredible optimist for us all to learn from and be motivated.

In 2012, Ebele Okobi launched the Yahoo! Business & Human Rights Summit on Women and Social /Digital Media in Cairo, Egypt with an enthralling declaration – “A determined woman is a force of nature”

We lose nothing by using technology for empowerment and advocacy of justifiable causes. Ebele Okobi is proof of that!

Information gleaned from the Internet

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