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Introducing the next nominee on our Women’s History Month Spotlight Campaign, Linda Obi.

Linda Obi is a visionary leader committed to promoting inclusivity in the tech sector. She’s mentored over 1,000 women and girls, addressing the gender gap in tech and empowering women for leadership roles. As CEO of AfriHealth, she’s pioneered digital solutions for better healthcare access. Linda led Zenith Chain through a $36.5 million investment round, advancing health technology. 

She’s also a member of the Forbes Business Council and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, driving economic development and supporting emerging leaders. Recognized as a Top 100 Woman of the Future, Linda exemplifies innovation, leadership, and social impact.

“I hope for a future in tech and healthcare where diversity is prized and innovation is central, where women’s contributions are seamlessly integrated into our daily professional lives, not just highlighted during Women’s History Month.”

Linda Obi

Glazia in conversation with Linda Obi.

Can you share with us your journey to becoming the CEO of AfriHealth and your inspiration behind launching Rigourplus?

Steering AfriHealth and launching Rigour+ merged my tech passion with reshaping African healthcare. My blockchain journey aimed to unlock access to secure, equitable health services across Africa. Rigour+ was born from realizing Africa’s healthcare narrative deserved a new chapter.

“We rise by lifting others” reflects our mission. Rigour+ illuminated stark truths, revealing vast doctor-to-patient ratio gaps, fueling our drive to innovate for essential healthcare, especially in overlooked regions.

Rigour+ bridges ages and technologies, ensuring healthcare inclusivity. Our vision: leveraging technology for a health system where no African is left behind. Technology transcends boundaries, catalyzing unity and progress. Rigour+ isn’t just innovation; it’s a beacon of hope for a healthier Africa.

In honor of Women’s History Month, which female figures from history or contemporary times have influenced your professional journey?

My mother, with her unyielding resilience as a businesswoman, has been a cornerstone of my understanding of business resilience. Her strength and wisdom laid the foundation for my journey, teaching me the value of perseverance and integrity in all professional endeavors.

My mother’s teachings and a spectrum of remarkable women across fields inspire me. Condoleezza Rice’s trailblazing in politics and academia shows the power of intellect and determination. Mo Abudu’s entrepreneurship in African media highlights vision and passion’s importance.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s resilience in global economics illustrates leadership’s gender-neutral nature, inspiring women worldwide. These women, and others, reinforce the belief that dedication, courage, and vision surmount challenges and leave a mark. Their stories motivate excellence and meaningful contributions to women in business and leadership.

What are your thoughts on the future of telemedicine and healthcare accessibility in Africa, given the advancements in technology?

The future of telemedicine in Africa, fueled by AI, blockchain, and mobile tech, assures personalized healthcare for all. AI customizes care, blockchain secures data, and mobile tech extends healthcare across the continent, bridging rural-urban gaps. “Innovation is healthcare’s new heartbeat, driving Africa towards a future where everyone has access to the care they need.

Imagining telemedicine’s future in Africa means looking beyond current tech to a horizon where science reshapes healthcare. Think personalized medicine using genomic data and AI to predict and prevent diseases. Picture virtual reality consultations offering immersive experiences rivaling in-person visits. These advancements can help Africa overcome traditional healthcare hurdles, making access predictive, personalized, and participatory, empowering every African with health knowledge and control.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, could you share a significant moment in your career that has advanced gender equality and empowerment?

One pivotal moment was witnessing the impact of our initiatives on women’s healthcare access and digital economic participation. Beyond providing services, our work empowered women to make informed health choices, breaking barriers in male-dominated tech fields.

This journey extended to education and economic engagement, fostering an environment where women became creators and leaders in technology. This reflects a broader commitment to dismantling barriers across sectors, aiming for a world where women’s voices and talents are valued and unleashed.

In line with this year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,” could you discuss a project you’ve been part of addressing gender challenges or promoting women’s rights?

Reflecting on the theme “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,” I’ve mentored at two impactful events supporting women in tech and business. One was a female pitch competition by SEND Technologies, 9 Mobile, and Mastercard Foundation, highlighting innovative women in tech. Similarly, the Sustainable Business Pitch Competition by the British Commission showcased women entrepreneurs’ potential to lead ventures benefiting society and the environment. Through mentorship, I’ve empowered these women to navigate challenges and break barriers, aligning with Women’s History Month’s spirit. 

What advice would you offer to young women aspiring to pursue careers in male-dominated fields, especially in light of Women’s History Month?

To young women aspiring to enter male-dominated fields: Your ambition is valid, your dreams are achievable, and your presence is crucial. Women’s History Month celebrates the pioneers who paved the way for us.

First, embrace your unique perspective. Your insights can drive innovation and challenge norms. In fields where women are underrepresented, your voice can introduce new ideas, question established norms, and push boundaries.

Second, seek mentors and allies. Guidance and support are vital. Remember, mentorship can come from any gender; allies who believe in your potential can be instrumental in your journey.

Lastly, cultivate resilience. Despite obstacles, stay determined and passionate. 

Let’s honor those who broke barriers by committing to do the same. We can make history in our chosen fields.

What advice would you give to aspiring female leaders in the tech and healthcare sectors?

To aspiring female leaders in tech and healthcare: Embrace your strengths and perspectives for transformative leadership. Here’s how:

Embrace Continuous Learning: Stay ahead by embracing new technologies and healthcare trends.

Build Your Network: Connect with mentors and peers for support and opportunities.

Champion Diversity: Advocate for inclusivity to foster innovation and equity.

Foster Resilience: Learn from setbacks and view obstacles as growth opportunities.

Share Your Story: Inspire others by sharing your journey and overcoming challenges.

Advocate for Yourself: Know your worth and advocate for your ideas and career growth.

Your leadership can drive progress in these sectors. Embrace the journey with confidence and determination.

What are your hopes for future women in your industry and how do you envision ongoing celebration and recognition of women’s contributions beyond Women’s History Month?

I hope for a future in tech and healthcare where diversity is prized and innovation is central, where women’s contributions are seamlessly integrated into our daily professional lives, not just highlighted during Women’s History Month.

Equal Representation: I envision leadership tables and innovation labs mirroring the diversity of our world, with equal representation for women in decision-making roles.

Barrier-Free Access: I envision a future where women professionals encounter no bias or educational barriers, but are instead empowered by strong support systems enabling their growth from classroom to boardroom.

Normalization of Women’s Achievements: I envision women’s achievements in tech and healthcare being so normalized that they’re seen as integral to industry progress, not just celebrated annually as exceptions.

Mentorship and Support Networks: I envision a future where women have built-in mentorship and support networks, empowering each woman to reach her full potential within a community that prioritizes lifting one another up.

Innovation Driven by Diversity: I anticipate diverse teams, including women from all backgrounds, driving innovations to solve global challenges, showcasing that diversity is both ethical and profitable.

Beyond Women’s History Month, continuous celebration and recognition of women’s contributions should be ingrained in our industries’ ethos. Cultivating cultures that prioritize ongoing recognition, mentorship, and support not only honours past legacies but also paves the way for women to lead, innovate, and inspire without gender restrictions.

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