Founders

Ebere Akadiri

Ebere Akadiri

Founder, Rise and Lead Women Forum

Ebere Akadiri is an internationally recognised business executive educator and a visionary leader. She has spent over 19+ years creating and launching successful businesses, teaching entrepreneurial concepts, and mentoring purpose-driven business leaders.

Ebere Akadiri is the founder/CEO of Ataro Foods and Rise and Lead Women. After starting her career at an oil servicing company, she went on to launch her dream business – a successful restaurant –with two branches, five sales outlets and 56 team members.

Ebere holds a B. Tech In Food Tech and Master’s degree in Management and Leadership. Her education, combined with her years of success as a business owner, helps her to teach business leaders to create strong visions of growth for themselves and their companies.

She is passionate about leadership development with a strong focus on women leadership, entrepreneurial leadership, digital transformation, and business strategy.

Poonam Barua

Poonam Barua

Founder, Rise and Lead Women Forum

Poonam Barua is an accomplished business leader, Economist, Founding Chairman of the “Forum for Women in Leadership”, CEO of WILL Forum India, Author of the pioneering Book “Leadership by Proxy”, and a Global Influencer of Women in Leadership.

Ms Barua launched the distinguished “Forum for Women in Leadership” in 2007 – bringing together senior women executives from leading companies in India and multinationals.The organisation leverages a vast talent pool of women, sharing best practices for women in the workplace, and mentoring them for leadership positions. Over 6,000 senior female and male professionals, from across 250 companies, and over 750 WILL Mentees – participate in the WILL Forum programs and mission. Founding members of the WILL Forum India include Tata Consultancy Services, KPMG, Infosys Technologies and Aditya Birla Group.

Ms Barua is Author of the pioneering Book “Leadership by Proxy: The Story of Women in Corporate India” (Bloomsbury) and has written several Research Reports on “WILL Handbook: 50- Best Practices for Women in the Workplace,” “Differentiating Styles of Women in Leadership” and the bestselling report “Balanced Boards for Good Governance.” She is presently writing the landmark Report on “Creating Digital Women – for the Digital Era!” – with distinguished sponsorship from Capgemini.

For over a decade, Ms Barua has been Regional Director – India for The Conference Board, New York, providing thought-leadership on best business practices for companies in India. She is actively committed to bringing transparency and corporate governance, and serves as an Independent Director on corporate boards, leads the pioneering “WILL Women on Corporate Boards: Series” in India, and is a Member of the Joint Electricity Regulation Commission Advisory Board of the Indian government.

Ms Barua has been awarded a Visiting Scholarship at The Wharton School Advanced Management Program for her work on women in leadership. She also holds a Ford Fellowship at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, for her work on conflict resolution in South Asia. She is a Visiting Fellow at the Henry L. Stimson Center (Washington D.C.) and the Salzburg Seminar in Austria. Ms Barua has also served as Special Consultant for distinguished international institutions – including the Eisenhower Fellowships, London Business School, and East-West Center.

As a trained Economist, Ms Barua hasa Masters Degree from the prestigious Delhi School of Economics, as well as having served as Chief Program Specialist for over a decade at the United States Information Service in New Delhi. She has also been a Lecturer in Economics at Delhi University and Research Associate at the Indian Institute of Public Administration.

Ms Barua has given over 300 keynote addresses and Session Presentations around the world – including many cities in India and The Netherlands, Paris, Austria, Slovenia, San Diego, Seattle, New Jersey, New York and Toronto.

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