The TRUE AFRICA 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today.
Ghanaian Dee Poku is the co-founder of WIE – a global network which seeks to empower and inspire women and create the leaders of today and tomorrow. She formerly worked as a Hollywood studio executive and oversaw the campaigns for movies such as the Coen brothers’ ‘No Country For Old Men’ and ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’; Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost in Translation‘; and Ang Lee’s ‘Brokeback Mountain‘. She talks about the need for representation in the media and how much she admires the man who was the first African to head a FTSE 100 company.
Why did you start the innovative women’s leadership network WIE?
WIE was founded because there was nothing out there that was truly addressing the needs of modern ambitious working women.
Women make up less than 10% of the c-suite across most industries, and emerging women leaders navigating corporate culture generally have a quite complex path to the top. WIE helps them create the networks, cultivate the relationships and acquire the knowledge and skills to get ahead.
You’ve worked as a studio executive in Hollywood. What is the importance of representation in the media for young Africans?
It’s imperative. It’s only logical that global media organisations should have a fully diverse workforce in order to speak to their audiences with authenticity.
Every day I’m confronted with often well meaning but usually tired and condescending images of Africans in the media. It’s time for balance.
And as Africans, we need a seat at the table to tell our own stories – to ensure we are reflected accurately across all mediums and not through the stereotypical or biased lens of others. Every day I’m confronted with often well meaning but usually tired and condescending images of Africans in the media. It’s time for some balance.
Who’s your African of the year?
Tidjane Thiam… He became the new CEO of Credit Suisse this summer creating major headlines. He was formerly the CEO of Prudential and the first black man and certainly the first African to head a FTSE 100 company. He’s an incredible role model for young Africans. Seeing his meteoric rise in a very traditional, very closed-off, industry is an inspiration to us all.
Follow Dee on Twitter @deepoku
Look at wienetwork.org
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